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Superfoods serve as raw materials for flour and edible oils

Published: 17-05-2016, | Member: Health Ingredients Trading

Cryogenic grinding of chia seed oilcake, a residue from chia seed oil pressing, yields a flour full of healthy nutrients and fiber. The flour vastly improves the dry texture of gluten-free bread. Health Ingredients Trading developed the flour and the milling technology in collaboration with a Belgian business partner. The company is working on other innovative ingredients too, all based on superfoods and waste streams.

“Buying and selling healthy ingredients is no longer our sole business,” says Frank Reijnen, managing director and owner of Health Ingredients Trading, based in the Netherlands. “We’re always looking for new opportunities to get the most out of our products. We also explore the use of waste streams and residues, like bell pepper seeds and the hard shells of Brazil nuts.”

In 2008, the company started buying and selling superfoods in Europe. “At that time, the health craze was in full swing in the US. We jumped on the bandwagon and started importing acai berries in the Netherlands. But that didn’t really take off, so we had to find alternatives. Around that time, we also learned about new pressing technologies, and that led to us launch cold pressed chia seed oil in the Netherlands.”

Health Ingredients Trading is now an internationally active company with six agencies in Europe, five in South America, three in Africa and one in China. Collaboration with other businesses and research institutions is essential, according to Reijnen. “As a small player, it’s impossible to have all the necessary knowledge in house. That’s why we found a Belgian company to help us develop the milling technology, and why Groen Agro Control and Eurofins handle our quality control.”

Health Ingredients Trading has a SKAL certification for organic ingredients. Agronomists employed by the company (or hired from NGOs) ensure that the farmers supplying the company grow their products organically.

Gluten-free bread

The cold-pressed chia seed oil launched in 2013 contains high levels of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. There are plenty of applications, Reijnen says. “Chia seed oil has a milder taste than olive oil, which makes it appealing for the food industry. For consumers, it’s a healthy alternative to fish oil, and it’s a highly nutritional oil that appeals to special consumer groups like athletes. Even the cosmetics industry is showing an interest in adding this oil to creams and ointments.”

Cold-pressing the oil from chia seeds leaves an oilcake that contains many nutritious substances. “Traditional milling of this oilcake involves heat and that would destroy these substances,” says Reijnen. “That’s why our new method works at extremely low temperatures. Cryomilling keeps the omega fatty acids and vitamins intact. The resulting flour is not only rich in fiber but also highly nutritional, offering the bakery industry a product that is excellent for gluten-free bread. Adding just 5-10% of chia seed flour improves the texture of gluten-free bread,” he says.

Upcycling waste streams Health Ingredients Trading also develops health powders from waste streams. “The skin of apricot kernels is full of nutritious amino acids, and bell pepper seeds contain loads of vitamins. We’re working with various business partners to upcycle these waste streams into functional ingredients,” says Reijnen.

The company recently expanded beyond the food industry, embarking on a project to upcycle the hard shells of Brazil nuts. “These shells contain substances that inhibit the growth of micro-organisms, which could open the door to medical applications,” says Reijnen, adding that he hopes to develop more innovations over the next few years.

Health Ingredients Trading