Quality Ingredients for Gluten-Free, GMO-Free, Grain-Free, Clean Label or Traditional Applications

News Releases

AKFP Introduces New Gluten-free Superfine Rice Flours

American Key Food Products (AKFP) introduces to the American market a new brand of rice flours especially designed for excellent gluten-free baking. Mel Festejo, COO of AKFP, announced the exclusive distributorship agreement with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. for superfine white and brown rice flours manufactured by Kumamoto Flour Milling Company in Japan…. read more

White Paper: Next-Gen Rice Flours Deliver Gluten-Free Baking Excellence

Proprietary Japanese rice milling process gives product differentiation… read more

White Paper: Premium Cassava Flour—A New Generation GMO-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Extrusion Ingredient

The last few years have seen the rise of gluten-free, non-GMO and grain-free products for human and petfood consumption. The better-for-you movement has taken root in the consumer food industry. With the humanization of petfoods products, this has also spurred development of premium petfood that fall within this specialty category. There are few ingredients in the toolbox of formulators that will fit these specifications and provide both the functionality and versatility for innovation within this category. One of them is the proprietary flour exclusively available from American Key Food Products (AKFP): premium cassava flour… read more

Special Report: Clean Label & Non-GMO, The Clean Scene

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery
Author: Melissa Kvidahl, BNP Media

Unlike many food claims, “clean label” is a somewhat cryptic term that suffers from no real regulatory definition. Indeed, each food manufacturer adheres to its own unique clean-label policy because consumers have different concerns propelling them to find what they define as a clean label on the shelf.

Because of this lack of regulation, clean label has a definition that is ever-evolving to meet consumer demands as they change in real time. Take allergens, for instance. Once relegated to specialty shops, gluten-free products are now mainstream and, as such, many shoppers now consider allergen-free as one indicator of a clean label.

“The list of allergens continues to get longer, and consumers are taking a more cautious look at labels to check out ingredients in their food,” says Mel Festejo, Chief Operating Officer, American Key Food Products, Closter, NJ. “As consumers pay greater attention to ingredients lists, food manufacturers are turning to labels and ingredients as a new area for differentiation—shorter ingredients lists and simple ingredients.”

American Key Food Products distributes non-GMO ingredients, with its starches and flours imported from countries where there is either a set of prevailing regulatory laws or policies governing the use of non-GMO ingredients, or the ingredients are derived from inherently non- GMO crops.

Article: Clean Label Starches Get Tougher

Food Business News
Author: Jeff Gelski, Sosland Publishing

Bring on the heat. Employ the homogenization. New clean label starches have been shown to withstand harsher processing conditions, thus more closely resembling the functionality of modified starches.

American Key Food Products, Closter, N.J., offers superior potato starch that is manufactured by the Emsland Group in Germany. The Emsland Group manufactures native potato starch and a number of clean label (i.e., non-chemically modified) potato- and pea-based starches that have improved functionality/performance characteristics over native potato or pea starch, said Mel Festejo, Chief Operating Officer of American Key Food Products.

“The processing technologies used allow these starches to attain these superior properties and still qualify as clean label products,” he said. “In a number of food applications, these starches can replace modified starches without losing the required functionalities, such as heat/pH/shear stability.”

Emsland’s potato starches are manufactured from raw potatoes that were bred for their high starch yields and are certified non-GMO.

“Since the starch is processed from raw, non-GMO. starch potatoes, it has a higher viscosity than starch made from most North American potatoes or from culled potatoes and makes it a viable ingredient in more applications,” Mr. Festejo said.

The native potato starch is used as a universal binder and thickener, he said. It is used in soups, sauces and gravies, extruded snacks, and baked goods. It is one of the most commonly used ingredients in gluten-free blends/mixes.

American Key Food Products also launched clean label cassava flour in 2013 at the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas.

“Our premium cassava flour has been successfully used by customers in gluten-free baking mixes and finished goods, extruded snacks and pet food,” Mr. Festejo said. “Some of our gluten-free baking customers were so impressed with the flour that they have actually incorporated cassava flour throughout their whole gluten-free product portfolio.”

AKFP Introduces Clean Label at IBIE

At the 2013 IBIE Expo, American Key Food Products is introducing two new cassava, or tapioca-based, gluten- free, clean label ingredients which improve the quality of a variety of baked goods… read more

Article: The Food Safety Fight

Extra! Extra!
Author: Shari Barbanel, Nutrition Industry Executive

Mel Festejo, Chief Operating Officer at American Key Food Products pointed out that many companies are aligning standards adopted by the Global Food Safety Initiative, which looks at food safety throughout the supply chain.

Special Report: Going Gluten-Free

Food Business News
Author: Donna Berry, Sosland Publishing

“We offer a premium cassava flour,” said Carter Foss, technical sales director, American Key Food Products, Closter, N.J. “It has a bland-to-neutral flavor profile. When used in baking, it functions similar to cake flour in that it forms a thick batter rather than a dough.

“Coconut flour has emerged as a flavorful gluten-free flour option. It is high in fiber, low in digestible carbohydrates and a decent source of protein. It also has excellent water-absorption properties, which helps keep baked goods moist,” says Mr. Foss.

Article: Beyond Thickening and Texturizing

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery
Author: Romy Schafer, BNP Publishing

Mel Festejo, Chief Operating Officer at American Key Food Products (AKFP), Closter, N.J., agrees that gluten-free products remain a top consumer demand. “The gluten-free trend has surprised most industry observers by remaining strong, showing resilient growth in a number of areas,” he says. “Even food manufacturers not known for any specially formulated, gluten-free products have made it a standard practice to label their inherently gluten-free products (potato chips, for instance) as gluten-free.”

During the past two years, AKFP introduced the Empure line of potato- and pea-based, clean-label, allergen-free starches, developed by Emsland Group in Germany. “Since potatoes are gluten-free, and Emsland uses only nongenetically modified potatoes compliant with [European Union] standards, these clean-label starches are intended for food products that need to be any or all of these: Clean-label; non-GMO; and gluten-free,” Festejo explains.

Empure potato and pea starches come in cook-up and pre-gelatinized versions and can be used as thickeners and texturizers in fruit-filling applications, sauces, gravies and soups. AKFP is also developing new iterations of its gluten-free cassava flour, in which the properties of the tapioca starch content will be tailored for specific baking or extruded applications.

AKFP plans to introduce a new line of potato flakes to the U.S. market this year. “Clean-label versions of these specially manufactured potato derivatives are ideal for the production of healthy baked snacks and other extruded products that are low in reducing sugars, asparagine and glycoalkaloids,” Festejo explains.

Because consumer trends, raw material availability, costs and a host of other yet-unknown factors will continue to impact the food industry, bakers, snack producers and their ingredients suppliers will continue to work together to develop new gums and starches.

“The current clean-label starches, which notch higher than native starches in performance criteria, still cannot match the functionalities of traditional chemically-modified starches,” says Festejo. “Further research into better clean-label starches will definitely be on the plate of many starch manufacturers.”

In addition, Emsland Group recently developed a flour from waxy winter barley to leverage its high beta glucan content together with its fat-binding and emulsifying properties and its freeze-thaw stability. “As it has been the expedient option in gluten-free baking where different flours and starches are blended for more complex applications such as bread-making, there could be similar opportunities to develop blends of different starches in other applications,” he adds.

Article: Gluten-Free Innovation: Consumer demand has spurred the development of ingredient technologies to grow the market

Author: Donna Berry, Sosland Publishing

Tubers and pulses (dry beans, dry peas, lentils, etc.) may be milled into flours and used just like white flour. “We offer a premium cassava flour,” said Carter Foss, Technical Sales Director, American Key Food Products, Closter, N.J. “It has a bland-to-neutral flavor profile. When used in baking, it functions similarly to cake flour in that it forms a thick batter rather than a dough.”

Article: Explore a New World: Variety Flours

Baking & Snack
Author: Donna Berry, Sosland Publishing

Tapioca, another popular ingredient for making ¬gluten-free baked foods, is extracted from cassava roots. One company explored this application further. “We offer a premium cassava flour,” said Carter Foss, Technical Sales Director, American Key Food Products, Closter, NJ. “For ¬gluten-free baking, it is a better alternative to tapioca starch, the pure starch derivative from cassava roots. This ingredient is a bona fide flour.”

Cassava flour is composed of tapioca starch, some of which is gelatinized, and about 7% dietary fiber. “This composition provides good crumb structure, excellent crust and moistness in baked products,” Mr. Foss said. Premium cassava flour is similar to conventional white flour in terms of particle size distribution and long shelf life, and is predominantly carbohydrate in composition, unlike white flour that also contains protein.

“This flour have a bland to neutral flavor profile,” Mr. Foss said. “When used in baking, it functions similarly to cake flour, forming a thick batter rather than a dough. It needs to be complemented by other flours, starches, gums or other baking aids to achieve desired quality in bread-type applications.”

Coconut flour has emerged as a flavorful option for gluten-free baking because of its high fiber and low digestible carbohydrates. It also is a source of protein.

“Coconut flour has excellent water-absorption properties, which helps keep baked goods moist,” Mr. Foss said. “It has a strong coconut flavor and aroma profile. Some bakers are able to formulate recipes with coconut flour as the dominant flour. Most, however, will blend it with other flours and starches”

Article: Gluten-Free In Transition

Author: Keith Nunes, Sosland Publishing

Mel Festejo, Chief Operating Officer for American Key Food Products, Closter, N.J., said three years ago the issue wasn’t quality — it was availability.

“Since then, more gluten-free businesses have emerged in the last five years, most of which are in the baking segment,” he said. “The entry of co-packers into certified gluten-free operations has given momentum to this growth. This growth meant that consumers have more abundant choices for a wide variety of gluten-free products. Quality has become the top priority. Consumers have come to expect truly good products, not just tolerable ones.”

From a product perspective, Mr. Festejo said gluten-free bread and bread mixes are still the most sought after gluten-free product.

“Given that this is the most difficult gluten-free application, only a small number of companies dominate this segment,” he said. “As formulators get exposed to more ingredients and acquire a better understanding of their functionalities, growth could even accelerate further.

“Savory snacks are another fast-growing segment, mainly because there are already plenty of successful brands of conventional gluten-free snack products. Capitalizing on the increased consumer awareness for gluten-free products for health considerations, the mainstream brands have embraced the gluten-free labeling of their products. They have also started to incorporate non-traditional, natural ingredients to further enhance the healthy image of their products.”

Mr. Festejo noted that a common misperception among product formulators is that starches and flours from the same source are the same and that they have the same characteristics and functionalities.

“This misperception is often what prevents some companies from taking the quality of their products up a notch since they fail to appreciate the distinctions and, consequently, what functional benefits, say, a flour may provide versus the starch,” he said. “This is especially true with flours and starches from plants that are not grown in the U.S.”

Article: Ingredient Innovations: In Cheerios Wake, Sourcing Non-GMO Starch

Food Business News
Author Jeff Gelski, Sosland Publishing

American Key Food Products, Closter, N.J., offers non-bioengineered potato starch. According to the company, potato starches may act as thickening agents in dry-mix soups and sauces, as fat replacers in meat products, and as binding agents in baked foods such as cake mixes, dough, fillings and biscuits.

Food Product Design

Food Product Design

“Medium flours, such as sorghum or brown rice, and heavy flours, such as quinoa, millet or a nut meal, result in a dense product, often darker in color, and with less rise, and that’s where tapioca starch or potato starch would be added to provide some lightness,” say Carter Foss, Technical Sales Director, American Key Food Products. “Flours and starches from such grains or cereals also typically impart flavor characteristics inherent to them and may oftentimes necessitate masking these flavors.”

Premium cassava flour adds nutrients as well as texture improvement. It has 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, and its bland taste makes it suitable for use in large proportions in a variety of applications. “Traditional gluten-free baked goods are notorious for their short shelf life and tendency to dry out quickly. Premium cassava flour is a shelf-life extender and helps retain moisture in cookies,” says Foss. As a result, use of cassava flour allows for gums to be reduced.

This cassava flour functions similarly to cake flour. Because cassava flour absorbs more water than wheat flour, Foss recommends starting with 15% to 25% less flour. “If someone is looking for a particular texture, such as a shortcrust cookie, then they would want to add another starch, such as potato and/or tapioca or rice flour,” he says.

Food Processing

Food Processing

Suchero Coconut Palm Sugar, which can be used in specialty baked goods, energy bars and beverages and also as a tabletop sweetener, is an all-natural, low-glycemic index sugar. The sugar content is primarily sucrose (78-89 %) and is certified organic, GMO-free, kosher and halal, and contains 16 amino acids as well as many vitamins and minerals. It is available in a variety of bulk containers, and can also be packed in individual consumer sachets in boxes of 20, 80, or 100 units.

Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook

American Key Food Products now offers Suchero coconut palm sugar, a low-glycemic sugar with multiple applications. At a glycemic index of 35, Suchero classifies as a low-glycemic sugar, giving it potential for use in products marketed to diabetics. The certified organic sugar is light brown in color, mildly nutty in taste, and available for use in baked goods, energy bars, beverages, and tabletop sweeteners. The company says its non-chemical processing retains coconut palm sugar’s vitamins, minerals, and 16 amino acids.

Food Technology

Food Technology

Coconut palm sugar, Suchero brand, is a low-glycemic-index sugar, which can be used in baked goods, energy bars, and beverages, and as a tabletop sweetener. The organic, all-natural product was introduced to the North American market by American Key Food Products.

“Because it’s made from the sap of the coconut palm, it has an unusually high level of nutrients, which are retained through gentle, non-chemical processing,” explains Mel Festejo, the company’s COO. “It has an appealing light brown color and mild, nutty, sweet taste.”

Prepared Foods

Prepared Foods

Premium Cassava Flour differs from indigenous cassava flours, and starch, as the drying technique results in a specific range of desired starch gelatinization levels and a yield of 7% dietary fiber content. Similar to other cassava flours and tapioca starch, it retains more than 80% cassava-derived (tapioca) starch in the flour.

According to Carter Foss, Technical Sales Director, American Key Food Products, the amount derived from, and the quality of, starch from cassava contributes to its functionality in gluten-free applications. This is due to partial gelatinization of starch, which allows for improved water-absorption, resulting in products that are moister and that have better shelf life and texture. Premium Cassave Flour provides structure and lightness in cakes and bread-type products; maintains moistness; and can retard staling.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery

“The baking and snack industries have begun to address the requirements for non-allergenic and gluten-free ingredients, segments that have been steadily growing over the past few years,” says Mel Festejo, COO of American Key Food Products. “The starch industry has responded and developed not only clean-label starches, but clean-label application formulas to meet the functionality requirements in the bakery and snack food world.

“American Key Food Products, for instance, offers a portfolio of clean-label, non-GMO, non-allergenic and gluten-free products aimed at a number of specialty segments. At the core of this portfolio are potato and tapioca clean-label starches from the Emsland Group. Emsland’s Empure line includes potato- and pea-based, cook-up and instant starches that exhibit functionalities attributed to modified starches and are well-suited for clean-label products. Its Emfix emulsifying starches, meanwhile, can be used to replace egg ingredients in a variety of bakery applications.”

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery

Mel Festejo, COO of American Key Food Products, distributor of native potato starch, modified food, tapioca, corn, sago and rice starches, says growing demand for clean labels is also spurring the development and use of new starches. “Starch manufacturers have acknowledged the growing need for clean-label ingredients and put out starches with enhanced functionalities without chemical modifications,” he says. “Where chemically-modified starches were the go-to starch ingredients for more challenging applications, a new breed of physically-modified starches is being developed and rolled into the market.

“Starches from non-traditional raw materials, whether produced in pure starch form or as starch-rich flours, are finding their way into the baking and snack industries. Thus, starches and flours from such varied sources as exotic grains, cassava roots, waxy rice, sago, yellow peas and arrowroot are getting a serious second look.”

Coconut Palm Sugar Release

AKFP Introduces Organic, Low Glycemic Index Coconut Sugar to North America… read more

Clean-Label Starches Release

AKFP Offers Enhanced-Performance Clean-Label Starches To North American Market… read more

Cassava Flour Release

American Key Food Products announced the application for a patent for its gluten-free King Lion Premium Cassava Flour and the proprietary manufacturing process they developed… read more

Clean Label Pet Foods Release

Closter, NJ—Thursday, September 8, 2011. To enable pet food manufacturers to meet today’s consumer desire for “clean label” pet foods, American Key Food Products offers potato, tapioca… read more

Clean Label Ingredients Release

May 2011. American Key Food Products has expanded its line of natural, “clean label” ingredients distributed by the company. In addition to its extensive list of native starches and fibers… read more

Tapioca Pearls Granules Release

Tuesday, October 26, 2010. American Key Food Products offers two tapioca-based ingredients, tapioca pearls and granulated tapioca, for thickening and texturizing… read more

Pea Starch Release

Closter, NJ, Tuesday, June 18, 2010. American Key Food Products now offers native pea starch, a clean label alternative to modified starches. Its high amylose content (35%) gives this versatile ingredient… read more

Cassava Flour

Closter, NJ, Tuesday, February 9, 2010. American Key Food Products has announced the development of a unique natural cassava flour, an innovative substitute for wheat flour… read more

Carter Foss Release

Carter Foss has joined American Key Food Products as Technical Sales Director. AKFP distributes a wide range of starches, flours, nuts, seeds, spices and other ingredients… read more

Pea Fiber Release

Closter, NJ, August 12, 2010. American Key Food Products offers pea fiber for use in bread, pasta, snacks, nutritional supplements, meal replacements and other products in which a high fiber content is an advantage…. read more