Healthy, wealthy and wise could have been the theme for the 2006 Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo held in July in humid Orlando, Fla. Healthier ingredient prototypes proliferated this year, a wealth of information was exchanged and wise food processors were able to sample new ingredients and flavors, check out new equipment technologies and get inspiration for new products.
Fabulous prototypes, developed by ingredient manufacturers, were in abundance. Even thought they come from industry suppliers, not food processors, I think many of them are ready for supermarket shelves and foodservice venues just as they are. Some of the most interesting and innovative are listed below. Our apologies to those we couldn’t include because of space.
Addressing health issues
ConAgra Food Ingredients (www.conagrafoodingredients.com), Omaha, Neb., served up Chocolate Chipotle Smoothie (containing 9g of whole grain), prepared with ConAgra Mills’ Sustagrain barley flour and Spicetec chipotle seasoning, which gives it a burst of flavor. With dietary fiber making up more than 50 percent of its carbohydrates — and 40 percent of that in the form of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber — Sustagrain can be a potent tool for heart health. In fact, the FDA recently approved a heart-health claim for soluble fiber from barley foods.
|Kerry Ingredients' SuperFruit Bar Açai featured high protein and fiber as well as açai puree and pomegranate powder.
DSM Food Specialties USA Inc. (www.dsm-foodspecialties.com), Eagleville, Pa., unlocks umami, the fifth taste sensation, with the introduction of Maxarome Select Yeast Extract (Kosher, Halal certified and allergen-free), which allows up to a 50 percent salt reduction with full and longer flavor delivery in snacks, marinades, dressings, dips, cheese sauces and prepared foods. During a press conference, we tasted Low-Salt Potato Chips, with a clean, well-rounded taste, super mouthfeel and flavor impact.
Almond Board of California (www.almondboard.com), Modesto, Calif., showcased the grand prize-winner in its fourth annual Almond Innovations Contest, open to food science and culinology programs in the U.S. The winning team from Washington State University – Shantanu Agarwal, Josie Landon, Esteban Mejia-Meza, Melissa Sanborn and Pei Shan Kuo – created Almond Dingers (what a great product name), microwavable, gluten-free cakes with a great texture, crunchy almond topping and frosting. They’re ready to eat in 5 minutes and are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, phosphorous, manganese calcium and vitamin E. They’re also a tasty solution for the 2.2 million consumers who suffer from celiac disease.
Fortitech (www.fortitech.com), Schenectady, N.Y., offered exciting and surprising functional chocolate cluster varieties targeted toward baby boomers. They were heart-healthy, brain-healthy and bone-healthy. But my favorite prototype was Pina Colada Ice Beverage (Slush), a unique healthy refreshing slush which delivers a high level of essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, niacin and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D3 and E. So we boomers can improve our health and party at the same time.
Healthy went mainstream at Kerry Ingredients (www.kerryamericas.com), New Century, Kan., as its SuperFruit Bar Açai makes healthy a joy to behold especially for on-the-go consumers, This high-fiber, high-protein bar with real açai puree (a Brazilian fruit known for its mega-antioxidants) and pomegranate fruit powder also features 500mg omega-3 per 50g bar. Best of all, it tastes great. Baby Greens with Raspberry-Yogurt Dressing and Brie Croquette, made with hormone-free dairy ingredients, also rates a thumbs up.
Attention low-fat and fat-free mayo manufacturers! TIC Gums (www.ticgums.com), Belcamp, Md., introduced Fat-Free Mayo Style Dressing, made with TIC’s new gum system. Pretested Saladizer Mayo Cold Set, for low-fat and fat-free mayonnaise-type products, allows food processors to use a cold process instead of the traditional method in which heat is used to activate component starches, which can slow production and affect consistency. This dressing has all the taste, creamy texture and mouthfeel of regular mayonnaise.
Leavening agents from the former Astaris made their first appearance under new corporate name ICL Performance Products LP (www.icl-perfproductslp.com), St. Louis. Levona Better for You Blueberry Muffins were great tasting, low in sodium and a good source of calcium. They were made with Levona, a new calcium-enriched leavening agent with zero sodium. It enables food manufacturers to formulate products that can carry healthy messages such as “low sodium” and “a good source of calcium,” without compromising flavor, volume, texture and convenience.
Although not a vegetarian, I do aspire to be healthy. Surprise and delight were engendered by Vegetarian Empanadas and Chik’n Wings prepared with NovaLipid zero/low trans-fat oils from Archer Daniels Midland (www.admworld.com), Decatur, Ill. ADM also launched its Aspire Food System to help food formulators bridge the gap between indulgent and healthful eating by providing product development expertise for snacks, cookies, trail mixes, crackers, and nutrition/energy bars.
|The taste of Griffith Laboratories' Chili-Scented Lemongrass Beef took show-goers' palates on a quick trip to Thailand.
Kraft Food Ingredients Corp. (KFIC) (www.kraftfoodingredients.com), Memphis, Tenn., introduces Grated Asiago, Parmesan and Romano Cheese Blend. Chef Michael Morrison, who joined KFIC last October, showcased it in a Vegetarian Four Cheese Pizza with Woodfired Crust (that is, a KFIC Woodfired Grill Flavor) that is to die for. And among the appetizers was an innovative Savory Smoked Salmon Cheesecake, featuring Kraft Neufchatel Cheez Blend, an unexpected savory application.
Alsip, Ill.-based Griffith Laboratories (www.griffithlaboratories.com) sojourned to Asia with Chili-Scented Lemongrass Beef on skewers, incorporating its Southeast Asia and Mekong River region flavors and marinades. In the past 20 years, trade relations between Southeast Asia and North America have improved, opening the borders to the cuisines and flavors of Vietnam, the Yunnan Province of China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
Mediterranean cuisines and flavors from Greece, Lebanon and Morocco are attracting aficionados, and Wild Flavors (www.wildflavors.com), Erlanger, Ky., had us asking for more … more Chilled Moroccan Tomato Soup with Yogurt Lemon Pepper Pita Chips. And we enjoyed discussing the idea, inspired by Wild Pumpkin Punch, that it would be a great product for the next “Harry Potter” movie. Hmmm, why not call it Hogwort’s Pumpkin Juice?
At Comax Flavors (www.comaxflavors.com), Melville, N.Y., Japanese candy-making artist Shan Ichiyanagi crafted molten sugar lollipops in spectacular dragon and animal shapes. Comax Sweet Corn Flavored Ice Cream, which tastes exactly like fresh corn on the cob, is an innovative idea.
How many different flavors can you introduce into process cheese? Many, if you visited Land O’Lakes Ingredient Solutions (www.landolakesingredientsolutions.com), St. Paul, Minn. Booth personnel daily were serving sandwiches: roast beef panini featuring Process Bleu Cheese, seasoned pork panini with Chipotle Jack Process Cheese and ham panini coated with Dijon Mustard & Onion Process Cheddar Cheese. The products were demonstrating Land O’Lakes expertise in adding functionality to natural cheese and bold flavor to process cheese.
D.D. Williamson now offers a broad spectrum of colors from its ColorMaker Inc. (www.colormaker.com), custom blends division in Anaheim, Calif. ColorMaker natural color blend emulsions, which can be incorporated into cocoa butter, palm kernel oil, jojoba oil and paraffin, were used in the Red White Chocolate and Green White Chocolate samples at the booth. How about a patriotic red, white and blue chocolate variety pack to send to our troops abroad?
David Michael & Co., (www.dmflavors.com), Philadelphia, offered a theme park for our taste buds and it didn’t disappoint. On the confection side, I loved the Milk and White Chocolate Blackberry Red Tea Truffle, a great mouthful literally and figuratively.
|Key Lime Mojito was one of several Flavor Shot-enhanced frozen drinks offered by Cargill.
Cargill (www.cargill-hft.com), Minneapolis, provided Drinkertainment beverages: four colorful, show-stopping Flavor Shots with tastebud-tantilizing zing in their slushy bases. The shots contain organic erythritol, citric acid, trisodium citrate and flavors – all from Cargill units. We returned daily for a shot of Key Lime Mojito, Ruby Red Mimosa and Caramel Apple IFTinis. Scuba Blue was available for kids (and kids at heart).
Less weight(y) issues
Tate & Lyle (www.tateandlyle.com) London, topped chicken with Asian Ginger Sauce and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing & Sauce Rebalance 800, a balance of thickeners, texture-enhancing ingredients and Splenda sucralose. It allows a reduced-fat and reduced-calorie claim.
Stopping for a water break at Watson Inc. (www.watson-inc.com) West Haven, Conn., we had our thirst quenched with Clear-E Water, made with a fine, free-flowing form of vitamin E spray-dried within a modified starch matrix. Vitamin E-fortified, the water is totally clear, has zero calories and no flavor – although it could be added to flavored beverages and sports drinks.
National Starch Food Innovation (www.foodinnovation.com), Bridgewater, N.J., offered a refreshing Nutriose Lemonade (with 2.5g of fiber in an 8-oz. glass). Nutriose, a prebiotic soluble fiber made from corn and wheat, enhances the taste of sugar-free and light drinks by compensating for the body and mouthfeel typically lacking in these types of beverages. And it helps control glucose levels and assists satiety in sugar-free beverages. Deb Diehl, business development manager, says Nutriose can be used in any liquid formulation – soups, salad dressings, dairy and beverages.
Digital Editor's Note: Click here to read "Special Report: ‘Nutrition technology’ expo," David Feder and Dave Fusaro's companion article on the most interesting and innovative ingredients exhibited at IFT.