Ingredients firm which is going with the grain
- Credit: Archant
An East Anglian ingredients firm has put itself at the forefront of a revolution taking place in the British diet by creating a more ‘edible’ wholegrain.
Edme, based at Mistley, near Manningtree, a natural ingredients producer that has served the food industry for more than 135 years, has come up with a new way to make wholegrains more palatable.
Although the ingredient is recognised as helping to reduce the risk of hear disease, diabetes and many bowel disorders, studies indicate that in Britain, 20% of the population eat none at all, while 33% eat only three portions a week and just 5% manage the recommended intake.
Michael Carr, Edme sales and marketing director, says although consumer demand was there - with 43% of them looking to buy food containing whole grains, many find the taste, texture and appearance unappealing.
“It will take radical changes to address this. As well as educating people about the benefits of wholegrain, the food industry clearly needs some new ideas,” he said.
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His firm has pioneered an innovative new category of ingredients called sprouted grains.
While these meet the demand for new wholegrain ingredients that are nutritious, they are soft, making them more palatable and digestible.
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“We’ve identified a growing interest in sprouted foods and have developed a brand new product category to help bakers and food manufacturers meet that interest and demand,” he said.
Edme, which is based in the Stour Estuary in one of the best cereal-growing areas of the country, is able to source high quality grains from farms in the region.
The firm’s sister company, Crisp Malting Group, malts grain just up the road in Mistley, and this expertise in malt and malting have been invaluable in the research and development of the new sprouted grain category which it has developed.
The “WholeSoft Sprouted” technique uses the first stages of the malting process to capture the goodness of whole grains, provide them with succulence and make them accessible to the food industry.
Premium quality raw cereal grains are steeped, or soaked, and germinated, or sprouted.
Then, rather than being kilned and dried, which is what would happen in the malting process, they are pasteurised, providing a stable, succulent, tasty ingredient.
Edme believes these sprouted grains are a much more approachable way for people to access whole grains, with added benefit in terms of nutrition and fibre.
“WholeSoft Sprouted Rye in particular adds wonderful flavour,” says Michael.
“Of course we need the best quality raw materials to produce WholeSoft – and fortunately the talented farmers from Essex and Suffolk can supply us with those.”
All WholeSoft Sprouted grains, whether rye, wheat, oats or barley, have the full bran layer, which means they help deliver much-needed fibre and are low in starch. They also contain antioxidants and offer easier absorption of nutrients such as calcium, iron and zinc.
The firm says they have a wide range of applications in the baked goods category and other food manufacturing sectors.
For bakers, the key interest is the visible attractive-looking whole grains – which contrast with the ‘burnt offerings’ which sometimes appear in loaves and rolls, Edme says.
An additional benefit is the impact they have on the texture of the overall product. As WholeSoft Sprouted grains are already hydrated, they feed moisture into the crumb – whereas with dried flakes and kibbles draw moisture out.
“A high presence of WholeSoft undoubtedly reduces the baker’s requirement for added fat to keep their products moist,” says Michael.
“The grains do that for them. For a similar reason, consumers don’t need to use so much butter or margarine on bread made using WholeSoft grains.”
Edme’s pioneering new ingredients are already being used in breads made for three of the main supermarkets, and are being explored as an ingredient for dairy and savoury dishes by a number of manufacturers.
“They pick up flavours readily so work well as meat analogues, but applications can vary from yoghurts, smoothies and dips to hot and cold ready meals, with or without meat,” says Michael. “The surface has only been scratched.”
The company also processes pulses, seeds and wholegrain cereals - raw and malted - into flours, flakes and kibbles.
These are used by bakers and food manufacturers in range of products.
“If you eat bread with ‘bits’ in it, the chances are you will have often eaten Edme’s natural wholegrain ingredients,” says Michael.