Category

In the News

Ingredients to Address Fiber Shortfalls (IFT Food Technology)

By | In the News | No Comments

Ingredients to Address Fiber Shortfalls 
Linda Milo Ohr

Consumers know that dietary fiber is important for health, but many adults are not meeting the recommended 28 g/day. With benefits in the areas of blood sugar management, digestion, weight management, and mineral absorption, fiber has an important role in overall wellness. Gopinath et al. (2016) even suggested that increasing the intake of fiberrich foods could be a successful strategy in disease-free and fully functional aging. The researchers examined the relationship between dietary glycemic index and glycemic load, carbohydrate, sugar, and fiber intake (including fruits, vegetables, and breads/cereals fiber) and successful aging. A total of 1,609 adults aged 49 and older who were free of cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke at baseline were followed for 10 years. Successful aging status was defined as the absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases. The subjects in the highest quartile versus lowest quartile of total fiber intake had greater odds of aging successfully. Those who remained consistently below the median in consumption of fiber from bread/ cereal and fruit compared with the rest of cohort were less likely to age successfully.
Here is a look at fiber ingredients that can help consumers increase their intake of dietary fiber.

Defining Fiber
Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new definition for dietary fiber, defining it as “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; isolated or synthetic nondigestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by the FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” Currently the FDA has identified seven types of isolated or synthetic nondigestible carbohydrates that meet the new definition. They include beta-glucan soluble fiber, psyllium husk, cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum, and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. Companies with ingredients that did not make this list or meet the definition have filed citizen petitions with the FDA for approval. Some of these ingredients include chicory root inulin, resistant starch, and oligosaccharides. Information in the petitions includes data and research supporting the beneficial physiological effects of these ingredients. Companies with $10 million or more in annual sales must comply with fiber labeling requirements by July 2018, and those with less than $10 million in annual sales must comply by July 2019.

Dietary Fiber on Display
Regardless of the new definition, companies at this year’s Engredea and Natural Products Expo West showcased their fiber ingredients that are supported by research to have beneficial physiological properties as well as functionality. For example, Cargill, Wayzata, Minn. (cargill.com), created a reducedsugar vegan hazelnut spread with its Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber, which aided in sugar reduction. AIDP, City of Industry, Calif. (aidp.com), showcased PreticX prebiotic in a cranberry beverage. It is a non-GM corn-derived xylooligosaccharide. Ingredion, Westchester, Ill. (ingredion.us), served a reducedsugar prebiotic cherry-beet juice containing NUTRAFLORA L95-S prebiotic fiber.

In October 2016, Ingredion launched VERSAFIBE dietary fiber ingredients for low cost-in-use fiber fortification. The corn-based insoluble resistant starches enable manufacturers to add fiber to foods with little to no impact on product texture, flavor, and color. VERSAFIBE 2470 and 1490 dietary fibers can deliver fiber and help reduce calories and carbohydrates in low-moisture applications such as breads, crackers, cookies, pastas, noodles, and extruded products. These are additions to Ingredion’s portfolio of fibers, including HI-MAIZE resistant starch, NUTRAFLORA prebiotic soluble fiber for digestive support, and NUTRIOSE soluble fiber for satiety and weight management benefits.

The FDA in December 2016 approved a Qualified Health Claim petition for highamylose maize resistant starch and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The qualified health claim petition was based on eight clinical trials that assessed the impact of HI-MAIZE high-amylose maize resistant starch on insulin sensitivity and other biomarkers. The resistant starch helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and supports balanced energy by reducing the glycemic response to foods and improving carbohydrate metabolism. It is a white fiber that can be seamlessly incorporated into breads, baked goods, snacks, and pasta, where it replaces up to 20% of flour.

ADM Matsutani, Decatur, Ill. (fibersol.com), in January 2017 introduced Fibersol-DLQ, a corn syrup solid version of soluble corn fiber that offers approximately 75% soluble dietary fiber on a dry solids basis. Fibersol-DLQ, like its liquid counterpart Fibersol-LQ, has been specifically designed for customers who want their products to make a fiber claim, but do not require a higher percentage of fiber.

Fiberstar, River Falls, Wis. (fiberstar. net), has highlighted the functionality of its Citri-Fi 125 ingredient, a natural citrus fiber derived from the orange juicing process. Citri-Fi contains insoluble and soluble fiber. Last month, the company announced the winners of the Citri-Fi 125 Student Innovation Contest. First place went to the team from Oregon State University Seafood Research and Education Center, which used the citrus fiber ingredient as an effective fat blocker in fried seafood. Specifically, Citri-Fi 125 was used in a coating formulation to reduce oil pick-up, providing potential cost savings, as well as providing opportunities to reduce fat and calories. Second place went to the team from Surya University in Indonesia for creating a reduced-fat instant laksa paste. In this product concept, Citri-Fi 125 was used to reduce the amount of coconut milk used, resulting in cost savings and fat reduction. Third place went to the team from Washington State University for a Citri-Crunch Healthy Savory Extruded Pork Snack product concept. The citrus fiber helped reduce the oil uptake and improved the flavor by enhancing the umami flavor of monosodium glutamate.

Fiber Research
In addition to ingredient developments, fiber suppliers continue to publish research supporting health benefits. Taiyo International, Minneapolis, Minn. (sunfiber.com), announced research that its soluble dietary fiber, Sunfiber, was found to improve the metabolic health of people who are glucose intolerant (Kapoor et al. 2016). Sunfiber is a partially hydrolyzed guar gum ingredient. The human clinical study noted benefits in hyperglycemia, cholesterol levels, inflammatory markers, and a decrease in waist circumference, particularly associated with abdominal fat, without any additional modifications to diet, exercise, or lifestyle. Twelve healthy subjects consumed 6 g of Sunfiber with each meal for 12 months. The researchers found that consuming the meals that included 6 g of the ingredient three times daily resulted in significantly reduced postprandial blood glucose levels; significantly reduced postprandial insulin and triglyceride levels; lowered LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol levels; reduced inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein; and significantly reduced body mass index, particularly measurable in waist circumference.

In February 2016, Health Canada approved Taiyo’s Sunfiber health claims for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and alleviating childhood constipation. Taiyo is also pursuing similar qualified health claims for IBS in the United States and Europe.

BENEO, Morris Plains, N.J. (beneo. com), recently published two studies showing further digestive health benefits (improving bowel regularity and softening stools) for its prebiotic chicory root Formulate crackers and other products with various types of fiber and resistant starch to help consumers boost their dietary intake. With benefits in the areas of blood sugar management, digestion, weight management,and mineral absorption, fiber has an important role in overall wellness. pg 116 04.17 • www.ift.org fiber (BENEO 2017). Micka et al. (2016) showed that chicory root inulin improved bowel function in adults and contributed to improved digestive health. The clinical trial included 44 healthy, slightly constipated subjects. The subjects consumed a bever – age that contained either 4 g of BENEO’s Orafti Inulin chicory root fiber or a placebo three times a day (once with a break – fast meal, once with a lunch meal, and once with a dinner meal) over a 4-week period and after a 2-week run-in phase. The results showed that the prebiotic chicory inulin significantly improved stool frequency per week without resulting in gastro – intestinal discomfort. Closa-Monasterolo et al. (2017) demonstrated that prebiotic chicory root fibers, inulin, and oligofructose supported diges – tive health by improving stool consistency, while at the same time being very well tolerated, in children between ages 2–5. The subjects received either 2 g of a combination of BENEO’s Orafti Inulin and Oligofructose, or a placebo, incorporated into yogurt or fresh cheese, two times a day for a 6-week period.

DuPont Nutrition & Health, Madison, Wis. (dupont.com), published research that found that Bifidobacterium lactis 420 probiotic alone or in combination with its prebiotic fiber, Litesse Ultra polydextrose, reduced body fat mass, trunk fat mass, waist circumference, and energy intake compared to a placebo (Stenman et al. 2016). The study was conducted in a population of 225 healthy adults and demon – strated that probiotic and synbiotic (fiber plus probiotic combination) seemed to control body fat mass, especially in the abdominal area in overweight adults.

MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kan. (mgpingredients.com), announced results of an independent study conducted at South Dakota State University showing that its Fibersym RW resistant wheat starch reduced risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome (MGP Ingredients 2016). Such factors included high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, elevated fasting blood sugar, and high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The 26-week study involved 20 subjects from two Hutterite colonies in eastern South Dakota who had signs of metabolic syndrome. The subjects consumed food products made with flour (control) or a 30%/70% blend of Fibersym RW and flour with no other dietary restrictions. The intervention was conducted in two 12-week sessions, with a two-week break to allow the researchers to switch the intervention and control groups so that each group served as its own control. After consuming Fibersym RW, the subjects had a lower percentage of body fat and trending lower waist circumference, along with reduced glycosylated hemoglobin and lower fasting blood glucose. The consumption of Fibersym RW also resulted in reduced total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol, as well as less proinflammatory molecules in the blood.

In November 2016, MGP Ingredients filed a citizen petition with the FDA asking the agency to further confirm the status of Fibersym RW and FiberRite RW resistant wheat starches as dietary fiber. While MGP’s citizen petition is undergoing review, the current status of Fibersym RW, along with FiberRite RW, as accepted dietary fiber and recognized fiber-fortifying ingredients remains in place.

Nexira, Rouen, France (nexira.com), in November 2016 announced that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved its health claim for Fibregum for glycemia regulation. Fibregum is an acacia gum with a minimum guarantee of 90% dietary fiber. In order to bear the health claim, at least 30% of sugars should be replaced in foods or drinks by acacia gum. Through different evaluations, EFSA based its opinion on a scientific consensus that concluded that sugar replacement in foods and beverages by non-digestible carbohydrates induces a reduction of postprandial glycemia and insulinemia. FT Next month’s Nutraceuticals section will provide a preview of some of the ingredient suppliers exhibiting at IFT17 in Las Vegas, June 26–28.

Pizza innovation increases, frozen pizza sales decrease (Snackfoods & Wholesale Bakery)

By | In the News | No Comments

Pizza innovation increases, frozen pizza sales decrease

(March 17, 2017)
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh

Over the past four months since our last analysis of the pizza category, retail sales have taken a slight dip. Frozen pizza dollar sales were down 0.75 percent for the 52 weeks ending January 22, 2017 to $4.6 billion, per IRI, Chicago. Only one company has maintained positive performance, with Palermo Villa up 4.84 percent to $122.9 million, anchored by its Screamin’ Sicilian brand (up 9.82 percent in dollar sales to $70.9 million)—a testament to the staying power of the super-premium segment. Private label is also still capturing growth, up 8.95 percent to $580.3 million.

Other standouts in frozen pizza for the period include The Schwan Food Co. brand Tony’s (up 14.16 percent to $77.3 million) and Nestlé brand Lean Cuisine (up 16.82 to $69.9 million).

Frozen pizza crusts and dough likewise took a slight hit, down 0.32 percent to $19.7 million, per IRI, while shelf-stable pizza crusts and shells dropped 4.89 percent to $107.9 million. Of the top five brands in frozen pizza crusts and dough, only gluten-free baker Against the Grain Gourmet saw a gain (up 17.11 percent to $1.1 million). It’s notable that Against the Grain bakes three kinds of cheese directly into its gluten-free crust. But the clear winner in frozen crusts and dough for the period was private label, rising a significant 50.62 percent in dollar sales to $4.0 million. Damascus Bakery is the standout in the top five shelf-stable crust brands, up 77.77 percent to $4.2 million.

The freshness perception is paying off in refrigerated crusts and dough, up 10.45 percent to $96.3 million. General Mills sits in the No. 1 slot of the segment with its iconic Pillsbury brand, up 4.67 percent to $47.3 million and a 49.13 percent share of the segment. Private label trails at No. 2, up 19.21 percent to $32.5 million.

Slices of interest

The pizza category has seen a wide range of innovative products within the past year or so. Of particular note has been the super-premium offerings from Palermo Villa, which first helped define this segment with its Screamin’ Sicilian line, and then with its Urban Pie line made on a croissant-inspired crust. The company has since extended its Screamin’ Sicilian line with Stromboli products.

Bolder, spicier flavors are clearly coming into play. The new Red Baron Classic Crust Chipotle Chicken pizza was launched in February. “Chipotle is a restaurant menu staple, and chicken has been outpacing all other protein consumption, so we wanted to bring these trends to retail in an approachable way,” says Brian Van Otterloo, senior director of pizza marketing, Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc., The Schwan Food Co., Marshall, MN, owner of the Red Baron, Tony’s, Freschetta and Bon Appétit frozen pizza lines.

The Nestlé brand Lean Cuisine has repositioned itself with flavor-forward lines like Craveables, which includes several varieties of pizza like Wood Fire-Style BBQ Chicken. Front-of-pack messaging does include a note that the single-serve pizza offers 20 grams of protein.

Better-for-you trends surface along incremental lines, adding select ingredients to refine the product’s image. Angelic Bakehouse released a Sprouted Mash 7-Grain Flatzza made with sprouted whole grains (a blend of red wheat berries, quinoa, oat groats, rye berries, barley, amaranth and millet, along with 100 percent whole-wheat flour), sunflower oil and organic honey while omitting preservatives.

Pizzeria appeal

In foodservice, French bread was the fastest-growing pizza crust type over the past year, up 15 percent per Technomic’s MenuMonitor, and flatbread pizzas increased 2 percent.

“Flatbreads continue to show steady growth on menus for a variety of reasons,” says Brett Miller, corporate chef, Tyson Foodservice, Springdale, AR. “Flatbread crusts allow operators to execute at a faster, more-efficient rate since they cook more quickly than a traditional pizza while also allowing the operator to use less toppings than would be used on traditional doughs/crusts, thereby increasing their profit margins.”

According to Michael Gunn, director of culinary, The Schwan Food Co., two interesting flavor trends are taking hold in the chain foodservice pizza today: vegetables and regional or ethnic meats.

“Vegetables used to play a supporting role in the world of pizza toppings, but now they are stars in their own right,” says Gunn. “They are being marinated and grilled, pickled, smoked and roasted to concentrate their flavors and sweetness. I’m also seeing a growing number of chains offer meat toppings that draw on well-known regional styles of preparation.” He cites Kansas City barbecue, Santa Fe chicken and Caribbean jerk as examples.

Flavor adventure can come through customization options. “Fast-casual and QSR chains continue to lead flavor innovation through a variety of ways,” says Miller. “One of these ways is offering optional drizzles or dips for pizza. This is a low-risk way for operators to feature flavor innovation—as well as customization—on the menu. The customization piece is critical, as consumers continue to look for ways to personalize their food, and some of the fastest-growing pizza chains center around this idea of customization.”

Another growing trend is hot-and-spicy pizza ingredients and drizzles, notes Miller. “Spicy base sauces are a perfect way to satisfy that craving. Hot seasonings, such as Cajun, and spicy condiments, such as spicy pickled peppers or spicy giardiniera—also allow consumers to get that fix.”

Breakfast pizzas also continue to trend forward, notes Miller. “They allow operators to stay competitive in the marketplace, especially as QSR burger chains continue to offer all-day breakfast options. While the breakfast pizza builds can vary widely, some basic commonalities include a white sauce or olive oil base, and toppings including eggs and traditional breakfast proteins such as bacon, sausage and ham.”

Daniel Marciani, executive development chef, Ardent Mills, points toward ways to build more craft appeal into pizza. “Describing cooking techniques is a way to show more attention to hand- or house-made ingredients,” he says. For example, “hand-tossed” shows up as a menu descriptor. “Some independents are taking dough techniques even further with hand-milled grains and house-sprouted grains, which is great because it brings more attention to the flavors, textures and variety of different grains, and how milling affects flavor.”

While hand-milling might not be feasible for many operators, Marciani suggests sprouted grains and ancient grains can bring similar appeal. “I like sprouted grains to inspire not just the dough, but the entire pizza, so that the toppings also have some life-giving characteristics. When consumers see the word ‘sprouted’ on the menu, they associate that with the idea of their food being alive and healthy. That’s a powerful image. Take that and pair it with some simply roasted, in-season vegetables, quality cheese and meat, and you’re going to be pulling in a lot of healthful images and associations for health-minded pizza fans.”

Descriptive culinary words like “fire-roasted” help communicate the work and effort that goes into crafting the pizza, notes Jeremy Lycan, culinary strategy and execution and product training chef, Tyson Foodservice. “‘Sourdough crust with fire-roasted tomatoes, three artisan-crafted cheese and house-cured pepperoni’ sounds way more appealing than ‘pepperoni pizza.’”

Ardent Mills recently worked with Datassential researchers to learn more about pizza trends on chain restaurant menus, says Don Trouba, director of marketing, Ardent Mills, Denver. While the firm’s menu-tracking data notes that stuffed crusts are showing up more, with mozzarella, mixed cheese and other ingredients, like bacon.

Another trend the research discovered is pizza topped with full meals. “For instance, one Florida-based concept offers a wheat flatbread with a full turkey dinner on top,” says Trouba. “It has smoked sliced turkey, whole cranberry sauce, crisp apple slices, smooth green onion cream cheese and Swiss cheese garnished with green onions.” He notes another topping trend is global inspiration, like house-marinated Korean barbecue, onions, green pepper and mushroom on a thick crust.

Datassential’s research shows thin crust is most prevalent on menus. Pan, thick, New York and deep-dish crusts complete the top five, followed by wheat, Chicago, hand-tossed, square and wood-fired. The firm suggests wood-fired, wheat and stuffed-crust pizzas have seen the strongest growth on menus since 2012.

The research also provided some specific menu examples that show interesting crusts and descriptions emerging, says Trouba. “Some examples include ‘SuperFood MultiGrain Crust’ with flax seed, açaí berry, chia seeds and sprouted multigrains. Another is gluten-free crust made from ancient grains, including sorghum, amaranth and teff.” Buckwheat and farro are also showing up in pizza crusts.

“It’s important to note that consumers are increasingly interested in knowing the details of the ingredients they eat, so instead of noting ‘multigrain crust,’ we predict you’ll be seeing more descriptions that list all the individual grains and tell a bit about the grain’s origins—who grew the grain, how it was milled, etc.,” says Trouba. “Along with health benefits, great flavor and texture, ancient grains bring great origin stories to menus.”

Pizzeria operators are working with cheese blends that have varying textures, melting properties and flavors, notes Rachel Kerr, public relations manager, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Madison. She cites a pizza called Forza from Salvatore’s Tomato Pies, with two locations in the Madison area. “It combines smoked Wisconsin gouda for a great cheese melt with fresh Wisconsin ricotta that’s added just as the pizza comes out of the oven. The dollops of ricotta warm slightly, but don’t melt, adding an interesting visual component and milky, fresh flavor.”

Schwan’s Chef Collective held a Kitchen Collaborative last summer where a group of internal Schwan’s and external chefs—including Jet Tila, a celebrity chef and restaurateur—worked together to test different pizza flavors and crust types, ranging from pretzel crust to flavored doughs, for potential implementation in the future.

“In 2017, we will accelerate the integration of Schwan’s Chef Collective into how we think about the renovation and innovation of the foods we provide to our customers and consumers,” says Dimitrios Smyrnios, CEO, The Schwan Food Co. “We are proud of our work to distinguish Schwan from other frozen-food manufacturers by having restaurant chefs from around the country collaborate with our own chefs, food scientists and marketers, as well as our retail and foodservice customers. Our collection of talented food professionals is translating emerging culinary trends into great-tasting frozen food that runs that gamut from wholesome to indulgent.”

Hot trends

“While there is still a need for classic and traditional varieties, interest in new pizza varieties is growing, particularly among millennial consumers as they look for approachable, interesting flavors with an upscale twist,” says Julie Adams, senior manager, consumer insights and analytics, The Schwan Food Co. She notes flavor varieties to watch include Greek and Thai, as well as sauce accents that include balsamic vinegar or hot sauce. She predicts interest in more unique cheese blends and premium toppings. Cheeses gaining interest include fontina, goat and asiago. Proteins to watch include prosciutto, meatballs and pancetta.

Combining adventure and the familiar is a common theme in pizza. “Consumers are willing to stretch tradition and be adventurous by adding nontraditional toppings to a classic crust style,” says Gunn. “This allows consumers who want to explore different flavors, but aren’t willing to go too far off the beaten path, to try something new and still have the safety net of that familiar crust.”

Crusts require the right crust thickness to handle the weight of the sauce and toppings, says Marciani. “For instance, red wheat can stand up to heavier toppings and meat. White wheat is better suited to lighter toppings and sauces.”

But crusts can also inspire. “As consumers are looking for innovative new flavors and food experiences, formulators are becoming more creative with the crust and dough for pizzas,” says Tess Brensing, technical products manager, ADM Milling, Overland Park, KS. “We are seeing experimentation with layers and depths of flavors, unexpected additions like ancient grains and a range of fermentation techniques to give dough and crust more flavor and dimension.”

Demand for great-tasting foods with clean/clear labels continues, notes Brensing. “Providing sourcing information on ingredients, such as local farm-to-table offerings, helps increase the appeal,” she says. “Visual crust characteristics are also important. Ingredients like ancient grains give crusts additional texture and visual appeal, and preparation techniques such as hand-tossed and wood-fired baking also provide a less uniform, hand-made quality that makes the final product feel higher quality to consumers.”

Whole-wheat flour and ancient grains can give retail frozen pizza crusts an organic look, but they can pose some formulation challenges, notes Kurt Villwock, Ph.D., director of research and development, Fiberstar, River Falls, WI. “These flours tend to be denser and require formulation adjustments to manage moisture during par-bake, freeze/thaw and final bake.” He suggests Citri-Fi 125 natural citrus fiber to improve water-holding capacity. “This moisture retention provides potential quality improvements in the crust after freeze/thaw and final bake.” He notes that the ingredient, which can be labeled as “citrus fiber,” can also help with water syneresis in tomato-based sauces, as well as oil with purge control in pepperoni or sausage meat toppings.

After all, at the end of the day, inspired culinary innovation doesn’t mean much if your pizza doesn’t maintain its functional properties when prepared by the end user. Art and science walk hand-in-hand with the best pizzas the market has to offer.

Shifting Fiber Definition Requires a New Game Plan (Baking Business)

By | In the News | No Comments

Shifting Fiber Definition Requires a New Game Plan 

(Laurie Gorton)

Talk about mid-season roster changes. That’s essentially what happened to “Team Total Dietary Fiber” when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the final rules that updated the Nutrition Facts Panel, a mandatory part of food package labeling.

Many definitions of dietary fiber have circulated, written by AACC International, Codex Alimentarius and other industry and government groups. Some insisted that the only food components that qualify as dietary fiber must be those placed there solely by Mother Nature. Others asserted that any food ingredient that analyzes chemically as a non-digestible carbohydrate should be considered dietary fiber.

But until May 27, 2016, FDA had not weighed in, and when it did, the agency set the bar high. It established a brand new, three-part definition. First, it listed “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants.” Second, it acknowledged “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” And third, total dietary fiber (TDF) was recognized as the sum of “intrinsic and intact” and “isolated or synthetic” present in the food.

That definition is quite literally a mouthful. But it means that the rules of the game have changed drastically for choosing fiber ingredients and making claims about the amount of dietary fiber contained in a food product.

The good news is that “intrinsic and intact” fiber is found in many bakery ingredients such as flour, cereal brans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The bad news is that FDA named only seven of the marketplace’s numerous fiber additive ingredients — now termed “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates.” It left more than two dozen in limbo. Suppliers of such ingredients can get them onto FDA’s list through the citizen petition process, and several have filed already.

Still, the fact is that fiber and baked foods go together. “Fiber is a natural for baked foods,” said Cathy Dorko, regional product manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

Consumers do understand that dietary fiber is good for them, observed Douglas Raeder, product manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health. “We see a lot of positive feedback about fiber’s positive effect on health,” he said. “And many consumers feel they fall short on fiber intake. Fiber occupies a very important space.”

A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% through 2020 is projected for the dietary fiber market, noted Renee Beall, food marketing, Roquette America. “Consumers — looking to address health risks, weight management and simply to make better choices for themselves and their families — recognize that fiber is a critical part of a healthy eating pattern,” she said. “Adding fiber is an easy, cost-effective way to add a health-related claim and differentiate your product. It can also lower fat, calories and sugar content of your product.”

With FDA’s new definition, bakers and snack food producers — and their fiber ingredient suppliers who want to make fiber claims — have been put into a third-and-long situation. “Although this new rule poses some challenges to the food industry, the purpose is to update packaged foods labels to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease,” said Tom Carrington, senior regulatory scientist, Ardent Mills. “The intent is for the new label to make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.”

By the rules

The new definition is based on the physiological effects in humans conferred by consuming non-digestible carbohydrates, a.k.a. dietary fiber. This differs from past practice.

“Unfortunately, FDA retained the definition of dietary fiber based on a showing of a beneficial physiological effect, rather than a chemical definition, as is the case for most other nutrients,” said Lee Sanders, senior vice-president for governmental relations and public affairs for the American Bakers Association (ABA).

On Feb. 13, Ms. Sanders filed comments with FDA in which ABA urged the agency to rescind or stay “the unworkable and impractical definition of dietary fiber until it can thoroughly address the unintended consequences, costs and burdens for bakers under the current one.” Specifically, the group asked for additional fibers to be listed, provide examples about how the agency’s scientific evaluation process works, develop a public notification process for fibers it approves in the future, reclassify two fibers already approved and lengthen compliance timing.

Because most people don’t consume enough fiber, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans designated this food component a “nutrient of concern.” FDA took note and, for labeling purposes, increased fiber’s Daily Value (DV) from 25 g per day to 28. “Caloric contribution for an insoluble non-digestible carbohydrate is 0 Cal per g,” said Paula Trumbo, PhD, nutrition programs, Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, speaking to AACC International’s 2016 annual meeting held in October. “For soluble, it will range from 2 to 4 Cal per g. We don’t see this as being any different than in the past.”

What is different, however, is that food processors making dietary fiber claims must track fiber usage. “Record keeping is now required for foods that contain both dietary fiber and added non-digestible carbohydrates that do not meet the definition of dietary fiber,” Dr. Trumbo said.

The nub of the problem for formulators is that no analytical test can ascertain which fibers have or have not been determined by FDA to have physiological effects, explained Amy Fratus, regulatory affairs, Roquette America. “Any product with an added fiber that has been isolated from a plant will have to be reviewed to determine the declarable dietary fiber amount.”

When a food makes a fiber content claim, its packaging must disclose the amount. “Fiber declarations have always been voluntary,” Dr. Trumbo added, “and they still are, even under the new regulations.”

 From intrinsic to synthetic

Listed first in the FDA definition of dietary fiber are those considered intrinsic and intact. “Intact means having no relevant component removed or destroyed; intrinsic means originating and included wholly within a food,” Dr. Trumbo explained. Examples are vegetables, whole grains, fruits, cereal brans, flaked cereal and flours.When developing the final rule, FDA did a scientific review of additive dietary fiber ingredients touting physiological effects beneficial to human health. Only the seven listed presented enough accessible and supportive scientific data, according to the agency. The draft guidance FDA published on Nov. 22 described how it plans to evaluate the science supporting the dietary role claimed by isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates. That same day, the agency also released “Science Review of Isolated and Synthetic Non-Digestible Carbohydrates.” This summarized the background and scientific evidence involving various health benefits and physiological effects for 26 ingredients touting dietary fiber status. But the review did not take the next step: approval. That awaits the petition process.

“However, this evaluation is currently without conclusion,” said Jon Peters, president, Beneo, Inc. “FDA is now requesting additional scientific data and information, including unpublished studies. They are also asking for comments that would help them to finish the evaluation of the beneficial physiological effects of isolated or synthetic, non-digested carbohydrates that are added to foods.”

Dr. Trumbo confirmed this need. “If the fiber is not considered to be intrinsic and intact in a food, then it needs to demonstrate a physiological benefit to human health,” she said. “The final rule provides examples of physiological effects, such as lowering of blood glucose and cholesterol levels, lowering of blood pressure, improved laxation and bowel function, increased mineral absorption, reduced energy intake. This is not an exclusive list.”

Mr. Carrington noted, “Ardent Mills’ ingredients are only milled, rolled, chopped or crushed. Because of this, the fiber remains intrinsic and intact.” Among these high-fiber ingredients is the company’s Sustagrain barley, a whole grain that delivers 34 g total dietary fiber and 12 g beta-glucan soluble fiber per 100 g.

Traditional processing methods also characterize Grain Millers’ oat fibers and oat bran. “They are intrinsic and intact and naturally processed, made from the oat,”
explained Rajen Mehta, PhD, senior director, specialty ingredients, Grain Millers, Inc. The company also ­processes oat hull fiber with oat bran blends offering a broader spectrum of functional absorptive ingredients. “These, too, are considered intrinsic and intact fibers because they contain all the material from the anatomical layers from both the bran and the hulls. We have thoroughly studied the content of these ingredients, and the oat hull components are in the same proportion at the end of the process as at the beginning. We don’t throw anything away.”

Beans and pulses, typically supplied in cooked, dried and powdered formats, qualify for this category, too. “ADM offers a variety of plant-based bean and pulse ingredients that offer high fiber and protein in a whole-food ingredient,” said Doris Dougherty, Fibersol technical service representative at ADM.

BI Nutraceuticals specializes in fiber ingredients and offers a portfolio of fruit and vegetable powders. These satisfy the intrinsic-and-intact provision, said Alison Raban, certified food scientist. “Compliance will not be an issue for our customers using those ingredients.”

The situation with isolated or synthetic fiber additives is far more complex. FDA’s May 27, 2016, final rule listed seven that met its definition: beta-glucan soluble fiber, psyllium husk, cellulose, guar gum, locust bean gum, pectin and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC). Beta-glucans and psyllium husk qualified because they can make FDA-approved health claims for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Cellulose is listed because it supports improved bowel function. The other four are hydrocolloids known to attenuate blood cholesterol.

In its Feb. 13 comments, ABA questioned placement of beta-glucans and psyllium husk in the “isolated or synthetic” category. “All sources of beta-glucan soluble fiber … are clearly intrinsic and intact, including oat bran, rolled oats, whole oat flour, oatrim, whole grain barley and dry milled barley,” Ms. Sanders wrote to FDA. “Similarly, psyllium husk … is clearly intrinsic and intact and should not be included in FDA’s list of ‘isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates.’ ” She cited existing descriptions of the materials as dietary fiber in 21 CFR 101.81 and 21 CFR 101.9.

It’s common for suppliers of fibers qualifying as intrinsic and intact to also offer isolated or synthetic choices.

At BI Nutraceuticals, Ms. Raban termed the situation “complicated.” She said, “Formulators may be scrambling to find a fiber ingredient that will meet the new definition.” The company is primary in psyllium, and offers Psyberloid psyllium fiber. “It is one of the seven isolated sources of fiber FDA has already determined to fit the new definition, so any finished products using it are already in compliance.”

Citing the approved health claims, Don Trouba, director of marketing, Ardent Mills, said that they “can be used on packaging, helping consumers understand the fiber benefits of certain products. Beyond the approved claims, other benefits of fiber in intact forms include adding flavor, textural or culinary appeal.” He described the company’s colored barleys — purple, blue and black — that provide a burst of color in beige-colored baked foods and snacks.

All of the fiber products from Solvaira Specialties qualify as insoluble, “so the body does not absorb them and, instead, assist in digestion by adding bulk,” said Jit Ang, executive vice-president, specialty ingredients. “Under current food regulations, our cellulose fiber qualifies to be labeled and counted as dietary fiber on the food label.”

The case for inulin

Omission of inulin from the May 2016 lists surprised most food ingredient industry observers. It is probably the most studied of all isolated dietary fibers and has well-acknowledged prebiotic properties, an important function of dietary fiber. The inulin that plays such an important role in supplementing a food’s TDF content is extracted from the roots of chicory plants.

Several inulin producers submitted comments in a joint petition to FDA.

“The review [of the joint petition] is still ongoing,” said Scott Turowski, technical sales, Sensus America, Inc., “but we fully anticipate chicory root fiber to gain approval and maintain its status as a dietary fiber.

“A great deal of clinical research has been conducted with chicory root fiber in the area of digestive health, establishing its position as a proven, prebiotic fiber,” he continued. “There is also emerging research that has shown positive indications linking chicory root fiber to improved immune function, an area that will continue to be researched. In addition, research has shown that chicory root fiber consumption can lead to a decrease in daily caloric intake, making it a potential tool in the area of weight management.”

Mr. Peters of Beneo noted another move. “Along with other European inulin producers, we have also submitted a citizen petition on inulin-type fructans.” He expected that FDA analysis would take place over the next few months.

Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber (inulin) made by Cosucra in Belgium is distributed by Cargill in the US and Canada. Cosucra is also a participant in the joint petition. “Given the wealth of data on chicory root inulin’s beneficial physiological effects, the major inulin producers and Cargill are confident that the additional information supplied through the citizen petition will aid in the review and approval of inulin as a dietary fiber,” said Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager.

 Vegetable, grain isolates

Cereal grains and vegetables qualify as “intrinsic and intact” fiber when used in their whole food form and as flakes, cracked grains, flours and powders. But when further processed to extract their soluble and insoluble carbohydrates, they move into the category of “isolated or synthetic.” Many such fiber additives are offered for their ability to contribute healthy qualities to processed foods.

MGP Ingredients derives its RS4-type resistant starches Fibersym RW and FiberRite RW from wheat. The patented ingredients are based on technology developed at Kansas State University. They fit within the new definition’s requirements for isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrate fiber sources having at least three monomeric units, according to Ody Maningat, PhD, vice-president of R&D and chief science officer. The company submitted a citizen petition for both. “The petition includes supporting evidence demonstrating three beneficial physiological effects in humans. First is lowering total blood cholesterol levels; second, reducing waist circumference and body fat percentage, which can reduce the risk of being overweight or obese; and third, lowering post-prandial glucose levels,” Dr. Maningat said.

Corn, another cereal grain, figures into other fiber additive choices. Soluble corn fiber did not make FDA’s initial cut. Roquette wants to change this and plans to submit for listing. “Only 3% of Americans get the minimum recommended adequate intake of fiber,” Ms. Fratus said. “Given the breadth of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of soluble corn fiber, we anticipate FDA approval.”

Roquette turns to a variety of plants to create its food ingredients. “Peas, corn and wheat are three main crops we work with to bring ingredients like plant protein, fiber and starch to the food industry,” Ms. Beall said. “Within baking and snacks, Nutriose soluble fiber is used to impart the health benefits of dietary fiber; for sugar, calorie and fat reduction; and to provide excellent taste and texture. All Nutriose soluble fibers are made in France and are non-GMO.”

Citrus fruit — specifically its pulp and peel — are the source for Fiberstar’s portfolio of Citri-Fi fiber additives, noted Kurt Villwock, PhD, director of R&D. “The Citri-Fi 100 series qualifies as dietary fiber according to the new rules,” he said, describing them as meeting intrinsic and intact qualifications. “This product line has been derived solely from a citrus source, with citrus fiber being its only ingredient.”

He described the manufacturing process. “The orange juice pulp raw material (also known as pulp cells, juice vesicles, segment membranes and rag/core) are washed with water, heated, dewatered, sheared, dried, ground and screened to make the finished product,” Dr. Villwock said. “That is, the patented process to manufacture the dry ingredient does not use chemicals to modify or purify it, leaving the fibers essentially in their natural form.”

At Taiyo International, sunflower seed yields Sunfiber, a tasteless, colorless and odorless dietary fiber. Scott Smith, vice-president, noted that this is one of the truly low-calorie fibers, accounting for less than 2 Cal per g. “Sunfiber does fit within FDA’s recently updated definition for dietary fibers,” he said, crediting the large volume of human clinical research that has been performed with it.

There’s no doubt that consumers have a complex relationship with dietary fiber. Currently, they don’t get enough in their daily eating patterns, but it’s a food component that continues to appeal to them. The changes wrought by FDA in the wording and content of the Nutrition Facts Panel may help remedy this under-consumption.

So, even though “Team Total Dietary Fiber” faces a third-and-long situation, the players are taking the right steps through FDA’s petition and comment process to maintain the diverse supply of fiber additive ingredients.

Building Texture Into Sugar-Reduced Products (Prepared Foods)

By | In the News | No Comments

Building Texture Into Sugar-Reduced Products (Prepared Foods)
Kim Decker

Sugar slashers take note: building back sweetness is only half the equation. You have to tend to texture, too, to deliver a sensory experience

“New year, new you,” right? How about “New year, new dairy formulation”? As we settle into 2017, one thing that isn’t changing — amidst a whole lot that is — is the public’s not-so-subtle request that food processors substantively change the formulations of their favorite foods and beverages, dairy included. The change they currently request above all others is sugar reduction. Market research firm Mintel found fully 70% of Americans professing concern over how sugar affects their general health. In its May 2015 “Sugars and Alternative Sweeteners Report,” Mintel found that 36% of consumers now scrutinize the sweetener levels in their ice cream choices, while 35% do the same when evaluating yogurts. No wonder then that the number of new dairy products with “low-/reduced-sugar” claims has risen steadily from 65 in 2011 to 156 in 2015, per Mintel’s count. Indeed, with the Food and Drug Administration’s updated sugar-labeling regulations requiring the disclosure of “added sugars” (in grams and as a percent Daily Value) on product labels in 2018, those low-sugar launches now look prescient. But when slashing sugar levels, dairy formulators aren’t just tweaking taste; they’re playing with an important textural determinant, as well. So sugar slashers take note: Building back sugar’s sweetness is only half the equation. As Wade Schmelzer, principal scientist at Wayzata, Minn.-based Cargill put it, you’ve got to tend to texture, too, “to deliver the desired sensory experience.”

Texture is hard

Somewhat paradoxically, despite our living in a food-obsessed age, when gastro-bloggers deconstruct every facet of the eating experience for social-media consumption, texture remains an unsung sensory modality — often as hard to describe as it is easy to overlook. But dairy developers overlook it at their peril. That’s because “texture can greatly influence the consumer’s sensory experience, and can result in an unfavorable perception if not managed accordingly,” said Donna Klockeman, senior principal food scientist at TIC Gums of White Marsh, Md. Whether it is syneresis in yogurt, sediment in chocolate milk or chunky crystals in ice cream, all are real-world manifestations of texture gone awry, and all reinforce Klockeman’s contention that “each dairy category has unique challenges to delivering the textural attributes formulators are looking for.” In other words, optimizing dairy texture is hard. Making it harder are the exigencies of modern dairy production itself. As Cargill’s Senior Technical Services Manager Joe Klemaszewski pointed out, “Dairy products were traditionally produced near the point of consumption because of transportation costs and short shelf lives.” But with consolidation of dairy farms and plants, not to mention advances in processing, packaging and distribution, that’s no longer the case. Dairy’s map has broadened. The upshot, said Klemaszewski, is that dairy processors face the task of maintaining an acceptable texture for a longer time.

Sugar’s textural touch

Cutting sugar from formulations doesn’t make that task any easier. The reason: all sugars and sugar polymers that associate with water — from glucose and sucrose to fibers, bulking agents and hydrocolloids — have an important impact on texture, Klockeman said. Through their contributions to moisture control, mouthfeel, freezing-point depression and more — even through mere bulk — sugars and related carbohydrates prove just as important in dairy for texture as they do for sweetness. Thus, product developers “need to take a systems approach to compensating for the missing sugar” in low-sugar reformulations, said Nesha Zalesny, the technical sales manager at Fiberstar, River Falls, Wis. Replacing sugar at 12% with a high-intensity sweetener at 1% not only opens up an 11-percentage-point gap in a mix’s bulk, but also it eliminates sugar’s functionality. Zalesny noted, “this results in a watery product.” Sugar’s textural touch — and the void left in its absence — are especially apparent in frozen dairy. Because simple sugars like glucose and fructose, disaccharides like sucrose and lactose and large carbohydrate polymers — think maltodextrins — have “a significant effect on the freezing point of the application,” Klockeman said, they also “have the largest impact on frozen dairy products,” helping to keep their eating texture palatable. In so doing, they improve the flavor profile, as well. “Texture encompasses a product’s melting characteristics, which directly affect flavor delivery. So a reduction or change in the amount of sugar will not only influence texture, but will also influence the perception of flavor components at eating temperature,” Klockeman said.

Hydrocolloids to the rescue

Given all the above, Adams Berzins couldn’t have said it better when he declared that reductions in nutritive sweetener levels “often require adjustment of the existing stabilizer system or the addition of hydrocolloids.” Berzins wrote that in an August 2016 white paper for Bridgewater, N.J.-based Ingredion, where he is the sweetener solutions technical service project leader. That certainly echoes the conclusions of Ross White, nutrition applications manager for FMC Health and Nutrition, Philadelphia, who noted that hydrocolloids’ ability to influence texture is much the same as sugar’s; that is, just as sugar binds formulation water to boost viscosity and mouthfeel, so do hydrocolloids. As such, “a proper use of hydrocolloids can be implemented to replace a significant amount of the viscosity and mouthfeel lost when sugar is removed.” Consider what hydrocolloids bring to fermented dairy. “Several yogurt manufacturers have recently reduced sugar levels in their products,” Klockeman noted, and this “has had a direct impact on flavor profile and important textural attributes such as mouth coating, mouth clearing and mixes with saliva.” Hydrocolloids like cellulose gum, inulin and gum acacia all help pick up the slack and can provide texture and stability in lieu of sugar in yogurt applications. In frozen dairy, polyols, maltodextrin and soluble fibers are go-to ingredients for increasing process viscosity and slowing ice-cream melt, and “are necessary to provide the softness and scoopability consumers expect,” Klemaszewski said. But “the challenge is often greater in reduced-sugar products as manufacturers replace sugar with water.” Managing that water is key to emphasizing the cream and not the ice in product texture, and his team has done just that with very low levels of a pectin- and agar-based functional system. “In theory, we could do the same thing with low-sugar carbohydrates like maltodextrin or inulin,” he noted. Klemaszewski added that both locust bean and guar gums also earn praise for minimizing ice-crystal size in reduced-sugar ice creams. And carrageenan’s “synergistic reaction with milk proteins gives high viscosity at low shear, providing a mouth coating that mimics milkfat,” he added. Carrageenan is a staple of dairy beverage formulation, where one of the greatest challenges to sugar reduction involves maintaining a fluid consistency and eliminating the risks of gelation that can occur when a higher water content is available, White noted. “Carrageenan can form a wide range of textures in water-based systems to impart a smooth mouthfeel and manage the excess water present when sugar solids are removed. In particular, iota carrageenan can form clear, glossy gels that reform after processing, resulting in unmatched suspension,” White explained. The hydrocolloid works by tightly binding formulation proteins. In a low-sugar pudding, for instance, exposed proteins on the surface of the dairy micelle will interact with carrageenan’s sulfated groups “to create this strong milk gel and successfully replace the removed sugars in this and similar dairy products,” White said. Even better, only a very small amount — about 0.2% — suffices to do the trick.

Know your limits

Not all dairy formulators choose to deploy standard hydrocolloids in their low-sugar reformulations, however, and for them, alternative texturizers come in the form of products like one that Zalesny described as a complex of pectin, cellulose and hemicellulose citrus fibers “organized together in a way that only Nature can create inside the plant cell walls.” Because the ingredient comprises both an insoluble portion with a high surface area and a partially soluble colloidal portion, “in each particle, it creates a microcosm of a full- and short-bodied texture,” Zalesny explained, “while avoiding the long texture characteristic of high-molecular-weight texturants.” Blended with water, it produces viscosity and enough bulk that “the molecule itself can create drag across the tongue similar to sugar,” she said. The ingredient can appear on labels as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour, all of which “resonate well in the clean-label market,” said Kurt Villwock, Fiberstar’s director of R&D. And that’s no small matter in today’s transparency-minded climate. “Although many texturants come from natural sources and can even be used without chemical functionalization, there are only a few that perform without purification of the key component. Even amongst these natural options, many texturants cannot be called clean simply because of negative consumer perception,” he said. The trick, experts say, is to know your destination — both from a labeling standpoint and, especially, from a textural one — before you start formulating. Paulo H. Santos, a senior associate in hydrocolloid systems at Ingredion, noted that “Rheology (the study of the deformation and flow of materials) and tribology (the study of lubrication and friction) can be useful tools” in reaching that destination to all parties’ satisfaction. White agreed. “If viscosity is the key parameter, then a discussion regarding the product expectations when measured at a specific temperature, shear rate and equipment often help speed up development time and ensure a successful recommendation,” he said. Ultimately, he concluded, the most common challenge his team faces when helping customers optimize texture in reduced-sugar formulations is meeting expectations. “It’s not enough for a customer simply to ask for a match to the sugar-based control,” he said. Scientists from both sides have to know where they’re going, and measure how close they are to getting there.

Finding Alternatives for Vanilla, Pectin (Food Business News)

By | In the News | No Comments

(Jeff Gelski)

KANSAS CITY — While the bearish market continues for commodity prices in the food industry, food companies are not completely out of the woods when it comes to high ingredient prices. Vanilla and pectin are two examples where alternatives may be considered to address costs.

Prices for wheat, corn and soy generally were down in 2016, and prices for corn and soy ingredients were below that of a year ago.

The pricing situation is different for a few other ingredients. Poor crops years have affected the ingredient prices for vanilla and pectin (a gelling and texturizing agent). Finding alternatives to both ingredients may take some effort.

Madagascar’s vanilla blues

A majority of the commercial vanilla beans sold in the world comes from Madagascar. The vanilla crop in that country was expected to be about 2,000 to 2,400 tonnes this year, according to an August report from Aust & Hachmann, a vanilla supplier based in Pointe-Claire, Que.

A majority of the commercial vanilla beans sold in the world comes from Madagascar.

“Now many exporters talk about a crop no larger than 1,300 to 1,500 (tonnes),” the report said.

The 2016 Madagascar crop looks to be both unsustainably expensive and substandard in terms of quality, the report said. Prices in excess of $80 for a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of green vanilla beans were being seen. The market situation possibly could eclipse the vanilla crisis of 2001-04, when prices surpassed $500 per kilogram. Less than three years ago, first-grade extraction beans sold for less than $30 a kilogram.

“On the ground in Madagascar it is a total speculative frenzy where prices for vanilla are increasing on a daily basis,” the report said. “Attempts to regulate quality and vacuum packing have been brushed aside in the rush to take advantage of what seems to be a market with no limits.”

Prices also have risen in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, according to the report.

Paris-based Prova is addressing the current situation and the long-term sustainability of vanilla.

“At Prova, we work closely with our clients by supporting their purchasing strategy across short-, medium- and long-term needs,” said Alessandra Ognibene-Lerouvillois, chief sustainability officer and chief revenue officer for Prova. “Having valid and reliable information about the vanilla supply is critical to their materials planning, but our expertise does not stop with that information.

“There are times when using vanilla extract simply becomes too expensive. When that happens, we apply our expertise in materials processing and flavor creation to innovate alternatives that perform well while meeting cost constraints.”

Prova offers a portfolio of compound vanilla flavors, including naturals, WONFs (with other natural flavors), synthetics, and naturals and artificials, she said. Provanil, an alternative to vanillin, is designed specifically for application in high-fat systems and products that undergo high baking temperatures.

Prova also applies resources to improve the vanilla supply situation in Madagascar and make it more sustainable long term.

“We concentrate our efforts on education and training through the administration of domestic resources,” Ms. Ognibene-Lerouvillois said. “We support the farmers with several GAPP (Good Agricultural and Preparation Practices) training elements.”

Prova stresses to farmers that high quality vanilla is the only guarantee of a stable market. A Vanilla Durable Bemanevika (VDB) program addresses the root causes of precarious living conditions in Madagascar. The program seeks to improve livelihoods by increasing farmer income through better vanilla bean quality, higher yields, strengthening proportions of cured vanilla sold and diversification into other crops.

Pectin problems

Pectin, a hydrocolloid sourced from citrus peel, has risen in price after poor crop years in Argentina. High methoxyl (HM) pectin was priced at $9 per lb in an IMR Quarterly Review of Food Hydrocolloids earlier this year, which was more than double its price in 2006. Low methoxyl pectin (LM) was priced at $10.60 per lb. San Diego-based IMR International puts out the quarterly review.

Pectin works as gelling and texturizing agents for use in bakery fillings as well as jams, jellies, dressings and beverages, according to CP Kelco, a hydrocolloids company based in Atlanta.

Citri-Fi, a citrus fiber ingredient from Fiberstar, River Falls, Wis., has been shown to provide assistance for companies wanting to alleviate the current high costs of pectin. Citri-Fi has high water-holding capacity and emulsification properties, said Jennifer Stephens, vice-president of marketing for Fiberstar. It provides multiple benefits, including textural improvements, nutritional enhancements and potential cost-savings in various food products.

Citri-Fi 100, a citrus pulp, is comprised of both insoluble and soluble fiber, which contains the highly esterified native pectin that gels under certain conditions with low pH and high brix being examples.

“Because the Citri-Fi is not pure pectin, the usage ranges from 1% to 2%,” Ms. Stephens said. “At the same time, Citri-Fi is easy to incorporate. It does not need to be pre-hydrated, which can save manufacturers a process step, and this natural fiber, when mixed with sugar, disperses easily into solution.

“Moreover, Citri-Fi is baking stable so that it can also replace the more costly low methoxyl pectins in high brix and low pH applications. Citri-Fi can extend/replace added pectin in fruit fillings, fruit spreads and fruit preparations for yogurt. Moreover, this natural fiber can be used to replace or used in conjunction with other hydrocolloid blends to replace pectin. Citri-Fi 100 is offered in several particles sizes to provide textures ranging from smooth to pulpy.”

Citri-Fi also has been shown to reduce oil and/or fat in baked foods such as cookies, cakes and muffins.

Pectin peel supply conditions will remain challenged, and peel costs are expected to remain at elevated levels, according to CP Kelco. The company said it is building a new peel processing plant in Brazil that is scheduled to be operational in 2017. The plant should reduce CP Kelco’s exposure to peel availability and price fluctuations.

CP Kelco already has completed an expansion of pectin capacity in Europe and expanded capacity at a manufacturing facility in Brazil. Debottlenecking projects in Europe, already in progress, should lead to additional capacity during 2017-18.

“Pectin is a highly functional and complex stabilizer that provides targeted performance in specific product markets,” said Drew Kleven, product line manager, functional systems and hydrocolloids for Minneapolis-based Cargill. “While there is no replacement for pectin’s robust functionality in these markets, we have the deep well of expertise and a broad toolbox to partner with our customers to create the best possible system in order to promote success.”

Food formulators also may want to keep up to date on the price of xanthan gum, another hydrocolloid. Transparency Market Research, Albany, N.Y., expects the global xanthan gum market to have a compound annual growth rate in revenue of 7.7% from 2016 to 2024, possibly reaching $1.25 billion. The C.A.G.R. in volume could be 7.3% from 2016 to 2024.

“The key end users of the global xanthan gum market include the industries of food and beverage, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, personal care, and other minor end users such as lab research prospects and agrochemicals,” the report said.

Xanthan gum is used as a thickening and emulsion stabilizing agent in various food applications such as sauces, dressings, bakery and dairy products. The food and beverage industry was responsible for consumption of over 50% of the xanthan gum produced globally in 2015, according to the report. Growing preference for xanthan gum from pharmaceutical and personal care industries as a bio-based stabilizer is anticipated to bring opportunities in the market.

Save money through shorter product development times

Switching to more cost-effective ingredients is not the only way food companies may save money. Think cutting back on product development time or buying an entire ingredient system instead of one ingredient at a time.

Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., offers Dial-In technology, a consumer-centric approach to product development. Ingredion’s five-step process guides companies. The five steps are setting goals, gathering insights, setting sensory targets, understanding the process and formulating product. Ingredion’s Dial-In technology explores a company’s business and technical priorities, including functional performance standards, manufacturing requirements, potential label claims, cost goals and timeline.

The functional systems group from Minneapolis-based Cargill enables companies to lock in one price for a tailor-made ingredient system, saving time and internal resources by purchasing, stocking and formulating with one functional system instead of multiple ingredients.

“Bakers benefit by not needing to carry multiple minor ingredients and knowing production will have less batch-to-batch variance,” said Bill Gilbert, certified master baker and principal food technologist for Cargill. “In addition, sourcing one system, instead of multiple ingredients, allows customers to save time and money. We will source any ingredient needed by our customers, or we carry stock blends.

“Icing stabilizers are a perfect example of a stock functional system. We produce stabilizers for white and chocolate icing as well as glazes. We can also help our customers modify stock functional systems to make signature icings or glazes to meet their individual needs.”

Save money through fermented sweeteners

Food and beverage companies have sought ways to save on stevia costs ever since December 2008 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it had no questions about two petitions regarding the safety of using Rebaudioside A, an extract from the stevia plant, in foods and beverages.

Eight years later, fermentation has arisen as a promising way to lower costs for such high-intensity sweeteners.

Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., will become the exclusive distributor of stevia-based sweeteners from SweeGen, Inc. in all markets except China under an agreement reached by the two companies on Dec. 1 of this year. Ingredion will be a non-exclusive distributor in China.

A fermentation process used to develop its stevia-based sweeteners ensures sustained availability and a commercially feasible pricing structure for use in foods and beverages, according to SweeGen, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Minneapolis-based Cargill in June of this year said it had received a letter of no objection from the F.D.A. for the use of its EverSweet sweetener in foods and beverages. EverSweet contains Rebaudioside M and Rebaudioside D, two of the sweetest steviol glycosides. The stevia plant produces trace amounts of Reb M and Reb D. Cargill and Evolva partnered to produce Reb M and Reb D through a fermentation process involving baker’s yeast that makes the sweetener more commercially and sustainably viable.

Stay prepared for any changes in nuts and eggs markets

Nut and egg ingredient prices have fallen from 2015. Still, food companies may want to recall knowledge learned about alternative ingredients last year. There’s no guarantee prices will stay low.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in May forecast California almond production at 2 billion lbs in 2016, or nearly 6% above the 2015 production of 1.89 billion lbs. California almonds were trading at $1.80@2.80 a lb on Dec. 9, according to the U.S.D.A., which compared with $2.75 a year ago. California pistachios were trading at $5.20@6.70 as compared with $6.50 a year ago, and California walnuts were trading at $1.70@2.50 as compared with $2.50 a year ago.

When considering nut ingredient alternatives, food companies may look to Inclusion Technologies, L.L.C., Atchison, Kas. The company offers nut-free Nadanut nut analogs based on stabilized wheat germ and expeller-pressed oil with natural antioxidants and naturally sourced colors and flavors. The Non-GMO Project-verified products are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. They come in such nut varieties as almond, hazelnut and peanut.

Grade A, large eggs were selling at 53.50@61.50c per dozen on Dec. 9, which compared with 198c per dozen a year ago, according to the U.S.D.A. Dried egg whites were selling at $2.75@2.85 per lb on Dec. 9, which compared with $7.90 per lb a year ago.

Grade A, large eggs were selling at 53.50@61.50c per dozen on Dec. 9.

An avian influenza outbreak was responsible for the high prices in 2015. A new wave of avian influenza outbreaks potentially could shake up global marketing conditions in 2017, affecting the outlook for Asia, Europe and Africa, according to a report issued this month by Nan-Dirk Mulder, senior analyst — animal protein for Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research Advisory, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

“It will also be a test for the U.S. industry after last year’s A.I. outbreaks,” Mr. Mulder said in the report.

The global egg replacement ingredient market is anticipated to register a compound annual growth rate of 5.8% from 2016 to 2026 and is estimated to be valued at $1,533.3 million by the end of 2026, according to a report issued in October by Research and Markets, Dublin, Ireland.

“Egg shortage crisis due to avian influenza, increasing demand for plant-based ingredients and increased cost of eggs are factors expected to support the growth of the global egg replacement ingredient market over the forecast period,” the report said.

Many ingredient suppliers promoted egg extenders and egg replacers when egg prices were high in 2015.

J&K Ingredients, Paterson, N.J., offers the Vita-Ex egg extender that has been shown to cut the cost of using eggs in sweet goods, Danish pastries, rolls, donuts, cookies and cakes. Vita-Ex ingredients include egg yolks and whole egg solids.

MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kas., offers Arise wheat protein isolates as alternatives to egg-based proteins. They may work as inclusions in such flour-based products as bread, pasta and noodles, and batters and breadings.

Fiberstar: Natural Fiber (Prepared Foods)

By | In the News | No Comments

Fiberstar will exhibit at the 2016 International Baking Industrial Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas to showcase Citri-Fi®, a natural, non-GMO fiber derived from citrus pulp.

Due to its unique composition of soluble and insoluble fiber and protein, this natural fiber provides functionalities such as water holding, stabilization, gelling, emulsification and clouding for various food applications. Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour.

Show attendees can visit Fiberstar at IBIE Booth #470 to sample baked fruit bars that use Citri-Fi® for moisture management and improved texture over shelf-life.

Bakery formulators also should know that Fiberstar qualified for the “Best in Baking” program due to Citri-Fi®’s sustainable process and industry natural use to provide cost savings, great texture and nutritional improvements.

Citri-Fi® provides multiple benefits in bakery applications. They include:

• Pectin replacement/extension
• Natural emulsification
• Moisture management
• Fat and caloric reduction
• Egg extension
• Reduced syneresis in fillings

Citri-Fi® is a natural, non-GMO and National Organic Compliant ingredient that also gluten-free and allergen-free.

Visit www.fiberstar.net for more details.

Meat Ingredients Insight: Enhancing Yields (Food Business News)

By | In the News | No Comments

Meat Ingredients Insight: Enhancing Yields (Food Business News)

(Donna Berry)
Benefits to yield enhancement extend to color retention and food safety.

KANSAS CITY — Yield enhancement refers to the binding of moisture – natural juices or added water – in meat and poultry to increase the weight of the product, and thus saleable volume. However, as with many technologies, ingredients used for yield enhancement often provide extra benefits.

The primary bonus is extra moisture translating to a juicier, more succulent protein. Some ingredients assist with color retention while others retard lipid oxidation. Still others provide food safety benefits. Yield improvement ingredients may also reduce drip loss, limit package purge and decrease freeze-thaw drying.

The role of pH

The pH of meat and poultry is a key factor in moisture retention. The higher the pH, the greater the protein’s ability to bind moisture. Processing must also be considered.

“The pH of a live animal is 7, after rigor it can drop as low as 5.4, so the goal is to manipulate it up again to more than 6,” said Dave Grex, director of meat technology for Chicago-based Newly Weds Foods.

This may be accomplished through the addition of functional ingredients, as well as environmental considerations.

“It’s important to test your water for pH, minerals and impurities, and adjust, soften and filter as needed,” Mr. Grex said. “Always keep in mind that the animal has up to 70% water already in the muscle, so it makes sense to bind as much of that as possible.”

Newly Weds Foods carries a full line of sodium and potassium phosphates for more traditional means of function, as well as specialty clean label ingredients, including organic acids, citrus fibers and flours, and oat hydrocolloids.

“All of these are highly functioning and work by either trapping the moisture inside the meat, or manipulating the pH to increase the protein water holding capacity,” Mr. Grex said.

Each of the processes involved in turning muscle into a consumable protein can impact yield. This includes cutting, chopping, grinding, emulsification, refrigeration, cooking, freezing, thawing, packaging and reheating, according to Ron Jenkins, commercial development manager of meat, poultry and seafood for Innophos, Inc., Cranbury, N.J. To maximize yields, functional ingredients are added to handle the stresses resulting from such processing and handling treatments.

“Many precooked meats can experience cook shrinks of 30% or greater,” said Tom Katen, technical service representative for Cargill Texturizing Solutions. “Plus, they can have a very dry texture when reheated. By adding functional ingredients, you get better yields, freeze-thaw benefits and a great-tasting precooked meat item.”

Ready-to-eat deli meats also often contain ingredients to improve cook yield.

“The improved cook yield results in more saleable volume, more consistency, reduced purge in package and better margins for the processor,” said Stephanie Carlson, global marketing communications manager of the meat industry for Corbion, Lenexa, Kansas. “The benefit for the consumer is a juicier product, improved texture and an overall better quality product.”

Varying by application

Functional ingredients include starches, fibers, phosphates and even fruit extracts. These ingredients use different mechanisms to increase yield.

“These mechanisms differ depending on the type of water binding (physical or chemical), the conditions needed to activate the functional ingredient (e.g., temperature, pH), composition and particle size,” said Brock Lundberg, president of research and development for Fiberstar. “Because these functional ingredients provide unique functional benefits, it is common to see blends used to improve yields in specific meat processes.”

With whole muscle proteins, yield enhancement ingredients are typically added via injected or tumbled marinade. For ground and comminuted systems, they may be blended into the product in a dry or liquid solution format.

Historically, phosphate salts have been one of the most common ingredients for yield enhancement in meat and poultry products, as they efficiently increase pH. This maximizes water-binding potential of the proteins.

“Phosphates are also very useful with providing muscle-to-muscle binding,” Mr. Jenkins said. “This is critical in boneless hams and whole muscle deli products. They can establish and stabilize meat batter emulsions, which is necessary to maximize yields and deliver the desired texture.”

While phosphates improve yield, they also protect color and flavor by protecting the fat from oxidation by the metal ions inherent in meat, water and other ingredients. This protective function continues during processing, frozen storage and subsequent cooking and reheating, according to Mr. Jenkins.

Innophos offers a full line of specialty phosphates and phosphate blends that include sodium and potassium forms, both individually and in combination. Selection is based on the target application, process conditions, water quality and other ingredient characteristics.

“For example, di- and tripolyphosphates will facilitate hydration and binding of whole muscle chicken proteins through a myriad of processes including cooking, storage, freezing, batter and breading, and subsequent reheating,” Mr. Jenkins said. “Additionally, the phosphates will protect the fat component from oxidation thus providing clean flavor regardless of repeated heating applications.”

Textured soy protein is a common yield enhancement ingredients, which can hold up to six times its weight in water.

Another familiar yield enhancement ingredient is textured soy protein, which can hold up to six times its weight in water. Two of the most common soy meat extenders, textured soy flour and textured soy concentrate, are often confused.

“Textured soy flour includes the sugars and dietary fiber naturally contained in the soybean, while textured soy concentrate does not,” Mr. Katen said. “That distinction has little effect on the functionality or appearance of the two products. The big difference is in the cost. Textured soy flour is usually half the cost of concentrate. Regardless of the textured soy protein option used, it’s important to match the right size, shape and color to the meat application.”

Minced pieces work best in applications such as chili, pizza toppings and taco fillings, where particle definition is important. Flaked particles are best for products such as patties, nuggets and Salisbury steak. The determining factor is how the product is cooked. Flakes hydrate faster in cold water, but are torn apart in high heat or long cooking processes. Minced forms require longer hydration and are typically used in retort, high-heat applications.

In kettle-cooked products such as chili, textured soy protein can absorb the melted fat, improving product appearance and customer appeal. At the same time it is absorbing fat, it’s adding protein, increasing the protein-to-fat ratio in a prepared meat product.

Plant-derived extracts

Starches and fibers derived from plants are increasingly being used to plump up meat and poultry products. For example, The Dow Chemical Co., Philadelphia, offers cellulose ingredients that may be used in various comminuted meat applications.

“Addition provides a good, juicy bite, even in reduced-fat products,” said Christopher Spontelli, marketing manager for Dow. “In hot dogs, 0.75- to 1% modified cellulose can be used to replace lean meat and reduce cost. Our data has shown a yielded cost savings of 4- to 6% over control, while still maintaining heated firmness and juiciness.”

Some yield enhancement ingredients allow for fat reduction in fried foods. For example, when modified cellulose is used in the coating system of fried meat products, fat uptake can be reduced as much as 35% during the frying process. These fibers can also increase yield in fried foods by increasing moisture retention during frying and extending hold time under heat lamps, as well as improve adhesion of coatings to the meat substrate.

Functional ingredient systems are designed to provide supreme cook yields and texture using fewer ingredients in products such as poultry-based and lower-fat hot dogs.

“When it comes to clean label formulating, the functional ingredient formulation tool box shrinks,” Mr. Lundberg said. “Processors are tasked to replace their workhorse functional ingredients with clean label versions, while maintaining yields, reduced purge and comparable sensory results.

“One newer functional ingredient that is up to the challenge is citrus fiber. It can be used along with clean label starches, such as native rice starch, to maintain yields when replacing chemical phosphates.”

Not all citrus fibers are created the same, Mr. Lundberg said.

“Our citrus fiber is a very unique clean label functional fiber that is classified as a binder and can be used at levels up to 3% in meat and poultry products, with labeling options of ‘citrus flour’ or ‘dried citrus pulp.’”

When used at less than 1%, this citrus fiber has been shown to reduce purge by up to 4% and increase yields by as much as 5%. These functions are attributed to the citrus fiber’s composition, which is about 70% dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) and protein content (about 8%). This is in addition to the cell wall structure that provides water-holding stability, a structuring effect and emulsification properties.

Corbion offers a patent-pending blend of citrus fiber and vinegar powder that not only improves cook yield, it provides food safety benefits. Declared simply as “citrus fiber, vinegar,” it is considered a clean label option for all-natural marketed products.

“Data show a 4.4% yield increase in natural turkey breast when this ingredient is 1.5% of a marinade,” Mr. Carlson said. “In an injected natural ham with fibrous casing, a use level of 1.2% allowed for a 9.9% yield increase over the control.”

“We offer rice starch that binds moisture, assisting with maintaining yields and margins without any negative impact on the end product,” said Olivier Chevalier, business development manager for meat applications at Belgium-based Beneo. “Being pure white, rice starch ensures that poultry, in particular, has a clean look, with no pinking.”

Sampling tests by Texas A&M Univ. showed rice starch improves yields comparable to modified corn starch, the most common starch used in tumbling of poultry products in the United States. Additionally, a sensorial test with 50 volunteers confirmed that in terms of organoleptic properties, rice starch is a viable alternative. There were no differences in taste, tenderness, juiciness and appearance between the starch solutions tested.

Unlike some other hydrocolloids, rice starch does not increase a marinade’s viscosity. Due to the structure of amylopectin and its ratio to amylose in rice starch, there is very low retrogradation, enabling water retention to be maintained after the poultry has been packed.

“This not only means that there is no unsightly water release in the packaging for consumers, but that the product remains moister for the duration of its shelf life,” Mr. Chevalier said.

Ingredion Inc., offers functional native starches for clean label chicken products. Studies show that native starches may effectively replace modified starches and sodium tripolyphosphate to lock in both moisture and flavor in poultry products.

Fruit-derived ingredients offer a label-friendly yield enhancing option. For example, the chemical composition of plums makes them powerful water binders in many types of meat and poultry.

“We offer fresh plum concentrate and dried plum powder and puree for yield enhancement,” said Rick Perez, research and development chef and spokesman for Sunsweet Growers Inc. “These products contain naturally high levels of sorbitol (about 15%) and fiber. Sorbitol attracts moisture while fiber absorbs moisture and holds it in place.”

Plum ingredients are naturally high in antioxidants, which may enhance shelf life of both raw and cooked products and have been shown to lower the incidence of warmed-over flavor. At the same time, for many applications, the rich deep brown color of dried plum product can replace the need for caramel coloring.

“Our plum ingredients are approved as binders and allowed at levels of up to 2% of the total product formulation when used solely for moisture binding,” Mr. Perez said. “This limit does not apply when the ingredients are used as a flavor component, such as when added to sausages to improve taste and texture as well as yield.”

With plum ingredients, less can be more. A study done by the Univ. of Arkansas at Fayetteville using boneless skinless chicken breasts found that adding more plum product did not necessarily lead to more marinade pick-up. The study showed that a marinade with 1.1% fresh plum concentrate had a 10% marinade pickup while a marinade with 2.2% of the plum concentrate only had 8%.

“When working with plum ingredients, we recommend lowering total salt and spices to keep flavors in balance,” Mr. Perez said. “These ingredients are flavor extenders, so we recommend decreasing salt content by 10% as a starting point when formulating.”

Creating appealing, clean-label frozen snacks and appetizers (Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery)

By | In the News | No Comments

(Melissa Kvidahl)

Frozen foods and snacks are meeting no shortage of challenges in the marketplace according to the “Frozen Foods in the U.S.: Hot Meals, Sides, and Snacks” report from Packaged Facts. First, as the report points out, there is unprecedented consumer demand for fresh products—or, at least, fresher products—in refrigerated rather than frozen form. Plus, frozen foods often contain preservatives such as potassium sorbate, calcium propionate and sodium tripolyphosphate, which are at odds with clean-label and natural trends driving the food industry as a whole. Finally, previously popular low-calorie and diet-oriented frozen foods are facing additional consumer scrutiny as a result of their high sodium contents.

Add to this the fact that frozen foods face a sort of antiquated reputation, and it becomes clear that there’s a bit of rebranding that needs to be done in order for this sector to succeed. “Many consumers have come to believe that only fresh foods offer real nutritional value,” says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts, Rockville, MD. He adds that the strong anti-frozen viewpoint on the part of these shoppers can even blind them to brands whose products offer the same nutritional value as fresh or refrigerated options.

But it’s not just judgment in the frozen aisle stunting growth, reveals the report. It’s also about what’s happening in other areas of the store. Packaged Facts points out that there are more and more sources, such as farmers markets and expanded produce sections in grocery and big box stores, offering fresh produce and other foods. In short, these additional sources are pulling consumers away from the freezer case.

“In the last couple of years we have seen a decline in frozen foods,” says Agnes Lapinska, marketing manager, savory, Ingredion Inc., Westchester, IL. “Consumers are changing their shopping patterns and, as a result, the landscape of retail is changing. We have seen a significant consumer migration from the center and frozen aisles to the perimeter of the store, where products are perceived as fresher and better for you.”

Data from IRI, Chicago, shows relatively flat sales in the frozen appetizers and snack rolls category. In the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2016, the category grew just 1.95 percent in dollar sales to reach $2.1 billion. Within that segment, which includes frozen appetizers/snack rolls, frozen breaded vegetables, and frozen soft pretzels, the bright spot was frozen appetizers and snack rolls—the largest segment of the category by far—up 2.34 percent in dollar sales to $2.0 billion. Standout companies in this market included Schwan Food Co. and its Pagoda brand frozen appetizers (up 453.25 percent in dollar sales to $50.5 million), which include various egg rolls, crab Rangoon, wontons and potstickers, as well as Nestlé’s Hot Pockets brand snack rolls (up 1,378.77 percent to $30.0 million).

Frozen pretzels took a dip in sales, posting a 2.49 percent decline, reaching $74.5 million in sales. But a bright spot was gluten-free pretzels from Tonya’s Gluten Free Kitchen (up 33.18 percent) and organic options from Rudi’s Organic Bakery (up 235.09 percent).

Snack producers would be wise to take note: This organic and gluten-free trend buoying soft pretzels is one that will help carry the frozen foods category going forward. Also, the moves Schwan Food Co. and Nestlé have made to improve product quality, add ethnic appeal and draw interest from millennial consumers have proven profitable.

Packaged Facts says the silver lining in the category lies with frozen foods that identify as natural or organic, as they provide a health or freshness halo. The best news of all? Packaged Facts estimates that the frozen food category as a whole has the potential to grow to $23 billion, and that frozen appetizers and snacks are poised to lead the way and garner the most growth in years ahead.

Clean and fresh

Many frozen snack brands are capitalizing on better-for-you consumer demands, rather than trying to compete with them, by offering products that take a clean-label approach.

Indeed, everyone from niche brands to large international companies are looking to feature clean and recognizable ingredients in their frozen offerings, according to Jennifer Stephens, vice president of marketing at Fiberstar, River Falls, WI. “Due to the growing group of label readers, companies are looking to use more recognizable ingredients (ingredients found in the kitchen), shorter ingredient declarations and a more home-style look and feel,” she says.

But this can be a challenge, Stephens notes, since “artificial” ingredients can often be the workhorses that manage water in a formulation—an important aspect of developing a stable frozen food. “Natural ingredients have limitations when subjected to harsh processing and storage conditions, such as freezing,” she adds. “Therefore, manufacturers are on a quest to balance food quality and shelf life when striving for natural appeal.”

Fiberstar recently launched a new non-GMO Citri-Fi citrus fiber to fit into clean-label formulation strategies. The ingredient appeals to clean-label formulators because it can be labeled as “citrus fiber,” “dried citrus pulp” or “citrus flour,” and it works in gluten-free products as a natural emulsifier. “Since many gluten-free baked goods producers store their products in the freezer case to extend shelf life,” says Stephens, “Citri-Fi also provides moisture management control in these products, due to its high surface area which lends itself to the high water-holding capacity.”

According to Lapinska, brand transformation to appeal to freshness is a leading trend. “They start with the feel and look of the product packaging, and move to claims and updating their ingredients,” she says. “The idea behind this movement is to create new products that resonate with today’s consumer needs while increasing the perception of freshness.”

Ingredion launched NOVATION PRIMA 340 functional native starch in May, which offers instant viscosity and high stability under cold temperature storage for baked or fried frozen meals and snacks, frozen desserts, and frozen filled snacks, like egg rolls and taquitos.

Angelina De Castro, senior manager of marketing, wholesome ingredients, Ingredion, says that formulators replacing instant modified food starches with this new ingredient can benefit from clean-label, non-GMO and gluten-free claims.

Building more culinary appeal into the freezer case can also help. “The frozen food market is currently at an inflection point,” says Vanessa Phillips, CEO, Feel Good Foods, Brooklyn, NY. “While companies are having to invest in educating the consumer, we believe the old stigma of 1980s microwave dinners, associated with frozen foods, is changing. Companies like Feel Good Foods are working at changing the way people view frozen foods, proving that chef-inspired dishes can be in the frozen aisle of the supermarket.”

And, what do “chef-inspired” foods offer? Spice and flavor—a trend taking the frozen market by storm, Phillips adds. When paired with better-for-you claims, ethnic foods have seen a huge spike. And that’s exactly what Feel Good Foods offers: gluten-free egg rolls, dumplings and other Asian-inspired cuisine. “Consumers want to enjoy bold flavors, but with the convenience of quick preparation time,” she says.

Indeed, spice sells. Among frozen taquitos, El Monterey branded offerings from Ruiz Food Products, Inc., Dinuba, CA, were a top seller, according to IRI, growing 8.60 percent in dollar sales to reach $191.0 million in sales. “Both heat and spice have been a trend in the frozen Mexican foods category for quite some time,” explains Rachel P. Cullen, president and CEO. “Today’s consumer enjoys experimenting with a variety of flavors and spices.”

The future of frozen

The future of this category can be a bright one if brands can focus on offering the right products to the right consumers.

Consumer research from Ingredion shows that perception is king. “Consumers look at everything about the product when determining its perceived freshness, including location, shelf life, ingredient label and visual cues,” says Lapinska. In the freezer section, she sees an opportunity for brands to repackage their offerings with fresh-friendly language and marketing. “Offer a modern and enticing look and feel, state the product benefits, and reformulate for a cleaner, simpler label,” she advises. “Clean labels are a part of how consumers perceive freshness, along with authentic and exciting flavors.”

Targeting the right consumers will also matter, says Phillips, who identifies the younger generation as a perceptive audience for clean-label frozen offerings.

Millennials are also a key driver for Ruiz Food Products, says Cullen. For any frozen, heat-and-eat snack, convenience is instrumental to success. But millennials seek more from their foods.

“With the millennials coming through, the importance of nutrition, non-GMO, clean label and local sourcing is going to reinforce the need for new frozen baked good and snack lines,” says Stephens.

Branching out into a more-youthful demographic also shows promise, perhaps because millennials are beginning to start families, and are searching for kid-friendly foods that meet their discerning criteria. “Cleaning up the labels and improving the nutritional profiles, without losing the sense of appeal, could be an opportunity in the kids segment,” says Stephens. “There are new companies popping up run by mothers, creating products tailored to toddlers and small children. Many of these products can be found in the freezer case.”

Small plates, big trend

According to data from Technomic, Chicago, frozen foods are poised to capitalize on restaurant trends.

In the past three years, there has been a surge in menu options when it comes to pretzels (up 14.7 percent), flatbreads (up 12.3 percent), pizza (up 6.4 percent) and cheese/pizza bread (up 1.8 percent). This may have something to do with the fact that small plates are as popular as ever, with 74 percent of the top operators offering appetizers and small plates at an average of seven items per operator. Indeed, small plates are the true superstar, since appetizer offerings in terms of number of menu items were slightly down; small plate menu items (per establishment) soared 80 percent since 2013, per Technomic.

Dishes labeled as “small plates” have increased over 550 percent overall since 2013, appealing to happy hour, drink-pairing, and snacking trends. Why? Technomic reports that 42 percent of consumers want more small plates, and about half of consumers say that ordering small plates helps them control their portion sizes, save money and share dishes with a group.

State of the Industry 2016: Bars continue to address diverse lifestyle needs (Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery)

By | In the News | No Comments

Melissa Kvidahl

The bars category continues show good to strong levels of growth, with sufficiently diversified product offerings to appeal to nearly every type of shopper. Few product categories so seamlessly fit into today’s on-the-go lifestyle suited to on-demand snacking.

“The market is growing because bars fit perfectly into our lifestyle,” says Dave Caucutt, vice president of sales and technical services, Lawrence Foods Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL. “We are a mobile society eating many of our meals on the run. Millennials have propelled us all to change to become a snacking culture. And bars carry a healthy halo because they are often fortified to provide a balanced meal alternative.”

Market data

It’s not surprising that bars, appealing to consumers seeking on-the-go snacking, meal replacement options and nutrition, are going strong. According to IRI, Chicago, sales of snack and granola bars grew 4.78 percent in dollar sales for the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2016, reaching $5.9 billion.

The “all other” snack/granola bar segment—representing products that don’t easily fit into the breakfast/cereal/snack, granola and nutritional/intrinsic value segments—saw the strongest growth, up 101.38 percent in dollar sales for the year. General Mills posted the most-notable gains, up 347.97 percent in dollar sales. The company also saw a 14.83 percent dollar sales gain for its breakfast/cereal/snack bars. General Mills offers multiple brands of bars, includingNature Valley, Lärabar, Fiber One, Annie’s, Cascadian Farm and Epic, with the latter bringing meat-focused products into the mix.

Nature Valley saw growth of 177.64 percent in all other snack/granola bars and 9.71 percent for its Sweet & Salty granola bars line. But the real standout for the brand was in the breakfast/cereal/snack bars segment, where its Roasted Nut Crunch line grew by 485.43 percent in dollar sales.

The granola bars segment saw growth of 2.4 percent in dollar sales to $1.7 billion. In this segment, KIND Healthy Snacks posted 73.85 percent growth in dollar sales to or $95.2 million. In nutritional/intrinsic health, KIND saw growth of 12.50 percent.

But the most-notable growth in nutritional/intrinsic health was from protein-bar specialist, Quest Nutrition LLC, which saw its bars increase 252.93 percent in dollar sales to nearly $162 million.

Looking back

“With consumers becoming increasingly health-conscious, it’s no surprise that several of the top claims are targeted toward this audience,” says Abby Ceule, director of market management brands, Corbion Caravan, Lenexa, KS. “These claims include gluten-free, GMO-free and organic. Additionally, we are seeing bars with high source of protein and fiber call-outs.”

Indeed, healthy labels are the top trend demanded by today’s bar consumer. However, what constitutes “healthy” runs the gamut.

Protein barsremain in demand. Quest Nutrition is a leader in this segment, and its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar, made with milk and whey protein, is a top seller.

Plant proteins are taking center stage at DuPont Nutrition & Health, St. Louis, which offers a line of soy protein isolates and nuggets developed specifically for use in nutritional bars. “In addition to providing the protein consumers desire and the crunch that increases overall liking, these soy protein ingredients help control the bar texture to deliver on the shelf life requirement needed to succeed in the market,” says Greg Paul, Ph.D., marketing director, nutrition bars and beverages, North America, for the company.

Mamma Chia brought diversity to the bar category in 2014 with its introduction of its organic Chia Vitality bars. Chia offers a source of plant-based protein, omega-3s and other nutritional perks.

KIND also saw strong sales performance over the past year. Its new Healthy Grains Popped Bars include amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa and sorghum, and innovatively feature popcorn as an ingredient.

According to Jamie Wilson, director of marketing and culinary innovation at Parker Products Inc., Fort Worth, TX, ancient grains are also gracing bar labels, thanks to their health benefits and their ability to complement in-demand flavors like sriracha, chile, salted caramel or curry. “In keeping with that trend, we have seen a lot of recent success with our agave-glazed quinoa ingredient,” Wilson adds.

That said, the bar category’s biggest clean-label challenge comes in the form of lowering sugar content. “Bars require a binder?something to keep the ingredients together?and that’s generally a sweetener,” says Wilson. “For an application that consumers perceive as a healthier snack option, that’s a problem when the sweetener is unhealthy.”

Sweeteners that can build label appeal include agave syrup, maple syrup, sweet potato juice concentrate, and fruit ingredients, including fruit fibers and purées and juices.

Fiber continues to attract health-conscious shoppers, and General Mills has found success with its Fiber One bars, often with controlled calorie counts and added protein.

Fiberstar, River Falls, WI, offers the Citri-Fi 100 series, a natural fiber derived from citrus pulp. According to the company’s food technologist, Amanda Wagner, Citri-Fi’s native pectin content translates to unique gelling properties, and the line includes fibers in different particle sizes, which can create different textures from pulpy to smooth in the finished product. “This natural fiber can be labeled citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour,” she adds, “which all resonate well with the clean-label consumer base.”

Demands for healthy snack bars are also transforming how we think about diet foods. According to Paul, “The weight-management category has undergone essentially a complete shift away from weight loss to weight wellness, effectively capturing active-lifestyle consumers looking to maintain weight, in addition to former core weight loss consumers.” This has translated, he says, to the increased presence of unique seeds, nuts, grains and fruits, along with plant proteins, in bar offerings.

According to the Almond Board of California, Modesto, CA, bars with almonds accounted for 13 percent of the bar category’s new product introductions in 2014, with almonds leading other nuts in the bar category.

Portion-controlled and bite-sized offerings also factor into weight management. Over the past year, thinkThin introduced Protein Bites and Protein Nut Bites. The company saw significant gains over the 52 weeks ending April 17, per IRI.

Craig Collett, sales and marketing director, Bosch Packaging Technology Inc, New Richmond, WI, sees weight management influencing packaging solutions. “The on-the-go bar trend engulfing the market requires flexible packaging options, such as flow wrappers,” he says, “which are flourishing as the prime packaging style, reaching the number one packaging format for both regular size bars and bite-size products.”

To meet demand, Bosch Packaging Technology offers the Pack Series of horizontal flow wrappers, which range from entry-level models (such as the Pack 101, which accommodates a wide range of product sizes) to fully automated technologies (such as the Pack 401, which can be used as stand-alone equipment or combined with other processing and packaging machines).

Looking forward

“Customized nutrition will continue to be a great opportunity,” says Jennifer Stephens, vice president of marketing, Fiberstar, citing bars made for specific genders, lifestyles, life stages, activities, diets and medical conditions as holding untapped market potential. “The trick within this category is offering a bar positioned to a captive audience that is large enough to justify the product’s existence,” she says. “Otherwise, it is just another nutrition/snack bar crowding the bar grocery aisle.” She notes particular areas of interest include allergen-free offerings, as well as those that can offer sustained energy.

Collett suggests that the future holds more promise for true meal replacements in bar form, as they offer a healthier option over fast food meals, while “providing the right amount of nutrition in an easy-to-carry format.”

Bars of the future may be targeted toward different consumers altogether. “While current bars skew heavily toward adults, from millennials through Gen X through boomers, we feel the next wave will focus on child and senior nutrition,” says Caucutt.

Brian Gaffney, vice president of dehydrated ingredient sales, Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients, Nashville, NC, also sees much potential in highly nutritious, kid-friendly bars. “Several major brands have rolled out products that fit this profile recently,” he says. “Two things likely drive the trend: First, as snack companies experience growth from the general strength of the market, they are able to pursue greater segmentation. Secondly, bars make sense as a more-healthy, clean-label snack for parents to give their children.”

But, says Paul, perhaps more important than any trend, “innovation will continue to characterize the nutrition bar market. This is an industry with a relatively low barrier to entry, so competitors will come and go with regularity. However, the consumer trends driving the bar market?convenience and nutrition?are here to stay.”

IFT News: Companies Shared News & Showcased New Products, Ingredients: Fiberstar Student Competition (Natural Product Insider)

By | In the News | No Comments

(Courtney Johnson )
August 3, 2016

Companies showcased new ingredients and products at the 2016 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago, July 16-19, and attendees had the opportunity to experience trends in the industry.

 Product and Ingredient Launches

Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI) launched four new ingredient brands and two other new products at IFT, defining and adding to its existing line of 100 percent Carolina-made sweet potato ingredients, which can replace artificial sweeteners and other unpopular ingredients in clean-label applications. The new brands are:

•Carolina Original cloudy sweet potato juice: a nutrient-dense, domestically sourced juice that adds flavor, color, and a nutritional boost to baked goods, sauces and more.

•Carolina Clear clarified sweet potato juice: the ideal alternative to high fructose corn syrup and sugar for your health-focused consumer, adding vegetable servings and a health halo.

•Carolina Craft dehydrated sweet potato ingredients: sweet potato flour and granules that support gluten-free and non-GMO applications by adding flavor, texture and nutrients including fiber.

•Carolina Sweet clean label sweetener: a vegetable-based, nutritional replacement for high fructose corn syrup and other undesirable sweeteners.

With solutions for bakery, meat, confectionery, dairy and beverage, Corbion offers a comprehensive and diverse portfolio. At IFT 2016, Corbion showcased the following products and their capabilities:

  • Ensemble® –easing the transition to non-PHO emulsifiers.
  • UltraFresh® –extending bread shelf life.
  • Verdad®™vanta®—offering multifunctional benefits for meat and poultry with natural ingredients.
  • Opti.Form® –solution that does more than deliver top shelf Listeria control.
  • Purac® Powders –delivers a clean, long-lasting sour taste for acid-sanded confectionery.

Dow Food Solutions showcased two plant-based functional ingredients, developed to help manufacturers reduce fat or offer healthier products to their customers – WELLENCE™ Fat Reduction Food Gums and the METHOCEL™ Portfolio for meat applications.

Parker Products is supporting the dairy industry with its new line of seven clean label cake inclusions, produced through a unique hot panning process, which was showcased at IFT. Parker’s cake inclusions are produced using a unique hot-panning process, which leaves lower moisture content in the final piece. This allows for a longer shelf life of up to 12 months.

BENEO highlighted the technical performance of Remypure.  Remypure is the company’s first high performing rice starch that qualifies for both natural and clean-label status worldwide. “Remypure, our new functional native rice starch, supports manufacturers in the development of products that respond to the growing natural and clean label trend demanded by consumers,” said Jon Peters, president of BENEO, Inc.

Solvay brought its vanilla taste range and expertise to IFT this year. Visitors were invited to discover how Solvay can help create great tasting nutritional products. “Our Rhovanil® vanillin is of the highest purity, consistent quality, best-in-class safety and traceability,’” said Edouard Janssen, vice president of Solvay’s Aroma Performance business unit in the Americas. “And it’s ‘made in the USA’.”

With Steviva Ingredients’ new Erysweet+ Ultra blend, clean-label, sugar-free chocolate can be achieved. Erysweet+Ultra is a super-fine mesh powder consisting of SteviaSweet 95-60 with Erysweet non-GMO erythritol, a polyol that provides natural low-calorie sweetening and bulk. This proprietary blend of highly purified steviol glycosides delivers a clean flavor that is free from bitter notes and aftertaste commonly found in other stevia products.

Tate & Lyle served up food-truck-inspired fare that delivers on global flavor trends at IFT. Influenced greatly by a new generation of consumers, the menu consists of a label-friendly sweet street taco; a fiber-enriched summer mango gazpacho; a reduced-calorie/reduced-sugar spicy chocolate milk and a gluten-free cinnamon-sugar donut.

TIC Gums debuted new clean label texture and stability solutions for use in dairy alternative beverages, gummy applications and ice cream formulations at IFT. Ticaloid® PRO 181 AG is new technology for formulators seeking to target texture and stability in ready-to-drink, dairy alternative beverages. Ticagel® Natural GC-581 B is an all-natural, non-GMO gelatin replacer for use in gelatin-free gummy candy and nutritional delivery systems. Dairyblend Natural IC CL is a turn-key stabilizer system that eliminates the need for mono-and diglyceride emulsifiers in soft serve and hard pack ice cream applications.

Company News

Glanbia Nutritionals announced that it has just completed the process of combining its three businesses into one nutritional powerhouse. IFT attendees were among the first industry professionals to experience Glanbia Nutritionals as a new integrated business.

Since 2012, Edlong has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarship money to students pursuing a degree in food science with an emphasis on dairy flavors and/or dairy science. Manpreet Kaur Cheema and Simon Itle—two students at the Pennsylvania State University—have been awarded the Edlong Dairy Technologies Scholarship through IFT.

NMI introduced the 2016 Healthy Aging Across Generations, which seeks to provide insights into how today’s consumer confronts their own health and wellness, helping to uncover factors that create health challenges, and reveal some underlying dynamics that may help to provide a glimpse into what lies ahead. This report covers the various dimensions of healthy aging, and the opportunities which exist to help consumers translate their aspirational attitudes into actual behaviors.

Virginia Dare has been producing flavors and extracts for more than 90 years, and debuted a refreshed and evolved brand at the 2016 IFT show in Chicago. Virginia Dare’s new brand was supported by materials including a new logo, website, marketing and sales materials, and trade show booth.

Fiberstar Inc. announced 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 knowledgeable growing consumer base. “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.

Gelnex has named its new sales and customer service team for the North American market. Alexandre Assis, Gelnex global sales director, will be taking on the leadership of sales and marketing. “Gelnex has seen some changes in North America,” Assis said. “Over the last 10 years our sales and customer support team has made a huge contribution, greatly building the Gelnex brand. In this new step, we are proudly expanding our North American team, drawing from new talent and the Gelnex ranks within our global network.”

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) showcased its extensive portfolio of ingredients and solutions at IFT. Companies such as Harvest Innovations, Eatem Foods, Specialty Commodities Inc. (SCI) and WILD Flavors have joined with ADM, giving customers access to innovative products, extensive technical expertise and quality service in areas ranging from organic specialty ingredients and natural sweeteners to fats and oils and complete flavor systems.