Comparable numbers for last year’s Las Vegas show were 19,536 attendees and 926 exhibits, but this year’s expo floor was open only three full days, instead of the 3½ days in the past. This year’s IFT show was one of the 10 largest in the event’s 65-year history, according to IFT; its 1,821 technical presentations was a record.
Keynote speaker Malcolm Gladwell, a science writer and staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, based his presentation on his best-selling books “The Tipping Point” and “Blink.” The books are about the workings of the human mind, respectively focusing on change and “rapid cognition,” the latter being the kind of thinking and decision-making accomplished in the blink of an eye. Some quotable quotes from his speech:
- “We must be careful about how we construct the environment in which insight is expressed.”
- “The gift that brings innovation — that brings new ideas — is enormously fragile…and we need to do whatever it takes to keep this quality alive.”
- “We must not disable the ability of people to make a successful instantaneous judgment.”
- “Experts only have confidence when they’re in cultures that empower them.”
An exciting development announced at IFT was the winner of the 2005 World Food Prize. Indian scientist Modadugu V. Gupta won the annual Nobel of food by teaching microaquaculture to the poorest of the world’s poor in South and Southeast Asia. As explained on the World Food Prize web site (www.worldfoodprize.org), “Dr. Gupta’s pioneering breeding of carp and other pond fish adaptable to a variety of different environments in rural areas — from Bangladesh to the Mekong Basin countries — combined with his tenacious efforts to help millions of small-holder farmers gain access to innovative aquaculture techniques to produce a vital supply of nutritious food brought a Blue Revolution to Southeast Asia and beyond.”
The annual expo portion seems to add more equipment and service vendors every year, but this remains primarily an ingredient showcase. Following are some of the most innovative new products our editors found at the show; notice that most of them are focused on health and diet:
Organic Erythritol is a zero-calorie, zero-glycemic index bulk sweetener, increasing options for weight-conscious and diabetic consumers who seek out all-natural products. With 70 percent of the sweetness of sugar, Erythritol is clean tasting and enhances the flavor, texture and quality of organic, reduced-calorie foods including beverages and bakery items. Compared to sugar in baked goods, it exhibits different melting behavior, more compact dough, better moisture control and softer baked products. Other applications include dairy products such as flavored milk and confectionery including sugar-free chocolate.
Teavigo green tea extract is a colorless, flavorless powder of the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Numerous studies show EGCG is one of the components in green tea believed to protect against a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders — even gum disease and dental cavities.
DSM Nutritional Products Inc.; Parsippany, N.J.
Ultragrain White Whole-Wheat Flour incorporates the goodness of whole grain with the flavor and sweetness of white flour. A patent-pending milling technology helps Ultragrain retain whole-grain nutrients, while at the same time delivering the fine texture of popular while flours. It has a lighter, more golden flour color, and according to the vendor, it’s is the first time a whole grain wheat has been ground to the consistency of white flour. It’s suitable for foods that generally use refined flour – breads, crackers, cookies, pasta and pastries.
ConAgra Food Ingredients; Omaha, Neb.
While not an ingredient, Digital Food Imaging was a fun feature in this booth. The vendor’s colors were used in a Spectra Technology inkjet system to provide four-color images on food products. The colors are FDA-approved and Kosher-certified, and the resulting food products are highly differentiated. This is the technology behind the trivia questions on Pringles Prints potato crisps.
Sensient Colors; St. Louis
Hi-Maize 5-in-1 Fiber is a high-amylose maize starch — an enriched source of dietary fiber and resistant starch. To show off the product, the vendor’s chef prepared multigrain bread, its 5 g fiber per serving perfectly integrated into the recipe so as to have no detectable texture or taste difference.
National Starch Food Innovation; Bridgewater, N.J.
CardioAid plant sterols, which take the form of an off-white granular solid with a minimal odor, are derived from vegetable oils. Structurally similar to cholesterol, plant sterols have been found to reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol, which can impact serum cholesterol levels. The FDA will allow the following claim for products containing plant sterols like CardioAid: “Foods containing at least 0.4 g per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” CardioAid plant sterols are Kosher and Pareve.
Archer Daniels Midland Co.; Decatur, Ill.
Although not an ingredient, this database is full of them. The Food & Beverage Cybrary is a web-based search engine that allows deep, detailed searches for ingredients along any dimension. Drilling down from “ingredient” to “emulsifier” to “dry, cake and mix” and even to “solids/non volatiles (wt)” yields very specific results … which then can be ordered as samples direct from the vendor. Technical assistance also is available through the database. By the time of IFT, the database had 100,000 data sheets, MSDSs and formulations and 600 global suppliers in 12 languages.
Chemidex Inc.; Lenexa, Kan.
Another fascinating functional fiber find was encapsulated soy fiber. The encapsulation technology allows processors to include high amounts of fiber in a formulation without compromising taste or texture. Just two of the cookies offered at the show qualified as a “good source” of fiber, containing more than 3 g of the heart-healthy substance apiece.
Kerry Ingredients; Beloit, Wis.
Bistro Slices are high-end cheese slices for use by food processors or in foodservice applications. Based on the success of its Bistro Blends shredded cheese line (available at retail and as an ingredient), the vendor has developed a sliced cheese product in three varieties: Mozzarella with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil, Cheddar Salsa with Tomato & Jalapeno Peppers, and Swiss with Sliced Portabella Mushrooms. The slices marry natural cheese and processed cheese in customizable proportions, depending upon the customer’s melt specifications. The slower the melt required, the higher the percentage of natural cheese.
Sargento Food Ingredients, Plymouth, Wis.
A package of ingredient solutions under the title Rebalance were unveiled. The solution sets are highly customized for individual customer needs, but all focus on diet. The company works with customers to develop ingredient sets that balance taste with health and nutrition. They’re especially suited for reformulations to lower fat, sugar or calories.
Tate & Lyle; Decatur, Ill.
also known under the generic name isomaltulose, offers a range of nutritional advantages in the wellness and functional arena of the food and beverage industry. This new carbohydrate has a low glycemic response, provides a prolonged energy supply and is tooth-friendly. Palatinose is suitable for formulating wellness and functional drinks, dairy-based drinks, tea and coffee specialties, cereals and nutritional bars. In the U.S., Palatinose is considered self-affirmed GRAS.
Palatinit GmbH, Mannheim, Germany
+49 621 421 148; www.palatinit.com
This sugar company debuted its Premium Blend Molasses made from cane sugar. Light or dark, wet or dry, molasses can be used in foods that require a medium dark brown color and robust sugar-like molasses flavor … such as the Gingerbread Man cookies handed out at the vendor’s booth.
Domino Specialty Ingredients, Baltimore, Md.
Hydrobind natural carrot fiber absorbs more water than other natural fibers, binding up to 18 times its weight in water and four times its weight in oil. So it improves the yield of a wide variety of processed meat and poultry products including ground beef patties, meatballs and sausages. The novel ingredient is approved for use in all processed meat applications where binders are allowed. Allergen-free, odorless, tasteless and label-friendly, Hydrobind reduces product calories by as much as 40 percent. It disperses easily in dry or liquid applications without heating or need for extensive mixing.
Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield, Calif.