Rolled out to the market immediately, the new starch, MGPI FiberStar 80 ST, will be produced by Penford using processes licensed to MGPI.
"Our arrangement with Penford will help us to further address increased market demand by extending our resistant starch line with the addition of this new potato-based variety," said Mike Trautschold, executive vice president of marketing and sales.
Ingredients companies looking to up margins are increasingly heading into the value-added ingredients domain and away from commodity ingredients. MGP is no exception, reporting in February this year that opportunities for growth have come from the burgeoning fad for the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet - currently with over 30 million American followers - that has upped demand for its speciality wheat protein isolates - Arise - and FiberStar 70.
"Demand for this ingredient [FiberStar 70], which enhances fiber content and enables food manufacturers to lower the carbohydrate levels of their products, has been and continues to be unprecedented," said Trautschold.
Sales of the Arise line have more than tripled compared to a year ago, and sales of the new FiberStar 70 resistant wheat starch, launched onto the market in 2003, are already showing strong interest. In fact, feeding this burgeoning interest the company recently announced plans to pour millions of dollars into improving resistant starch capacity at its Atchison, Kansas, and Pekin, Illinois plants.
Under terms of the agreement with Penford, MGPI has signed to contract for a minimum of $6.2 million of the new potato-based resistant starch, MGPI FiberStar 80 ST.
According to the Kansas-based firm, the product delivers a minimum 80 per cent of total dietary fiber. Like FiberStar 70, its water-holding capacity is significantly lower than fiber sources like wheat bran, said the firm.
"In addition, both of these resistant starches possess clean flavor, are extremely white in color, and impart a smooth, creamy texture in contrast to many traditional fibers," added MGPI.
Depending on their level of inclusion in food formulations, the US firm said that each product can provide finished product claims such as "Good Source of Fiber," or "High Source of Fiber."
In February this year MGP Ingredients reported a net profit for the quarter ended 13 December of $1.8 million, up from $48,000 the year before when results were knocked by a distillery explosion, but down on the first quarter for 2004.