IFT Wrap-up: High temps, low carbs

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Las Vegas in July is more than a little warm. But the heat did not keep 19,536 registered attendees and 926 exhibiting companies from attending the 64th IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo.

Those numbers are a mixed bag. Exhibitors were up from about 900 last year, but many big-name flavor houses were absent. Attendees dipped from 21,000 last year. Nevertheless, the Institute of Food Technologists says it was the fourth largest show during the past 10 years.

As expected, there were numerous introductions of low-carbohydrate products at the show… even as some of the panel discussions predicted the demise of Atkins and other low-carb diets.

A&B Ingredients (www.abingredients.com) introduced Remypro N80+, a natural rice protein concentrate that contains a minimum 80 percent rice protein. Rice is naturally hypoallergenic, easily digestible and contains all essential amino acids. This product can be used to increase the nutritional content of foods from which carbohydrates have been removed.

National Starch files for carb labeling clarification

National Starch and Chemical Co. (www.nstarch.com) announced it had submitted a citizen’s petition asking the FDA to clarify carbohydrate content in foods; specifically asking that fiber be subtracted or at least separated from any carbohydrate labeling requirement the agency devises.

"Consumers are increasingly looking for credible information about carbohydrates, especially on food packages," said Rhonda Witwer, business development manager of nutrition at the Bridgewater, N.J., company. While most starches are digested in the small intestine, resistant starches, such as National’s Hi-maize, and other forms of fiber are not digested, although they provide many benefits to digestion.

A backlash from the low-carb frenzy has raised the profile of fiber. Many dietary experts are pushing for more fiber in the American diet. Australian and most European labeling requirements list fiber separately on nutrition labels.

Diminished leavening capability, poor product characteristics resulting from reduced flour content and generally drab taste of low-carb products can be helped by EZ Dough chemical leavening technology from Astaris (www.astaris.com).

Cargill Inc. (www.cargill.com) announced a business alliance with MGP Ingredients (www.mgpingredients.com) in which Cargill will take over all of the manufacturing and some of the marketing of Fibersym HA, a resistant starch derived from high-amylose corn and suitable for low-carb applications.

Carb reduction wasn’t the goal but was a
side benefit of Ultragrain white whole
wheat flour from ConAgra Food Ingredients (www.conagrafoodingredients.com). It combines the nutritional benefits of whole grains with the processing benefits and finished-baked goods quality of refined flour.

Tic Gums (www.ticgums.com) helps take out the carbs associated with sugars with Ticaloid LC
corn syrup replacer. It’s a gum system that’s 85 percent dietary fiber but functions similarly to corn syrup.

Of course, there were more interesting things than carbohydrate reduction. ADM (www.admworld.com) introduced "a new generation of meat alternatives." Nutrisoy Next is 60 percent soy and 20 percent wheat gluten and uses a new extrusion technology that gives it meat-like striations. It has 23 g protein, 3 g fat (0.5g saturated fat and no trans fats), zero cholesterol and 8 g carbs, 4 of which are dietary fiber. "Nutritionally, it’s the perfect product for the time," said marketing VP Graham Keen.

Cargill also showed the FPS lecithin product it has been marketing since earlier this year. The soybean-derived product is rich in phospholipids and has emulsifying and instantizing properties. It also enables a clean label.

French-based firm Frutarom introduced Origanox, a water-soluble, 100 percent natural, GRAS antioxidant that can increase shelf life in food products.

Among the budding food technologists in attendance, the student team from Rutgers University earned first place in the IFT Student Product Development competition with its Grab 'n Go Greens. Rutgers students last year earned second place honors. Second place in Las Vegas was the student team from Ohio State for its a2z product, and University of California at Davis took third place with Xoco.

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