Low-Carb Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Not necessarily, says a new report on low-carb diets and today's consumer from The Hartman Group (Bellevue, Wash.). Although a strict low-carb diet may be a short-lived fad, “it is also an indicator of a wider trend regarding the eating habits of Americans.” The study also notes that some 67% of the U.S. population eats a diet low in carbohydrates, but does not necessarily recognize the diet as specifically "low-carb." The eating habits are a reflection of wider trends in eating such as balance and moderation. Some 4% of consumers embrace the "fad" aspects of the low-carb diet while only 1% are long-term adoptees, following the low-carb diet on a permanent basis for reasons such as diabetes. The Hartman Group, www.hartman-group.com, info@hartman-group.com

Citrus Twist

An old variety of citrus fruit offers a trendy kick to beverages and food products. The blood orange, with its distinctive crimson fruit pulp and rich flavor, offers some of the richest vitamin C content, along with other important vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, potassium, and anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant. Raspberry and strawberry overtones make the blood orange a delightful new twist on a traditional flavor. Wild Flavors Inc., Donna Hansee, 859-342-3526, dhansee@wildflavors.com

Stable Soy

A new soluble soy protein isolate is stable even under retort processing conditions. Low in sodium, bland in flavor, and free of typical beany and bitter notes, Protient 6000 remains soluble at high concentrations with low viscosity. Formulators can eliminate masking agents and reduce overall flavor costs while incorporating unprecedented levels of protein. Non-GMO, water-filtered Protient 6000 is ideal for retort processing and delivers extended shelflife and lower carbohydrate levels than soymilk-based products. Protient, 651-638-2600, www.protient.com

Link to Flavor

Product developers have an updated source for flavor solutions in a website focused on flavor. Kikkoman International's newly enhanced website offers new product information and reference materials as well as a complete listing of product offerings. Besides their traditional soy sauce line, including liquid, dehydrated and granulated soy sauce offerings, the website showcases Kikkoman's other products, such as freeze-dried miso, sliced dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, and flavor enhancers. Kikkoman's website is an ideal resource for developers looking for new trends or flavor solutions. Kikkoman International Inc., 415-956-7760, www.kikkoman-usa.com

Fiber and Children's Health

Diarrhea in children accounts for more than 30% of pediatric visits and about 9% of all hospitalizations. A recent study completed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concluded that the introduction of scFOS™, a fermentable fiber with a prebiotic effect similar to breast milk oligosaccharides, may be an easy and cost effective method of reducing the severity of symptoms in young children. Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) helped to retain stool consistency during infection and increased the production of short-chain fatty acids essential in maintaining intestinal function. NutraFlora® scFOS is the only FDA-reviewed GRAS short-chain prebiotic fiber for children under the age of one, is 95% pure scFOS, and can be undetectable in food formulations. GTC Nutrition LLC, www.gtcnutrition.com

FDA Rules Combat Bioterrorism

The interim final FDA rules under the Bioterrorism Act were published in the October 10th Federal Register. Regulating registration of food facilities and requiring prior notice of imports, these rules will be effective December 12, 2003; however, the FDA is accepting comments for the next 75 days which may result in changes to these interim regulations. Under the prior notice of imports rule, the FDA expects an average exceeding 25,000 notices per day of incoming shipments, and a total of more than 420,000 facility registrations. www.usafoodagents.com/execsum.htm

Good Taste in Sweeteners

A new functional sweetener offers healthy effects with flavor enhancing features. Gaio® tagatose can be used to improve the flavor of diet products and has no glycemic response, making it a contender in the “low-carb” market. Distributed in the U.S. by Arla Foods Ingredients, the product offers “regular” taste to reduced-calorie foods as well as enhances toffee and mint flavors. Unlike other “artificial” sweeteners, Gaio® tagatose browns easily and adds color to various confectionery and bakery applications. Arla Foods Ingredients, Josephine M. O'Brien, 908-964-4420, www.gaio-tagatose.com

Ultra-low Glycemic Index

Low-GI (Glycemic Index), high-fiber foods are vital to blood sugar and serum insulin levels and weight loss. Low-GI values signify a value of less than 55, based on a glucose having a value of 100. A new 90% soluble fiber from Matsutani America Inc., Fibersol-2™, has been found to have an ultra-low index of less than 5, and is odorless, tasteless and stable in nearly all processing conditions, making it an ideal ingredient for high-fiber foods. Matsutani America Inc., Bob Heard, 217-875-9819, www.matsutaniamerica.com

Fat and Strokes

A provocative new study involving 44,000 men over a period of 14 years found no relation between consumption of high-fat products and stroke. The study, conducted at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the British Medical Journal, followed healthy men aged 40 to 75 who filled out detailed questionnaires about their eating habits. Researchers found no relationship between stroke risk and consumption of fat. However, even Ka He, the director of the study, is quick to say that there still needs to be further study before making conclusions about the results. Earlier studies reached conflicting conclusions about the link between fat and strokes, and there is still significant evidence linking fat consumption and heart disease.

Best Performance in a Sweet Roll

Xylanase inhibitors naturally present in flour can cause problems with additives used to standardize and improve flour performance. Grindamyl® PowerBake Bakery Enzyme from Danisco is the first uninhibited xylanase on the market. Ensuring consistently high quality and stability, the new enzyme eliminates the quality variations in baked products that have been the bane of baked goods producers. Grindamyl® PowerBake increases volume and crumb structure, improves elasticity in dough and provides a higher tolerance towards processing variations. Danisco, Dana L. Boll, 800-255-6837, ext. 1226, dana.boll@danisco.com, www.danisco.com/enzymes/powerbake

Modifying Saltiness

Some food systems require high levels of salt to address preservation and shelflife issues. Wixon Fontarome offers its Mag-nifique™ Flavor Technologies to combat the problems of excess saltiness and metallic aftertaste. Mag-nifique Salt Away and Mag-nifique Mimic reduce salt perception and the metallic character of potassium-based salt substitutes. The entire Mag-nifique line is designed to handle basic flavor problems and is comprised of all-natural ingredients. Wixon Fontarome, Kathy Tadych, 414-769-3000, kathy_tadych@wixon.com

Flavor with Flavonoids

Increased consumption of flavonoids has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but they often are removed in processing because of their perceived bitter taste. However, new research shows that adding flavonoids, which naturally occur in plant foods, to food applications during processing, not only adds health benefits, but also promotes good flavor development and palatability, including limiting off-flavors (such as the scalded or cooked flavor of ultrapasteurized milk). Taste testers were unable to distinguish increased bitterness in cooked samples enriched with the flavonoid epicatechin compared to the non-enriched control, and found that the presence of the flavonoid in ultrapasteurized milk resulted in less “cooked flavor,” to the point where one sample was indistinguishable from regular pasteurized milk. Pennsylvania State University, Barbara Hale, bah@psu.edu

Cold, but Binding

Improve binding and texture of cold prepared foods with a new, potato-based instant starch. National Starch's Novation® 6600 starch not only helps bind cold meat, soy, vegetarian and fish patties, but it retains moisture and textural stability during cooking and reheating. The product maintains moisture in potato pieces, improves creaminess in mashed potatoes and adds viscosity and body to soups, stews and low-fat products. Foods formulated with Novation 6600 also exhibit brighter flavors and improved mouthfeel. National Starch and Chemical, 800-797-4992, nscinquiry@salessupport.com, www.nationalstarch.com

Hot Topics

A series of one-day seminars offered throughout North America will focus on food and feed labeling regulations in the EU and Asian markets. Tough regulatory demands in overseas markets are complicated by complex and constantly changing labeling rules. The free seminars, offered by Eurofins Scientific and GeneScan, will be offered in February and March in Newark, Chicago, Anaheim and Dallas, and will focus on existing and upcoming GMO regulations, allergen detection, pesticide, antibiotic and other residue detection and regulation, and identity preservation and traceability, with afternoon breakout sessions that will focus specifically on the regulatory prospective. A special session on GMPs will be presented at the Anaheim session only. GeneScan USA, Kelley Smith, 866-535-2730, ksmith@gmotesting.com

Naturally Processed Wheat Protein Isolate

A competitively priced, naturally processed wheat protein isolate adds a new dimension to an already-diverse portfolio of products. Main Street Ingredients is producing this high-quality isolate at the United States Energy Partners' state-of-the-art plant in Kansas. The wheat isolate has highly functional characteristics and will be available to meet a wide range of pH needs. Main Street Ingredients, 800-359-2345, information@msing.com, www.mainstreetingredients.com

Mega Mint

Improve mint and menthol flavors without the harshness that results with many mint enhancers. Foote & Jenks Corp., flavor specialists for over a century, has developed a line of flavor systems specifically to address the problems with enhancing mint flavors in a wide variety of applications. Available in liquid or powder form, the mint enhancers provide superior flavor and maintain excellent flavor profiles. Foote & Jenks Corp., 800-966-7838

Flavorless Gum

A new proprietary process gently removes the color and flavor from gum acacia, resulting in a highly functional material ideal for encapsulation. Superwhite Gum Acacia from Importers Service Corp. offers food manufacturers a practical, low-cost encapsulation agent, without the off flavor and dark tones that had previously limited gum acacia's use in encapsulation. Now manufacturers can switch from traditional, chemically modified food starches to natural gums, and from “artificial” to “natural” labeling. Importers Service Corp. is the largest North American importer and processor of gum arabic, and is proud to provide completely GMO-free products. Importers Service Corp., David Hulmes, 201-332-6970, dhulmes@iscgums.com, www.iscgums.com

Blueberry Boost

Supplement and enhance the blueberries in your dough with a new product that mimics the flavor and appearance of wild Maine blueberries. Blueberry BetrFX, used in a ratio of 2 to 1 to fresh blueberries, allows a cost savings while improving the flavor and aroma of the blueberries. It provides even fruit distribution without the need to add flavors or canned fruit, and will not break apart or smear the dough. And it provides users with a regulated, year-round supply, protecting them from cost fluctuations. Loders Croklaan, 800-621-4710, www.croklaan.com

Packing a Punch

A major supplier of flavors, fragrances and raw materials for over 150 years has added a new punch to its lineup. PUNCH Accord®, the newest addition to Robertet Flavors' Accord line of flavor notes, will add a sweet, punch-flavor profile with grape and pineapple notes to other fruit flavors. The Accord line, available in natural liquid and spray-dry versions, offers food producers flexible topnotes, high impact and aroma, instant flavor modification and reduced product development time. Robertet Flavors, Gretchen Schleck, 732-981-8300

Unique Liquid Flavor

Most bases use dried spices and flavors that are subject to flavor loss during cooking. Custom Chefs Ltd. offers unique liquid flavors from fresh herbs and vegetables, made with a special fermentation process that adds stability and emphasis. Ensure deep, bold flavors in baked goods with this unique liquid flavor line, including Sun-dried Tomato Basil, Strawberry, Black Bean, Roasted Garlic and New Mexico Red Chili. Custom and organic ingredients also are available. Custom Chefs Ltd., 800-457-8935, www.customingredients.com

Freeze-Dried Fruit Juice

Fruit juice powder offers manufacturers a method of adding popular flavors and functional properties to their products. Crystals International Inc. offers two new varieties of freeze-dried fruit juice powder. Crystal Caps™ Raspberry encapsulated fruit juice powder solves the problem a highly-perishable fruit presents, and provides a stable powder with all the color, flavor and nutritional qualities of the fresh fruit. Crystals™ 100% Organic Pineapple Freeze-dried Fruit Juice Powder meets consumer demand for this versatile and nutritious product. Crystals International Inc., 800-237-7629, ingredients@crystals-inc.com

Calcium Boosters

Calcium-boosting, all-natural fiber ingredients offer weight-loss benefits to consumer product formulators. Orafti Active Food Ingredients, a longtime leader in fiber and other nutritionally functional products, is uniquely poised to help food manufacturers revamp their offerings to reflect trends in health and fitness. And Raftilose® Synergy 1, a proprietary inulin product, has been clinically shown to increase calcium absorption and retention. Orafti Active Food Ingredients, Barry Schwartz, 610-889-9828

Next Generation of Weighting Agents

A new ready-to-blend weighting agent is designed to improve the appearance and stability of beverages. The alcohol-free agent, Sustane SAIB MCT from Eastman Chemical Co. is odorless, taste-neutral and requires no heating to lower viscosity. The enhanced weighting agent prevents oil and other non-water-soluble ingredients from separating during storage and improves the look of “cloud” in beverages. Sustane SAIB MCT is stable when exposed to air and blended into beverages, and provides consistency of flavor and appearance. All Sustane SAIB formulas have a superior safety record. Eastman Chemical Co., Peter Eschbach, 423-229-6636, peschbach@eastman.com, www.eastman.com

Bold Flavors

Today's consumer demands bold tastes and ethnic flavors in a convenient package. Maximize your impact with flavor marinades from French's Flavor Ingredients. Ready-to-serve or heat-and-eat products take on a whole new taste with Frank's® RedHot sauces, Cattleman's® barbecue sauces, and other products from the French's line. French's can help food processors develop products that appeal to contemporary tastebuds while maintaining the convenience of frozen and packaged food. French's Flavor Ingredients, 800-4-FRENCH, www.frenchsingredients.com

One-Stop Shopping

Providing a “one-stop shop” for energy bar manufacturers is the impetus behind a cross-divisional team at Kerry Ingredients. The Kerry Energy Bar Initiative integrates the expertise of four Kerry divisions - Kerry Sweet Ingredients, Kerry Specialty Ingredients, Kerry Proteins, and Nutriant—to provide manufacturers of energy bars with all they need to develop and produce innovative, functional products, from contents to coatings and everything in between. A first-in-the-industry pilot plant helps food formulators work out exactly what they need when they need it. Kerry Group, www.kerrygroup.com