Australian instant wheat aimed at U.S. markets

by Emily Wilson
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA A novel wheat that can be used without milling could be commercially available within eighteen months.

Australian scientists are claiming a world first for the bio-engineered wheat, which will have application in instant boil-in-the-pot dishes and breakfast cereals.

One hundred tonnes of the waxy wheat was grown in trials last season and has already been field-tested by George Weston Foods Ltd. (WEG) and talks are said to be underway with a major U.S. food group. Products could be on supermarket shelves by 2004.

The wheat has been developed by scientists with the Wheat Co-operative Research Centre (CRC), in collaboration with five commercial groups, Sydney University, and the New South Wales and Western Australian Departments of Agriculture.

The products are not genetically modified but have been developed as the result of advanced molecular genetic techniques that speed traditional breeding processes. The technology has already produced a biscuit wheat, in association with Campbell Soup Co (CPB) unit Arnotts Biscuits and with miller Goodman Fielder Ltd. (GMF).