05 Oct 2017 --- Brusco, a UK-based company which sources and supplies bulk ingredients to the food industry, has launched 100 percent Italian barley and spinach powders that are able to boost the clean label and healthy credentials of a plethora of food and drink products.
Barley powder is predominantly used in Asia and Japan for its health benefits, but not yet widely available in the UK. The product is 100 percent pure and supplied with full traceability from field to fork, including a washing process comprising three levels of cleaning before the raw material is dehydrated. The whole harvest to dehydration process is completed within a 48-hour time frame, guaranteeing a premium product with high levels of nutrients.
Not to be confused with the grain, barley powder is created from barley grass. It contains twice as much protein as an equivalent amount of wheat germ and about five times the minerals of animal protein. Unlike most plants, barley grass provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a perfect solution for food processors looking to boost the healthy image of their products.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Managing Director of Brusco, Andrew Ashby explains that the company is monitoring the western world catching on to the benefits of these powders. “We are seeing growth in barley grass powder, particularly within the health and nutrition sector. There is huge growth in people consuming smoothies and juices, as well as demand for alternative products to add to soups, porridge or mix into breakfast. The growth is mainly confined to the health food retail sector; however, we are hoping food manufacturers looking for vegan, clean label products that offer a broad range of nutritional benefits will start to incorporate into their new product development activities.”
“The move to plant-based proteins is definitely a clear trend that is here to stay,” notes Ashby, “Over the last 2-3 years we have seen a strong push for alternatives to soy and whey proteins. Allergen-free plant-based proteins including pulse proteins (pea and fava bean) have become popular. We believe the continued growth in demand for vegan-friendly, clean label products will drive further new product development using plant-based proteins.”
“There are large amounts of vitamins and minerals found in green barley leaves from which the powder is produced. These include potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, beta-carotene, B1, B2, B6, C, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. Barley grass is very high in organic sodium, which dissolves calcium deposited on the joints and also replenishes organic sodium in the lining of the stomach. This aids digestion by improving the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Barley grass also contains one of the most amazing nutrients: chlorophyll, a natural detoxifier that rids the intestines of stored toxins,” he states.
Also available in flaked form, barley powder is suitable for a wide range of food applications such as health drinks, soups and ready meals. It is easily incorporated into base ingredients to raise the nutrient profile of the product in question. Some of the health claims surrounding barley grass include weight loss, longevity, anti-aging, increased energy, sleep improvement and improved immune response – making it a great choice for food manufacturers wishing to tap into the health-conscious consumer market.
The company is also launching its other star healthy ingredient: organic and conventional spinach powder. The spinach is grown in prime Italian soil, harvested at peak nutrient levels and then swiftly dehydrated.
In its dehydrated powder form, spinach benefits from a far superior shelf life and ease of storage and handling compared to the fresh or frozen variety. It is also high in fiber, naturally gluten-free, vegan and contains high levels of nutrients, vitamins A, C and K, plus minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. Made by grinding whole dried spinach leaves, the finely textured powder has a rich green color and is incredibly versatile for both food and industrial applications. As well as being a good source of protein, it has similar applications to barley powder and is also suitable for use in yeast breads, wraps, quick breads, pasta, soups, drinks, vitamins, baby food and dips.
Spinach or barley powder make perfect additions to smoothies, juices and health drinks too. Readily incorporated into most mixtures, they can be used to add a strong kick of color and nutrients to a variety of products. Both powders are ideally suited to pre-mixes for juices as they can be easily mixed with other ingredients to make a super-charged health drink.
Ashby explains further: “We are delighted to introduce our 100 percent pure barley and spinach powders to our range. They offer a great way to add clean label nutrients and color to food and drink items and also allow food processors to have simple, consumer-friendly declarations on their products. In addition to spinach powder, we also supply cuttlefish ink in powder form for creating a natural black color in products such as pasta, sauces and meals, but with none of the mess the liquid form creates.”
“We already offer a range of other vegetable powders including onion, garlic, beetroot and carrot,” he adds.
The company has been supplying household name foodservice and food manufacturing companies for over 20 years with its range of products. It supplies companies across the UK with a diverse selection of ambient, chilled and frozen ingredients unrivaled by other suppliers.
By Elizabeth Green
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