Manitoba researchers are working with a Latin American firm to commercialize healthier wheat and oat products, including a better bread for the second largest bread consumer in the world.
The Consorcio de Cereales Funcionales SA., or “Functional Cereal Consortium” is a new company launched this summer as a joint venture between the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network (MARHN) and Granotec, a leading cereal company based in Santiago, Chile.
MARHN will provide the company with expertise to develop healthier ingredients for one of Chile’s most widely consumed breads, said network executive director Lee Anne Murphy.
“This is basically a healthy bread project based on a fibre intervention,” she said. “We’ll be working with a commercial product that they already have in the marketplace there and enhancing it.”
A BETTER MARRAQUETA
The marraqueta is a soft, white French-style loaf so popular Chile adult males can derive as much as half their daily caloric intake consuming it. But it isn’t the healthiest bread. It lacks fibre, and it’s consumed as part of a diet in Chile contributing to many of the same diet-health problems experienced here in North America, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Chile now ranks among the top five nations in the world in childhood obesity.
Murphy said researchers here plan to see how oats can add soluble fibre to this widely eaten bread and do so in such a way that it changes neither its taste or texture.
Granotec sought out MARHN for its ‘one
stop shop’ research capacity which extends through testing and assessment of ingredients to clinical trials, Murphy said. They also share the same vision – that food can be part of a solution, rather than demonized as a root cause of some of these illnesses.
What both aim for is the development of new technologies for grain-based solutions in the cereal processing industry, and for positive influence on people’s eating habits, she
added. The initial benefits of this project
accrue to Chile ini t ial ly, but
Manitoba will gain from partnering with a large, market-based
company wanting to work with local ingredients, Murphy said. Chile has declining oat acreage so an oat
intervention that works could open up
new export markets there. MARHN also stands to gain a better understanding from Granotec around commercialization of new research and development products, she added. [email protected]