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Noodles made from trees introduced in Japan

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Noodles made from trees introduced in Japan

Noodles made from trees introduced in Japan
December 15
11:43 2015

A Japanese textiles company has extended the cloth-making technology by which it creates fibre from wood pulp, and developed a new type of noodle flour made from trees.

Okimenshi Co already produces a fibre from tree pulp called rayon, and will use a similar manufacturing process to create a healthier alternative to wheat noodles. The process combines the pulp made from a tree’s indigestible cellulose with the yam-like konjac plant to produce a fibre-rich flour branded Cell-Eat.

The flour can be used by food manufacturers to create a gluten-free, fat-free and almost carbohydrate-free noodle, ramen or dumpling dish that compares favourably against wheat-based offerings: for instance, each kilogram of Cell-Eat noodle delivers just 60 calories, compared to more than 3,500, Okimenshi said.

The Osaka-based company has spotted a niche within Japan’s health food market and is now seeking to capitalise on the ¥1.2 trillion ($9.82bn) industry.

“We’re entering the food business,” Takashi Asami, manager of Omikenshi’s strategic material development department, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “Demand for diet food is strong and looks promising.”

The company has claimed that using wood pulp improves the texture and previously bitter flavour associated with noodles derived from konjac, which is native to East Asian countries including China, Indonesia and Japan.

Okimenshi will invest the equivalent of almost $8.2m in a production facility for Cell-Eat at its existing textile plant in Kakogawa, 60km west of the city of Osaka. The site will initially be capable of producing 30 tons of Cell-Eat every month – although this could be upscaled to 90 tons depending on its popularity.

The firm is currently “in talks with food companies to develop and market products using Cell-Eat,” Bloomberg reported.

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