ATCHISON, Kan., August 6, 2013—Optein™, the newest addition to MGP’s portfolio of value-added nutritional food ingredients, made its debut at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago July 14-16. Introduced during a news conference and then showcased at the company’s booth through the duration of the expo, this new lightly hydrolyzed wheat protein attracted considerable attention from representatives of food and beverage manufacturing companies around the world.
Formulated in nutritional bars and mocha-flavored protein shakes that attendees were able to sample, Optein provides an ideal alternative to soy and whey proteins used in products that aid in muscle recovery after exercise. Other select ingredients featured by the company at the event included Fibersym® RW and FiberRite® RW resistant starches, Midsol™ modified wheat starch, Arise® wheat protein isolate and TruTex® textured wheat protein.
“The introduction of Optein shows MGP’s ongoing commitment to innovating ingredients for the health and wellness segment, and this year’s IFT Expo provided the perfect venue to do just that,” said Mike Lasater, vice president of ingredients sales and marketing. “Because there is growing demand for exercise recovery aids, it is important to expand MGP’s family of high quality ingredients that deliver nutritional benefits while also enhancing the taste and textural qualities of foods and beverages,” he added.
According to Ody Maningat, Ph.D., MGP’s vice president of applications technology and technical services, “among the more unique attributes of Optein compared to soy and whey protein are its non-bitter flavor profile and higher glutamine content.” He described the latter as being reported to be effective in the prevention of fatigue and over-training syndrome among active athletes, rapid recovery of critically-ill patients, and replenishment of the body’s glycogen. Other special features and qualities include Optein’s neutral pH content, its ability to increase protein levels in finished products and the fact that it is easily soluble in water and other liquids.
Recommended applications for Optein include nutritional and protein drink powder mixes, sports beverages, smoothies, and protein, energy and meal replacement bars. Additionally, it can be used in bakery products, as well a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
In bakery applications, Optein reduces mixing time and increases extensibility, which makes it suitable as a replacement for L-cysteine. While L-cysteine has been an effective ingredient in bakery products, its chemical-sounding name, plus its non-plant based origins, makes it unappealing in various instances. For consumers who adhere to strict vegetarian diets, Optein offers a logical solution for replacing whey protein, which is derived from animal milk.
A number of studies to test Optein’s performance and substantiate its benefits were arranged by Dr. Maningat and conducted in collaboration with Mark Haub, Ph.D., associate professor and interim head of the department of human nutrition at Kansas State University, Manhattan.
Based on findings, Optein has more than twice the glutamine content of soy and whey. Results also demonstrate that Optein performs as well as soy and whey proteins in regard to easing muscle soreness after exercise. Additionally, tests showed that, after drinking a protein beverage prior to exercising, the blood glucose levels of participants remained in the normal and safe range during and after exercise for each the three different proteins. Likewise, the level of blood lactate, an indicator of exercise stress, was not affected by the drinks containing Optein, nor those made with soy and whey.
The above results were presented by Drs. Maningat and Haub during the IFT news conference, which was held on the opening day of the Expo. Materials illustrating the results and containing additional information regarding Optein’s various applications and functional, as well as nutritional, benefits was widely distributed during the three-day event.
“We are very excited to add Optein to our toolbox of food and beverage ingredients that deliver increased nutritional value without compromising taste,” Lasater said. A growing number of today’s consumers want products that are healthier and also taste great, and MGP is fortunate to be in a position to help our customer partners meet these demands by consistently adding more goodness to food.”
MGP processes grain-based starches and proteins into nutritional and highly functional ingredients for the branded consumer packaged goods industry. The company is also a leading independent supplier of premium spirits, offering flavor innovations and custom distillery blends to the beverage alcohol industry, as well as high quality food grade industrial alcohol for a wide range of product applications. The company is headquartered in Atchison, Kansas, where a variety of food ingredients and distilled alcohol products are manufactured. Distilled spirits are also produced at company facilities in the adjoined towns of Lawrenceburg and Greendale, Indiana.