Progressive Companies Uplift Snacking

The modern approach to snacking is changing as progressive companies make an effort to lift snacking to its original status

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

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Resolver ingredients can be paired with carefully chosen flavor components to solve any specific flavor problems, leading to fewer off-taste issues associated with functional ingredients.

Through a new, patented approach, Land O’Lakes Ingredient Solutions, Saint Paul, Minn., has introduced calcium-fortified cheese powders, enabling food developers to add cheese flavor and significant levels of calcium to wet and dry ingredient systems without the chalky mouthfeel often associated with calcium fortification. Depending on the application and the level of added calcium, these calcium-fortified cheese powders may make it possible for food manufacturers to make label claims such as “a good source of calcium.”

Snacks represent one of the greatest challenges in the modern diet, both to consumers and manufactures. We don’t expend the energy of our ancestors, so our natural tendency to fill a hunger and energy gap must be carefully chosen. Health conscious consumers are now hunting down flavorful and nutrient dense snacks, unwilling to sacrifice either trait. It will take innovation and experimentation to keep up this growing trend.

Meal replacements

One of the diets explored in the book Appetites of Man was the traditional cuisine of Mexico, which is rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and phytochemicals. A simple diet of corn, beans, rice, peppers, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables, along with varied and natural sources of protein, is also the base diet of the Turahumara Indians of the Yucatan Peninsula, premier ultra marathon runners.

3 Hot Tamales, Apison, Tenn., artfully captures these traditions in snacks that feel like mini meals. Tamales are prepared by steaming beans, vegetables and various sources of protein in a wrap of cornmeal covered by corn husks. “Tamales are a great healthy snack because they are a combination of carbs and protein, so they are filling and nutritional,” says Merrilee Jacobs, owner and founder of 3 Hot Tamales.

“My kids eat them all the time as a snack before little league games or when we are planning on a later dinner. Since they are microwaveable, it makes a quick solution for anytime one is in a hurry. At the office, school, on the go, you can eat them right out of the husk.” The 3 Hot Tamales versions happen to be vegan, organic and available in the frozen food sections of many stores, including Whole Foods.

Keeping with the theme of snacks as extensions of nutritious meals, Pacific Natural Foods, Tualatin, Ore., offers a new line of natural soups with a pull-tab ring. “The one-of-a-kind soups are made with the finest, ‘artisan-inspired’ organic ingredients such as chicken andouille sausage, champignon mushrooms, hardwood smoked bacon and herbs de province,” says Kevin Tisdale, director of marketing.

The new offerings include: Beef Steak & Fusilli Pasta, Spicy Black Bean with Chicken Sausage, Minestrone with Beef Steak, Chicken & Penne Pasta, Savory Chicken & Wild Rice, Spicy Chicken Fajita, Split Pea with Ham & Swiss Cheese and Savory White Bean with Smoked Bacon.

“The organic meats featured in the new soups are expected to be a strong appeal to consumers, particularly because USDA organic certification means the meats are free of antibiotics. According to the research, 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,” says Tisdale.

The ingredients in the soups must pass Pacific Natural Foods’ extensive “Certified to the Source” inspection program, which assures all ingredients meet standards for safety, health and quality. “We grow many of the ingredients we use in our products on our own organic and sustainable farms,” Tisdale adds.

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