Why white wheat for whole grain?

11 November, 2020

When it comes to whole grain products, Australian white wheat has clear advantages over the red wheat grown by our major competitors.

But what does this mean exactly, and why is it important?

Different strokes for different coats

It comes down to the outer layer of the wheat grain, known as the bran (also known as the seed coat).

Bran (seed coat)
This is the outer skin of the grain and contains lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre.

Germ
The germ is the embryo inside the grain which would sprout (germinate) into a new plant if given the chance. It also contains lots of nutritional benefits.

Endosperm
The endosperm is the “white” part of the grain and makes up most of the grain. It contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Most wheat grown around the world has a dark red bran. Red wheat bran gives bread a dark colour and a bitter flavour – generally not a good thing in Asian markets.

But Australian wheat is different. Our wheat grains have a much brighter, “white” seed coat, with the added benefit of not having that bitterness issue.

Asian whole grain foods: a growing market

For most products, such as white bread and noodles, the difference between red and white wheat doesn’t matter as much. This is because the bran and the germ are separated out at the flour mill, leaving the starchy white middle part to make flour.

But for whole grain products – a fast-growing market in Asia – Australian white wheat has a big advantage.

By 2030, whole grain products could be 10% of the bread market in Asia, a potential 1mmt market worth $360m in total.

Asian millers and food manufacturers are increasingly interested in finding ways to incorporate whole grain flour into traditional Asian food products.

This is a great opportunity for Australian growers. AEGIC is conducting research into the use of whole grain flour in Asian products.

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