Innovation and Taste Going Strong at 2008 IFT Expo

The heat and humidity of the Big Easy could not wilt the innovation of the annual food technology show.

By Dave Fusaro and Diane Toops

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ConAgra Food Ingredients, Omaha, Neb., provided a line of next-generation whole-grain ingredients to improve nutritional profiles. They include: ConAgra Mills Ancient Grains (whole grain); ConAgra Mills Multigrain Flours (multigrain whole grains); ConAgra Mills Coarse 8-Grain and Seed Inclusion with Flax; and ConAgra Mills Flour with Ancient Grains (55 percent multigrain whole grains and 45 percent premium enriched white flour). Ancient Grains flours are milled from amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff, and they contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals than regular flour.

Cargill’s booth was as big as its ingredients portfolio. Food and beverage prototypes on display included gluten-free cupcakes, a kid-friendly breakfast cookie with enhanced nutrition and reduced sodium salsa, all highlighting different capabilities of the company. Barliv barley betafiber was worked unnoticeably into a juice beverage; a probiotic juice smoothie was laced with inulin; a low-calorie tea was fortified with 4g protein; and low-fat milk contained CoroWise plant sterols.

Refreshing and light with a hint of ginger, lemongrass has been the flavor du jour this year. Vegetable Juices Inc. developed a special cutting process which creates a whole puree that melts in your mouth. Three types are available — frozen with no preservatives, refrigerated with citric acid, vinegar and salt for salad dressings and soft-frozen for ice cream.

Redmond, Wash.-based Univar USA created the Rouge Refresher, water with a twist. With one twist, it becomes a sugar-free red tea drink with natural pomegranate flavor, and it’s fortified with vitamin C and a highly soluble form of calcium.

Spokane, Wash.-based Commercial Creamery, which celebrated its 100th anniversary, debuted a shelf-stable line of flavored Chunkettes and Crumbettes cheeses. They are available in Cheddar Jalapeno, Italian, Feta Cheese and Cheddar (nice idea for salad or entrée toppers).


The expo is not entirely about ingredients. There is a growing representation of equipment companies, with the emphasis on laboratory and analytical applications.

Ometric Corp., Columbia, S.C., uses spectroscopy technology from the University of South Carolina to measure fat, protein, moisture, sugar, alcohol content and other nutrients in food — in-line and in real time, not off-line in samples. With its attendant software, the result is the potential for realtime process control.

We loved the Beer Ice Cream at the Racine, Wis.-based Butter Buds Food Ingredients booth. Made with dried Beer Extract, the ice cream really tasted like liquid beer.

David Michael & Co., Philadelphia, kept attendees coming back for more Double Bourbon and Cola, featuring Bourbon vanilla ice cream with a twist of Bourbon whisky and cola-flavored ice water.

City of Industry, Cal.-based Blue Pacific Flavors & Fragrances, in association with HortResearch served up HortRealFruit Golden Kiwi Granita Beverage, Jazz Apple Granita Beverage, Mangosteen Dragon Fruit Juice Drink and Pink Grapefruit with White Tea.

Louisville, Ky.-based D.D. Williamson developed a new naturally derived blue colorant. Available in either liquid or powder form, it enables food developers to obtain a shelf-stable natural blue hue at a lower pH than conventional anthocyanin colorants. Attendees had an opportunity to try hard candies containing annatto extract, turmeric and red cabbage colorants.

Always innovative Tabasco Brands/McIlhenny Co., Avery Island, La., served up the coolest Tabasco Spiked Carrot Cake Ice Cream.

Symrise in April acquired Chr. Hansen’s Flavors and Seasonings Division, a leading supplier to the dairy, meat and snack industries. Integration should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to Blake Anderson, president of Symrise’s Flavor Division North America, Teterboro, N.J. 

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