Rice flour has the answerWhile about 2 million tons of flour is consumed annually, Koreans only consume about 400,000 tons of processed rice products. The conventional mindset simply associating rice with steamed rice has hindered the industry from catering to the changing consumer behavior.
If rice continues to be in surplus, about 500 billion won ($435.7 million) of taxpayers’ money would be required to for storage. So it is a national task to resolve the rice surplus issue.
The Rural Development Administration has worked with companies to develop and distribute various convenient food items such as cup rice, instant rice and frozen rice. Also, it has started the rice flour business project to use rice flour just for various purposes like wheat flour. The administration is focusing research capacity on improving rice variety exclusively for flour and developing processing technology and milling equipment.
Processing rice is more difficult and complicated than processing wheat. As rice processing requires nearly three times the cost of processing wheat, companies had been reluctant to make rice products. But the Rural Development Administration developed world’s first breed exclusively for dried rice flour with circular glucose structure and got patent for “Hangaru” last year.
Food researchers and expert groups reviewed the prototypes made from the new variety, such as bread, noodles and beer, and acknowledged the possibility of replacing flour products. Now, rice will gradually change the diet of Koreans in forms that consumers like, such as ramen, noodles, pasta, bread and cookies. When rice is marketed as flour, it will completely change the table.
If 10 percent of the 2 million tons of wheat flour consumption is replaced with rice flour, the serious rice surplus could be resolved. We can hope expect three effects, keeping the rice production, increased income for farmers, and health for the people.
Administrator of the Rural Development Administration