World Health Organisation

Technology betters flour products

Apart from the traditional whole-meal flour, which contains all parts of the grains’ components, most processed flours are made from the endosperm after the bran and germ are removed.

But flour millers, both milling wheat and maize, make up for the loss by enriching the product with various nutrients for wholesome meal.

The industry has seen millers use improved technologies to churn out different types of flour that are as nutritive as they are palatable.

Therefore, food fortification or enrichment, which is the process of adding micronutrients such as the essential trace elements and vitamins to a product, has emerged as a novel way to address the deficiencies, which flour millers are also adopting.

Food enzymes, emulsified nutrients, and fortifications, among others, are the leading ways in which the flour processing establishments come up with a product that is as hearty as it is rich in wholesomeness.

The flour, in these case, is enhanced with either one or a combination of minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron, calcium, amylase, niacin, folate, thiamin, iron, riboflavin, and vitamins A, B12 and D, among others, all which have different functions in the body.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), zinc is required for optimal child health and physical growth, and normal pregnancy outcomes in women, hence it is important in diets, necessitating its’ being used in enriching flour.

Fortifying the flour with iron helps in addressing challenges in the body, likely to be caused by anaemia. It similarly helps in reducing instances of child mortality and stunted growth.

This flour is also an ideal source of essential nutrients that may otherwise be lacking in a diet.

The process further provides fibre, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, among others, in addition to the trace minerals that are naturally present in the endosperm grains milled to produce the flour, according to experts.

Fortifying flour with minerals and vitamins, is thus the most ideal and inexpensive way ensure a sufficient supply of micronutrients in the body.

The Kenyan wheat flour market is expected to reach hit $1.15 billion by 2020, accounting for 47.2 per cent of the market by that year.

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