Gluten-free pasta wins AIFST award

Monday, 25 June, 2007

A process developed by Victorian-based Roma Foods Pty Ltd to make rice and maize gluten-free pasta spirals to export to Italy has won the coveted Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Incorporated, Food Industry Innovation Award.

The award was presented today to Barry Westhorpe, sales, marketing & NPD manager, Roma Foods, and to Dr Rod Coogan, centre manager, Food Science Australia at the AIFST 40th Anniversary Convention which is being held from 24 to 27 June at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

Roma Foods, established in 1986 as a small retail outlet in Melbourne, today sells health and dietetic foods in more than 40 countries, with export accounting for 55% of its business.

The project to make healthy spiral pasta was commissioned as part of a Food Innovation Grant awarded to Roma Foods by the National Food Industry Strategy. With technical innovation developed by the Food Science Australia Processing Team, a unique process and approach to pasta making was developed.

In presenting the award to Roma Foods, the AIFST judges stated: "This is the first time that an enhanced quality and consistent gluten-free pasta product has been produced commercially."

Accepting the award, Mr Westhorpe said: "Roma Foods' vision is to develop foods that encourage and enable healthier lifestyles for everyone. I am thrilled to receive this award which recognises the significant challenges that have been overcome in the development of our spiral pasta products."

Dr Rod Coogan, Food Science Australia, said that the approach and process developed represents a quantum change from traditional pasta making.

"After significant challenges, the result of our collaboration is that Roma Foods is now able to commercially manufacture key materials for rice and maize flour that was previously imported from Thailand and produce gluten-free pasta spirals that are now being successfully exported."

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