Gluten is a composite that is formed from several different proteins and found most commonly in wheat and other related grains, such as barley and rye. Adding texture and a characteristic chewiness to some baked goods, this ingredient is used in a variety of other foods as a thickener and binder, flavor enhancer, and protein supplement.
Used as a thickener, gluten is found in soups and broths, as well as gravies and sauces such as ketchup, marinades, or salad dressings. Since it enhances flavor, it is also used in bouillon, spice blends, and other foods such as coffees, dairy products, vinegars, and liquors.
Gluten is used as a protein supplement, especially for people who do not have access to other protein sources. It is also useful in meat substitutes, especially those used in vegan and vegetarian diets. Imitation meats are often made of concentrated gluten.