To meet discerning preferences and tastebuds, food manufacturers can turn to rice starch as a natural, clean-label solution.
By Christian Philippsen, managing director of BENEO Asia Pacific
Today, more than 60% of consumers prefer products with “no artificial ingredients”, “no preservatives” and “contains only natural ingredients” labelling.1 This demand has also been driven by the pandemic, with 69% of Asia Pacific consumers saying they have become more attentive to natural ingredient claims as a result of COVID-19.2
This heightened consciousness among consumers over their diets has pushed the food and ingredient industry to develop clean label products,3 which consumers believe are healthier4 and are even willing to pay more.5
However, the move towards all-natural ingredients may sometimes change the taste and texture of products that are familiar to the consumers. The challenge for food manufacturers therefore lies in developing options that appeal to both the palate and psyche of today’s consumers.
A superpowered rice starch
Rice starch is one of the many types of food starches commonly used by manufacturers to create organic and natural products for consumers. It is a natural ingredient generally used as thickeners in food products to create pleasant textures, increase shelf life and improve product stability.
With rice starch, however, the difficulty is in maintaining optimal functionality under varying processing conditions, which ranges from gentle pasteurisation to more severe retorting in both neutral and acidic foods.
Fortunately, there are already solutions to this problem. Through BENEO’s technology, its clean-label rice starch, Remypure, has enhanced functional properties to help achieve performance levels, competing with those of chemically modified starches. It is the first high-performing, chemical-free rice starch that qualifies for both natural and clean label status worldwide.
Due to its unique molecular structure, Remypure provides excellent freeze-thaw stability and increased viscosity build-up without causing syneresis, further increasing the shelf life of the product. The improved stability is based on an innovative, natural production process using heat in a low-moisture environment. In addition, this superpowered rice starch can also perform under a wide range of production conditions, including challenging situations such as those that require high performance under shear, acidity, and heat.
Remypure also addresses the instability of rice starch as it has better tolerance towards acidity and heat than other clean-label starches. It provides food manufacturers with an opportunity to create unique textures and excellent product stability even under harsh processing conditions.
Most importantly, Remypure has a neutral taste and will not modify the flavour of the product. It can be used in convenience foods like soups, sauces, and ready-to-eat meals, and is available in a range of variants, providing for creamy or soft textures, meeting consumers’ demands of a healthier product that does not compromise taste nor texture.
Healthier food is the way to go
Natural has become almost synonymous with a healthy diet. With the clean label market set to grow even further, clean and natural claims are increasingly essential in the creation of food products that cater to current consumer trends. Additionally, BENEO’s research also shows that 47% of Asia Pacific consumers seek out food and drink products that contain recognisable ingredients. Since rice is a familiar, naturally-occurring ingredient, 61% of consumers globally regard rice starch as natural.6
As consumers continue to aspire toward cleaner eating, food products that will appeal to them are those that balance natural qualities, while still being convenient and tasty. By incorporating Remypure, manufacturers can create natural, stable food products, while keeping up with the needs of the present consumer.
1 L.E.K Insights (2019) How the Clean-Label Megatrend Is Changing the Food Ingredients Landscape https://www.lek.com/insights/ei/clean-label-food-ingredients
2 FMCG Gurus (March 2021) Sustainability and clean label trends in Asia Pacific
3 Food Dive (2020) Ingredients getting a boost from clean label trend, report says https://www.fooddive.com/news/ingredients-getting-a-boost-from-clean-label-trend-report-says/571619/
4 Genetic Literacy Project (2020) 70% of consumers say ‘natural’ food is healthier, but there’s no science behind the marketing hype https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2020/06/04/viewpoint-70-of-consumers-say-natural-food-is-healthier-but-theres-no-science-behind-the-marketing-hype/
5 Convenience Store News (2019 Consumers Willing to Pay More for ‘Clean’ Foods & Beverages https://csnews.com/consumers-willing-pay-more-clean-foods-beverages
6 FMCG Gurus | Mintel Insights (2020)
This article was first published in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Food & Beverage Asia.