Monthly Archives

July 2017

Fiberstar Announces Citri-Fi Student Innovation Contest

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 Win $10,000 – Student Innovation Contest using Novel Citrus Fibers

To support University academia and the Food Science communities, Fiberstar initiated a Student innovation contest involving new and novel uses for citrus fiber. This contest not only provides Students experience creating solutions for real world issues, but also, firsthand knowledge in how to formulate using clean and sustainable ingredients.

Fiberstar, Inc. (River Falls, WI) a global market leader in clean label food ingredient solutions announces a Student Innovation Contest entailing new and novel ways to use citrus fiber. This contest is introduced during a time when the food industry is exploding with cleaner and simpler versions of food products that appeal to a new, knowledgeable growing consumer base. This consumer base is seeking food products that contain ingredients that are recognizable, simple and natural. “We are thrilled to offer Universities and Students an opportunity to apply their food science knowledge and creativity to solve real world challenges.” said Fiberstar, Inc. President and CEO, John Haen. “Formulating with citrus fiber will give Students experience using cutting edge natural ingredients like Citri-Fi.”

Citri-Fi is a natural citrus fiber derived from citrus pulp, which is a byproduct of the orange juicing process, processed using a patented process with technology licensed from the University of Minnesota.This natural fiber contains soluble and insoluble fiber, protein and lipid which provide multiple functionalities for any array of food applications. These benefits include moisture retention, natural emulsification, gelling properties, stabilization, yield improvement and texturization which can improve the nutritional profile, enhance quality over shelf-life and/or extend costly ingredients to provide cost savings. And Citri-Fi can be used in meats, bakery, dairy, beverages and sauce food applications. This natural ingredient is non-GMO, non-allergenic, contributes fiber and accepted on the National Organic Program list. Fiberstar developed and recently launched a new clean label product called Citri-Fi 125 with unique properties compared to the previously developed products, which is the focal point for the design competition.

The Contest
Proposed food applications can be from any category and the competition can be part of a class or independent study project. These food concepts should be designed for scale up and global commercial distribution, taking into account market need, cost and ingredient quality. Fiberstar also included a $5,000 prize for the most innovative non-food application (e.g. energy, chemical, industrial, etc.).  Final submissions will be a final report with photographs of a prototype and respective formulations and procedures.

This innovation contest has a total prize pool of $25,000!
1st place winner of $10,000
2nd place winner of $5,000
3rd thru 6th place winner at $2,500 each
Non-food Application Winner $5,000

Contest submission are due no later than December 15th, 2017. A panel of judges will assess each idea using the following criteria: originality of concept, market need, ingredient commercial feasibility, technical feasibility and quality of the report.

If you are interested in more information, please contact Dr. Brock Lundberg at or visit Interested contestants will receive a contest packet which includes Citri-Fi samples, contest guidelines and rules and Citri-Fi product usage guidelines.

The Contest Packet:
Citri-Fi 125 Innovation Challenge Guidelines
Citri-Fi 125 Contest Poster

Fiberstar, Inc. Launches a Natural Plant Fiber to Improve Tomato-based Food Product Quality and Labeling

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Natural plant-based fiber derived from citrus used to improve texture in tomato-based food products like sauces, condiments and spreads and to create cleaner food labels by replacing starches, gums and other chemical-based ingredients.

Fiberstar, Inc., a global market leader in clean label food ingredient solutions for the food and beverage industry, offers Citri-Fi® 125. This natural citrus fiber is used to improve tomato-based food products by replacing starches and gums that are used to thicken and extend real tomato in sauces, condiments and spreads. Today, more than ever, consumers connect ingredients to the foods they eat by reading food labels. As a result, consumers expect recognizable, short and transparent labels which is driving the need for clean label ingredients.

Fiberstar, Inc. President and CEO, John Haen says, “This new use for our flagship Citri-Fi product comes timely as our Customers are looking to replace starches and gums in various foods such as meats, sauces, beverages and baked goods to improve label declaration.”

The food industry is responding by reformulating or creating foods using a whole foods approach which is perceived to be healthier to the consumer.

“Our natural citrus fiber aligns with today’s consumers expectations when it comes to clean label.” says Mr. Haen.

Citri-Fi 125 is a natural citrus fiber produced from the orange juicing process. The clean, patented process creates high surface area which lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties. This natural fiber’s composition of soluble and insoluble fibers simulates tomato fibers texture and composition. When sheared, Citri-Fi also provides a significant increase in viscosity. Used at 0.5% or less, tomato paste reductions of 10% or more are possible. Unlike starches and gums, this natural fiber also maintains the deep red color and enhances the tomato flavor throughout the food cooking process. Moreover, Citri-Fi creates the tomato texture that consumers expect when eating foods rich in tomato. On the other hand, ingredients like starches and gums tend to create unnatural slimy or pasty textures. In addition to the improved texture, Citri-Fi is stable to freeze/thaw, low pH, heat and shear conditions. Additionally, it will assist to bind up water from syneresis and any free oils present in sauces.

Citri-Fi is non-GMO, non-allergenic and National Organic Compliant. This natural fiber has no e-number and can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonates well in the clean label market. Citri-Fi is approved by the FDA and FSMA dietary fiber guidelines, as a result, it contributes fiber to foods.

Citri-Fi is a valuable tool in any clean label product developer’s toolbox. It is used to replace chemical or synthetic ingredients in various food applications including, but limited to, gums in beverages, phosphates in meats, gums and starches in sauces and spreads and maltodextrin or silicates in oil-based plated delivery systems.

John Haen concludes, “We continue to work closely with our Customers to provide innovative and natural solutions to improve food product quality and labeling, globally. We are in an excellent position to grow with the projected clean label demands and we continue to invest in new clean label technologies and additional production for the future.”


About Fiberstar, Inc.

Fiberstar, Inc. is a privately held innovative biotechnology Company focused on enhancing food performance by manufacturing and marketing value-added food ingredients. Its largest brand, Citri-Fi is an all-natural highly functional fiber produced sustainably from orange pulp using a patented process. Citri-Fi is GRAS, non-allergenic, neutral in taste & odor and non-GMO.  This functional fiber line benefits meat, dairy, bakery, gluten-free, sauce, condiments, frozen food, beverage and health & wellness food products through textural improvements, nutritional enhancements and/or cost savings.  Headquartered in River Falls, Wisconsin with manufacturing in Florida and Wisconsin, Fiberstar sells products globally in over 65 countries.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Research Chemist, Scientist or Engineer Position

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Come Work for a Fast Growing, Global Food Ingredient Company!!!

Position:  Research Chemist, Scientist or Engineer Opportunity
Location:  River Falls, WI
R&D Chemist Job Description 2017

Company Brief:

Fiberstar, Inc. is a growing company that sells and manufactures functional clean label food ingredients and is looking for a R&D Chemist, Scientist, or Engineer to lead its new product development efforts. The employee will have responsibilities for ensuring the company meets its objectives for developing new product properties of citrus fiber based ingredients.  While the materials are citrus fibers based, they contain native pectin and have many functional properties, which is why experience working with hydrocolloids is beneficial. To accomplish the new product goals, the employee will need to perform research and work closely with team members to coordinate and work hands-on to facilitate research projects both in-house and work with research partners.  One of the key research partners will be the University of Minnesota. An advanced degree is preferred but not required and a preferred candidate will have 4+ years experience working with hydrocolloids and emulsifiers in a wide variety of food and beverage applications.  Great opportunity to develop new ingredients and to grow with a small company that is well-positioned for continued growth in the marketplace.  For more information on Fiberstar please visit our website at

Job Description:

  • Design experiments, research best practices, and develop a plan for new process testing.
  • Perform laboratory and pilot plant testing to develop process & measurement techniques for targeted properties. Work with team members on application testing with the new product properties.
  • Assist with scale-up and full-scale production equipment testing to transfer laboratory findings to pilot and full scale manufacturing.
  • Prepare of technical reports, written process guidelines, and presentations.
  • Work closely with engineering team to transfer knowledge and assist with scale-up and manufacturing.
  • Coordinates and/or attends weekly cross functional team meetings with R&D, Marketing personnel and others to discuss projects and associated timelines, goals and objectives.
  • Partner with Sales, Manufacturing, Operations and vendors to coordinate plant trial production processes and inclusive of scheduling and material (ingredients, packaging etc.) delivery logistics.
  • Travel to partner research facilities and attend live plant trials as needed.
  • Collaborates with Quality Assurance to ensure food safety, SQF and HACCP program requirements are met and to provide product specifications and other related information.
  • Learns the various manufacturing equipment capabilities associated with the processes for which products may be developed.
  • Maintains ongoing research and knowledge of technical service developments inclusive of potential opportunities for new products and new developments within the industry.
  • Partners with co-manufacturers and internal facilities to troubleshoot or optimize product formulations and production efficiencies.
  • Engages academia and trade associations (etc) to promote innovation from external resources.
  • Assist in regulatory affairs to obtain necessary approvals for products, and manage lab environmental, health, and safety reporting requirements.
  • Communicate technical results both verbally and written to team members, customers, and sales people. Assist in writing technical proposals, including grant proposals.

Preferred Qualifications:

Preferred candidates would have 4+ years work experience with a background working with hydrocolloids and emulsifiers.   BS, MS, or PhD in Chemistry, Food Science, Food Engineering, or similar.  Excellent written and verbal communication skills required.

In Return:

  • A base salary to commensurate with experience.
  • Benefits package – medical insurance, flex-plan, & 401(k)
  • Great opportunity to grow with a small company that is well-positioned for continued growth in the marketplace.


Brock Lundberg, PhD, Email:

State of the Industry 2017: Desserts still hit the sweet spot for consumers (Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery)

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(Melissa Kvidahl)

Datassential reports that nine out of 10 restaurants in America serve dessert, with the top five menu items being cake, ice cream, cheesecake, cookies  and pies (in that order). And while most demographics are either eating the same amount or decreasing their consumption of desserts, millennials are more likely to say they’re increasing their consumption.

When it comes to packaged options, restaurant trends are trickling down and impacting sales. “Research shows that consumers are most likely to try a new food trend in a restaurant and then look for a way to bring their experience home by shopping that trend at the grocery store,” explains Doon Wintz, president, Wholly Wholesome, Chester, NJ.

Market data

According to IRI, Chicago, sales of desserts at retail are healthy. The pies and cakes segment was up 5.3 percent for the 52 weeks ending March 19, 2017, hitting $1.9 billion. When broken into segments, cakes were up 4.4 percent to $1.5 billion, while dollar sales of pies climbed 8.2 percent to $442.5 million. Private label leads both segments by a wide margin.

In fact, the only segment where private label doesn’t have a strong top position is in frozen pies, where it holds the No. 4 spot.

According to the IRI data, more shoppers might be opting for fresh vs. frozen options. Frozen pie dollar sales dropped 3.20 percent to $516.0 million. The same pattern surfaced in cheesecakes, with frozen cheesecake sales dropping 12.83 percent to $123.0 million, while dollar sales of refrigerated cheesecakes increased 16.40 percent to $277.2 million.

Refrigerated cakes and pies is a minor segment, but both showed growth over the past year. Sales of refrigerated cakes grew 5.46 percent to reach $130.4 million. Dollar sales of refrigerated pies rose 4.90 percent to $31.5 million.

Wintz notes that some growth within the desserts category is in the better-for-you niche. “This includes organic, allergy-friendly, vegan, and/or low-sugar—particularly products that are naturally low in sugar, rather than those sweetened artificially,” he says.

Looking back

Though a traditionally decadent and indulgent category, desserts are not exempt from the clean label trend affecting nearly every facet of the food industry. Whether it’s nutrition or transparency, simple ingredients or gluten-free, clean label is one consumer demand that’s not going anywhere.

And that could be a challenge for some brands, says Kurt Villwock, director of research and development, Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI. “Depending on the customer’s clean label definition, it could mean using kitchen cupboard ingredients, reducing the number of ingredients in a statement, and/or removing allergenic components.” It could also mean reducing negatively perceived product aspects such as calories, saturated fat or added sugars to improve the dessert’s impact on health.

Villwock says that ingredient options for water-binding, thickening or emulsifying functionalities in desserts are diminishing as the definition of clean label gets more expansive and inclusive. In response, Fiberstar offers Citri-Fi, a line of natural citrus fibers that is a clean label alternative to pure pectin for jam and jelly fillings, and also provides high water-holding capacity and emulsification properties.

Eli’s Cheesecake Co. has a clean label for its No. 1 seller, Eli’s Original Plain Cheesecake, made with cultured cream cheese, cultured sour cream, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, butter, eggs and sugar. It has also introduced GMO-free ingredients into its portfolio, including those that appear in its Cookie Butter Cheesecake and miniature pies. Non-dairy cheesecakes appeal to the vegan or allergy-sensitive audience, and are made with tofu.

“There has been a continued movement to marry the concept of nutrition and foods that normally would not be associated with nutrition,” comments Wintz, “whether that means fortifying a dessert with antioxidants or incorporating an ingredient as apparently nutritious as an açaí or goji berry. Protein and probiotics, as well, have entered the dessert category, making it much less of a ‘health sacrifice’ in the eyes of health-minded consumers.”

One other way consumers are taking a healthier approach to dessert is through smaller serving sizes, and miniature or single-serve options remained popular over the past year. Sara Lee, a Hillshire Brands business, introduced single-serve cheesecake slices to its portfolio in January 2016, and Portland Style Cheesecake and Dessert Co. launched miniature 3-inch cheesecakes and cakes in the same month. Sara Lee grew its refrigerated cheesecake business by 254.19 percent to $3.1 million.

The Father’s Table also offers single-serving and reduced-size cheesecake products. In refrigerated cheesecakes, The Father’s Table is the No. 2 company in the segment, and was up 3.62 percent for the year to $53.5 million.

Lance Aasness, executive vice president of Hinds-Bock Corporation, Bothell, WA, has noticed manufacturers getting creative in this area, offering dessert shots or desserts on a stick (think small cheesecake slices dipped in chocolate ganache and served semi-frozen) to meet demand. To meet the mini trend, the company offers a dual servo orbiting multi-piston high speed depositing system, which can run 2,700 miniature products per minute.

Colborne Foodbotics, Lake Forest, IL, has also introduced new equipment to help manufacturers produce single-serve desserts, “through special conveyor technology combined with our proprietary depositor designs,” says Rick Hoskins, president.

At Eli’s, new introductions to meet this demand include Mini Pies and Cheesecake Cuties, measuring 1.7 oz. and 1-inch-square, respectively, which Debbie Marchok, vice president of marketing, says “allows the consumer to ‘treat themselves’ to an indulgent dessert with portion control.”

Looking forward

Going forward, there are two distinct areas of opportunity.

The first takes the clean label trend and expands upon it, including transparency at all levels. Aasness believes that manufacturers are wise to get back to basics with their ingredients, so there’s truly nothing to hide on the label. “By that I mean less-processed, full-flavor ingredients, real butter, real cream, unrefined sugar, unrefined flowers and fewer GMO ingredients,” he said, “just like you see in many parts of Europe.”

But it doesn’t end on the label. Wintz believes companies that show clean production practices, as well, will find success. A farm-to-fork approach will be favored, he adds. “For companies dedicated to true transparency and an open dialogue with consumers, offering an immersive look at their company, their brand and its products is certainly a progressive next step.”

The second area of opportunity concerns flavors. While Datassential reports that the top growing flavors in desserts are still sweet favorites like Nutella, marshmallow, red velvet and butterscotch, the consumers of tomorrow will be captured not by the familiar, but by the exotic.

“Ethnic flavors are more common now on menus, and these influence the retail products as consumers would like to experience the same flavors and textures at home,” says Carlos Fajardo, technical business development manager, Palsgaard, Morris Plains, NJ.

Eli’s is incorporating such trends with savory, southern and ethnic flavors in desserts, such as Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Blackberry Sour Cream Cheesecake and Honey Almond Cheesecake, drawing inspiration from eastern Mediterranean flavors. And, of course, a vibrant and fun category like desserts can capitalize on one hot trend, says Marchok: “Unicorn everything. Colorful desserts will reign in 2017.”