Innovation plays an important role in Food Industry as it gives a unique flavour to the company’s image and impetus to the thought process which keeps adrenaline running in the company. If innovation is in the DNA of the company’s culture then they always remain ahead of their competitors and maintain their leadership position. World-class food companies keep a substantial budget for innovation and new product development (NPD). NPD plays a crucial role in keeping the company abreast by developing new innovative products which are either based on the market’s dynamics or customers’ feedbacks and suggestions.

Though Gluten Free (GF) Foods are a niche market but globally it is quite an important market and it is expected to be about 8 billion USD dollar market in 2024. Though the necessity of gluten free food arose due to the discovery of an autoimmune disorder which is called celiac disease and to avoid intake of food loaded with gluten proteins which come from wheat, barley and rye, need-based innovation becomes the necessity.

When this disease was discovered, existing food became poison for the gluten intolerant and coeliac patients and most of the innovation came from mothers whose kids had been diagnosed with this problem. As it is said that necessity is the mother of invention so most gluten free products which were created and came into the market, came from the cradle of love and emotions of motherly love. God always create a solution to any problem which has arisen in the world.

Gluten in Wheat as Gliadin, Hordein in barley and Secalin in Rye react to the intestines of Coeliac patients and damage the villi because of which intestines fail to absorb the nutrients from the food hence all the problems like malnutrition, stunted growth, low haemoglobin, weak bones etc crop up making life difficult for such people.

Gluten is the protein that gives elasticity, helps in making puffed chapati, rumali roti, naan hence innovation becomes very restrictive with gluten moving out but it opens more doors of using alternative gluten free grains, millets and legumes. Grains like Corn, Quinoa etc, millets like Sorghum, Pearl millets etc and legumes like Bengal grams, black grams etc not only add a different flavour to taste but also make food more nutritious as these alternate grains are rich in proteins, fibres, low in carbohydrates.

Innovation becomes all the more interesting when one primary colour from the pellet has been taken away but in turn, nature gives you a full rainbow of so many millets, grains, legumes to experiment with. Smart chef or foodpreneurs who are forthcoming in experimentation, not only end up making GF food tasting closer to normal but also make them more nutritious and healthy. The cravings of consumers are enormous and they want all type of products and such an appetite gives more leads to innovations. India is so rich in variety of millets and legumes which makes innovation more interesting and captivating.

Freehand to NPD with a substantial budget and lanced with kitchen equipments, can give a variety of a gluten free choices. If brief to NPD head is clear that innovation has to based on good nutrition and good taste then surely lot many gf products can be rolled out to the satisfaction of consumers. A food lab in any good food company can be the cradle of continuous innovations which not only will increase your market share but also will make you a market leader.

“Innovate or Stagnate is our motto in Wheafree and we believe Innovation resides where the risk is taken not necessarily where the idea is generated”

Wheafree has imbibed and embedded innovation in its DNA for the road to success and it has been churning out products and recipes successfully and we see contended customer with a smile.

About the author:

H.P.S.Lamba (Founder, Managing Director) - Chierz Foods and Beverages Pvt. Ltd.

HPS Lamba is the founder and Managing Director of two famous Gluten Free Brands – Wheafree and Everhealth. Apart of holding various positions at industrial associations, he is Industry Expert at Incubation Committee and Board of Studies at Thapar University.