A versatile plant-based ingredient that suits a wide range of diets

Dietitian Leena Putkonen delves into the secrets of a healthy gut and highlights the importance of food innovations like BlackGrain that cater for a broader customer base, including health-related diets such as gluten-free, legume-free, and low FODMAP.

BlackGrain from Yellow Fields™ is a versatile new rapeseed powder ingredient that is suitable for a wide range of free-from and plant-based diets. According to Finnish registered dietitian Leena Putkonen, there is a considerable market for food innovations of this kind that are both environmentally friendly and compatible with different dietary demands.

Food experts are a valuable source of grassroots knowledge for the food industry

Putkonen points out that the food industry has a lot to gain by consulting food experts on a grassroots level. Dietitians have plenty of untapped concrete knowledge on what food-related questions people puzzle over and what kind of food solutions they are missing in their everyday lives.

Hands-on experience produces know-how that goes deeper than what purchase behaviour data can tell us about consumers’ wants and needs, Putkonen says.

“Quantitative data shows what people are buying. This alone brings no wisdom whatsoever on consumers’ wellbeing or what they would actually like to buy.”

This is where food experts like Putkonen come into the picture: their core competence is what fuels modern food innovation.

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Scientific research is only beginning to understand the digestive system’s relationship to the brain

Putkonen specialises in gut health, ethical and ecological food choices, and healthy eating skills. The digestive system plays an enormous part in maintaining a healthy body: intestines manage our nutrition and gut microbiota run an important immune system of their own.

According to Putkonen, scientific research is only beginning to understand the extent of the gut’s function and its relationship to the brain. Food choices and eating skills could make a big difference in treating a myriad of health issues, including neurological conditions like memory loss, anxiety, or schizophrenia.

The challenge: how to meet consumer demands with a gut-friendly, low FODMAP ingredient?

A low FODMAP diet is one way to tackle the symptoms of a sensitive gut. FODMAPs or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols are carbohydrates that can cause digestive discomfort. In Putkonen’s experience:

“The typical patient suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive problems is a conscious consumer that is keen to make food choices that support their personal health and their values.”

This makes for a potentially challenging combination: options are narrowed down to a plant-based raw material with a sustainable origin but without gluten, without legumes and low in FODMAPs overall.

Learn about how to answer the hottest consumer trends with food innovation.

Nordic rapeseed powder ingredient BlackGrain matches numerous dietary demands

Avena’s new plant-based ingredient BlackGrain from Yellow Fields™ fits this description: it is made from responsibly farmed Nordic rapeseed and complies with an astonishing list of dietary claims. BlackGrain is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, legume-free, and low in FODMAPs.

“It’s invigorating to see a familiar raw material being utilised in a smart, new way,” Putkonen says with a smile. “This is the power of food innovation: using traditional agricultural produce sustainably and inventively without compromising the health of a broad customer base, including those that follow specialised diets.”

Read more about Nordic rapeseed as a raw material for food innovation.