Starbucks' Howard Schultz Describes 2012 as 'Golden Age of Nutrition'

Starbucks' Schultz description aptly describes 2012 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo.

By Dave Fusaro and Diane Toops

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More than 18,000 attendees from all 50 states and nearly 80 countries attended the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo June 26-28 in Las Vegas. This year's event featured 1,066 exhibitors, an 8 percent increase from last year.

Despite the economic challenges facing the nation and the world, business operators can prevail by staying authentic and transparent and managing their companies through a "lens of humanity," according to Howard Schultz, founder and chairman, president & CEO of Starbucks Corp.

As keynote speaker on the opening day of the show, he reflected on the principles that guided the company he took public 20 years ago. After years of growth and soaring stock prices – and his departure -- Starbucks "hit a wall" in 2007, Schultz said. When he returned to head the company in 2008, he needed to re-engineer and re-energize Starbucks – but not by neglecting the company's core values and its appreciation of people. And the company recovered nicely and is stronger than ever.

Schultz talked guardedly about Starbucks' plans to introduce new products and store formats, both focusing on juices and beverages, in part the result of its November 2011 acquisition of Evolution Fresh. He mentioned the company's goal to become a branded marketer of many more grocery products. He concluded by calling this the "golden age of nutrition. It's an exciting time."

The Institute of Food Technologists itself identified these bullet points as being important themes from the meeting and expo:

  • Americans Increasingly Desire the Flavor and Health Benefits of Ethnic Foods--Americans increasingly want more ethnic foods and ingredients in their diets, many of which offer unique flavor and texture, and a variety of health benefits.
  • Aging Population Focused on Foods to Preserve Health Now, Treat Conditions Later--The rising population of aging health-conscious consumers is driving demand for food products that support good health now, as well as medicinal treatment for conditions that arise in later years.
  • The New Frontier in Food Science: Replicating the Nutrition, Texture and Taste of Meat and Eggs--Food scientists are working to replicate the nutrition, as well as the texture, taste and functionalities of meat and eggs, by utilizing plant-based products and in-vitro technologies.
  • Skipping Breakfast Can Lead to Unhealthy Habits All Day Long--Compared to breakfast-eaters, breakfast-skippers tend to weigh more and have other unhealthy habits, such as consuming too many sugary drinks or high-calorie snacks.
  • Front-of-Pack Labels Combined With In-Store Promotion Can Lead to Healthier Choices--Combining in-store promotion with nutrition labels on the front of food packaging can be a successful method for driving shoppers to make healthier choices. 
  • Child Obesity Rates Plateau: New Chance for Food Manufacturers to Make an Impact--A plateau in childhood obesity rates following a 20-year increase offers food manufacturers an opportunity to review successful strategies as well as consider new ideas for providing healthy, good-tasting options for the next generation. View the video.
  • Human Digestion Simulators Provide Insight into the Path Food Takes--Simulations of the human digestive system have proven to be useful tools for scientists studying how the body processes food from the mouth through the intestines, including how it separates the nutrients for absorption.
  • Natural Food Colorants Present Challenges in Maintaining Food Taste, Quality and Satisfaction--Food scientists and manufacturers face a number of hurdles in identifying and effectively using natural food colorants, without diminishing product quality, safety and consumer satisfaction.

When is a mismatch good? When it's a triacylglycerols mismatch, which is the key technology behind Bunge Oils' (www.bunge.com) Saturate Sparing Technology. Using proprietary non-lipid ingredients, blending and crystallization processes, the company produces all-purpose and emulsified shortenings with saturate levels reduced by more than 40 percent. Part of the UltraBlends family, the products also have zero grams trans fat per serving and provide greater levels of heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated levels over traditional shortening. The company also unveiled its second mobile food truck, M.O.E. II (stands for Mobile Oil Experts).

TIC Gums (www.ticgums.com) introduced the Add-Here 3200 line of products to help reduce or eliminate the use of sugar for binding, film forming, stability, bonding and cling in granola, cereal or energy bars. Add-Here 3200 is a hydrocolloid system formulated to bind particulates commonly found in granola, cereal, and energy bars while significantly reducing the amount of sugar, honey and/or high-fructose corn syrup in the formula. At the show, granola bars made with Add-Here 3200 demonstrated how the texture and appeal of a fully sugared product can be very closely mimicked or even improved upon with hydrocolloids.

Viterra, which itself was a merger of several Canadian grain-trading co-operatives, which later acquired 21st Century Grain Processing, continues its merger into Glencore, a commodities trading firm headquartered in Switzerland. Innovation also continues, with dual texture clusters from its oat and specialty grain milling division being introduced at the IFT Expo. The customized mixtures blend any number of grains into a crunchy granola to be mixed with fruit pieces, which provide a flavor burst and chewiness. That ought to make your bar-making a little easier. The company's Dakota Growers Pasta Co. debuted VeggieServe Pasta, which squeezes a full serving (half cup) of vegetables as well as 28g of whole grains into a serving, with a number of shapes (twisted elbow, spaghetti, rotini, penne rigate) available.

Tate & Lyle featured concepts that demonstrated its range of sweeteners. A black raspberry frozen Greek yogurt was sweetened with Krystar crystalline fructose and Purefruit monk fruit extract (plus it was made into "a good source of fiber" thanks to Promitor soluble corn fiber. And a "guilt-free" brownie was made possible with a blend of Splenda sucralose and Krystar (also a good source of fiber via Promitor).

Esha Research (www.esha.com) showed a new module of its Genesis R&D Product/Supplement & Labeling software. The addition enables processors to comply with NOM (Mexican labeling) regulations. It joins the U.S. and Canadian, Spanish/English bilingual modules. At the core of this nutrient analysis program is an extensive database - more than 47,000 items - tailored specifically to the needs of the food and supplements manufacturing industries.

Kemin Industries (www.kemin.com) showed BactoCease is a liquid antimicrobial solution designed to protect ready-to-eat meat and poultry products from Listeria monocytogenes, extending product shelf-life more consistently than lactates, the company claims. In-house efficacy studies applied it successfully to cured/uncured turkey, reduced sodium ham, uncured roast beef and hot dogs. This antimicrobial is applied using a lower application rate than lactates, providing lower cost-in-use. It also lowers sodium contribution in deli-style products while having no negative impact on the flavor.

Cargill (www.cargill.com) introduced the SodiumSense sodium-reduction system, providing food manufacturers with a flavorful, cost effective salt replacement for use in sauces, cheese, processed meats, prepared meals, salted snacks, soups, and baked goods. Cargill also focused some attention on its Regenasure glucosamine, which is claims is the only U.S. produced, GRAS glucosamine commercially available. Because it is not derived from shellfish, it is vegetarian, non-allergenic, certified Halal, kosher pareve and kosher for Passover. Cargill uses its own patented fermentation method to produce its product at a plant in Iowa.

P.L. Thomas (www.plthomas.com) and Grow Green Industries (Lake Forest, Calif.) introduced EatSafe Natural Food Wash and EatFresh Natural Antimicrobial, all-natural food safety and shelf-life enhancement products. They are the result of a multi-year research effort into effective end-to-end alternatives to chemically based food sanitizers and preservatives that also enhance the taste, sensory profiles and shelf-life of fresh produce, seafood and poultry as well as prepared and processed foods. Bret Lynch, executive chef of Evergreen Culinary Solutions, was in the booth to show off P.L. Thomas' Zembrin and RhodioLife, Lyc-O-Beta 2% NG liquid for natural color and Inolens 12 dry shelf life extender.

For reduction, not elimination, of wheat gluten, ConAgra Mills (www.conagramills.com) introduced Ultragrain High Performance, an addition to the Ultragrain family of flours, which offers bakers wheat gluten reduction, higher absorption and improved mixing performance, resulting in lower finished goods costs, the company claims. ConAgra's Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings unit announced a new website: www.spicetecflavorsandseasonings.com.

International Fiber Corp. (www.ifcfiber.com) talked of an internal study of the use of fiber in beef patties – specifically its own JustFiber inner pea fiber and Solka-Floc powdered cellulose. While conventional binders and extenders will bind water, they don't bind fat, and they often come with usage limitations. IFC's research indicates fiber as a binding agent provides a meaty texture while retaining both water and fat, even under heat. That's in addition to increased cooked yield and reduced shrinkage of cooked beef patties.

"Artificial" color additives unflatteringly have been in the news this year. GNT USA Inc. (www.gntusa.com) remains committed to natural colorants derived from fruits, vegetables and other edible plants. Its Exberry line delivers bright and vibrant colors in the yellow-red-brown spectrum, and blues and greens, already in use in Europe, should be on their way to the U.S. before the end of the year.
ng up texture.

ICL Performance Products LP (www.icl-pplp.com) debuted Licresse, a licorice extract naturally high in antioxidants to break the chain of oxidation in meat, beverage, bakery and dairy applications. Manufactured in Israel by F&C Licorice, an ICL partner, Licresse has a shelf life of three years and is kosher-certified. The ingredient also contains no allergens and is GRAS affirmed. It can be labeled as licorice, licorice extract or natural flavoring, and functions as a free radical scavenger or reducing agent.

Blue Diamond Almonds amped up its ingredients profile with a new division name and website. Its ingredients business has changed its name from Industrial Products to Blue Diamond Almonds Global Ingredients Division, the company's largest business unit, with revenues approaching $1 billion in revenue this year. The new website (www.bdingredients.com) is an important component of the division's enhanced profile, offering resources for food scientists and R&D professionals.

Also responding to recent negative color news, D.D. Williamson/colorMaker (www.ddwcolor.com) showed a new, low 4-MEI caramel color, as well as Acid-proof Class One "Plain" caramel color. Other colors included certified organic annatto powder and oil-dispersible caramel color.

Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals (www.srnutritionals.com) developed a proprietary cultivation and preparation process harnessing the nutritional and functional power of microalgae. Almagine is a new portfolio of microalgae-derived lipid, protein and fiber-based products that deliver nutritional profiles along with great taste, textur, and mouthfeel, plus enhanced functional benefits.

This source of sustainable, natural, and remarkably nutritious food ingredients may change the future of food development, the company claims. , for use in a wide range of applications, including baked goods, beverages, frozen desserts, soups, sauces, and dressings.

Roquette America (www.roquette.com) doesn't require an ACT or SAT test, but its Roquette University offers courses on Animal nutrition (Sept. 27-28), Healthy and functional product makeovers (Nov. 9-10) and Ingredients from starch (Dec. 7-8.)

Grain Processing Corp. (www.grainprocessing.com) offered a kid-friendly pizza snack (perfect for school lunches), featuring TruBran corn bran, a natural, insoluble dietary fiber with a light creamy color that boosts fiber levels without sacrificing taste.

Virginia Dare (www.virginiadare.com) has been tracking the evolution of these fresh produce market apples, and has developed corresponding natural flavor creations, which can accelerate the speed-to-market product development process. New flavors include: Macoun, Fuji and Honeycrisp.

Mizkan's (www.mizkan.com) food ingredients division supplies specialty vinegars, cooking wines, reductions, denatured spirits and wine/vinegar powders to the food industry. Its Border Foods unit, purchased right around the time of last year's IFT show, complements the parent firm with jalapenos and other hot peppers and tomatillo purees.

While the Verso may be a machine, it's definitely geared toward the R&D crowd. The bench-top, in-line mixer from Silverson Machines (www.silverson.com) is intended for laboratory or pilot-scale applications, but allows processors to scale-up accurately with smaller volumes than previously were possible. Controlled by a digital operating touch pad, it includes a tachometer, ammeter and programmable timer, providing an accurate and easy method of forecasting the performance of larger in-line mixers under full-scale conditions.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (www.adm.com) unveiled Clarisoy 150, a soy protein for use in low pH beverages with cloud systems and neutral pH beverages, and reintroduced Clarisoy 100, a 100 percent soluble isolated soy protein for beverage applications with a pH below 4.0. Clarisoy 100 was showcased in Fruit & Veggie Jive, a great tasting, good-for-you beverage, which included one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables as well as 7g of protein.

The Crave Chocolate Cinnamon snack bar with real cranberries from Univar (www.univar.com) was low in fat and sugar, but still maintained the indulgent texture and taste of a high-fat snack bar. Crave had added protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, courtesy of Cargill, Nexira, Ingredion, Rhodia, Ocean Spray, Purac, CP Kelco, Kerry Ingredients and Univar.

Adults Only flavors was a top-shelf selection of non-alcoholic flavors at the David Michael & Co. (www.dmflavors.com) booth. Amaretto, mojito, pina colada and gin and tonic taste remarkably like their authentic counterparts but without the alcohol. Among visitors to the booth, men seemed to prefer Mojito Water Ice made with the mojito flavor, while women went for Plumcot Margarita Water Ice, combining plumcot and margarita flavor and a natural red extract.

Maple Vanilla Bacon Sweet Frites from Monsanto (www.monsanto.com) were made with Vistive Gold Low Saturate High Oleic Soybean Oil, which can reduce saturated fat in french fries by 44 percent.

Glanbia Nutritionals (www.glanbianutritionals.com) served up a Cherry Protein Smoothie, featuring BevWise I-302WM, a milk protein and whey protein blend specifically designed for the rigorous processing requirements of intermediate pH beverages. The beverage also contains BevGrad fine milled flaxseed and a micronutrient premix featuring chromium, grape seed extract and caffeine for energy and (my favorite part) weight management.

With the popularity of Greek yogurt, what could be more enjoyable than a snack of savory Greek-style yogurt, combined with savory vegetables and herbs? This treat in the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (www.innovatewithdairy.com) had 22g of protein, 25 percent DV of calcium plus live and active cultures.

Synergy (www.synergytaste.com), a Carbury company, celebrated its recent acquisitions of Sensus and Sethness Greenleaf with two versions of Icy Caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail. Original included limejuice concentrate and flavor, lemon pulp and Cachaca. Brazilian Orange was made with tangerine, limejuice and Cachaca. Sensus natural and authentic essences enhance the aroma fraction of a food or beverage without additives or other flavor components.

At McIlhenny Co./Tabasco Brand Products (www.tabascoingredients.com), a Blue Voodoo chilled cocktail featured Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper, created by Brown-Forman using Tabasco Brand Original Red Pepper Sauce (it also had Blue Curacao, Malibu Rum and pineapple juice). And Tabasco Brand Buffalo Style Hot Sauce is now available as an industrial ingredient.

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