More often than not, food industry suppliers work in conjunction with food processors in the creation of retail products. If this year’s product prototypes at the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo are any example, we can look forward to some great upcoming offerings. In fact, some deserve to be on supermarket shelves and foodservice venues just as they are.
Our annual baker’s dozen of favorites are listed below. Our apologies to those we couldn’t include because of space:
Jud McLester, executive chef at Wixon Inc., St. Francis, Wis., played off local cuisine with Cajun-inspired Turducken (turkey, duck and chicken) appetizers. Using various Wixon flavors, spices and rubs, the Turducken was served cold with a crawfish and sweet potato spread on a hush puppy andouille pancake. It was made with KCLean salt substitute, which allows a 50 percent reduction in sodium.
Kraft Food Ingredients, Memphis, Tenn., showcased handheld, ethnically inspired appetizers or small plates, one of the hottest trends in both prepared foods and foodservice. Kraft’s Little Cubans were mini sandwiches topped with Restricted Melt Swiss and American Cheese Sauce. Cheddar Cheese Sliders were miniature gourmet burgers made with Hi-Melt Old English pasteurized process cheddar cheese dices. We also loved the Woodfired Chipotle and Butternut Squash Bisque soup, a creation of new Executive Chef Justin Young, who apprenticed with French Master Chef Pierre Orsi in Lyon, France. Sophisticated frozen soup options are in great demand by cooking-impaired consumers.
Archer Daniels Midland, Decatur, Ill., introduced its Vegefull bean ingredients line, which increases protein and fiber content in foods such as snacks, bread and cookies. As an example, ADM created a Blueberry Almond Cookie, which contains a half serving of veggies but tastes like an indulgent snack. Kids and dads will never know the difference. Also new at ADM are DeZaan Huysman bright cocoa powers in bright red and brown that can be used to distinguish products ranging from ice cream to baked goods.
We loved the biscotti baked last year by ICL Performance Products, St. Louis, to show off its original Levona leavening agent. So no surprise that next-generation Levona Brio, faster acting and producing greater volume than its predecessor, made for a delicious cornbread muffin this year.
Cargill gave a kick to chocolate milk by adding chipotle flavor (and a touch of Aubygel ABN 4000 carrageenan).
Wild Flavors, Erlanger, Ky., could make a fortune off sleep-deprived consumers, especially at airports around the world, with its Vanilla Cinnamon Sleep Chocolates. Made with natural vanilla and cinnamon flavors plus 15mg Valerian root extract and 0.3mg melatonin, one piece will lull irritated travelers to sleep without counting sheep. When they wake, they could refresh and renew with Orange Marigold Enhanced Water, which contains clear emulsions of vitamin E, lutein and vitamins B3, 5, 6 and 12.
Seventy-eight percent of probiotic sales today are delivered through yogurt. So it was great to get our probotics in a juice smoothie instead. Minneapolis-based Cargill’s Ginger-Apricot Flavored Smoothie with Probiotics featured Viable Bif-6 probiotic cultures (concentrated, frozen cultures optimized for high counts throughout product shelf life), Oliggo-Fiber Inulin, natural ginger, natural gingerroot and natural apricot flavors. And for a treat later on, we slipped into our bag a good-sized supply of Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Clusters, made with Peter’s Chocolate Cambra bittersweet chocolate. Who knew it contained Fiber Krunch Crisp, a high-fiber extruded crisp incorporating crunchy texture into the cluster, while providing 35 percent dietary fiber per serving and great taste?
National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J., showcased its snack texturizers, which can be used to create any desired texture in baked crackers or fabricated snack chips, ranging from crispy to mildly crunchy and a new “in-between” texture coined by National as Crinchy (now there’s a great marketing descriptor). National’s sensory team analyzed basic consumer descriptors, such as “crispy,” and translated them for its food formulators to act upon. We loved the baked cracker prototypes served with an ultra-creamy goat cheese spread and garnished with candied walnuts and dried fig. Very chic.
National Starch’s crackers and baked chips were meant to showcase a range of textures that can be achieved with its starches and other ingredients.
Busy Americans are forced to take more and more of their food (and beverages) on the go. At the same time, they want healthier options; in fact, Virginia Dare’s 2007 National Consumer Insights Survey found that 69 percent of consumers wanted to see more antioxidants incorporated into their food and beverage products. So it’s no wonder that superfruit flavors are proliferating. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Virginia Dare’s tasty, flavored nutrient-enhanced water prototypes in Yumberry, Nectarine, Pomelo and Jostaberry really hit the spot for attendees in sizzling New Orleans. The flavors also can be used to enhance fruit drinks and flavored tea.