May 2004 Issue--Every resource is limited. Money and time are two precious resources; most are all too familiar with the finite quantity of each available to us.

The concept of “sound bites” refers to the broadcasting industry's challenge of conveying complex topics in a limited amount of time. Listeners want information in a concise form—their time is valuable—and airtime is expensive to produce.

Magazines are faced with the same situation. Readers are limited in the time they can spend reading articles. And, “space”—the area taken by words and graphics—is expensive for publishers to produce, especially when a magazine's circulation is large. For example, out of respect for our busy readers, Prepared Foods' editors have a self-imposed word-count limit for article length in the regular monthly publication.

So, what are editors to do when they have useful information but limited room? Such is our situation as we convey results of our new R&D Trends Survey on flavoring systems in this month's cover story.

The article offers intriguing interviews and statistics. However, much is left unreported. Here are just a few (sound bite) examples:

n Interest in vanilla appears greatest among those developing beverages—with 66% regarding it as one of the top three flavorings they would consider for use in their products, followed by those developing dairy products (63%), baked goods (54%) and nutritional products (38%). That order is almost reversed for “herbal” flavoring systems, with 46% of those responsible for nutritional products and 30% dedicated to baked goods ranking such flavoring systems among the top three they would consider using.

n Interest in the flavoring characteristics of various regions (e.g., regional African, Latin American, North American) is greater among those formulating products for the foodservice trade than those developing beverages.

n Some 87% of those working on beverages and 79% of those involved with baked goods considered “technical support” as one of the top three most important factors in qualifying a company from which they would purchase flavorings. “Price,” followed by “ingredients with required quality/flavoring,” are the next two most important factors. For meal/entrée product developers, price comes out on top.

Rather than leave such data on the “editing room floor,” we happily have this outlet. Throughout the coming year, we'll publish “sound bites” of information from our various R&D Trends Surveys. Those who develop new products often provide the most thought-provoking perspectives and insights into industry trends.

Internet Sidebar: Internet Information

For more information on this issue's articles, see the Internet sites provided below.

Cold Beverages Run Hot

Information Resources Inc.

pdf file: Household food spending demographics in the 1990s

Function Follows Form

Mintel International Group

International Food Information Council

NutraSolutions, a special section of Prepared Foods magazine

Simply Saucy

Several traditional sauce recipes

Type “sauces” into the searchable database

Some basic info. on sauces, as well as some recipes

Full Flavor Forecast

Flavor and Extracts Manufacturing Association

Flavors of North America's functional beverages trend information

Degussa Food Ingredients flavoring information

Rubbing It In

Christopher Ranch

Urban Accents

Lawry's Foods

Get the Most From a Calcium Form

Type "Ingredients in Use: Calcium" into the search field, and several articles

on calcium will appear

PMP Fermentation Products Inc. presents info. about calcium gluconate

Grok Foods and calcium anti-caking agents

Dairy's Probiotic Promise

Dannon's site to educate consumers

Stonyfield Farm's site to educate consumers

Yoplait's site to educate consumers