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By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor | 01/28/2008
Hempseed, however, which comes from a different strain of the plant, is finding its way in to many basic foods.
The nutritional profile of hempseed, not the “party chatter,” inspired items such as hemp bread. “Hemp is truly a super food and delivers high levels of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids,” says Steinmetz. “Including hemp seeds and hemp flour in our breads has enabled French Meadow Bakery to offer truly functional breads.”
Organic isn’t new, but 2008 will see far more organic choices. Pacific Natural Foods (www.pacificfoods.com), Tualatin, Ore., recently launched eight premium ready-to-eat organic soups made entirely from USDA certified-organic beef, chicken and pork. “The organic meats featured in the new soups are expected to be a strong appeal to consumers,” says Kevin Tisdale, director of marketing for the company.
“According to the research [The Natural Marketing Institute, January, 2005], 65 percent of consumers want a guarantee that all meat products are free of added growth hormones and antibiotics, and that animals are humanely raised,” Tisdale adds. Also in the organic offerings is a line of “Light Sodium Soup options” that range in sodium from 280 mg to 380 mg and contain 90 to 110 calories per 8-oz. serving.
New products in the coming year will certainly feature innovative processing techniques. “We're (a nation of) snackers. We’re tired of having to choose between unhealthy fried and undelicious baked chips,” says Cici De La Montanya, media maven for Popchips (www.popchips.com), Rancho Dominguez, Calif. Popchips are a new take on potato chips and corn chips.
“Rather than frying or baking our chips, we use heat and pressure to pop chips out of potatoes, organic white corn and whole-grain brown rice. We found that by popping our chips, we could have all the flavor of fried chips with half the fat, fewer calories and no trans fats, artificial colors or flavors,” says De La Montoya.
The Greek physician Hippocrates compiled a list of over four medicinal hundred herbs and their uses, and is credited with the quote “Let your food be your medicine.” As consumers becoming more educated and health conscious, they will demand healthier choices. It is also clear that they don’t want healthy food to taste like medicine, and that is where the challenge lies for the modern food industry.
“The need to include WONF [With Other Natural Flavors - used to designate ingredients used to enhance flavor and which are derived from natural sources, such as fruits] or natural ethnic flavor designations is being driven by market demands for organic or organic-compliant products,” says Simon Poppelsdorf, vice president of flavor R&D for Northbrook, Ill.-based Bell Flavors and Fragrances (www.bellff.com).
“It’s almost like a ‘perfect storm,’ because to be authentic and natural, we not only need the material of the named fruit but also it must be in a form that can be used in flavors - mostly water-soluble and clear.”
For marketers, the ability to take advantage of a named fruit appeals to the need to have more trendy and consumer-favored ingredients on the label.
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