The issue of food diversity encourages the community to find alternative food ingredients. Of course, the option is food ingredients that are rich in nutrients. Konjac is a food ingredient, which currently gets much attention in food industry. What is Konjac? In Indonesia, where the plant originates, the name konjac may sound not familiar.
What is Konjac in Indonesia?
Konjac is known in different local names in Indonesia. The most popular local name is porang or umbi porang, with binomial name of Amorphophallus muelleri. In Java island, konjac is known as iles-iles or suweg. Actually, konjac is not exactly similar to suweg, despite similar family and genus. In South Sulawesi, it is known as tire.
Actually, the plant is found not only in Indonesia, but also in other countries like India, Andaman, Thailand, and Myanmar. It thrives at any soil types and under any climates. It grows well in the shrubs, the forest, or even in the rice fields. It is even found in the rocky areas in South Sulawesi. Indonesia has fertile land, where cultivation of konjac is very promising.
After recognizing the benefits and potentials in food industry, the local people of Indonesia now begin to cultivate konjac as an agro-business practice. So, what is konjac? In Indonesia, main cultivation areas of Konjac include Madiun, Tuban, Nganjuk, Kediri, and Bojonegoro.
What is Konjac? The Potential for Food Industry
The plant has huge potentials in food and health industries. The plant may contribute to the economic growth and poverty alleviation programs in any countries. The following are some reasons behind its potentials:
- Potentials in food industry
Konjac flour can be processed into different products. It is mainly used as a thickening agent, gel-making agent, stabilizer, water-retention agent, and emulsifier in commercial scale. The flour can be used to make bread, noodles, crispy chips, and jelly. Among the most popular food products made of konjac is shirataki tofu and noodles in Japan. Konjac is now widely promoted as an alternative source of dietary fibers for those who are having a weight loss programs.
- Potentials in consumer product industry
In consumer product industries, konjac flour is widely used for cosmetic products, glue, textile, and some other products.
- Huge supply
The plant can thrive in different soil types and climate conditions. It has a huge supply to meet the need of both domestic and global manufacturers. The most potential markets include China, Japan, and some European countries.
- Rich glucomannan contents
What is Konjac contents? The answer to this question determines its potentials in health industry. Konjac is beneficial for health, thanks to its nutrient contents. Besides glucomannan, Konjac is rich in protein, essential amino acids, dietary fibers, and glucose.
Konjac offers promising potentials for various sectors and industries. Indeed, cultivation of the plant is still faced with some challenges. The good news is that demand for konjac is increasing with time. Of course, collaboration between the private sectors, government, and the community will be very helpful in developing the local economy.