Rice gets trendy, adds nutrients and allergen-free choices

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 28th April 2014
Rice is becoming a trendy ingredient in restaurants and food manufacturing

Rice has become a culinary trend selection of many restaurant menus and is also becoming the go-to solution for consumers looking for gluten- and allergen-free choices rich in nutrients, according to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Writing in the April issue of Food Technology magazine, which is published by the IFT, Senior Associate Editor Karen Nachay said the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast had predicted diners will see more rice selections on restaurant menus, including black and red rice.

Ms Nachay said that rice ingredients could “enrich food and beverage products with nutrients, improve textural attributes, replace common food allergens, function in gluten-free formulations, and act as a thickening agent, while providing a cost-effective protein source”.

The IFT said food scientists were also looking for new ways to incorporate rice into many consumer products. The article highlighted food scientists using sprouted brown rice to increase protein in bars, powdered shakes, soups, pastas, ready-to-drink beverages, cereals and sweet and savoury snacks. According to the IFT, rice starches are being used to provide a variety of texture options in both food and beverages, from smooth and creamy to crispy and crunchy. Rice is also being used to enrich diets with more fibre.

The IFT is a not-for-profit that was founded in 1939. It has more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries, including food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry.