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Fiberstar partners with Batory Foods to expand sales across Western US (Food Ingredients First)

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Berry crepesFiberstar, Inc. has signed a distribution agreement with Batory Foods effective July 1, 2018. Over the years, Fiberstar added capacity, introduced new Citri-Fi products and entered into new categories. To increase the sales momentum and to penetrate the food and beverage market, Fiberstar has partnered with Batory Foods.

“Batory Foods has an excellent track record within the food and beverage market,” says John Haen, President and CEO of Fiberstar. “We are pleased to have Batory Foods as our Western Distributor. They will complement our specialty ingredient business and provide us the additional sales bandwidth.”

Fiberstar sells Citri-Fi, a natural fiber produced from citrus fruit. The patented process opens up the fiber to create a high surface area which lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties. This natural fiber contains both insoluble and soluble fiber with high amounts of pectin which “makes this fiber one of the best, functional fibers on the market.”

According to Haen, Fiberstar has had limited emphasis on the US in the past. “Over the last five years, the company focused on the Midwest and Eastern US with partial coverage in the west. We have been aware of the untapped opportunities on the West Coast. Expanding presence in this region was the next step to growing the business.”

“There is a plethora of food, beverage and pet companies in the Western US that have product lines fit for our Citri-Fi natural, functional citrus fiber. These areas include meats, bakery, beverage, sauces, dressings, nutrition and pet companies to name a few,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Batory Foods has a track record of selling a variety of ingredients especially specialty fibers like Citri-Fi to the US food and beverage industry. “Their team is excited to add Citri-Fi to their portfolio so that it gives their customers another natural, label-friendly solution. Both companies foster entrepreneurial cultures that complement the business strategy and go-to-market,” notes Haen.

There has been an increase in Citri-Fi citrus fiber demand for several reasons. Haen believes that the clean label movement caused many ingredients to come under scrutiny. “Some of these ingredients include starches, gums and emulsifiers. Product developers are searching for label-friendly alternatives that provide similar functionality,” he says.

Citri-Fi is created from a chemical-free process that opens up the fiber to increase the surface area. This surface area lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties similar to other hydrocolloids. As a result, product developers can use this natural citrus fiber to replace certain starches, gum and emulsifiers in various food products such as meats, bakery, beverages, sauces and dressings.

“The key here is that Citri-Fi can hold onto the water and oil in most harsh food processing conditions such as heat, freeze/thaw and shear. Other ingredients leech water after being subjected to such processes which negatively impacts the food product’s quality. Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonates well with the clean label markets,” Haen explains.

Other reasons include its non-GMO and non-allergenic status. Many companies are moving toward sourcing non-GMO ingredients. Moreover, the allergen-free segment is always scouting for ingredients to improve the product quality. “We work with several gluten-free companies to improve texture and nutrition within their product lines. Lastly, the plant-based trend is also supporting Citri-Fi’s growth since this natural fiber is derived from citrus fruit,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Fiberstar has recently invested US$12,000,000 in manufacturing facilities to support supply demand from current and new customers for the next few years. The company has made the respective investments to secure raw materials in anticipation of significant growth for the years to come, according to Haen.

Fibers that qualify as fiber under the new FDA guidelines will always be in demand due to the fiber fortification market. “However, some manufacturers are trying to reduce the number of ingredients on their labels, so they are seeking multi-functional ingredients including fibers,” he continues. “Fibers, like Citri-Fi, provide higher levels of functionality compared to fortifying fibers. For instance, Citri-Fi traps oil and water tightly to improve product stability during harsh food processing conditions. As a result, texture and quality are improved over shelf life. And because Citri-Fi qualifies as a fiber under the new FDA guidelines, formulators can claim fiber on the nutritional labeling.”

Three product lines in the portfolio include the 100 series (native citrus fiber), 200 series (citrus fiber co-processed with guar gum) and the 300 series (citrus fiber co-processed with xanthan gum). The 200 and 300 series are useful in applications requiring additional viscosity.

Because Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour, and is approved for use in many meat and poultry applications, it resonates well within the clean label market. This natural fiber can replace starches, gums, emulsifiers and chemical stabilizers, depending on the application. In addition, this natural fiber is non-GMO and allergen-free and the 100 product line requires no E-number labeling.

By Elizabeth Green

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Ingredient Round Up: June 2018 (Food Processing)

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Citrus juiceSilver dihydrogen citrate antimicrobial
Pure Control is a patented, FDA-approved, silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC) antimicrobial, offering produce processors a solution that can significantly mitigate the risk of foodborne illnesses resulting from consumption of their products. More than three years of extensive testing has shown consistent and materially significant reductions in the pathogens most frequently associated with foodborne illness outbreaks traced to processed produce (including E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria). Additionally, there are no negative organoleptic impacts resulting from its application. It’s a highly effective, non-toxic food safety solution, which is safe for both people and the environment. Produce processors typically seek a 1 log reduction in pathogens from an intervention or processing aid – Pure Control averages 3 logs, or 99.9 percent.
Pure Bioscience; El Cajon, Calif.; 619-596-8600;

Eggs complete the bowl
Bowls are a popular packaged food product currently. They offer chefs and food processors a blank canvas they can use to create their own culinary masterpieces. Whether the goal is comfort food or nouveau cuisine, it takes just one bowl, a few carefully selected fresh ingredients, and a dash of creativity to whip up a unique meal that diners can enjoy anytime, anywhere. And eggs are a critical component to most bowls. Whether the focal point or just an ingredient, they add protein, texture, flavor and color. Finish with fresh herbs or a sauce.
American Egg Board; Chicago;

Clean-label extracts defined
As the “Go Clean” movement is here to stay, the supplier unveils a line clean label extracts. Since there are no federal regulations defining “clean label” ingredients, the ingredient supplier has set its own standards, based on best practices of industry leaders in foodservice and retail. These include but are not limited to: no artificial ingredients, no synthetic chemicals, propylene glycol (pg) free, caramel color free, prop 65 free, natural/natural WONF, non-GMO project verified and organic compliant/certified. For a list of clean extracts, contact:
Flavorchem Corp.; Downers Grove, Ill.; 800-435-2867;

One plate, two test
Boost productivity with a single product that tests for both E. coli and coliform organisms. Petrifilm Plates rapid tests provide flexibility with validated performance at both ISO and FDA/BAM temperatures, and a single incubation time for both E. coli and coliform for added convenience. No complicated workflow. Each plate is ready to use — no time-consuming agar prep, no pH adjustment for matrices pH>5 and no special equipment (e.g., UV light) for enumeration. They have reliable, proven accuracy for a broad range of foods and provide a read after only 18-24 hours of incubation.
3M; St. Paul, Minn.; 888-364-3577;

Dairy cultures are rBST-free
In response to consumer preferences, all the supplier’s dairy components for producing cultures will be obtained from rBST-free sources moving forward. The company has identified reliable local sources and backup supply for rBST-free ingredients, as well as ensuring certification from all suppliers. While rBST-free had been widely available in Europe, such ingredients are now possible in North America.
DuPont Nutrition & Health; New Century, Kan.; 913-738-3673;

Fiber from citrus
Citri-Fi is a natural citrus fiber made from a process that mechanically opens up the fiber to provide high water holding capacity, emulsification and gelling properties. Its high oil loading turns liquid oils into flowable powders. It provides viscosity, mouthfeel and stabilization and is a clean-label alternative to silicas, maltodextrins, starches and spray drying.
Fiberstar; River Falls, Wis.; 303-513-4021;

Omega-3s for active consumers
A line of lipid nutrition products are uniquely designed to benefit active lifestyles. Marinol is a line of naturally concentrated omega-3 oils. They result from a proprietary, multiple purification process. They’re enzymatically treated to retain their natural structure. There is a broad range of offerings to meet each customer’s formulation needs.
Stepan Lipid Nutrition; Northfield, Ill.; 425-230-5127;

Botanicals and extracts
Several botanicals and extracts are now available under the company’s Nutritional Innovations & Solutions and Specialty Botanicals & Extracts segments. Launched at Vitafoods, the new products include three new lines. Xtracs features extracts from nature that give healthy formulations an extra advantage. Olixrs are premium botanical powders that support health and vitality. Ogments are differentiated ingredients to help boost health benefits and formulation flexibility.
OmniActive Health Technologies; Morristown, N.J.; 866-588-3629;

Lactoferrin properties
Proferrin is a native lactoferrin from cow’s milk, coming from the supplier’s French dairy cooperative. A gentle drying process enables the preservation of the powerful bioactivity of Proferrin. Its health benefits are supported by several in vitro studies, indicating: anti-microbial properties, gut health, helping to renew epithelial cells and immune response. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the release of TNF (tumor necrosis factor), a pro-inflammatory marker.
Ingredia Nutritional; France;

Human milk oligosaccharide
A new Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO) ingredient (2’-fucosyllactose), has been certified for use in infant formula in both European and U.S. markets. HMOs are non-digestible carbohydrates and are the third most abundant component in human milk after lactose and fat. More than 200 different varieties have been identified in human milk, of which 2’-FL is the most prevalent. Recent clinical trials have suggested that 2’-FL plays a key role in protecting and promoting the health of newborn infants, particularly in respect to the immune system, and have shown that the addition of 2’-FL to infant formula is safe and well tolerated.
FrieslandCampina Domo; Netherlands; +31 (0) 6 525-90539;

Parker Products, a provider of inclusions and other specialty ingredients for the baking, dairy, beverage, confectionery, foodservice, and RTE and snack industries, opened a new manufacturing facility in Fort Worth in April. With three times the capacity of Parker Products’ previous location, the new 90,000-sq.-ft. facility houses all of the company’s operations and includes expanded capabilities. Real-time quality control checks and overall equipment effectiveness feedback is now available digitally from the production lines. Additionally, each production room in the new facility features a separate air handling system to prevent cross contamination. See

Reb-D and reb-M stevias
EverSweet is a zero-calorie, next-generation sweetener made with two of the best tasting sweet compounds found in the stevia leaf, rebaudioside-M and rebaudioside-D. Food and beverage companies looking to satisfy consumers’ desire for healthier food choices now can offer this zero-calorie sweetener without sacrificing great taste. Since the stevia plant produces only trace amounts of reb-M and reb D, fermentation allows for large quantities of these most sought-after sweet compounds to be commercially produced in a more sustainable way. EverSweet is produced in cooperation with Evolva.
Cargill; Minneapolis; 800-227-4455;

Orange flavor
Known for their fruity and refreshing notes, citrus flavors are suitable for a range of applications, from carbonated soft drinks to juice-based beverages to flavored waters. The entire orange flavor portfolio is a natural and versatile solution that covers orange taste profiles from single natural orange flavors up to great tasting flavor combinations.
Wild Flavors; Erlanger, Ky.; 859-342-3600;

Plant-based alertness formula
A plant-based alertness formula received a U.S. patent and is said to provide an awakening effect to counteract the post-lunch dip when fatigue, drowsiness and foggy thinking is often reported. The formula incorporates functional extracts of guarana, ginkgo biloba and elderberry, and is sweetened by a low-glycemic fruit extract. The WakeUp prototype drink recently won “Best Functional Drink” awards in Europe and the U.S. The company now has two formulas: WakeUp for dietary supplements and Rhythm for beverages.
InnoBev Ltd.; Tel Aviv, Israel; 972-352-11778;

Reduced-gluten wheat
To offer consumers reduced and gluten-free options, the GoodWheat reduced gluten wheat lines will be available by the end of the year. The gluten-free food market is estimated to grow to $7.59 billion by 2020 in the U.S. The reduced-gluten wheat lines are non-GMO and patent-pending. The company says the identity preserved specialty wheat features 75 percent less allergenic glutens and 60 percent less overall gluten content. The company expects its branded bread wheat flour available to test milling and baking ability in late 2018.
Arcadia Biosciences, Inc.; Davis, Calif.; 530-756-7077;

EU-approved grill flavorings
Grillicious, a line of grill flavorings, meets the EU directive that requires all food taste solutions meet new regulations while ensuring the same taste experience. According to the company, the product offers customers a grill flavor and can be labeled as natural. Grillicious is derived from plant-based oils, and is said to help ensure a stable price-performance ratio.
Symrise, Holzminden, Germany; +49 55 31 90-17 21;

Highly refined rosemary extract
Rosemary extracts are used to naturally extend the shelf life of food products. But their flavor, aroma and color pose challenges in their application. OxiKan CL is a highly refined antioxidant, the fully decolorized and deodorized extract of rosemary. It consists of selective non-polar anti-oxidant molecules from rosemary, without unwanted molecules such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, xanthophylls and other less oil soluble non-antioxidant molecules. It’s completely natural; has excellent oil solubility; high heat stability; and is suitable for applications that are sensitive to aroma, color and flavor — like specialty fats and omega-3-fortified products and beverages.
Kancor Mane; India; +91 484 3051100;

BLOG: Bakery Goods Fresh Keeping…. The Holy Grail Found

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Muffins with Chocolate ShavingsThe Baker’s Challenge: Freshness over Shelf life

Baked goods! They are a staple in everyday life. Nothing can beat eating a fresh baked good right out of the oven. Unless you order it from a café or restaurant, those moments are rare. The Holy Grail in baking is the ability to create bakery foods that keep fresh forever. Yet, the baker’s challenge is meeting that consumer’s expectation especially if they want to tote the bread home. There are ways to maintain bread’s freshness over time. One way is to incorporate a water loving fiber like citrus fiber.

 Citri-Fi Fiber Mechanism in Improving Fresh Keeping

Citrus fiber, like Citri-Fi®, contains both insoluble and soluble fiber which has high surface area that holds onto high amounts of water and oil. In bread, the gelatinized starch keeps gluten moist and pliable. Some bakers use chemical emulsifiers that form a complex with the starch to slow down starch retrogradation. This allows the bread to hold onto water a little longer, but eventually the starch lets too much moisture go. Thereafter, gluten becomes tough or brittle. When incorporating Citri-Fi citrus fiber into the bread, the starch still retrogrades, but the citrus fiber catches the moisture and holds it alongside the gluten to keep it moist and pliable. As a result, the citrus fiber helps improve fresh keeping over time.

 The Clean Label Fiber Benefit

About 0.3% to 0.8% of Citri-Fi fiber can be mixed in with the dry ingredients to be incorporated into the bread. It is recommended to add one part Citri-Fi to 4 to 7 parts water to the formulation to maintain moisture retention. This natural fiber holds water so well; it can help reduce egg usage in certain formulations which can lead to potential cost savings.

Citri-Fi is produced from citrus fruit byproduct. The patented, chemical-free process opens up the fiber to create the high surface area unlike other citrus fibers on the market. Citri-Fi qualifies under the new FDA fiber guidelines so it contributes fiber to food products. This natural ingredient can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonates well in the clean label markets unlike starches, gums and chemical emulsifiers. Citri-Fi is non-GMO and allergen-free which makes it ideal in gluten-free formulations.

Author — Jennifer Stephens (VP of Marketing)


New Functional Ingredients Offer Clean Label Options (Dairy Foods)

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Yogurt with peach slices raspberries and blueberries, tasty dessertPre-meal concept with fiber, whey protein

Arla Foods Ingredients developed a high-protein pre-meal shot concept that highlights the potential for launching innovative products that deliver improved blood sugar control in a natural and convenient way. The 100-milliliter pre-meal shot concept is high in fiber and contains 15 grams of the company’s Lacprodan DI-6820 whey protein. A recent clinical trial demonstrated that consumption of 15 grams of whey protein before a meal helped people with type 2 diabetes maintain their blood sugar levels within the normal glycemic range following the meal, the company said.



Almond oil as functional ingredient

Blue Diamond almond oil works as a functional ingredient across a variety of food categories. Its clean, mild flavor and high smoke point of 470 degrees Fahrenheit make it an ideal ingredient for dairy and bakery applications and snack bar formulations. Additionally, the oil is high in vitamin E (39.2 milligrams/100 grams), and B-sitosterol, making it a healthier alternative to other specialty plant-based oils, the company said. It’s low in saturated fat and high (70%) in monounsaturated fat/omega-9 fatty acids, supporting healthy levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).



Line of soluble dietary fiber ingredients

ADM/Matsutani LLC’s Fibersol is a line of soluble dietary fiber ingredients that offers support for nutrition, weight management, sugar reduction, satiety and gut health. Fibersol maintains its fiber content within all dairy product applications, including fluid, frozen, cultured and fermented dairy foods. It is stable under all processing and packaging conditions. Fibersol is digestion-resistant, which translates to more of the fiber reaching the lower bowel to promote fermentation. This provides potential benefits for gut health. Therefore, the fiber can support “good-for-you” structure/function claims for qualifying products, the company said. Clinical studies show that Fibersol is also a prebiotic fiber, helps support or maintain intestinal regularity and can relieve occasional constipation.



Whey protein for high-acid protein powder drink mixes

BevEdge Whey Protein A-220W from Glanbia Nutritionals can create new opportunities for protein powder drink mix brands. BevEdge Whey Protein A-220W is a new preacidified whey protein isolate that overcomes the multiple challenges of creating berry- and citrus-flavored high-acid protein powder drink mixes. Made with BevEdge instant dispersion technology, the whey protein is lecithin-free, contains no soy and can be labeled as “whey protein isolate, citric acid.” Because it is preacidified to a pH under 3.5, the whey protein allows for great-tasting fruit flavors and delivers a clearer end product than lecithinated proteins, the company said.



Seaweed extract for dairy and non-dairy desserts

Algaia S.A. introduced Satialgine DVA, a next-generation seaweed extract ingredient for dairy and non-dairy desserts. This alginate line provides a unique rich and creamy texture in desserts such as low-fat dairy flans. The Satialgine line of alginate ingredients is designed to create a creamy, indulgent texture without the use of eggs or traditional additives, the company said.

+33 (0)1 48 01 47 39;


Pure non-GMO prebiotic

DSM is the exclusive distributor of AmpliVida XOS prebiotic, manufactured by Prenexus. AmpliVida is a pure, selective and effective prebiotic made from organically grown (in California) non-GMO high-fiber sugar cane; it is carefully processed with pure water (no chemicals). Its efficacious low dose is ideal for formulating, making it well-tolerated, the company said. The prebiotic is made of five carbon rings linked by unique bonds with a degree of polymerization ranging from 2-12; therefore, only 1-4 grams are needed daily to selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial (probiotic) bacteria in the digestive tract. AmpliVida XOS prebiotic is suitable for use in dairy applications.



Culture system for American-style cheeses

Dupont’s Choozit Ameri-Flex is a one-bag direct-to-vat culture system for American-style cheese, including cheddar, colby and Jack. It is a convenient single-pouch blend of fast-acidifying mesophilic and thermophilic strains in a culture system formulated for reliability, dependability and phage robustness. The culture system provides consistent acidification from vat to vat, the company said. Two robust formulations in this range are designed to provide flexibility for producing American cheese types in multiple processing conditions. They provide dependable moisture and yield due to consistent acidification kinetics between rotations, leading to reducing potential for downgrades. These cultures also offer protection against variability resulting from bacteria phage.



Masking flavors for products with plant proteins

Symrise Flavors N.A. developed a masking flavors toolbox specifically targeted to overcome the challenges of aftertaste and off-notes of plant protein in non-dairy applications. Product information is available that includes the recommended dosage for the company’s natural pea protein masking flavor, natural rice protein masking flavor, natural almond protein masking flavor and natural soy protein masking flavor. Masking solutions are available for drinkable products, as well as non-dairy yogurts, ice creams, protein powder mixes, smoothies and milks.



Natural emulsification and texture in cultured dairy

In cultured dairy, Fiberstar’s citrus fiber, Citri-Fi, works synergistically with homogenization to provide a strong boost in creamy body and firmness. Homogenization will bust open the fiber structure, leading to large increases in surface area, which, in turn, immobilize more water. The increased body gives the product a more natural mouthfeel. The ingredient can replace gums and thickeners for a cleaner product label, the company said. Because Citri-Fi functions as a natural emulsifier, no additional emulsifiers are necessary, which also increases the simplicity of the label statement. As a bonus functionality, the citrus fiber is said to promote a cleaner, rounder flavor release, which allows added flavors to shine. This natural fiber rounds out the flavor of the acids, permitting culturing to a lower pH and giving a benefit to texture.

715 425 7550;


Natural preservative for clean-label products

The Ingredient House, along with its partner, Soyuzsnab, developed a natural preservative — cultured dextrose, AiBi Series 1.50 — that can be used for clean-label and natural products. The natural preservative is produced by fermentation of dextrose with microorganisms. The product can inhibit the growth of most spoilage organisms in food. Cultured dextrose is of natural origin and is GMO-free. It increases the shelf life of dairy products such as sour cream and cottage cheese. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including dairy, bakery, spreads and sauces.



All-natural solution to reduce sugar

Frutalose SF75 from Sensus is an all-natural solution to reduce sugar and “added sugar.” The product has 65% of the sweetness of sugar and contains 75% dietary fiber, the company said. These properties allow Frutalose SF75 to play a significant role in low- calorie all-natural sweetener systems that have the ability to significantly reduce sugar. The product works particularly well with stevia, masking the off-tastes associated with this ingredient. Frutalose SF75 is Non-GMO Project Verified and labeled as chicory root fiber. Additionally, its unique functional properties allow it to be easily formulated into a variety of applications.



Tea as a functional ingredient

Tea is a health-promoting ingredient and has clean-label benefits for processors, Amelia Baysaid. It can be also used to replace caramel colors, artificial flavors and more. Amelia Bay offers dairy processors a brewed liquid tea that is easy to use versus batch steeping or working with instant tea powders, and can significantly reduce batching times. Formulations are simply blended in batch tanks and then pasteurized. The company’s extracts can be hot-filled or cold-filled for a stable finished beverage free from sedimentation or clouding.


Functional ingredients provide multiple benefits to snacks and baked goods (Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery)

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Chocolate Chip MuffinsJoyce Friedberg – Functional ingredients provide multiple benefits to snacks and baked goods

Fats, oils, starches, fiber, dough conditioners and texturizers all serve critical functional roles in snacks and baked goods, particularly maintaining the quality of the product throughout the desired shelf life. As consumers demand cleaner labels, more health-and-wellness benefits and better sustainability, product developers face a wide range of functional ingredient challenges. Luckily, the latest generation of functional ingredients are more than up to the task, often serving multiple roles in the product matrix.

Advanced fats

With the industry directive to eliminate trans fat, there is a shift to oils that can serve as turnkey replacements to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Frank Flider, consultant, QUALISOY, Chesterfield, MO, notes that high-oleic soybean oil and enzymatically interesterified (EIE) high-oleic soybean shortenings can work in wide range of applications. Soybean farmers have been ramping up production to increase availability and ensure a reliable supply. High-oleic soybean oils and shortenings are 100 percent U.S. grown and processed.

Flider notes that both products offer excellent shelf life and a neutral flavor profile, allowing the true flavors of the product to shine. “High-oleic soybean oil is a high-stability, zero-trans oil that is ideal for use in frying, baking and snack food production, providing increased shelf stability and a neutral flavor. EIE high-oleic soybean shortenings, which also contain 0 grams of trans fat, can be formulated to match virtually any PHO specification and are used for baking and deep-frying applications, particularly where the structure and texture provided by solid fats are required.” High-oleic soybean oil and EIE high-oleic soybean shortenings can be used for deep-frying applications for doughnuts and chips, and as an ingredient in cookies, cakes and icings.

QUALISOY has conducted extensive testing in conjunction with Stratas Foods, LLC, Memphis, TN, on the use of high-oleic soybean oil and EIE high-oleic soybean shortening in the production of fried snacks, doughnuts, cakes, cookies and icing. The data indicated these ingredients can be used as a replacement for virtually any partially hydrogenated oil, and—in many cases—can improve the quality, shelf life and stability of the product.

“High-oleic oil, and in particular high-oleic soybean oil, will be the ‘go-to’ for the snack and baking industries,” suggests Flider. “Being zero-trans, high in monounsaturates, and lower in saturates and polyunsaturates, this U.S.-grown oil provides the best intersection of health and functionality that we have ever experienced amongst fats and oils.”

The United Soybean Board, Chesterfield, MO, notes the following benefits:

  • Extended shelf life—due to high-oleic soybean oil’s resistance to oxidation, it helps extend the shelf life of baked good without contributing trans fats or PHOs
  • Cleaner label—high-oleic soybean oil eliminates the need for added antioxidants to help control oxidation, thereby providing a cleaner label
  • PHO replacement—EIE shortening is an ideal replacement for PHOs in bakery products

In addition to the functional benefits, the United Soybean Board also cites several nutritional benefits. According to the results of its 24th annual “Consumer Attitudes about Soyfoods and Health” survey conducted in 2017, 60 percent of consumers view soybean oil as healthy, noting a reduced risk of heart disease as the most-recognized health benefit. The survey also notes that omega-3 fatty acids are recognized as the No. 1 healthiest fat, and soybean oil is a principal source of omega-3s in the U.S. diet thanks to the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) present in soy.

“Our Pro-Formance high-oleic soybean oil extends the shelf life of baked goods and packaged snacks, allowing for the removal of TBHQ, which contributes to a cleaner label,” says Brain Anderson, vice president, innovation and marketing, Bunge, St. Louis. “It also offers a nutrition and traceability story. The oil delivers omega-3s, omega-6s and omega-9s, with only 12 percent saturates. It is sourced from 1,200 farmers we know in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.”

Cargill, Minneapolis, recently introduced a low-saturated-fat, high-oleic canola oil under its Clear Valley brand. John Satumba, Ph.D., food ingredients and analytical chemistry director, global edible oils solutions R&D, notes that the oil is made from a canola hybrid that contains 4.5 percent or less saturated fat while maintaining high fry and shelf life performance, freshness and taste. “It reduces saturated fat content 35 percent from previous canola oil generations.” He notes that this oil is well suited to use in crackers that have seasoning coatings, as well as in a variety of different types of cookies.

As consumers are seeking out responsibly sourced ingredients certified, sustainable Malaysian palm oil addresses the environmental, social and economic aspects of palm oil production. Refined certified-sustainable Malaysian palm oil is trans-fat-free, non-GMO and odor-free, and it has a golden-yellow color. It’s a highly valuable ingredient in most bakery products, including crackers, pastries, biscuits, bread and cookies.

“Due to its excellent stability, the liquid fraction of palm oil, palm olein, is the world’s top choice as a frying oil for french fries, doughnuts and snacks,” says Kalyana Sundram, Ph.D., CEO, Malaysian Palm Oil Council, Washington, D.C. “Palm oil has a naturally semi-solid characteristic at room temperature with a melting point between 33° to 39°C. It does not require hydrogenation for use as a food. It has the functional properties of a trans fat (creamy texture, extended shelf life). Palm stearin is a very useful source of fully natural hard fat component for products such as shortening, and pastry and bakery margarines.”

Starch and fiber solutions

With consumer desire for clean label, Cargill notes a shift from modified starch to native starches in several product categories. As a result, the company’s food scientists are exploring new starch solutions and evaluating new combinations of native starches.

“We have studied the properties of dozens of native starches, including corn, wheat, potato and tapioca, and have found that, via custom blending and careful formulations, these basic starches can successfully fulfill many product requirements, including thickening, texturizing, stabilizing, moisture retention, gelling, film forming, dusting and dough binding,” says Michelle Kozora, technical service manager, Cargill. “For example, we’ve replaced the modified food starch in frozen cakes with a native starch. When thawed, these cakes maintain a smooth surface, fine crumb and ideal moisture level, plus they have a more consumer-friendly label.”

Kozora suggests Actistar, a resistant starch product, for use in gluten-free bakery formulations. This starch can be used to replace flour in gluten-free products, and can also provide increased fiber content for baked goods.

Bunge’s Honestly Corn functional flours are available through its Whole Harvest line of ingredients. These functional flours can serve as a replacement for modified starches, gums and alginates, but with a cleaner label, notes Anderson, with the label declaration reading “corn flour.” They are available in conventional, non-GMO, organic and whole-grain varieties.

Citri-Fi from Fiberstar is a natural citrus fiber. It’s non-GMO, gluten-free and plant-based. The company partners with citrus juicing companies in Florida, Mexico and South America and utilizes their leftover citrus pulp and peel to create the highly functional fiber ingredients, which find use in various baked goods and snacks, notes Jennifer Stephens, vice president of marketing.

Citri-Fi citrus fiber holds 7 to 10 times its weight in water and can emulsify 8 to 10 times its weight in oil. “The native composition of the fiber—soluble and insoluble fiber, and protein—plus the process gives it strong water-holding and emulsifying properties,” notes Nesha Zalesny, technical sales manager, Fiberstar.

Due to its water-holding properties, Citri-Fi is useful in a wide variety of snack and bakery applications. “This property enables bakers to maintain that moist, fresh-baked texture throughout the shelf life of breads, cakes, brownies and soft cookies,” says Zalesny. “This natural fiber can be especially useful in gluten-free food products, such as breads, muffins and cookies, as many of the ingredients used to replace wheat flour do not hold onto water tightly, especially over time. As a result, many gluten-free bakery products are sold in the freezer case to maximize the shelf life when going through the supply chain. The emulsion properties help formulators make the most of the fat they have in the system and can help them extend its functionality by emulsifying that fat with extra water.”

Stephens notes that Citri-Fi can also be used as a partial egg replacement and to reduce oil in bakery products. “Citri-Fi can reduce up to 25 percent of egg in baked goods while maintaining the texture and quality over shelf life.”

Nutrition matters

Some snack and bakery ingredients provide multifunctional benefits that extend into nutritional concerns.

Zalesny notes that while Citri-Fi has multiple valuable functional benefits, it’s a fiber ingredient, with nutritional merits. “Because it is the whole fiber of the fruit, it is still recognized as a fiber by the FDA. It can be labeled as a ‘citrus fiber,’ ‘dried citrus pulp’ or ‘citrus flour,’ which resonate well in the clean-label market.”

Stephens notes that Citri-Fi can also help product developers reduce fat levels in products. “Due to Citri-Fi’s high water-holding capacity, this fiber can replace from 25 to 50 percent of oil, depending on the bakery application, while maintaining superior moisture retention and quality over shelf life. Oil-reduced bakery goods typically are less moist and lack the full-fat mouthfeel. Citri-Fi’s ability to bind water and remaining oil tightly maintains the quality eating experience.”

Salt levels are also a nutritional target these days, and when a sodium substitute can provide fortification, the ingredient’s appeal grows. Cargill recently launched Potassium Pro, a new potassium chloride, a granular, food-grade, odorless, white crystalline salt with a typical saline-like taste. Mike Beaverson, senior marketing manager, Cargill Salt, explains that the product was developed to meet the needs of food manufacturers for potassium enrichment and for the replacement of sodium chloride. The product is well suited to use in both snack and bakery applications.

The timing of the ingredient launch coincides with the new labeling guidelines being implemented by the FDA. The new guidelines will require potassium levels to be listed on the Nutrition Facts panel, in addition to setting benchmarks to identify products that contribute a “good source” or an “excellent source” of potassium.

Improving stability

Delavau Food Partners, Philadelphia, has expanded its line of Encore ingredients, which offer shelf-life extension with mold inhibition. These clean-label solutions also help deliver a consistently high-quality eating experience.

Jeff Billig, vice president and general manager, Delavau Food Partners, highlights the different products in the Encore line:

  • Encore Soft—anti-staling ingredients for a better eating experience
  • Encore Fresh—antimicrobial solutions for shelf-life extension
  • Encore Plus—dough-conditioning capabilities for formula optimization
  • Encore Strong—ingredients for dough strength, volume, elasticity and tolerance
  • Encore Relax—extensibility solutions for consistent pan fill and dough length

“Our Encore ingredients can be tailored to deliver benefits for an incredible range of snack and bakery applications, from rolls and pan breads to pizza, tortillas, doughnuts and sweet goods,” says Billig. “One of our most-recent innovations creates crispness in microwavable applications, like pizza, eliminating the need for a susceptor board. By eliminating the susceptor board, our technology results in cost savings, better alignment with a clean-label position and operational efficiencies, while still delivering a quality eating experience.”

Functional ingredients play a vital role in snack and bakery product development. In many ways, they are the backbone of the industry—particularly when they can provide multiple functional benefits.

BLOG: Improve Sauce Texture and Labeling using Citri-Fi® Natural Fiber

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Hot Spicy Red Sriracha Sauce in a BowlToday, it is the norm to see more consumers flip a food product over and sweep their pointer finger across the labeling section. Sometimes, they look to see if the list contains allergens they avoid. Or at times, the consumers examine the nutritional panel to determine its health value. However, lately, many consumers scan ingredient statements to see what they are actually ingesting. Depending on their personal views, consumers may toss some products back on the shelf. Today, many consumers look for declarations that contain a limited number of recognizable, natural ingredients.

This clean label phenomena affects most of the food categories including sauces. Some sauces such as tomato and BBQ are reformulated to replace ingredients with natural ones. Many manufacturers market these products using new lingo such as “simply” or they indicate the number of ingredients on the label which is typically less than 10. Some tomato processors explore cost savings options. One way is to extend the tomato base or solids. Various options exist in the marketplace including fibers, starches and gums. However, each one has their own pros and cons.

Tomato Sauces:
Citri-Fi, a natural fiber derived from citrus fruit can be used to improve the texture and labeling of sauces. The process opens up the fiber to provide high surface area which lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties. Due to the unique composition, this natural fiber is ideal for extending tomato solids or enhancing texture in tomato sauce and improving the texture and viscosity of BBQ sauce. In tomato sauces, gums create a slimy texture while starches produce a pasty one. On the other hand, Citri-Fi used at 0.3% creates hearty sauces while maintaining the red color and tomato flavor.

BBQ Sauces:
In BBQ sauces, some ingredients like physically modified or functional starches are touted to provide the functionality without the use of chemicals. However, these clean label products have food processing limitations. These ingredients produce limited viscosity. Citri-Fi used at 1.5% can provide high viscosity under shear conditions and is highly stable during food processing. According to sensory panels, starches tend to create a papery off-note while Citri-Fi has a clean release which allows flavors to be robust.

Citri-Fi contributes fiber and can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp and citrus flour which resonate well in the natural markets. It is non-GMO and allergen-free which makes it an ideal fiber to use when formulating clean label and/or natural foods.

–Jennifer Stephens (VP of Marketing)

Clean-label snack and bakery products become more prevalent as consumer interest grows (Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery)

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Nutrition breakfast bars filled with strawberry

March 19, 2018 (Liz Parker)

Consumers are reading labels more, looking for products that are nutritious, with ingredients that are easy to understand and that work with their family’s budget. While there’s no official definition of “clean label,” consumers and the snack and bakery industry have their own definition in mind.
Prevailing definitions

“Since there is no official definition of ‘clean label,’ it’s up to consumers to define what clean label is to them, and how it will influence their purchases,” says Catherine Barry, director of marketing, National Honey Board, Firestone, CO. “Many consumers want to look at the ingredient listing on the back of a loaf of bread or cookie and recognize the ingredients on the list.”

Going clean label is ultimately about building trust with the shopper. They need to be assured that you will not try to feed them anything that they are uncomfortable with, explains Kurt Villwock, Ph.D., director of R&D, Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI. “A clean-label food should come from a familiar and recognizable source that has not been overly refined or exposed to chemicals. Simple and short ingredient lists evoke feelings of trust from consumers.”

These clean labels also add a sense of wholesomeness and transparency to the product. “In the eyes of the consumer, clean label foods are recognized as simple, wholesome and authentic,” says Jeff Smith, director of marketing, Blue Diamond Almonds, Global Ingredient Division, Sacramento, CA. “Today’s consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced, and they have interest in following a product’s journey from farm to table.”

One way to think of clean label would be in terms of “free from”—not always free from allergens, but from ingredients that can sometimes have negative connotations.

“Like ‘natural,’ ‘clean label’ is not a regulated term in commerce. At Daymon, we think of ‘clean label’ at retail in terms of ‘free from.’ A ‘free-from’ claim may be very basic, such as ‘no artificial colors, trans-fats or MSG,’ as ALDI has promised for its private brands other than SimplyNature, which has 125 excluded ingredients,” remarks Carl Jorgensen, director, thought leadership, Daymon, Stamford, CT. “The advantage of clean label’s ‘free-from’ approach is that it is clearly defined and defensible, unlike the vague term ‘natural.’”

While “natural” and “clean label” aren’t synonymous, they are related. “Clean label is the move within the food industry toward simplifying and including more natural ingredients in food products,” says Matthew Dahabieh, PhD, chief science officer, Renaissance BioScience, Vancouver, British Columbia. “It could also be applied to the removal of unhealthy compounds such as acrylamide, formed naturally during cooking.”

Consumers also want to be able to recognize what goes into their food. “Consumers are increasingly looking for simple, less-processed ingredients, with some familiarity—i.e., ingredients that a home cook or baker would have in their pantry. Or, at the very least, they want to know the reason some ‘less-pronounceable’ ingredients are in their food,” says Vanessa Brovelli, manager, product development, Bay State Milling, Quincy, MA.

“While analyzing the many food claims in today’s food production marketplace, it’s easy to see a desire for transparency,” says Erika Chance, associate director of brand strategy, Sullivan, Higdon & Sink, Kansas City, MO. “Our SHS FoodThink research illustrates that consumers are now looking for claims like ‘no hormones,’ ‘no antibiotics’ and ‘no trans fats,’ which points to their yearning for more information about the foods they eat.”

This might even mean looking at products that are good for the environment. “Clean label has really evolved to become twofold—as consumers embrace well-being and look to foods that support a healthy lifestyle, they also want to ensure that what they eat also positively supports the environment,” comments Molly Spence, director of North America, Almond Board of California, Modesto. “For product developers, this means ensuring that every ingredient sourced is produced responsibly and is nutritious, and delivers on taste, so consumers can feel great about what they are eating.”

Ingredient selections

Some ingredients naturally have clean-label appeal based on their familiarity to everyday consumers.. “Honey is the ideal ingredient in clean-label product development by the very nature of the ingredient. This all-natural sweetener comes straight from nature: from the bee, to the hive, to a food and beverage facility,” says Barry.

Barry suggests that, from a marketing perspective, honey may give product marketers a competitive advantage by how honey reads and looks on ingredient listings and front of packaging. Popular honey iconography, too, such as honeybees, honeycomb and honey dippers, signal to consumers that an all-natural sweetener and flavor is being used in a product, she notes.

Nuts are also a great ingredient naturally suited to clean-label snacks and baked goods. “Blue Diamond almonds are a clean-label ingredient that fit perfectly within two prominent consumer trends: a desire for natural foods, and a shift to more plant-based diets,” explains Smith. “They are well known for their nutritional and heart-healthy benefits. They’re a great source of key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.”

Spence agrees. “In all their forms, California almonds fit into the holistic, clean-label approach. They are a natural ingredient produced using sustainable farming practices, backed by over 40 years of research conducted by the Almond Board of California. This means that product developers can feel really confident incorporating almonds in their many forms in any clean-label formulation and marketing it as such to consumers.”

Fruit ingredients are another natural fit for clean-label foods, notes the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Folsom, CA. “The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is working with the industry to maximize consumers’ favorable view of blueberries, which spark visions of hearth and home, along with traditional wholesomeness,” says Tom Payne, industry specialist. “This demand for natural ingredients and clean label is a perfect setting for fruits like blueberries, which contain many naturally occurring antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.”

For corn snacks, Healthy Food Ingredients, Fargo, ND, offers its Suntava Purple Corn, with non-GMO and certified-
organic options in whole, raw form, as well as in as flour, meal or grits. “All of our ingredients are single ingredients, with no additives. Since our ingredients are organic, they are mechanically processed, without the use of synthetic materials or chemicals,” notes Jennifer Tesch, chief marketing officer. “Our ingredient portfolio of flours, flakes and grits are minimally processed, utilizing the whole grain.”

Sweet potato ingredients are seeing more use in snacks and baked goods, and the ingredients resonate with clean-label ideals, notes Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI), Nashville, NC. “Everything we do is clean label,” says Paul Verderber, vice president of sales. “Sweet potato ingredients give product developers the opportunity to add the health and functional attributes of sweet potatoes to many applications, while staying on trend with clean label.”

In August 2016, CIFI’s sweet potato ingredients received organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program. “We are proud to have met the rigorous standards of one of the leading organic certifiers in the U.S. so we can help brands provide organic options for their customers,” adds Verderber.

Manufacturers are being challenged to replace “unfriendly” ingredients with clean alternatives, while maintaining taste, texture and shelf life, notes Courtney Schumacher, marketing specialist, bakery, Kerry, Beloit, WI, which offers a portfolio of natural and organic flavors, seasonings, and dairy powders to allow for the removal of artificial flavors.

Other ingredients address functional needs. “Our broad range of Biobake enzymes and clean-label texture systems aid in processing and help maintain texture, while allowing manufacturers to remove products like L-cysteine, mono- and diglycerides, SSL, CSL, and DATEM,” says Schumacher.

Delavau Food Partners, Philadelphia, has a variety of clean label solutions to improve shelf life for bakery and snacks. “Encore Plus, in particular, delivers formula optimization in baked goods tailored to suit our partners’ needs,” says Matt Patrick, director of research and development. The company also offers Encore Soft, for a better eating experience; Encore Fresh antimicrobial solutions, for shelf-life extension; Encore Strong ingredients, for dough strength, volume, elasticity and tolerance; and Encore Relax extensibility solutions, for consistent pan and dough length. To boost nutritionals, Accent fortification solutions incorporate calcium and other desirable minerals into baked goods and chocolate.

Renaissance BioScience offers an acrylamide-reducing yeast. Acrylamide is an increasing concern because of the rising consumer and thus industry awareness, particularly in Europe, and the EU is moving toward establishing guidelines for acrylamide levels in a wide variety of foods, beginning in April 2018.

“Our acrylamide-reducing yeast, which was developed from a baker’s yeast, naturally produces an enzyme that consumes asparagine—the precursor to acrylamide—and requires no additional labeling. This is unlike the purified asparaginase, which does require labeling in some jurisdictions,” says Dahabieh.

Fiberstar specializes in producing citrus fiber, which has the unique distinction of being both clean label and having highly useful properties for product developers, comments Villwock.  “Citri-Fi is made from non-GMO citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and limes, and can be labeled as ‘citrus fiber,’ ‘citrus flour’ or ‘dried citrus fiber,’ which resonates well in the clean-label markets.”

Citri-Fi 100 is useful for successfully troubleshooting texture and mouthfeel problems in clean-label foods, notes Villwock. “Formulators of clean label foods know all too well the ever-shrinking list of ingredients that their customers will permit in their food. Despite limited options, the food still must taste great and, furthermore, have the stability to make it through the rigors of shelf life and mass distribution.”

A maturing market

Many snack and bakery companies are embracing clean label in their products. “All bakery and snack categories are feeling some sort of impact from the clean-label trend,” remarks Barry. “Judging from new product introductions, the bread industry has fully embraced clean label, as have many salty snack categories, and sweet goods and desserts.” In these products, she adds, many consumers want to ensure that the calories upon which they are indulging come from all-natural ingredients.

Ingredion Inc., Bridgewater, NJ, recently conducted proprietary consumer research across eight bakery and snack categories—breads, cookies, cakes, tortillas/flatbreads, potato and tortilla chips, pretzels, and snack bars—and found that the top two claims that drove purchase intent with customers were “no artificial additives, preservatives or flavors” and “all natural,” notes Ricardo Rodriguez, marketing manager, confectionary and bakery. “Simple and transparent labeling continues to be a trend, particularly within extruded and puffed type of snacks and the bar market. These types of products continue to grow in the market, because consumers are willing to pay a premium for simple and clean.”

Tesch says that she is seeing the most clean-label growth in the better-for-you snacking and baking categories. “These include organic, non-GMO, plant-based protein, gluten-free and raw/less-processed foods.”

As consumers continue to increase their snacking habits, clean-label snack consumption will likely increase. “At Blue Diamond, we know that consumers are snacking more than ever, with more than 90 percent reaching for a snack at least once a day,” notes Smith. “They’re increasingly seeking clean-label snacks that have a health benefit related to their ingredient mix—whether those snacks are salty, savory or sweet, high or low calorie. Top of mind for consumers is portable snacks and nutrition bars made with simple, clean label ingredients that deliver functionality.”

Brovelli also cites the growth of clean-label snack and nutrition bars, with a focus on simple, healthy ingredients like dates or honey as binders in place of corn syrup, and nuts, grains and seeds for protein and fiber in place of concentrates and isolates.

Formulating clean-label snacks and baked goods will continue to pose challenges. “One of the clean-label challenges in baking is shelf life. Removing trans fats and substituting butter or cold-pressed oils can dramatically reduce shelf life,” comments Jorgensen.

But Jorgensen notes that he has seen the biggest growth in clean-label salty snacks and crackers: “These clean-label snacks are relatively simple to execute from an ingredient standpoint, and offer many opportunities for platform and flavor innovation.”

And unsurprisingly, millennials are a big reason why clean label has seen such strong levels of growth. “Consumers are recognizing that to support a healthy and active lifestyle, they need a healthy diet—this includes ‘healthy-ish’ snacks. To the millennial generation, this means clean label and/or organic,” explains Jennifer Stephens, vice president of marketing, Fiberstar.

“The millennial segment is a big opportunity for clean-label marketing, because they favor individuality and customizing what they eat,” adds Payne.

Artisan bread is also becoming more popular in the clean-label arena. “Artisan bread is gaining momentum,” says Brovelli. “Artisan baking has traditionally been clean label, with very few ingredients, and more focus on long fermentation times to achieve flavor and shelf life.”

Consumers are urging the removal of negative ingredients and desiring clean-label options for high-consumption categories and staples, says Soumya Nair, director of marketing insights, Kerry. This includes bread. “Baked breads are the most prominent, calling to attention the removal of DATEM, emulsifiers, CSL and SSL, among many others. The need for a simple ingredient deck that mimics a recipe has been higher than ever before.”

Frozen foods can boost sales through healthy, flavor-forward innovation (Snackfoods & Wholesale Bakery)

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baked pizza with toppingsFrozen foods can boost sales through healthy, flavor-forward innovation
Melissa Kvidahl

In select spots across the freezer case, sales are heating up—despite consumer trends that seem at odds with growth. “We have seen a significant consumer migration from center aisles and frozen to the perimeter of the store, where products are perceived as fresher and better for you,” says Agnes Lapinska, senior marketing manager of performance specialties and savory, Ingredion, Westchester, IL. But innovation in the freezer case is pulling consumers back, she says, and sales are rising as a result.

According to data from IRI, Chicago, for the 52 weeks ending November 5, 2017, dollar sales in the frozen appetizer and snack roll segment grew 5.11 percent to $2.1 billion. Category leaders include General Mills, up 2.51 percent to $562.2 million, and Ruiz Food Products, up 21.82 percent in to $245.4 million.

Dollar sales of frozen pretzels rose 1.99 percent since the previous year, with segment leader J&J Snack Foods Corp.—which acquired artisan pretzel and bread baker Labriola Baking Co. in August 2017—up 4.50 percent to $58.2 million. Hanover Foods Corp. also posted growth, up 12.46 percent.

Frozen breaded vegetables dropped 9.42 percent to $26.9 million, but segment leader Pictsweet saw strong growth, up 25.31 percent to $9.8 million.

Frozen pizza, led by an impressive 16.27 percent gain in private label, grew 2.24 percent to $4.7 billion. Other standouts included Schwan’s Co. brand Tony’s, up 22.40 percent to $89.9 million and Nestlé brand Stouffer’s, up 16.24 percent to $65.1 million. However, frozen pizza crusts and dough fell 4.16 percent to $18.7 million.

The key to success? Elevating the frozen-food experience to rival that of a home-cooked or even a restaurant experience. “Quality, flavor and overall appeal have always been important in frozen foods. It’s just the bar for judgment continues to be raised by consumers as they become more experiential regarding food—i.e., seeking exciting food experiences—and the overall food marketplace continues to elevate what it can offer,” explains Jordan Bate, associate brand manager, Lamb Weston, Eagle, ID.

 Elevating quality,  meeting trends

“The explosion of fresh prepared foods has challenged frozen food manufacturers to provide convenient meal solutions that are as close to fresh as possible,” says John Toaspern, chief marketing officer, Potatoes USA, Denver. “Processors are rising to the challenge by improving the quality of the raw ingredients used, ensuring optimal freshness and flavor.” By using the highest-quality ingredients, frozen foods can compete with fresh offerings on natural and processing trends, while winning the race on convenience and year-round availability.

“Fresh ingredients are the key,” says Tryg Siverson, chief operating officer of Feel Good Foods, Brooklyn, NY. “They always have and will continue to be.” He also notes that it’s important to help deliver a unique experience for the consumer.

Lamb Weston helps tell a story with its new Grown in Idaho brand of frozen potato products. The bags feature prominent “Grown in Idaho” branding.

At Ruiz Food Products, Inc., Dinuba, CA, real, definable ingredients help elevate the brand’s frozen offerings. For example, its El Monterey Simply Breakfast Egg, Turkey Sausage, and Cheese Breakfast Burrito is made with real scrambled eggs and fresh-baked whole-grain tortillas, clocking in at 11 grams of protein and just 220 calories. “As we look at today’s consumer preferences, I believe it is important to note that one of the reasons for our brand’s growth is the desire for options that are healthy and offer energy,” says Rachel P. Cullen, president and CEO.

Nesha Zalesny, technical sales manager, Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI, has noticed increased demand for plant-based offerings. “This is not just meat-analogue products that can be used to replace meat in traditional dishes, but entire entrées centered around vegetables,” she says. One example of this trend in action is the rise in cauliflower products like cauliflower pizza crusts. Jennifer Stephens, vice president of marketing, also notes a rise in demand for healthy ingredients like ancient grains, tempeh and quinoa in frozen items.

As is the case across the food industry, clean label is important in the freezer case. “Increasingly, consumers want to know how ingredients were produced,” says Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager, Cargill, Minneapolis. As a result, product developers have moved away from ingredients like modified starches, which have previously played critical roles in frozen food applications but have come under scrutiny in recent years for clean label consumers. Cargill’s SimPure line of functional native starch solutions, launched in fall 2017, specifically addresses this issue. They can replace modified starches in frozen foods and withstand up to 12 freeze/thaw cycles.

On the dough front, Cargill also offers premium lecithins combined with select enzymes, which can produce loaves “nearly indistinguishable” from those made with common dough conditioners and emulsifiers like DATEM and monoglycerides, says Bill Gilbert, certified master baker and principal food technologist.

Going further with flavors

According to Siverson, ethnic flavors continue to be a driver for this space, as they are for many products across the industry.

“There’s an entire world of cuisine manufacturers can introduce to consumers,” says Zalesny. “Indian flavors are becoming more common, but African cuisines have not yet been brought to the mass market.”

If you ask Peggy Castaldi, marketing director, SubHerb Farms, Turlock, CA, one way to elevate frozen flavors is to focus on regional flavors. “For example, consumers aren’t just looking for Mexican,” she says. “They are looking for foods from the Yucatan or from Baja.” Along these same lines, brands can explore flavors specific to different South American cuisines, like those from Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador, or specific Asian flavor profiles like those from the Philippines, Singapore or Malaysia.

In August 2017, SupHerb Farms introduced three new culinary pastes: S’chug, Chermoula and Aji Pesto, along with a Tabbouleh Starter blend. Adventurous eaters will flock to these offerings, but to appeal to the wider consumer base, these flavors make sense in familiar formats. “You can use S’chug, a Yemeni hot sauce, as a sauce for a breakfast sandwich, in a potato dish or on a flatbread,” Castaldi suggests.

Looking ahead

For frozen foods to truly compete, brands may be wise to take a page from the playbooks of ready-to-cook delivery services like Blue Apron, says Zalesny.

Why? As Bate points out, continued growth of online, pickup and delivery services opens the doors for frozen to win back eating occasions from traditional restaurants.

“Have the majority of ingredients prepped and ready to finish cooking and customized by the consumer,” Zalesny says.

Alternatively, frozen brands can win these types of consumers by offering frozen foods with little preparation needed. “Many consumers are on the go, and are looking for easy dinners to serve,” says Tom Mac Donald, vice president of sales and marketing, Brolite Products, Streamwood, IL. “They want variety and healthy options that are prepared and ready for them, and they don’t want to sacrifice any flavor. It has given the freezer aisle an excellent opportunity to grow, expand their selections to include these types of meals, and get creative in their packaging and marketing.”

But what should be included in these new offerings? Stephens suggests that vegetarian meats, which are often sold as standalone individual items, will attract not just vegetarians, but also carnivores open to trying something new. “Because meals contain multiple components, the acceptance rate of vegetarian meats may be higher than consuming alone,” she says.

Frozen pizzas or breakfast burritos prominently featuring vegetarian meats could attract attention from healthy-leaning shoppers seeking better-for-you options.

“The modern consumer is very health-conscious and will look for those options that most closely resemble a fresh, homemade meal,” says Mac Donald. “Manufacturers can bring life to the freezer case by using frozen ingredient technology, so products come out of the freezer with a fresh, attractive appearance and flavor to follow. It’s time for innovation. Thinking outside the box is no longer a luxury, it’s a means of survival.”

BLOG: Top 10 Trends at Natural Products Expo West

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The Natural Products Show unveils the top natural trends within the food industry such as sustainability, meatless meat and vegan foods. Product developers look for clean label ingredients like Citri-Fi®, a natural citrus fiber with high water holding capacity and emulsification properties, to improve texture and nutrition of these natural food products. Fiberstar’s technical sales manager, Nesha, shares her insights.

Natural Fruit Smoothies

The first thing you notice as you enter the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim is the incredible crowd. The area in front of the convention center is packed with people, tents, food trucks, a bandstand and cars trying to drop people close to the doors of the convention hall. While navigating the crowd, even an extrovert like myself wants to turn around and head back to the car—which is parked several miles away. There is a man walking behind me who is juggling a large floral arrangement and several boxes. So I offer to help him carry his items. I walk him as far as the hotel where I am going to pick up my badge. His partner arrives just as I am handing off a box and the flowers. I glance at my FitBit and notice I have already logged 7000 steps which is almost to my goal. I forge into the hotel to get my badge.

After I clear the entrance requirements, I make my way inside. I see a lot of spokespeople handing out samples of their products. Last year, there were costumed goddesses and cows doling out samples. This year seems to be a little more casual. I meander around one of 8 to 10 glass displays highlighting new product launches and quickly realize that Citri-Fi, a natural citrus fiber is an ideal solution for this market due to its natural functionality and clean label. Afterwards, I head up to the New Products Expo on the third floor of the convention center. Assuming it will be slightly less crowded than the main floor of the Expo, I decide to start at the top and work my way down.

Vegan Foods
Once I get upstairs, I realize I’m wrong. The aisles are nearly impassable from the crowd of people. The new products floor is comprised of companies who are trying to find brokers to get them into the grocery stores. Everywhere I look, I see vegan products such as vegan “chicken nuggets” as well as vegan ice cream, sauces and baked goods. There is even vegan jerky. From a food scientist perspective, vegan products can be difficult to formulate. Removing eggs and butter from a cookie, for example, requires a systems approach. The binding and humectant properties of the egg are key to creating quality products. However, once the egg is reduced or removed, the texture is compromised. Citri-Fi, a natural citrus fiber contains high surface area which binds the moisture and improves the texture of the product over its shelf-life. For vegan “chicken” nuggets, Citri-Fi will hang on to the moisture of the nugget, especially under heat lamps to maintain a moist and juicy morsel.

Sustainability is a big buzz word. There are products touting cruelty-free farm animals and free range chicken and beef. One of the most interesting booths is the “cricket protein.” The argument for eating this protein is one of sustainability. Insect biomass is one of the most plentiful sources of protein on earth and insects do not require a lot of natural resources to raise. Intellectually, I know that the seafood I like so well – shrimp, lobster and crab – are essentially the insects of the ocean, but I can’t bring myself to actually try them. Maybe next year…

Specialty Dairy Foods
There are a lot of specialty dairies represented on this floor showing products ranging from specialty dessert style whole milk yogurt, kefir to gelato and ice cream. These companies talk about small batch processing, specialty ingredients and regional flavors. Chatting with one company, Gelato Fiasco (isn’t that a fantastic name?), I sample their strawberry cheesecake gelato. I love how flavorful and creamy the gelato is. Citri-Fi is an excellent natural choice for ice cream, yogurt and kefir. With Citri-Fi’s naturally occurring pectin, this natural ingredient can texturize yogurt and kefir, and control syneresis over the shelf-life of the product. It is a natural emulsifier, and, because it is freeze-thaw stable, this natural fiber can improve the abuse tolerance of a natural label ice cream. So many ice creams turn to sand immediately after opening the package. Citri-Fi can eliminate that because it hangs onto water so well during the temperature cycling of the freezer. Enjoying my strawberry cheesecake treat, I head downstairs.

Savory Sauces
It is lunchtime. I thought a lot of people would be off grabbing a bite, but, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The main floor is so packed, it is actually difficult to walk. The usual suspects are here. Boulder Brands has a large booth. Bai Brands is handing out Bai waters which is really nice, as I’m really thirsty from sampling upstairs. The booths on the main floor which are more established companies appear much more elaborate compared to the ones upstairs. Several RVs set up on the floor display products and demonstrations including one featuring vegan barbecue. Citri-Fi works well in barbecue sauce as a texturant. There are several companies trying to replace modified starches with native starches to varying degrees of success due to process stability challenges. Citri-Fi can be used in place to improve the sauce thickness and stability under varying food processing conditions. Starch often muddies up the flavor release of barbecue sauce, but due to the Citri-Fi, the flavor pops nicely while improving the mouthfeel and texture.

I notice that the trends on this floor are similar to trends upstairs, but, one thing that stands out is the prevalence of coconut snacks. If you haven’t tried them, chips made from coconut are tasty. They are crisp and only slightly sweet. There are samples galore of these type of products, so I grab several. Coconut flour is also becoming more common in gluten-free options. Coconut flour doesn’t have the same binding properties as wheat flour so glutinous (sweet) rice flour is fairly commonly used. This can cause the product to really dry out over time. Citri-Fi’s high water holding capacity and binding improves the gluten-free baked goods texture over shelf-life which is key for high quality foods.

Paleo Friendly
Also, I notice the signage talking about “Paleo” friendly. The number of companies that cater to this lifestyle is fairly staggering. People following this lifestyle do not eat grains or legumes, so making snack options that fit within this lifestyle isn’t easy. I suddenly feel old remembering when Atkins was huge and everyone was going low-carb and sugar-free. I think the differences between these two lifestyles are subtle.

Gluten-free is also a standout on the main floor. This continues to be a trend. And the quality of gluten-free products is increasing. I know this has made several of my friends who need gluten-free options very happy. They now have a choice when it comes to the grocery aisle, where they never did prior to 2010. Gluten-free baked goods can benefit from the water binding ability of Citri-Fi not to mention the natural emulsification properties. Binding water tightly helps with the shelf-life eating qualities.

Ethnic Variety
One of my favorite trends is the shear choice of regional cuisines. There were a lot of South East Asian food, Indian food and African food everywhere. There were frozen options, canned products and amazing sauces. For instance, there were quite a few coconut milk based sauces. Typically, these sauces contain several spices and suffer from separation issues. Citri-Fi’s high surface area binds the oil to minimize this type of separation. Citri-Fi greatly improves the emulsion of the sauce. A few years ago, the IBIE show featured Brazilian cheese puffs. It was nice to see this company peddling these treats at this show. The one I got was a little wilted and dry. It makes me think of restaurants reconstituting rolls or bread sticks in a heating drawer. The samples at the end of the shift are often dry and crumbly, where the first samples were fantastic. This would be another excellent application for Citri-Fi. The other standout on the main floor was the number of beverage manufacturers. Maple or birch water, Bai antioxidant water, pH adjusted water and smoothies are all represented well.

Healthy Beverages
I head downstairs to see the bottom floor of the convention. These are smaller booths, but it is just as packed as the upper floors. There are many HPP processed smoothie type drinks available downstairs, along with gluten free snacks. Using Citri-Fi in the smoothie applications is beneficial. Manufacturers can extend expensive fruit pulp, with a less expensive fruit pulp, and get excellent mouthfeel and flavor release. And for those trying to replace carrageenan, Citri-Fi in conjunction with gellan gum can fully replace this ingredient while maintaining mouthfeel and stabilization.

Meatless Meat
Jack fruit meat replacement products are everywhere. For instance, one company is offering sandwiches made up of their “pulled pork.” The smell is amazing, and the texture is incredible. But, I wonder if the samples at the end of the day are very different from fresh samples. Controlling moisture in the system is probably very important. Citri-Fi is recommended in vegetarian meat products to bind that moisture and oil which improves the eating experience especially since most of these products are reconstituted.

At this point, I look at my FitBit and see I have walked 25,272 steps. That is more than double my daily goal. My feet are absolutely killing me so I decide it’s time to head out. My walk through the crowds outside at the food truck booths takes quite a bit of time. There are a lot of yogurt samples and vegan meats to try on the way out. The band has started to play reggae at the bandstand and the center court. I wish I could stay—mainly for the great samples and fun people who attend the show. By the time I get back to my car, I have walked almost 30,000 steps. I hope that my FitBit doesn’t expect this every day!

–Author: Nesha Zalesny (Technical Sales Manager)


BLOG: Natural Plant-based Fiber to Improve Vegetarian Meats

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Vegetarian Meat SandwichRegardless the reason – reducing saturated fats and cholesterol, celebrating meatless Mondays, trying a new experience or starting a diet for life – the alternative meat market sales propelled north over the past two years. Vegetarian or vegan meats have been in the market for over a decade. So why now a ramp in sales? Prior art used soy and wheat-based proteins, eggs and cheese to form a matrix to be shaped into grounds, patties and links. Today, there is a plethora of plant-based proteins to choose from which kicked the creativity up a few notches. Besides the health and wellness push, there are also the sustainable and environmental drivers helping to shape this new market of alternative meats.

Common Issues
However formulating with new plant-based ingredients such as ancient grains, beans, peas and lentils can introduce new challenges. Some of these health halo ingredients manage water holding differently especially when exposed to certain food processes and shelf life over time. Binding is key to prevent products from crumbling apart. Consumers are not the most delicate chefs in the kitchen, therefore, the patty versions tend to dry out when exposed to high temperatures over cook time. Hockey puck, anyone? And if these alternative meats are intended to simulate their animal-containing counterparts, then the texture and bite should be similar.

Natural Solution
One option is to use Citri-Fi®, a natural citrus fiber which is produced by a clean process that opens up the fiber to expose high surface area. This high surface area holds and binds large amounts of water and oil tightly. In products using alternative meat proteins, this natural fiber is fast swelling without the need of heat activation which provides stable moisture control during processing. Citri-Fi binds the moisture to buffer the loss during harsh final cook conditions. As a result, the patty or sausage link produces a juicy and tender bite. Citri-Fi also binds the oil tightly to reduce purge and maintain that full-fat mouthfeel.

This vegetarian meat market also speaks to the natural, plant-based, allergen-free and non-GMO movement. With consumers shying away from chemically-based ingredients, utilizing the nutritional and functional components of whole plant-based foods is the new frontier. Citri-Fi’s natural composition provides functionalities and contributes fiber as nature intended. Also, this natural fiber is made from real citrus fruit which is non-GMO and allergen-free. As a result, this natural ingredient can be labeled citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonate well in the natural markets.

Author: Jennifer Stephens (VP of Marketing)

Other Related Articles:

Plant Protein Options for Meat Alternatives (Food Business News)

Why Consumer Elect Meat Alternatives (Prepared Foods)

Plant Potential Growth in a Market Driven by Consumer Trends (Food Ingredient First)

Bright Future for Alternative Proteins (Food Processing)