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Pepsi will use green bananas and plantain in Costa Rican food industry
Big food industry companies like Pepsi are testing in order to increase the use of plantain and banana as a substitute for other materials containing higher proportions of gluten or sugar. They'll use and banana and plantain flour and puree in smoothies, flakes, cookies, crackers and bars among others.
According to researchers at Pepsi, plantains and bananas are high in starch and fiber, they can be used as a gelling agent, foam stabilizer, emulsifier and volume generator and especially as a substitute for gluten. It is also a product that is nutritionally richer than other ingredients such as wheat flour.
Despite these qualities, processing difficulties persist because they require to be peeled, which increases production costs. Ideally, they would like to get the product after being processed.
Implications for Costa Rica
Although the banana is one of the most important export products (ranked second in 2012 with 815 million USD) 99.4% of it is exported in fresh and the rest as puree and banana juice. These products are obtained from bananas that do not meet the standards in size and shape required by the international markets. There is, however, still room to develop new products with added value, as demanded by the food industry, which is an opportunity to diversify and add value to national agricultural exports.
85% of plantains are exported fresh and 15% as chips. There are other processed products that are exported but there could be an increase in the variety of products, like, for example, pre cooked banana or plantain flour.
Publication date: 10/2/2013
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