2006 Institute of Food Technologists Show

Health and nourishment were the key ingredients at June’s IFT show.

By David Feder and Dave Fusaro

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There was no doubt that “food technology” is now virtually synonymous with “nutrition technology” at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Expo. Even companies focusing on “run of the mill” basic ingredients at the June show were not missing out on pushing the health angles inherent or adaptable to their product lines.

The 66th annual show attracted 16,111 attendees and 935 exhibiting companies, which took up 211,000 sq. ft. of floor space at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

With the FDA having approved a qualified heart-health claim for barley’s soluble fiber, Sustagrain barley was center stage at ConAgra Food Ingredients (www.conagrafoodingredients.com), Omaha, Neb. It’s a proprietary, waxy, hull-less barley variety that’s high in fiber (accounting for more than half of its carbohydrates) and low in starch. It’s available in flour, thick and quick-cooking flakes and steel-cut and whole kernels.

Cargill fiber-rich chocolates
In its booth at IFT, Cargill offered deliciously decadent chocolates, which also contained 4g fiber per serving.

Wheatex, a highly functional, textured wheat protein, was featured by MGP Ingredients (www.mgpingredients.com), Atchison, Kan. The company claims the ingredient is superior to soy in building meat analogs or extending meats because of its neutral flavor profile and textural properties. It’s available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors that can replicate meat, fish or poultry.

National Starch Food Innovation (www.foodinnovation.com), Bridgewater, N.J., highlighted two recent extensions of its Hi-maize line of resistant starch products. Hi-maize Corn Flour 150 and Hi-maize Corn Meal 150, introduced earlier this year, provide functional and nutritional benefits to food formulators while meeting guidelines for wholesome and natural labeling. The products have primary applications in extruded, puffed and flaked cereals, batters and breadings, and specialty baked products. In addition to increasing the dietary fiber content of foods, they provide a high degree of functionality.

Grain Processing Corp. (www.grainprocessing.com), Muscatine, Iowa, introduced TruBran corn bran, a new dietary fiber that can help processors get a good or excellent source of dietary fiber claim. It was showcased in two bakery applications. Also featured in the company’s booth were meat and sauce prototypes that highlighted GPC’s Inscosity and Pure-Gel stabilized starches and their respective moisture-managing properties.

One hot trend in ingredients for health continues: making fat-soluble compounds water-soluble and vice versa. Microencapsulation is the usual solution, although Kaneka Nutrients (www.kanekaq10.com), Pasadena, Texas, presented its emulsified powdered CoQ-10 product, which allows the normally fat-soluble compound to enjoy a wider variety of applications.

Fiber is holding its own in the trend wars and was perhaps best demonstrated in the massive display by Cargill Inc. (www.cargill.com), Minneapolis. Snaking through the genuinely tasty samples of fiber-enhanced savory snacks, chocolates and even frozen treats, one had to acknowledge how far fiber enhancement has advanced. Think back to the first-generation fiber-filled products that served better as wallboard than as food. Those chocolates, for example, were positively decadent -- and somehow held 4g fiber per serving.

FiberAid is the newest nutritional product from Lonza Inc. (www.lonza.com), Allendale, N.J. Created from wood (the larch tree), water and steam, it’s an all-natural, soluble, prebiotic dietary fiber, a polysaccharide that has GRAS status. It can be consumed in its standard form or combined with other products to increase functionality.

Weight control ingredients are top of mind at InterHealth (www.interhealthusa.com), Benicia, Calif. SuperCitrimax is a hydroxycitric acid extracted from the fruit of Garcinia cambogia (India’s brindleberry tree), which has been shown to reduce appetite, inhibit fat production and possibly to burn fat. ChromeMate is an oxygen-coordinated, niacin-bound chromium complex that controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And OptiBerry is a multiple-berry extract containing standardized levels of anthocyanins, which provide whole-body antioxidant protection.

DSM (www.nutraaccess.com), Parsippany, N.J., was out in force with a healthy display of healthy ingredients and colors. As a companion to its popular antioxidant Teavigo EGCG tea extract and Hidrox olive extract, the company presented its player in the rapidly developing CoQ-10 field: All-Q.

Watson Inc.'s fortified muffins
Besides launching its Clear-E vitamin E, Watson Inc. fed visitors "cardiomuffins," which were fortified with a custom premix of L-Arginine, vitamins A, C and E, oleic acids, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium.

Watson Inc. (www.watson-inc.com), West Haven, Conn., offered Clear-E water-dispersible vitamin E. Demonstrated in bottled water, the certified-kosher product does not foam, cloud or ring in concentrations up to 35 percent of daily values. Even at the full 100 percent DV, there is only the slightest clouding that, had it not been pointed out, would likely have gone unnoticed.

Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods (www.landolakesfid.com), St. Paul, Minn., was pumping out a new Performance Butter Blend. A mixture of butter, soy and canola oils, it was trans fat-free and was pumpable even at refrigerated temperatures. The product provides buttery flavor and tenderness to baked goods and flavor and mouthfeel to sauces. Butter appears first on the ingredient deck, and it substitutes 1:1 for butter in most applications, although custom formulations are available for specific performance or labeling requirements.

“Solution sets”

More and more ingredient suppliers, especially the large ones coming from commodity backgrounds, are offering semi-customized “solution sets” to customers. Rather than hawking ”soy” or “enzymes,” they bundle the broadness of their portfolios with the expertise of their own R&D staffs to offer multi-purpose solutions for “savory snacks” or “ice cream and dairy.”

ADM (www.admworld.com), Decatur, Ill., introduced the Aspire Food System, designed to help snack food manufacturers “bridge the gap between indulgence and healthful eating.” This solution set includes isolated soy and whey proteins, extruded protein pieces, Fibersol dietary fiber, edible bean powders, vitamin and mineral enrichment blends, whole wheat flour, CardioAid phytosterols, crystalline fructose, low-trans shortening and soy lecithin.

After working with customers, ADM product developers could develop formulations for snack pieces, cookies, trail mixes, crackers, wagers and nutrition and energy bars. As an example at the show, snack bars were made with ADM soy protein, navy bean powder, CardioAid phytosterols and even peanuts from the company’s Golden Peanut subsidiary.

London-based Tate & Lyle (www.tateandlyle.com) dove into solution sets at last year’s IFT under the general names of Rebalance, Create, Optimize and Enrich. At this year’s show, the company displayed solution sets for beverages, snacks and bakery, dairy and dressings. For beverages, Sweetener Rebalance M60 is co-processed maltodextrin and Splenda sucralose in powder form, 60 times sweeter than sucrose and carrying 5 calories per 8-oz. serving. Rebalance LF3 contains fructose and sucralose, not only sweetening but improving the mouthfeel of carbonated beverages and still drinks. A low-sugar iced tea with Rebalance LF3, sampled at the booth, had 15 calories per 8-oz. serving.

GTC Nutrition (www.gtcnutrition.com), Golden, Colo., launched its “Nutrition Solutions for Life” campaign, also geared toward custom ingredient solutions but with a focus on functional ingredients and including a strong dose of consumer education. The current foci are on bone, digestive, glycemic, heart and immune health. As an example, GTC scooped ice cream sundaes with toppings that were fortified: chocolate sauce with CalciLife; caramel sauce and fruit clusters with NutraFlora; cookie crumbles with NutraFlora and NatuReal; and cake bites with NatuReal.

Wixon Inc. (www.wixon.com), St. Francis, Wis., exhibited its Mag-nifique line of specialty flavor technologies for addressing flavor problems for a wide range of applications. Special mention was made of the fact the line’s ingredients are “label friendly as natural flavors."

Naturally burgeoning

“Natural” was an operative word throughout the exhibits. Few were the ingredients that were not touted as being organic-certified or “naturally derived.”

wraps made with omega-3 from Ocean Nutrition
Ocean Nutrition's tasty demos of wraps, petit fours and juices proved there's nothing fishy about the company's omega-3 oils.

Along this line were the scores of offerings of nutraceuticals from botanical extracts, such as rosemary antioxidants from Vitiva (www.vitiva.si), Markovci, Slovenia.

One source in the botanical extract field has ripened amazingly fast is grapes. The number of companies providing extracts of grape skins, grape seeds or whole grapes must have been double that of last year. Phytochemicals from grapes are especially interesting because they pack a lot of punch. Resveratrol, the best known and best studied grape compound, promises to be the hot phyto trend of the coming years. Research is showing it has one of the widest health-benefit profiles known. It has shown multiple anticancer, anti-heart disease and pro-immune benefits.

Companies to watch in this field include San Joaquin Valley Concentrates (www.sjvconc.com), Fresno, Calif., and one of the pioneers, Polyphenolics (www.polyphenolics.com), Sun Valley, Ariz.

One company banking on the public interest in natural extractions is Food Ingredient Solutions LLC (www.foodcolor.com), Mundelein, Ill. Talk about breaking the color barrier. CEO Winston Boyd demonstrated the company’s successful solution to the difficulty in replacing artificial reds – a hot-button issue with the new labeling requirements for insect-derived colorants. The company provides a full line of nature-derived true analogs to artificial colorings.

LycoRed (www.lycored.com), Fairfield, N.J., already well known for its natural lycopene, touted its new, Tomat-O-Red brand of healthy red colorant from tomatoes in a variety of products, including cereals, condiments and vegetarian meat analogs.

Bookending the bright natural color solutions was D.D. Williamson’s (www.ddwilliamson.com), Louisville, Ky., display of certified organic caramel colors. Of course, the company is also expanding its organic natural colorants for foods on the brighter end of the spectrum.

Ocean Nutrition Canada (www.ocean-nutrition.com), Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, succeeded in taking the fishyness out of its omega-3 oils. As proof, it offered at its booth desserts and beverages laced with high concentrations of the nutrient. The petit fours were as delectable as any in a four-star restaurant, and the omega-enhanced orange juice would pass any blind taste test with panache.

One of the favorite booths near show-closing time belonged to the United Soybean Board (www.talksoy.com), Seattle. At cocktail hour each day, the board served up cold beer. And what’s beer without salty snacks? USB had that covered, serving kettle chips fried in low-linolenic soybean oil and containing 0g trans fat. When not talking shop over drinks, USB technical experts were discussing how to formulate food products with whole soy, soy protein, soy flour and soy oil.

Kraft Food Ingredients (www.kraftfoodingredients.com), Memphis, Tenn., celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Grill Flavor. “What began 20 years as a topical product developed solely for the meat industry has evolved into a savory component for enhancing the aroma and flavor profiles of marinades, sauces, dressings, soups, appetizers, side dishes, snacks and entrees,” read the promotional material. The more than 50 varieties of Grill Flavor reproduce the unique flavor of grilling, delivering the char, ashy and smoky notes associated with cooking over charcoal. Several were demonstrated at the show.

KFI also introduced a new senior executive chef. Michael Morrison, who’s been with the company since October, is a 1991 graduate of Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts and a member of the Research Chefs Assn. As a food consultant in New Jersey, he founded Chef Relief on Sept. 11, 2001. After providing hot meals to the crews working at Ground Zero in New York, Morrison and his team of chefs has helped feed rescuers, volunteers and families affected by disasters across the country, including in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina last year.

There are 41 million documented Hispanics in the U.S. (14 percent of the population), and by 2050, the Hispanic population will exceed 100 million (24.4 percent). Virginia Dare (www.virginiadare.com), Brooklyn, N.Y., shared the results of research that Hispanic consumers are not monolithic, and it’s essential to understand taste preferences of Hispanics from different countries and regions. Mangos aren’t monolithic either, as evidenced by the different nuances of Manila, Indian and Mexican mango beverages in the Virginia Dare booth.



Digital Editor's Note: To read "Special Report: Warm weather delights," Diane Toops' companion article on the tasty prototype food products proffered by IFT exhibitors, click here.

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