What are Modified Starches?

Modified starches are plant-based ingredients/additives used in food, derived from cereals (maize and wheat) and tubers (potatoes). They belong to the Carbohydrates family.

Modified starches are based on starch extracted from grains and vegetables, such as wheat, maize, potatoes. This starch has subsequently been improved to develop specific characteristics, such as the ability to bring texture and structure to the food to which they are added. Depending on the process, starches can get specific functionalities that are beneficial for example in certain food preparation techniques.

Native starches are perfectly suited to a wide variety of applications, food or non-food, where their properties remain irreplaceable. Very early however, it appeared necessary, in some cases, to improve the performance of the starch and to respond to the needs of customers, giving other improved functionality or behaviour: solubility with cold water, more stable viscosity with the variations of temperature, hot fluidity, better stability, etc.

The first modified starch dates from the 19th century and other modified starches were since then developed, often in partnership with customer industries, which sought to make starches compatible with their industrial processes. In the food area, the principal modifications aim at adapting the starch to the technological constraints resulting for example from cooking, freezing/thawing, canning or sterilisation and to make them compatible with a modern food (microwavable, instant preparations, ultra high temperatures and so on). One of the objectives common to the majority of these transformations is to limit the natural tendency of starch to be retrograde. During the cooking of soup for example, the native starch is hydrated in contact with water. The starch granules expand and the “viscosity” of the solution increases giving it a particular texture.

“Modified” does not mean genetically modified. The agricultural raw materials used in starch production in Europe are conventional non-GMO.

Twelve modified starches are authorised as food additives in the EU and are labelled either by their specific names or by their E-number on the ingredient list. As with any additives used in food in Europe, they have undergone rigorous testing by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) – most recently in 2017- and their use in food and beverages is regulated under Regulation (EC) 1333/2008 on food additives.

Main technical

  • Cross Linking is the creation of bridges between the starch chains with specific connections. This process makes it possible to maintain inflated granules and to decrease the loss of viscosity.
  • Substitution gives stabilisation property to starch, mainly during cycles of freezing and thawing. This is thanks to molecules which ensure the repulsion between the starch chains, these cannot recombine. The minimisation of the starch retrogradation is thus ensured.

The various modifications of starch make it possible to obtain:

  • Easier food preparation

  • Better conservation of food

  • Better stability of food even when heated under severe conditions (preserves for example, to ensure their sterility)

Other ingredients


Bakery Products

Confectionery & Chocolates

Processed Foods

Desserts & dairy products

Paper & board

Pharmaceuticals & cosmetics

Industrial applications


Animal feed

Pet Food



  • Easier food preparation
  • Improves texture



  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Carbohydrates
  • Sports and infant nutrition



  • Liquid – easier to blend
  • Sweetening power to suit every need



  • Low caloric sweeteners
  • Tooth-friendly



  • More sustainable source
  • Very important source of protein in animal feed