Home Ingredient Corbion helps bridge folic acid gap in corn tortillas

Corbion helps bridge folic acid gap in corn tortillas

by Food Drinks Innovation

New solutions from the global food ingredient experts are expanding the success story of enriched grains to include corn tortillas, doing more to help lower the risk of neural tube defects in infants.

Global ingredient supplier Corbion is working with manufacturers of corn tortillas to fortify their products with folic acid, which is good news for expectant mothers and their babies at risk for neural tube defects such as spina bifida. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multiple studies have demonstrated that, along with a healthful diet, consuming folic acid before and during the first weeks of pregnancy helps lower the risk of neural tube defects.

IRI Scan Data shows that in 2023, corn tortillas and taco kits are driving nearly half of total tortilla volume in the U.S., and are growing faster than flour tortillas (2.3 percent growth). That trend, coupled with the fact that folic acid fortification of masa-based products was approved just a few years ago, means the door is wide open for manufacturers who want to respond to this market need.

“Corn tortillas present an important opportunity for our customers to deliver greater value – in this case, potentially life-changing value – to their consumers through enhanced nutrition,” said Scott Bieker, Vice President, Milling & Bakery at Corbion. “We’re putting our Nutrivan® solutions and our fortification expertise to work to help them seize that opportunity by bridging the folic acid gap.”

Flours enriched with folic acid have been a great public health success story in the United States. Since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring that all enriched grain products be fortified with folic acid in 1998, the CDC estimates that about 1,300 babies per year have been born without neural tube defects who might otherwise have been affected.

Although the FDA approved the use of folic acid to fortify corn masa flour in 2016, a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest released early this year found that only 14 percent of corn masa flour products – and no corn tortilla products – contain folic acid.

“At Corbion, we’re intent on finding ways to preserve what matters,” said Abby Ceule, Senior Business Director-Functional Systems, “and we believe that positively impacting public health is a way to preserve what matters while increasing the value of our customers’ products in consumers’ lives. This is creating a solution that really can make a difference.”

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