The development, formulated by researchers at the company’s Idea Labs, its 27-strong international network of innovation centres, claims to be the first time manufacturers will be able to convert to a highly desirable “rice flour” label while achieving the functionality, stability and shelf life previously associated with hydrocolloids, modified starches and other ingredients not considered clean label, according to Ingredion.
Proprietary research conducted to understand consumers’ labelling preferences in Asia and North America found "rice flour" to be one of the most accepted common ingredients used in the food and beverage industry.
“Ingredion has been a pioneer in the clean label movement and in understanding consumer attitudes and preferences towards specific ingredients and claims,” said Daniel Haley, director of the company’s global Wholesome business.
Marketing manager Hui Cheng Chong added: “In Asia, there is a growing demand from consumers for quality food made with familiar, trusted ingredients.
“Rice flour has been a staple for Asian consumers for centuries. Providing highly functional rice flours with added stability and enhanced texture allows our customers to maintain authenticity in recipe formulation and traditional eating quality across a range of convenience foods.”
Meanwhile, the company has opened a new US$30m facility in Thailand to strengthen production of its Novation functional native starches.
The investment in Ingredion’s fourth Thai facility, which will employ over 800 staff, is part of a programme of some US$100m in worldwide capital expenditure announced in 2014, when work on the Kalasin plant began.
Over a million construction man-hours later, the facility has now produced its first batch of locally sourced Novation starches, which are used for clean-label food and beverage formulation.
“Consumer demand for clean label foods has evolved from a trend to mainstream,” said Jorgen Kokke, Ingredion’s senior vice-president.
“It is a global movement that was developed and established in America and Europe that is now emerging in Asia, and this expansion will help our customers meet the growing demand for healthier, simple ingredients and wholesome foods.”
More from Southeast Asia…
Thailand to be food ‘superpower’ in two decades
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has vowed to make the country a food industry “superpower” in the next 20 years, as he introduced a new strategy.
Speaking on a visit to Chanthaburi, one of Thailand’s main fruit-growing areas, Prayut said that the government had been supporting farmers and fruit growers in other ways than by inflating farm product prices which is not sustainable in the long run.
They should be able to “develop and produce their products with improved quality so that they can compete in the market in the long run,” he said.
The general added that it would not be possible for Thailand to become a military superpower, but it was feasible that its food production could eventually enter the big leagues.