Healthful Ingredients Dominate 2005 IFT Show

More healthful ingredients dominated IFT’s steamy New Orleans show.

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Continuing its string of mid-July shows in hot climates, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) drew 18,243 attendees and 1,055 exhibiting companies to its July 16-20 conference and food expo in New Orleans.

Comparable numbers for last year’s Las Vegas show were 19,536 attendees and 926 exhibits, but this year’s expo floor was open only three full days, instead of the 3½ days in the past. This year’s IFT show was one of the 10 largest in the event’s 65-year history, according to IFT; its 1,821 technical presentations was a record.

Keynote speaker Malcolm Gladwell, a science writer and staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, based his presentation on his best-selling books “The Tipping Point” and “Blink.” The books are about the workings of the human mind, respectively focusing on change and “rapid cognition,” the latter being the kind of thinking and decision-making accomplished in the blink of an eye. Some quotable quotes from his speech:
  • “We must be careful about how we construct the environment in which insight is expressed.”
  • “The gift that brings innovation — that brings new ideas — is enormously fragile…and we need to do whatever it takes to keep this quality alive.”
  • “We must not disable the ability of people to make a successful instantaneous judgment.”
  • “Experts only have confidence when they’re in cultures that empower them.”
The vulnerability of the nation’s food supply, especially in the face of terrorists, was discussed by Robert Buchanan, a senior science advisor with the Food and Drug Administration. In a session on “Food defense and protection: Detection of poisonous agents,” he admitted security was a balancing act between amassing and sharing critical information while not providing a roadmap to prospective terrorists.

An exciting development announced at IFT was the winner of the 2005 World Food Prize. Indian scientist Modadugu V. Gupta won the annual Nobel of food by teaching microaquaculture to the poorest of the world’s poor in South and Southeast Asia. As explained on the World Food Prize web site (, “Dr. Gupta’s pioneering breeding of carp and other pond fish adaptable to a variety of different environments in rural areas — from Bangladesh to the Mekong Basin countries — combined with his tenacious efforts to help millions of small-holder farmers gain access to innovative aquaculture techniques to produce a vital supply of nutritious food brought a Blue Revolution to Southeast Asia and beyond.”

The annual expo portion seems to add more equipment and service vendors every year, but this remains primarily an ingredient showcase. Following are some of the most innovative new products our editors found at the show; notice that most of them are focused on health and diet:

Organic Erythritol is a zero-calorie, zero-glycemic index bulk sweetener, increasing options for weight-conscious and diabetic consumers who seek out all-natural products. With 70 percent of the sweetness of sugar, Erythritol is clean tasting and enhances the flavor, texture and quality of organic, reduced-calorie foods including beverages and bakery items. Compared to sugar in baked goods, it exhibits different melting behavior, more compact dough, better moisture control and softer baked products. Other applications include dairy products such as flavored milk and confectionery including sugar-free chocolate.
Cargill; Minneapolis

Teavigo green tea extract is a colorless, flavorless powder of the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Numerous studies show EGCG is one of the components in green tea believed to protect against a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders — even gum disease and dental cavities.
DSM Nutritional Products Inc.; Parsippany, N.J.

Ultragrain White Whole-Wheat Flour incorporates the goodness of whole grain with the flavor and sweetness of white flour. A patent-pending milling technology helps Ultragrain retain whole-grain nutrients, while at the same time delivering the fine texture of popular while flours. It has a lighter, more golden flour color, and according to the vendor, it’s is the first time a whole grain wheat has been ground to the consistency of white flour. It’s suitable for foods that generally use refined flour – breads, crackers, cookies, pasta and pastries.
ConAgra Food Ingredients; Omaha, Neb.
800-851-9618; www.conagrafoodingredients

While not an ingredient, Digital Food Imaging was a fun feature in this booth. The vendor’s colors were used in a Spectra Technology inkjet system to provide four-color images on food products. The colors are FDA-approved and Kosher-certified, and the resulting food products are highly differentiated. This is the technology behind the trivia questions on Pringles Prints potato crisps.
Sensient Colors; St. Louis

Hi-Maize 5-in-1 Fiber is a high-amylose maize starch — an enriched source of dietary fiber and resistant starch. To show off the product, the vendor’s chef prepared multigrain bread, its 5 g fiber per serving perfectly integrated into the recipe so as to have no detectable texture or taste difference.

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