Banana Mania and More

Incorporating fruit into new products adds important health benefits, as well as flavor and value. The DOLE Industrial Fresh Frozen Fruits line offers a selection of fruits that qualify as “superfoods”--those foods highest in select, grouped nutrients that target a particular health function. Dolesuperfoods.com features various superfood categories--for brain, heart, bones, antioxidants, etc.--and the studies behind them. Many are familiar favorites, such as bananas, strawberries and blueberries. The DOLE Fresh Frozen Fruits industrial line includes a ready supply of popular fruit varieties, packs and forms, along with innovative processing and convenient packaging. Dole Food Company Inc., 404-297-8478, www.dolesuperfoods.com

More Than Just a Pretty Flower

Chrysanthemum has long been known as a tea flavor with therapeutic attributes. Now, Frutrarom USA Inc. harnesses that taste in the form of chrysanthemum extract, adding a new twist to hot and cold tea-type drinks and a compatible taste in healthy offerings. When blended with other herbal ingredients, it helps create a refreshing beverage and is compatible with chamomile varieties, which are experiencing a strong comeback as a soothing aid to digestion. The extract has a distinctive taste profile, with floral notes and hints of refreshing celery characteristics. These taste perceptions are supported by Frutarom’s flavor mapping research. Frutarom USA Inc., 201-861-9500, www.frutarom.com

Trusted Traceability

A gelatin from a trusted brand is 100% traceable back to its raw material sources. Gelnex is able to guarantee traceability of its high-quality gelatin from source to final delivery, fulfilling the need for efficient control measures and placing prime importance on consumer protection. Gelnex gelatins are certified ISO-, AIB-, HACCP- and GMP-compliant and have kosher and halal certificates. Gelnex gelatin is sold in all major markets worldwide. Visit Gelnex at the IFT Food Expo 2008 in New Orleans, booth #5017. Gelnex, 516-869-1623, www.gelnex.com

Soft-serve It!

A delicious, organic, soft-serve frozen dairy dessert with a featured ingredient will be served at the 2008 IFT Food Expo in New Orleans (booth #2433). MALTRIN OR™ organic rice maltodextrin, from Grain Processing Corporation (GPC), adds body and texture to a variety of frozen dessert formulations, without excessive sweetness or freezing-point depression. Rice-based and hypoallergenic, it is versatile for use in a variety of other applications--from health snacks for kids to nutrition bars. Its bland flavor, low hygroscopicity and high solubility make it ideal for spray-drying flavors, colors and fruit juices. Grain Processing Corporation, 563-264-4265, www.grainprocessing.com

Rice is Nice

In response to growing interest by chefs, culinarians and consumers to know the origins of their food, the USA Rice Federation recently hosted a day-long “From Farm to Table” experience in Louisiana for 35 culinary professionals. Food experts got a first-hand view of this trend by touring Jeff Durand’s family rice and crawfish farm and enjoying an authentic Cajun lunch of U.S.-grown rice and other local foods prepared by chef Patrick Mould. U.S. rice farmers produce an abundant supply of short-, medium- and long-grain rice as well as jasmine, basmati, arborio, black japonica and more. About 19 billion pounds of rice is grown each year in the U.S. USA Rice Federation, www.MenuRice.com

The Whole Package

For quality packaging services for stand-up pouches, look no further than a leading manufacturer of kosher- and organic-certified, gluten-free packaging. Bartelt Packs and Form-Fill-Seal Bags are offered from Zumbro River Brand Inc., for both small and medium quantities. Two-compartment Bartelt Packs are also an option. Blending, agglomeration, extrusion and flavoring services are available prior to packaging for turn-key operation. Zumbro River Brand Inc., 507-446-9097, ext. 102, www.zumbroriverbrand.com

Liquid Encapsulation Technology

A patented liquid encapsulation technology (U.S. Patent 5,690,990) is applicable to a variety of natural flavorings, sweeteners, marinates, colors, vitamins, antioxidants and other nutraceuticals. For example, FLAVEX Protein Matrix Gel systems are colloid gel matrixes that protect the delicate flavor or color profile in foods by reducing oxidation initiated from fat and oxygen. The encapsulation process prevents phase separation of oil and water in the food system at various temperatures, ambient to 175°C after a 24-hour period. These gels also can be used for fat replacement and as a fat mimic in low-fat cooked sausage and hamburgers.  Flavex Technologies, a division of the Arnhem Group, 800-851-1052 or 908-709-4045, www.arnhemgroup.com

Calculate This

This online nutrition analysis tool instantly generates accurate, up-to-date USFDA-compliant nutrition facts panels. LabelCalc™ offers an efficient, economical alternative to the other label-generation options in the marketplace, which include costly laboratory analyses, CDs and third-party consultants. Launched in 2003, LabelCalc is one of two nutrition analysis programs produced by FoodCalc® LLC. FoodCalc creates unique online applications for food manufacturers, restaurants, dietitians and chefs. FoodCalc LLC, 888-804-0001, www.labelcalc.com

Splendor in the Lemongrass

Several trend watchers named lemongrass one of the top flavors for 2008. Refreshing and light with a hint of ginger, one would never suspect such a delicate flavor was so difficult to process for commercial use. Vegetable Juices Inc. is a commercial supplier of fresh, pureéd, processed lemongrass. In its native state, it has the consistency of razor grass. The experts at Vegetable Juices have perfected a special cutting process, creating a whole pureé that “melts in your mouth.” The company offers three types of lemongrass--frozen with no preservatives, refrigerated with citric acid, vinegar and salt, and a soft, frozen variety. Vegetable Juices Inc., 888-776-9752, www.vegetablejuices.com

Spice Exploration

At the recent Research Chefs Association (RCA) show in Seattle, the flavor experts at Gilroy Foods and Spicetec (brands of ConAgra Food Ingredients) hosted an exclusive tasting event at chef Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Lounge to explore savory flavor trends (chef Douglas is on left, accompanied by chef Sean Craig, ConAgra). A variety of unique applications showcased seasoning blends and flavors developed exclusively for the event by Spicetec and Gilroy Foods--focusing on unique meat and poultry items. Chefs, R&D and technical services personnel from Gilroy Foods and Spicetec were on hand to discuss the flavor fingerprint that makes a savory application stand out and how tastes from the evening could be a starting point for custom solutions. Gilroy Foods, 800-851-9618, www.spicetec.com

Reliable, Solid Science

When products and sweat equity are on the line, solid, trustworthy advice from a credible industry leader is a necessity. Burdock Group provides ingredient safety solutions to the food and beverage, personal care, pet food and dietary supplement industries. Core services ensure regulatory compliance and include: GRAS determination/notification; qualified health claim and structure/function claim substantiation; clinical trials and due diligence investigations; and safety assessments. Burdock is a science-based firm with knowledge-driven professionals including toxicologists, information specialists and more. Burdock Group, 888-6-BURDOCK (888-6-2873625), www.BurdockGroup.com

Function and Form

A family of functional stabilizer and texture systems developed for ultimate performance in key application areas will be featured at the 2008 IFT Food Expo. ISP Food Ingredients’ Textureze™ UB 500 is the newest addition to the line and can be used to create a “fluid gel,” which provides excellent suspension of particulates and has a water-thin viscosity. It can suspend particles, such as minced seasonings and spices or fruit/ vegetable pulp, and is an alternative to xanthan gum in applications where suspension is desired (without added viscosity). Textureze UB 500 has transparency in solution and provides a light, clean mouthfeel that enables excellent flavor release. International Specialty Products, 888-472-5446, www.ispcorp.com

Go for the Convenience

On-the-go food occasions are a growing category, fueled by irregular working hours, busy schedules, longer commute times, etc. To accommodate busy lifestyles, Virginia Dare will feature beverages and snacks that on-the-go consumers can enjoy at the 2008 IFT Food Expo (booth #2731). Virginia Dare, 410-569-9766, www.virginiadare.com

Fewer Calories, More Satiety

Today, many food developers are focused on creating products that will help consumers eat fewer calories to satiate their hunger and, thus, help them maintain a healthy body weight. Litesse® polydextrose, from Danisco, is a 1Kcal/g, specialty carbohydrate that is sugar-free, prebiotic, high in fiber and low-glycemic. High-fiber and low-glycemic foods help to moderate fluctuations in blood-sugar levels and can suppress hunger longer. This, in turn, can discourage overeating and assist with weight management. Litesse® can play a key role in the development of foods that are less dense with calories, high in fiber and have a lower glycemic response. Danisco Sweeteners, 800-255-6837, www.litesse.com

Wild About Weight Loss

A new line of functional ingredients contains some that specifically target weight loss. WILD Flavors Inc.’s H.I.T.S--Health Ingredient Technology Solutions®--provides a variety of health ingredients, including weight loss ingredients. Through a recent agreement with Cognis® Nutrition & Health, WILD now offers Tonalin® Conjugate Linoleic Acid (CLA) as a supplement for food and beverage applications. With a proper diet, CLA may aid in maintenance of a healthy weight by reducing overall body fat content. WILD Flavors Inc., 888-WILD-FLAVORS (888-945-33528677), www.wildflavors.com

Extreme Conditions

A new starch, which withstands intense heat, acid, high shear and low- pH processing conditions, is now available from National Starch Food Innovation. ULTRA-TEX SR is one of three new, cold-water swelling starches in the ULTRA Series of dispersible starches that have been created to meet the cold preparation/processing needs of convenient foods, such as mayonnaise, and high-quality, low-fat dressings. It eliminates the need for the blending of dry ingredients. ULTRA-TEX SR maintains high viscosity and superior texture where dressing recirculation is required. In many cases, up to 10% less starch can be used--when compared to conventional starches--to achieve the same viscosity. National Starch Information Center, www.foodinnovation.com

Salt Solutions

International health organizations have made a call to lower the salt content of products to the lowest levels possible. Solbar maintains that it can reduce typical sodium levels in its soy isolate to 300mg/100g (3,000ppm). Typical sodium levels in soy isolates are estimated at 11,000-13,000ppm. Key factors for successful sodium reduction include guaranteeing that the protein has no metallic flavor, low viscosity and working well in meat and food formulations. Solbar has developed steam-textured soy proteins especially designed for instant noodles and a variety of applications employing functional soy protein concentrates and isolated soy proteins. Solbar Industries Ltd., Israel, +97288632111, www.solbar.com

Processing Aids and Nutrition

A leading engineered materials corporation will showcase the products and technical service capabilities from two of its Strategic Business Units (SBU) at this year’s IFT Food Expo in New Orleans (booths #4800 and #4804). Huber Engineered Materials’ (HEM) Health and Nutrition SBU will focus efforts on dietary supplements, and its Silica SBU will discuss a variety of precipitated silica and silicate products used in spice blends, powdered foods and drink mixes as anti-caking, free-flow and processing aids.  Processing capabilities to be highlighted at the show include fluid bed granulation, blending and packaging for a variety of vitamins, minerals and specialty products. Huber Engineered Materials, 678-247-2730, www.hubermaterials.com

Naturally Functional

A new lineup of highly stable, natural flavors masks off-flavors of foods and beverages induced by heat, light and oxygen. Ogawa Solution’s NAF® Flavor Series has specific targets: NAF A for off-flavors of artificial sweeteners and functional food ingredients--this cuts lingering aftertastes, such as from catechins and polyphenols; NAF B for off-flavors of food by heat, light and oxygen--these could typically be used in dairy or meats; NAF C for off-flavors of citrus products under lighted conditions--primary uses include transparent beverages and masking of the compound citral; and NAF D for off-flavors of citrus products under heated conditions--ideal for when products (primarily beverages) are subjected to warm distribution and storage temperatures. All NAF flavors (except NAF C) are available in both powder and liquid form, and the products will not change the flavor character of food products when added. They are effective at low ppm levels and can be customized and sold in compounded form to match the aromas requested. Ogawa Flavors & Fragrances, Carl Arvold, 510-233-0633, 800-883-9574 (outside Calif.), avrico@avrico.com, www.ogawa.net/English

Purely Safe

Consumers who are skittish about food safety can rest a little easier. PURAC’s new Protect-M (based on Mirenat®) bactericidal surface treatment solution gives processors a new way to fight foodborne pathogens and allay concerns. Recently approved by the USDA as a processing aid for fresh meat and poultry, Protect-M is the newest product in PURAC’s extensive food safety portfolio and kills pathogens on the surface of meat and poultry products. A naturally derived, lauric arginate (LAE) surface treatment, it is effective against Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. PURAC America Inc., 847-634-6330, www.purac.com

Lasting Freshness

Now, snack cakes, muffins and cake donuts can stay fresh, moist and soft--even weeks after manufacture. Puratos’ Acti-Fresh solutions with Novozymes enzyme technology ensure fresher, higher-quality products by keeping the crumb more cohesive and soft.  It effectively slows retrogradation of starch molecules in wheat flour--without causing the gummy, non-elastic and sticky crumb that is typical of conventional amylases. Puratos also optimizes synergies between enzymes and other ingredients, including emulsifiers. Puratos, 856-428-4300, www.puratos.us

Confectionery Coatings

A manufacturer of high-quality coatings has launched a new, organic confectionery coating line. CQ-Organics, from Clasen Quality Coatings’ state-of-the-art facility, is Quality Assurance International (QAI)-certified and is available in dark, milk, white and yogurt formulations, with peanut butter coatings scheduled for summer 2008. The coatings contain 100%-certified organic ingredients, and each is formulated to deliver the functional, sensory and textural attributes uniquely suited to meet ingredient and product performance requirements. Clasen Quality Coatings, 608-831-6750, ext. 138, www.clasen.us

Six Degrees of Breakfasting

For food companies looking to capitalize on the ever-growing and ever-changing breakfast segment, research commissioned by a marketer of high-quality, soy-based protein ingredients may reveal the next big product in the lucrative breakfast market. In December 2007, Solae commissioned an in-depth qualitative and quantitative survey involving 1,000 consumers who ate breakfast at least three times per week. Solae’s survey identified six breakfast consumer segments: on-the-run eaters (20%); snackers (18%); guilt avoiders (17%); mood- and productivity-concerned (15%); nutrition seekers (15%); and energy/jump-start seekers (15%). Each segment represents unique opportunities for food marketers to position the benefits of protein and has implications for product design and execution. Solae, 800-325-7108, ext. 3193, www.solae.com

Method

Blend together sugar and butter. Add flour, baking powder and eggs; mix to combine. Spread in prepared pans. Sprinkle blueberries (patted dry to remove excess moisture) evenly over batter. Bake at 350°F for about 1 hour, until done. Cool. Drizzle each torta with confectioner’s sugar and milk icing. Yield: 10 nine-inch tortas.

In the “HealthFocus 2007 Trend Report,” when consumers were asked in which foods they looked for antioxidants, 73% responded “blueberries.” In fact, consumers rated blueberries the highest of all fruits as an antioxidant source. For food product designers, blueberries in the mix mean a healthy lifestyle, immediate consumer acceptance, a clean label and ease of formulation. Plus, they are available year-round in multiple formats.

Rrecipe courtesy of U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, c/o Thomas J. Payne Market Development, 650-340-8311, bberry@blueberry.org, www.blueberry.org

Number of Servings: 8
Ingredients:
1 1⁄4 cups (3 large) Roma tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup olive oil, divided
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 tsp salt, or to taste
1⁄2 tsp pepper, or to taste
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
4 ciabatta sandwich rolls, cut in half horizontally
1⁄2 cup (2oz) Wisconsin Asiago cheese, shredded and divided
1⁄2 cup prepared pesto
16oz Wisconsin fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 32 slices

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and basil; set aside.

Place ciabatta rolls on a baking sheet with cut sides facing up. Brush with remaining 3 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with ¼ cup Asiago cheese and broil 2 minutes, or until golden.

Spread each roll half with 1 tbsp pesto, and top with 4 slices of fresh mozzarella. Divide tomatoes evenly over cheese, and sprinkle with remaining Asiago cheese; serve.