Toops' Scoops: Cool Delights at a Hot 2011 IFT

New food and beverage product prototypes keep us coming back for more.

By Diane Toops, News & Trends Editor

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My favorite part of attending IFT is tasting and writing about the prototype food and beverages that supplier companies develop to showcase their ingredients; the worse part is not having the time to taste them all.

Suppliers outdo themselves every year to come up with innovative and healthy product ideas that fit into consumer trends. Many of these are so delicious or well thought-out they belong on retail shelves. This year was no different.

We salute them and apologize to those we missed because we were time-impaired.

Chef John Csukor developed extruded gluten-free and vegan Almond Cereal Stix for the Almond Board of California (www.almondboard.com). It’s an inspired breakfast creation packed with flavor and crunch. Incorporated three different almond forms – whole almonds, almond flour and almond milk -- it is designed to stay crackly-crisp in a bowl of milk or mixed with yogurt and sweet dried berries. All it needs is a retail box.

I loved Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s www.adm.com Orange Mango Protein Cooler made with Clarisoy 100, the world’s first vegetable-based protein that offers clarity and complete protein nutrition for low pH beverage systems (in applications with a pH below 4.0, it is 100 percent soluble). The cooler contains 6g of protein, 0g of fat and 50 percent real juice from white grape, orange and mango. ADM’s cocoa and chocolate brand deZaan was celebrating 100 years, so to commemorate the occasion, ADM shared some rich, indulgent chocolate truffles – Dark, White and Milk -- made with pure deZaan Belgian chocolate.

Blueberries are the perfect ingredients in New Orleans because they are both big and easy. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s (www.blueberry.org) 2Bite-Bar for on-the-go attendees really hit the spot. Chock full of blueberries, these bite-sized bars kept moist, had mouth-watering flavor and provided real fruit benefits and product authenticity – attributes consumers love. Blueberries, available year-round in many forms (whole, fresh or dried; as puree, concentrate or juice; and freeze dried or osmotically preserved) can brighten gluten-free formulations, harmonize with ancient grains, work well in products ranging from sweet to savory, and help fortify products with antioxidants

Cargill (www.cargill.com) had a great Sausage Pizza, made with reduced-sodium marinara sauce, pizza crust, sausage crumbles and mozzarella cheese, one of my favorite tastings. It featured Cargill’s FlakeSelect sodium reduction system, resulting in great-taste with 35 percent less sodium than traditional pizza and the benefits of MaizeWise whole grain corn flour. Zeroing in on a cool drink, I imbibed Zero Calorie Lemon-Lime Soda, which has great mouthfeel and tasted like it had mega calories. 

Corn Products International and National Starch Food Innovation (www.foodinnovation.com) combined their expertise and served up some great prototypes. My favorites were Greek-style Yogurt made without costly straining, but with the extra thick texture thanks to new Novation Indulge 3340 (which also results in a clean label). I’m Greek, so I’m pretty fussy about yogurt texture, and this was terrific. I also enjoyed the gluten-fee Cranberry Almond Breakfast Bar with Expandex modified starch (for optimal texture and appearance) and fortified with Aquamin calcified mineral source for bone health and overall wellness.

D.D. Williamson (www.ddwilliamson.com) offers a wide array of natural colorings, along with its popular caramel color. In order to help improve the allure of beverages through visual appeal, it featured yummy Caramel-berry and Choco-berry juice drinks to showcase its newest products, acid-proof Class One caramel color, acid-proof caramelized sugar flavor and certified organic annatto extracts.

McIlhenny Co.’s Tabasco (www.tabascoingredients.com) brand livened up its regional Creole and Cajun favorites with some hot new, tasty ideas which knocked our socks off, including Tchoupitoulas Mac & Cheese with crawfish and andouille sausage, Fire & Iced Tabasco Coffee topped with whipped cream, and King Cake spiked with Tabasco.

Virginia Dare’s (www.virginiadare.com) Garden of Flavors included a taste bonanza of beverages that showcased the company’s vanilla, various masking flavors, assorted tea varietals and floral flavors such as lavender, elderberry and honeysuckle. My favorite was Tangerine Lemon Lavender Rooibos. And one of the most creative concepts there was a Veggie and Fruit Ice Pop, 40 percent fruit and 60 percent veggies – stealth health at its tastiest.

A delicious, silky textured, peach-flavored High Protein Yogurt Smoothie from Fonterra Ingredients (www.fonterra.com) really hit the spot. Designed to enable manufacturers to double or triple the protein content of yogurt without compromising the product’s sensory experience, it contained 26g of ElevateProtein 515 Whey Protein Concentrate. It has a great satiety factor, and a shelf-stable version would be an ideal option for aging baby boomers.

Strawberry Sunrise Waffle, a nutritious, protein- and calcium-packed, yogurt-infused waffle topped with strawberry yogurt sauce, is a great idea for breakfast from the U.S. Dairy Export Council (www.InnovateWithDairy.com). It contains 60 percent of the daily value of protein and calcium per half a waffle. Or if you are in a hurry, how about a Cucumber Lemon Yogurt Drink, containing probiotics and dairy proteins. An excellent source of calcium, it has 40 percent of the daily value per serving. Milk permeate (dairy products solids) replaced salt without sacrificing saltiness.

Frozen Ice Pops from Wild Flavors Inc. (www.wildflavors.com) will hopefully inspire a food company to launch ice pops in flavors such as Cucumber Vanilla Cardamom, Ginger Plum Green Tea and Green Apple Jalapeno; Americans have moved beyond cherry, chocolate and lime, and moms would welcome adult Popsicle-type varieties.

SuperFruit Granola Bar from Viterra Inc. (www.viterra.com/foodingredients) looked as good as it tasted. With coated oats and honey oat granola clusters, it was sweet, fruity and chewy – in the process delivering antioxidants, omega-3s (via the company’s NuLin flax), more than half a serving (9g) of whole grains, 2g of fiber and 3g of protein. What it didn’t deliver was any trans fats or cholesterol, and very little sodium. The superfruits were cranberries, dried pomegranate and pomegranate juice concentrate. Plus it was drizzled with a white chocolaty yogurt coating.

Univar (www.univarusa.com) featured Re*Boot, a grapefruit-flavored energy drink with natural caffeine and sweetened with Enliten Stevia for fewer calories. Getting energized is important at a trade show, but we also got a good dose of fiber, calcium and vitamins C and B.

Kikkoman USA (www.kikkomanusa.com) showcased Beef Jerky made with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and new Kikkoman Less Sodium PTN (Premium Total Nitrogen) Soy Sauce. The tamari-style sauce contains 45 percent less sodium than regular soy sauce (it can be used up to 50 percent less in some applications). Kikkoman uses a proprietary process during manufacturing to reduce sodium, so Less Sodium PTN is a soy sauce with 15 percent stronger flavor and no dilutions so even the harshest production environments don’t affect the flavor. New Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce is made in the U.S. from chilies, marinated in vinegar with garlic, salt and sugar, and then puréed to make a sauce with a complex, sweet-tangy flavor.

Two hot trends are portion-control and gluten-free. Grain Processing Corp. (GPC) (www.grainprocessing.com) combined the two in Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake, whipped topping and chocolate-cherry sauce served parfait-style in a shot glass. Inscosity B656 food starch-modified supports cell structure development, volume, freezer stability and moisture retention, and Pure-Dent 8700 cornstarch is a clean-flavor bulking agent for the cake.

A warm indulgent treat, one would never suspect David Michael & Co.’s (www.dmflavors.com) Cocoa-Mate Cookies are made with a 30 percent reduction in cocoa (some applications are capable of a 40 percent reduction). I couldn’t resist pairing them with fruity flavored, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan Maqui Berry Flavored Coconut Water Ice, music to my palate.

Rethinking what it could do with its ingredients to help food processors, IDF (www.idf.com) formulated a Spicy Tomato Beverage, using its all-natural chicken broth as a flavor enhancer. The unexpected prototype beverage had a savory taste and satisfying mouthfeel.

We found Vitiva’s Pecan Fruit Sesame Praline Lollipop at the P.L. Thomas (www.plthomas.com) booth. The pop was a nut and dairy, antioxidant-rich treat loaded with pecans, dried fruit and sesame seeds, plus evaporated sugar and cream. It not only satisfies your taste buds but also offers a big ORAC boost through water-soluble rosemary extracts from the AquaRox family.

Chocolate Cake from Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. (www.briess.com) was made with newly introduced CocoaPlus, a new line of natural cocoa replacers, which is based on whole-grain specialty flours – North American barley and wheat. They mimic the color, functionality, and flavor of cocoa powder. Processors can take out up to 50 percent of the cocoa in a formulation.

Jim Kuznik dared Dave Fusaro to take a bite out of one of the Rocks on the table at EMD Chemicals Inc. (www.emdchemicals.com). “The thing was hard – I tapped it on the table several times – large (almost 2 inches long) and not only had the weathered look of a stone but appeared to be dusty, dirty. With great trepidation I bit through the candy shell to find the chocolate within,” says Dave, who was ultimately hooked. “EMD sells some very convincing pigments and coatings.”

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