US cereals giant Kellogg Co has been awarded a US patent for its snack foods containing psyllium and the methods for producing them. Psylium is derived from seeds from plants of the Plantago genus and is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibres. It has a proven cholesterol-lowering effect. Its use in food products is limited because it acquires a slimy mouthfeel upon hydration and also develops an undesirable flavour and colour in the presence of heat and moisture. Kellogg has addressed these problems in its invention, which it hopes will provide consumers with a new source of psyllium in a highly palatable form.

Protected under US patent number 6,248,387, the abstract reads:

Baked snack products containing psyllium, methods for their preparation and methods for lowering serum cholesterol therewith are disclosed.

The first claim (of 12) is for:

A psyllium enriched baked snack food comprising:

· 75-99% by weight of a starchy material comprising a potato-derived starch and a pregelatinized starch; and

· 1-25% psyllium.

To see full details of the patent, please click here.