Starches make up a significant part of the human diet. These complex carbohydrates occur naturally in plants and provide much of the energy needed to power our bodies on a daily basis. Starches are an important ingredient in many food products and are added in the food formulation to control texture. Learn more about starches and their applications below, and consider contacting Brenntag Food and Nutrition if you look for the right starch, meeting your product and process requirements.

Different types of starch

Starches are mostly identified by their source, the most common starches are:

  • Corn or maize starch
  • Wheat starch
  • Potato starch
  • Tapioca starch
  • Rice starch

Besides the different agricultural sources, starches can be differentiated into native starches, being the starch isolated from the grain or root, and the modified starches. Modification makes the starches suitable to be used in industrial food processing, with regards to heat treatments and shear. The combination of the food application, the desired texture, and the process conditions determine the correct choice of starches.

Regular native and modified starches are also called cook-up starches, they require heat in order to gelatinize and develop viscosity. Both native and modified starches are also available as pre-gelatinized starch; these starches are pre-cooked, allowing them to thicken in cold water instantly.

Another category is resistant starches that are not broken down fully when they pass through the digestive system. As a result, they act like insoluble fibers. The amount of resistant starch retained in a food source will depend on how the food is prepared.

Applications and functionality of starches

Starches find use in a number of processed food productions. Here are just a few food items that rely on starch as an ingredient or thickening agent:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Salad dressings
  • Puddings
  • Custards
  • Syrups
  • Pie fillings

Their ability to gelatinize allows starches to thicken and stabilize food products and create a more pleasing texture, ranging from viscous pourable, to creamy scoopable, or soft gelled and even desired pulpy structures are possible. In addition, starches – especially resistant starches – provide bulking properties making them ideal for health-conscious consumers.


Please check carefully the laws and regulations applicable for you. Please keep in mind that you are responsible for compliance with any applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

Get in touch

We can support you in finding the right starch for your application needs. Please contact us if you have questions. Our Food experts will guide you through our range of different starch products and focus on your needs.

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