Mainstream Consumers Seek Healthful Ingredients

Consumers experiencing those aches and pains of natural aging understand the food-health connection while media and government initiatives increase focus on the food-health relationship.

By Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., Ingredients Editor

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Ingredient solutions

A number of ingredient solutions make such products possible. One approach is to strengthen the gluten network for the dough to support additional fiber and other inclusions and still produce high-volume products. Panodan Datem, from Danisco, New Century, Kan., (www.danisco.com) interacts with the gluten proteins to strengthen and stabilize dough during processing, proofing and baking. It is particularly suitable for dense artisan breads with high amounts of whole grains.

Another solution is to minimize the effect of fiber on gluten development. This may be done by solubilizing added fiber with xylanase. Grindamyl PowerBake, also from Danisco, is the only commercially available xylanase not inhibited by proteins in wheat and other cereal grains.

Yet another approach is to boost fiber content with specialty fibers that do not affect the final product negatively, as whole grains do. Hi-maize, a resistant starch from National Starch Food Innovation (www.foodinnovation.com), Bridgewater, N.J. According to Rhonda Witwer, nutrition business development manager, Hi-maize has such whiteness and clean taste that as much as 2.5 g fiber may be incorporated into a single serving of white bread without perceptible changes in product texture or taste. As a bonus, Hi-Maize substitution of flour and other rapidly digested carbohydrates also lowers glycemic response, aids healthy digestion and potentially helps minimize the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Antioxidants and omega-3s

Foods containing antioxidants increased by 21 percent since 2002. Although consumers have long recognized the health power of antioxidants, success incorporating them into foods has been slow as they are difficult to stabilize and preserve bioavailability. Antioxidants also tend to be astringent and often have pronounced undesirable flavor. Recently, encapsulation and masking technologies changed this.

Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants particularly rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, cocoa and even red wine are easily destroyed during processing. Cocoa has one of the highest concentrations of flavonoids, but when expressed as mg per serving of the food, apples and prunes show up very well.

Clever formulation and advances in acidity masking techniques have helped Azuca, Calif.-based Naked Juice (www.nakedjuice.com) bottle significant amounts of rainforest palm fruit açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) which packs 50 percent more antioxidant vitamins A and C punch than pomegranate, contains omega fatty acids, vitamin E, amino acids and calcium. Flash pasteurization allows Los Angeles, Calif., based juice processor Bossa Nova to pack and preserve the omega-3, 6 and 9 components of açaí in Viva Acai MegaFruit beverage.

So-hot soy

According to ACNielsen’s executive news report, "What’s Hot Around the Globe – Insights on Growth in Food and Beverages 2004," soy-based drink consumption rose by 31 percent — one of seven categories that experienced double-digit revenue growth in 2004. “Consumers are concerned about diet and health, particularly with all of the media attention on obesity and diabetes,” says Jane Perrin, ACNielsen global services managing director and author of the report explains. “Food and beverage companies that develop healthy products which also meet consumer demand for good taste and convenience will find a receptive market for these products.”

Business Communications Company (www.mindbranch.com) projects overall U.S. market for soy-containing foods will reach $202 billion in 2008 (average annual growth rate of 1.5% from $188 billion in 2003). Soy ingredients are projected to reach sales of $5.9 billion in 2008.

Novel soy ingredients are helping consumers discover that good nutrition and taste need not be mutually exclusive. Popular items such as Silk Chocolate, by White Wave (www.whitewave.com), Boulder, Col., and Soy Delicious, by Turtle Mountain (www.turtlemountain.com), Eugene, Ore., have gained from recent advances in soy processing and flavor technologies.

Soy Supreme Kreme, a high-fat soy-milk powder from Sunrich, Hope, Minn., (www.sunrich.com) — a bland, light-colored shelf-stable whole-soy powder — is replacing the less-nutritious fractionalized soy oil in dessert applications. At 6.25 g of soy protein per serving, these products qualify for FDA’s cardiovascular health claim.

White Wave Silk Chocolate soy milk attained annual retail sales of $13 million (ending April, 2005), making it the top-selling beverage in the entire chocolate milk category (Information Resources Inc.(www.infores.com), Chicago.). Similarly, Turtle Mountain’s Soy Delicious line of frozen desserts eclipsed sales of conventional desserts in certain categories.

According to SPINS (www.spins.com), about 46 percent of the frozen dessert market now consists of nondairy items, largely perceived as “better for you” than traditional products. With 15 mg of isoflavones per serving and ingredients such as inulin and erythritol (a natural sweetener), Soy Delicious desserts are health promoting and contain 37 percent fewer calories than regular ice cream. Another soy ingredient gaining prominence is NutriSoy from ADM (www.admworld.com), Decatur, Ill. NutriSoy is prominently displayed on packaging of Boca Foods (www.bocafoods.com), Madison, Wis.

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