A tough economy didn’t prevent ingredient suppliers from coming up with some great prototypes at the 2009 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, held June 6-9 in Anaheim, Calif. These products taste so good they should be in the supermarket with very little tweaking. This year we found 20 innovative options. Our apologies to those we missed because of limited time to wander.
Date & Almond Breakfast Bar
I couldn’t keep my hands off the Triple Chocolate Brownie in the booth of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Decatur, Ill. It combined the company’s Ambrosia chocolate chunks and DeZaan cocoa powder topped with chocolate fudge icing for true indulgence. But it was the Date & Almond Breakfast Bar that knocked my socks off. It contained VegeFull Cooked Navy Bean Powder, VegProlite wheat protein isolate to increase vegetable protein and NovaLipid soybean oil. I could definitely get hooked on these. ADM also prototyped Sweet ‘n’ Crunchy Sesame Mix, a sweet and salty snack, featuring Sweet ‘n’ Neat dry honey powder, 70 percent honey that is converted to a free-flowing powder through a patented drying process, and delivers the same flavor, color and sweetness in products where process or product constraints prevent the use of liquid honey.
Cargill Inc., Wayzata, Minn., had a whopping eight food and beverage prototypes to demonstrate how technical and flavoring challenges associated with formulating new products can deliver distinct consumer benefits (heart health, energy, sweetness). I particularly liked Light Blueberry Yogurt, which combined all three benefits. Sweetened with Truvia rebiana, Cargill’s zero-calorie stevia leaf sweetener, the yogurt provides a health halo effect from the antioxidant-rich blueberries. One serving (170g) contains 14g of sugar compared to 30g for a typical sugar low-fat yogurt. Also healthy and scrumptious were the Cherry Walnut Clusters with CoroWise. They combine ripe cherry, sweet, creamy vanilla flavors, and CoroWise plant sterol esters, clinically shown to lower LDL cholesterol and backed by an FDA health claim.
I’m always looking for products that curb satiety, and found a great one at Parsippany, N.J.-based DSM’s booth. The Blueberry Vanilla Crave Control Bar contains 6g of Fabuless DE powder, a natural ingredient clinically proven to create satiety and reduce calorie intake throughout the day. Before it had a chance to work, I scarfed down a Peanut Butter Dream Bar, which contains 1,000g of Tensvida milk protein peptide to help maintain healthy blood pressure. One bar per day can show results in as little as two weeks.
Mushroom Alfredo Sauce
According to Packaged Facts, gluten-free product sales have grown at an average annual rate of 28 percent since 2004, and reached $1.56 billion in 2008, due to increased diagnoses of celiac disease and larger numbers of people going gluten-free for perceived health benefits. But gluten-free in the bakery sector certainly has its challenges – particularly texture and shelf life. Bridgewater, N.J.-based National Starch Food Innovation’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a longer shelf-life) were smooth, moist and chewy – with no hint of grittiness and crumbliness. National Starch’s culinologist Agnes Jones also served up two delectable Alfredo sauces made with Precisa Cream 50 to demonstrate how a dramatically fat-reduced sauce can still have appealing taste and texture. The was served over tricolor tortellini, and the chipotle manchego sauce was paired with black bean goat cheese ravioli.
Chef John Csukor, culinary expert for the Almond Board of California, Modesto, Calif., created a delectable California Almond Crab Salad, which resulted in long lines during the show. A classic northeastern Thai salad presented as a snacking lettuce wrap enlivened with California almonds -- it would delight any restaurant patron or could be a great option for a frozen food product. For dessert, Almond Kulfi, an ice cream-like Indian dessert with slivers of California almonds and saffron threads, gave attendees a new taste experience and idea for a healthy and unique product.
It was love at first bite for the Gluten Free Canape, Chicken Walnut Salad made with 71 percent whole/multigrain, gluten free bread from ConAgra Mills, Omaha, Neb. Featured was ConAgra’s Gluten Free All-Purpose Multigrain flour. And for the latest in on-trend ethnic cuisines, Chapati Bread, made with ConAgra’s Mumbai Gold Fresh Chakki Atta, Chicken Tikka Masala and Sustagrain Flour, made us feel we were dining in India, at least for a few treasured minutes.
California Almond Crab Salad
P.L. Thomas, Morristown, N.J., transported attendees to Asia with a menu that included Traditional Sushi Rolls – surimi with Tomat-O-Red natural red color with lycopene, wrapped with Kombucha seasoned rice and sweetened with stevia; High Energy Drizzles – and wasabi drizzled with kombucha, lavender, Rhodiola Rosea, carrageenan and soy sauce. Mixed greens with a sensational Antioxidant Dressing (pomegranate, acai, camu camu, rosemary Inolens, and kombucha) caught my interest. What a great idea for a value-added salad dressing. And for dessert, what could be better than a rich 100 percent organic San Francisco Irish Shortbread from Golden Gate Confections, complete with antioxidants.