Gluten-Free Crackers

The Challenge: Help develop gluten-free crackers that deliver that perfect textural experience that people desire from their snacks.



Tate & Lyle case study for gluten-free crackers

Wheat based crackers possess gluten that when baked helps trap air in the dough, creating layered structures that create a three dimensional, network within the cracker and a lighter, satisfying, crispy and crunchy sensation that people enjoy. When asked to remove the gluten, but retain this desired sensory experience, we undertook a sensory study with consumers, mapping the snacks category and plotting consumer preferred attributes.

This gave us a deeper understanding of what descriptors, like crispy and crunchy, really meant to the mouthfeel experience.

From here, we were able to translate consumer sensory language into textural lexicon, for example, hardness, fracturability or first bite volume. Once we had a target textural profile we then plotted this against our starch selection maps to understand the right combination of ingredients to deliver both the desired sensory attributes and work with our customer’s formulation and processing needs.


Process snapshot

  • Our sensory scientists mapped the category to understand the different consumer preference attributes.
  • The desired sensory profile was then plotted against our starch selection maps to identify the right combination of ingredients.
  • Working closely with our customer, we also factored in their wider formulation and processing needs.



The common lexicon that bridged consumer and science provided the platform to truly understand the textural attributes required and identify the right ingredient solutions that would provide the perfect gluten-free cracker.

A key ingredient in this solution was one of our products made from chickpea flour, Artesa 10, naturally gluten-free and with integral properties that enable it to develop a light, airy but strong structure when baked, it helped to create the right structural form to deliver the right sensorial experience. However, chickpea flour, like all gluten-free flours, lacks the ability to form a visco-elastic network on its own and requires a starch solution to provide some of this functionality for optimal processing and bake performance. So, our team included our XPAND’R® starch in the solution.


Ingredient snapshot

A balance between the water and oil holding capacities of the XPAND’R® starches and of ARTESA® 10 flour can create dough softness without stickiness required for good machinability and baked expansion.

    Clean and functional properties of ARTESA® 10 include:

    • Light colour
    • Clean taste
    • Small, uniform particle size
    • High functional gelling
    • Lower oil binding
    • Similar water binding to pastry flour
    • Egg replacement in vegan products

    High quality and functional properties of X-PAND’R® include:

    • Clean label
    • Crispy, chewy textures
    • Easy processing without using excessive heat or pressure due to pliable and non-sticking dough.



    As society increasingly looks to food and beverages that are in harmony with their health and wellness needs and goals, we’re building a deeper scientific understanding of how we can provide solutions that remove ingredients that many may want to avoid, but retain the product experience they desire.

    This example is just one of the many ways we’re helping our customers to retain mouthfeel through our understanding of sensory science.


    Consumer Insight

    • Growth in plant-based foods is far outpacing non-plant-based foods.1
    • Gluten-free growth has enjoyed YOY growth since 2019.2
    • Chickpea flour has a 100% positivity score on social media compared to wheat flour at 74%.3
    • US sales of products containing chickpea flours have grown exponentially (+23% CAGR).4
    • 45% of US gluten avoiders eliminate wheat/gluten as part of a healthy lifestyle.5





    1.SPINS, 52 weeks ending 12/27/20​

    2.Nielsen Sales data ending 12/04/2021 for Food & Beverages product found in Bakery, Dairy, Deli, Frozen, Grocery, Meat and Seafood Departments, ​

    3.Social Studio, social listening, 9/22/21-12/21/21, NOAM​

    4.Nielsen U.S. retail and convenience sales ending W/E 12/04/21, ​

    5.Source- * Spoonshot: Plant-based: consumer needs, trends, and categories 

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