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Free-from is no fleeting fashion

There’s plenty of potential for bake-off on the growing free-from market. And solutions are on the way.

There’s nothing faddish about the trend for free-from foods, say market analysts who have followed the rise of the global sector. This was also the impression at the Free From Food Ingredients Expo 2014 in Brussels, where the organizers reported a 65% increase in the number of visitors compared to last year.

Mintel predicts that demand for free-from products will continue to go up in line with the improved diagnosis of people with gluten or lactose intolerance or diet-related allergies.

At the same time, there are widespread reports that free-from diets are increasingly popular among consumers overall – going far beyond those with a diagnosed intolerance.

Top ten trends
In a Euromonitor International Analyst Survey from 2013, gluten-free and lactose-free are both listed among the top ten global health and eating trends. Reflecting that, global gluten-free value sales grew a staggering 75% from 2008 to 2013, with three-quarters of those sales in Western Europe and North America.

Within bake-off, such market development holds high potential. The fact that gluten-free bread tends to have a shorter shelf life makes bake-off variants a good option, as stores can then offer freshly-baked products throughout their opening hours.

Bake-off progress
This is also an area that we are exploring at DuPont. Although the production of high-quality gluten-free products for the bake-off segment still presents a few challenges, we have made some headway in our bakery application lab where a number of solutions are under test.

Our best results so far draw on the ability of hydrocolloids – including xanthan, guar, locust bean and cellulose gum – to mimic the visco-elastic properties of gluten. In this way, we have managed to obtain a good structure, volume and stability in our gluten-free bread test formulations (read more in our previous article).

Another of our projects is exploring solutions for gluten-free pastries, such as croissant – a highly technical project where we expect to see results in the near future.

Free-from fillings
Our fruit & confectionery team has also been working with free-from fillings for savoury tarts. The result of this effort is a new concept for a dairy and egg-free vegetable filling that is both high in fibre and qualifies as one of the daily fruit or vegetable servings recommended by health authorities.

A blend of alginate and pectin gives our free-from vegetable filling concept the desired body and bake stability, with no syneresis from the vegetables during baking. Polydextrose addition enables the high-fibre claim.

In the UK, one of the leading free-from markets, Mintel predicts continued growth in the region of 70% between 2011 and 2016. That leaves room for many more players and products in the category.

For our free-from filling concept, we tested GRINDSTED® FB 850 Stabiliser System and Litesse® polydextrose from the DuPont™ Danisco® range.