Gluten Is an Expensive Ingredient These Days

May 29, 2014

“Over the past seven years, the price of gluten has risen,” says ingredients supplier Corbion Caravan.

More consumers may be avoiding gluten, but ask any baker and he or she will tell you that gluten performs an integral role in bread production. Specifically, gluten-the protein found in wheat and such grains as barley and rye-preserves dough’s elasticity and ability to rise, resulting in those chewy, delectable breads many of us love so much. For manufacturers still looking to work gluten into their products, however, there’s a problem: the cost of gluten is rising.

“Over the past seven years, the price of gluten has risen,” says ingredients supplier Corbion Caravan (Lenexa, KS). Factors such as increased demand in the EU for gluten as an ingredient for aqua feed have driven prices up. Corbion Caravan adds that “the drought of 2012 added fuel to the fire, scorching crops and leading to even higher ingredient prices. Bottom line? Baking tasty breads, bagels, and buns with whole grains, fiber, fruits, seeds, and nuts has become an increasingly expensive proposition.”

The company is now offering a solution to the problem. Its GEM 100 clean-label “dough improver,” which is designed for yeast-leavened dough, purportedly allows manufacturers to reduce their use of gluten, without loss of taste, texture, or other “bready” characteristics. When incorporated in dough, GEM 100 helps dough maintain strength and tolerance.

Cheri Tabel, Corbion Caravan’s manager of communications and media, says GEM 100 can be used in all products that use wheat gluten, including all types of breads, rolls, flatbreads, and bagels.

Note, however, that although GEM 100 can help cut back on gluten, it is not meant for gluten-free formulations. “It is used to eliminate or modify the amount of vital wheat gluten used in baked goods-not to create gluten-free products,” Tabel cautions.