Start-up ingredient technology company, International Agriculture Group (IAG), will exhibit two new functional fruit flours at IFT17 Booth V323. The ingredients form the starting point of IAG’s NuBana Green Banana Flour line. NuBana N100 delivers the processing benefits of a native, cook-up starch with unique “viscosifying” properties. NuBana P500 is a pre-gelatinized flour that thickens in cold water and can replace hydrocolloids and stabilize fruit systems. Both ingredients can help replace sugar by replacing bulk. As 100% fruit ingredients, they can contribute a wide range of consumer-pleasing attributes, including functional replacement of non-clean label ingredients, a higher level of nutrition and gluten-free status. Beyond these, NuBana Green Banana Flour offers food formulators a new tool in their formulating tool box. As a new crop entry into the functional ingredients arena, these flours provide texture and labeling opportunities different from those available from corn, potato, tapioca and other traditional starch starting points.
According to Maurice Moragne, CEO of International Agriculture Group, the mission of the company is to develop functional and nutritional ingredients from sustainably-produced tropical fruits—starting with green bananas. “In the last several years, consumers have made it clear that clean labels, with friendly, exciting culinary value propositions are here to stay. Green bananas have really interesting properties from both a functional and nutritional standpoint and as a company, IAG is uniquely positioned to source, manufacture and deliver ingredients based on this abundant food source. Particularly in the area of fruit systems, we see NuBana Green Banana Flour as a great fit for stabilization, clean label viscosity modification, sugar replacement and more in both foods and beverages—as we can imagine 100% fruit systems that consumers will respond to.”
Why Green Bananas?
According to Rhonda Witwer, vice president of marketing and business development, bananas are an intriguing foundation for functional and nutritional ingredients. “Bananas are classified according to their ripeness. Entirely green bananas (called Stage 1) have a starch content of 70-90%. As bananas ripen, that starch is converted into sugar and when bananas arrive at U.S. grocery stores (around Stage 5) they have only around 15% starch remaining,” she said. NuBana Green Banana Flour is produced when starch content is at its highest. The starch in IAG’s NuBana Green Banana Flours is rich in amylopectin, containing 75-80% amylopectin and only 20-25% amylose. This ratio is similar to the amylopectin/amylose ration in dent corn or potatoes.
“This plays out into interesting functional properties,” said Ms. Witwer. “For example, NuBana N100 has very long chains of amylopectin, with unique viscosifying activity where it behaves like a lightly cross-linked modified starch. It is able to maintain its viscosity relatively well and delivers higher final viscosity than other types of starches with a minimal amount of breakdown after peak viscosity.”
Green bananas also offer nutritional opportunities. “Fifteen grams of NuBana Green Banana Flour is equivalent to half a serving of fruit. The ingredients are high in potassium and magnesium. And some grades of banana flour can be high in resistant starch. Beyond this, everyone loves bananas. NuBana is a functional, nutritional win-win that consumers will respond to,” Ms. Witwer added.
NuBana Green Banana Flour has a bland, relatively neutral taste which enables its use across a wide variety of foods. It does not taste like bananas and it is not sweet. It is beige to light tan in color.
NuBana can replace wheat flour or maltodextrin and is ideal for applications needing viscosity, adhesion or water-binding. This includes beverages, pasta, puddings, coatings, cereal bars, fruit fillings, sauces and salad dressings, meats and instant foods. The application of NuBana as a fruit stabilizer offers the potential for an “all-fruit” system.
NuBana Green Banana Flour does not contain gluten and works well in gluten free applications. It can replace high glycemic flours like rice and potato flour, and may eliminate the need for binders and other hydrocolloids, resulting in better nutrition and clean labels. It also contributes softness and flexibility in gluten-free applications.
NuBana Green Banana Flour labels as “green banana flour” or “banana flour.” When it replaces xanthan gum or maltodextrin, more consumer-friendly fruit is added, which enhances the consumer perception of the ingredients and the perceived naturalness of the food, the company said.