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Process May Enhance Rice Cake FlavorBy Marcia Wood
May 20, 1997
When flavors such as cheese are added to rice cakes, the taste sometimes doesn't reach all the puffed rice grains.
Now, USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists and a northern California maker of organic rice products are collaborating to boost the taste-appeal of flavored, fat-free rice cakes.
If successful, this could win new fans for this healthful, increasingly popular snack. Supermarket sales of rice cakes burgeoned from $157 million in 1992 to nearly $249 million in 1995.
The new project aims to come up with an innovative process for evenly spreading the added flavors. The work is being done under a new CRADA--cooperative research and development agreement--between ARS scientists and collaborators at Wehah Farm, Inc., Richvale, Calif. Wehah makes the Lundberg Family Farms line of rice products.
In one of todays widely used processes, cheese or other flavor is simply coated onto the outside of the rice cake. That works well for slim, mini-size rice cakes. But it doesn't always provide uniformly rich flavor in the thicker, standard-size product.
Research chemist William J. Orts heads the project at ARS Western Regional Research Center, Albany, Calif.