Innovative Ingredients: Banana Flour

Bananas have always been a great source of energy. Politicians and sports personalities alike seem to have a propensity for demonstrating their peeling techniques and then scoffing segments in a bid to obtain a power boost between tackling the next big issue. Enter banana flour as a new and exciting ingredient !

Green Bananas. Photo by foto76, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Green Bananas. Photo by foto76, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Banana flour looks set though to be one of the innovative ingredients to come from the plantain family and great store is set by its nutritional benefits. The flour is produced from unripe bananas which is not surprising if you have ever tried eating one that is still green.

In the USA, WEDO offer just the banana flour claiming it to be high in potassium and RS2 resistant starch. Resistant starches are not digestible, certainly not in the small intestine so there is a prebiotic possibility here for product developers. The flour could replace fully other flour types  or at least serve as a partial replacement. Anybody looking for an alternative to cereal based flours will have found a winning substitute. It could also act as a convenient gluten-free thickener for sauces, gravies and the like.

One business, Natural Evolution™ Foods from Walkamin In Queensland Australia is offering the product for sale for its gluten-free credentials. As well as banana flour itself, they offer the ‘Ultimate Smoothie Mix’ which is flavoured for taste and palatability.

The Smoothie mix not only blends with water to make its namesake but can be baked to form the basis of the protein bars which gives this ingredient additional versatility. The blend is composed of resistant starch, fibre, protein and natural flavourings. Three flavours are offered, vanilla, cacao and natural. The ingredients are organic having been produced from bananas grown in a pesticide and chemical free environment. There is no need for thickening agents and the dietary fibre is Phytocel™.

PepsiCo have also been assessing various plantains and unripe bananas including the skins as attested to by its patent applications. The unripe banana from their point of view offers more than just protein and starch but a range of functional ingredients from foaming agents, thickeners and various stabilisers.

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