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Asia Pacific: Malaysian companies to create low GI flatbread

Holista CollTech and Bursa Malaysia-listed Kawan Food Berhad (Kawan Food) will produce healthy Asian flatbreads, including roti canai, roti and chappati, for local and international markets.

Holista, which is listed in Australia and headquartered in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, will use its proprietary mix of ingredients trademarked as GI Lite to develop a range of low-glycemic index (low-GI) Indian flatbreads with Kawan Food – Malaysia’s largest manufacturer and leading exporter of frozen Asian delicacies worldwide.

GI Lite added to Kawan Food range of products is expected to add up to AU$4 million (US$2.84 million) to Holista’s top line this year.

The low-GI roti canai will be sold in Malaysia by April 2019, while sales to US are expected to commence in June 2019.

GI Lite has had a favorable sensory testing by Kawan Food, and the company is starting low GI testing.

The GI indicates the rate at which foods containing carbohydrates raise human blood sugar levels, with a lower score indicating healthier food.

A diet high in carbohydrates is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, poor energy levels and food cravings.

Based on Holista’s previous laboratory trials, the companies expect to produce roti canai with a GI range.

The company is targeting the same results it achieves with flatbread, levels being about 40% lower than the current global average reading of 70 for flatbreads.

The low-GI roti canai will also have lower fat content.

Research and product trials are planned to begin this month.

The testing will be done in in the University of Sydney as per international standards for Glycemic Index.

Roti canai, a breakfast favorite and staple food in Malaysia, contains significant amounts of calories and fats, exacerbating the existing problem of obesity in the country.

According to the Economic Intelligence Unit, Malaysia is Asia’s most obese nation with a 13.3% obesity rate.

Holista’s clean-label (all-natural) formula comprises a blend of okra, barley, lentils and fenugreek. When mixed with white flour, it lowers the GI reading of the final product without compromising taste or texture.