In what has been a tough year for small businesses, yet there is one North Eastern Victorian business has been making strides. Putting the many ups and downs of 2020 behind them, Glenrowan-based business King Valley Popcorn is preparing to secure an international patent for an invention that could change the gluten-free world forever; popcorn flour.
A subspecies of corn noted for its health benefits, popcorn is said to offer three times the levels of antioxidants than fruit and vegetables and is also gluten free.
“No one really understands what popcorn is, they think it’s just a snack food or a junk food. It’s actually a whole grain, and the healthiest of all the whole grains,” explains Sharyn Carlesso, owner of King Valley Popcorn.
Looking at what many see as movie food in a different light, Carlesso began experimenting with popcorn in an attempt to make an effective gluten-free flour alternative.
“I thought, ‘why is it not treated like a whole grain?’ and I wondered whether you could make a cake out of it,” she said.
A healthy, gluten-free flour that acts like regular flour, popcorn flour is a godsend to gluten-free people everywhere, containing no additives whatsoever, in comparison to other gluten free products which often contain xanthan gums or guar gums. After some tweaking, Carlesso was able to produce a flour that makes light, fluffy and moist cakes, something many gluten-free flours just aren’t capable of.
The Rural City of Wangaratta commends the team at King Valley Popcorn for their creativity and innovation during what has been an incredibly difficult time for many small businesses in the community.
“It is fantastic to see so many of our wonderful local businesses making strides and leading the way in innovative food production,” said Janine Rolles, economic development and tourism coordinator for the Rural City of Wangaratta. “When life gives you lemons, why not try and create your very own flour?”
Available in store and on the company website, King Valley Popcorn have successfully made cakes, pancakes, slices, biscuits, brownies, puddings and even pasta out of the popcorn flour, proving the product’s potential as an across-the-board flour alternative for gluten-free consumers.
Despite some setbacks in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, King Valley Popcorn are slowly building a network of stockists throughout regional Victoria and metro Melbourne, as well as expanding their online store. With the patent pending, Carlesso is hopeful she can turn her small business in regional Victoria into an international exporter.