Marzipan Madness

The growing number of new, almond-containing food products introduced into the marketplace mirrors consumer demand for almonds, and marzipan is the classic, ground almond candy that has been used in Europe and the Middle East for centuries. No longer content to let the creative potential of marzipan remain across the Atlantic, a new generation of American pastry chefs is taking the paste into their own hands to develop an exciting new category of baking, confectionery and dessert concepts. The Almond Board of California is building a collection of marzipan sensations, based on classic almond forms. Chefs Johnny Iuzzini, Emily Luchetti, Sue McCown and Mindy Segal have demonstrated that “a little goes a long way” toward surprising, seducing and satisfying customers. One look at their almond-inspired creations inspires imagination—one bite amazes the senses. Almond Board of California, 209-549-8262, www.AlmondsAreIn.com

Spice is Nice

Add spice to any formulation or recipe with a trusted, branded pepper sauce with a new twist. TABASCO® Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce is prepared by mixing select, smoked red jalapeño peppers with vinegar, spices, flavor and water. This mixture then passes through a series of screens to produce a sauce of the appropriate consistency. The finished product is a dark brownish-red, mild condiment that complies with current Good Manufacturing Practices in Manufacturing, Packaging or Holding of Human Food (21 CFR 110) and is kosher pareve. In addition, TABASCO Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce can be stored in a cool, dry area or refrigerated and has a shelflife of up to 18 months. McIlhenny Company, 337-373-6105, www.TABASCO.com

Easy and Natural

A new, clean-label beverage emulsifier was introduced at IFT in New Orleans. National Starch Food Innovation introduced its Q-Naturale™ emulsifier for sparkling beverages, new-age beverages, fortified waters and juices. Q-Natural quillaja is an organic, sustainable product with excellent emulsification properties, including the ability to create high oil load emulsions. It strikes the perfect balance between functionality and availability, especially when compared to gum Arabic. Q-Naturale quillaja is delivered as an easy-handling liquid that is formulation-friendly and quickly hydrates and disperses. It can be used at economical, low-usage levels and provides long-term cold temperature and pH stability. It is also FDA-approved, non-GMO and organic-certified. National Starch Food Innovation, 908-685-5228, www.foodinnovation.com

Great Grain

A proprietary, identity-preserved, waxy, hull-less barley variety offers flexibility, functionality and special nutritional benefits for product developers who are formulating to meet pressing health and wellness concerns. With dietary fiber making up more than 50% of its carbohydrates—and 40% of that in the form of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber—ConAgra Mills’™ Sustagrain Barley can be a potent tool for heart health. In fact, Sustagrain’s benefits go beyond the heart. Whole-grain fiber is key for digestive health, blood sugar management and increased satiety, and with 2-3 times the fiber of most cereal grains, Sustagrain is even more beneficial. Available in flour, thick and quick-cooking flakes, and steel-cut and whole kernels, Sustagrain boosts the fiber in breads, rice blends, hot and RTE cereals, baked goods, bars and more. ConAgra Mills, 800-851-9618, www.conagramills.com

Pure for Sure

Sweetener innovation has been a hot topic, even garnering mainstream attention in such circles as The Wall Street Journal, whose July 31 edition detailed beverage-sweetening battles between Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo. The latest salvo sees PepsiCo turning to PureCircle for high-purity Reb-A for use in beverages. At the same time, PureCircle announced another “substantial, long-term” contract with Whole Earth Sweetener Company for tabletop sweeteners worldwide. The two also granted PureCircle an exclusive license to market Reb-A under the PureVia™ brand in certain categories. The company will be free to sell the non-branded ingredient to customers across all categories and geographies. PureCircle, U.K., 44-0-207-457-2020, www.purecircle.com

Tasty, Organic Treats

A featured ingredient at 2008’s IFT was a delicious, organic soft-serve frozen dairy dessert. New 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, this newest addition to the GPC MALTRIN® maltodextrin line is versatile for use in a wide variety of other applications, such as healthy snacks for kids, sports beverages and nutrition bars. The bland flavor, low hygroscopicity and high solubility of MALTRIN OR maltodextrins also make them ideal for spray-drying flavors, colors and fruit juices. Grain Processing Corporation, 563-264-4265, www.grainprocessing.com

Berry Good News

One companies’ natural, dried fruit pieces deliver high antioxidant and PAC levels, according to new studies. Ocean Spray’s BerryFusions® Fruits were evaluated for ORAC anthocyanin and PAC content. Its Blueberry BerryFusions were shown to contain twice the ORAC and nearly four times the proanthocyanidin level of dried blueberries. In comparison with cherries, strawberries and raisins, BerryFusions Fruits showed significantly higher levels of anthocyanins, which include enhanced PACs for both cherries and raisins. Given the continuing global trend toward healthy eating, BerryFusions Fruits represent an immediate way to lend a healthy banner and add consumer appeal to a wide range of foods. Available in a variety of natural fruit flavors, BerryFusions Fruits allow manufacturers to include fruits that are traditionally difficult to work with, such as orange, mango, raspberry and strawberry. Their process tolerance and versatility makes them suitable to add color and flavor to baked goods, cereals, bars, trail mixes, snack packs and salad toppings. Ocean Spray, 508-946-7606, www.oceanspray.com

Juicing it Up

A new, non-thermal processing method to create premium quality juice concentrates for beverages and food formulations is now available. Vegetable Juices Inc.’s Natural Ingredient Solutions™ possess superior flavor and top-notes to create beverages with the greatest taste, visual impact and nutritional quality. Like fresh-squeezed, but one step better, their proprietary processing methods enable them to create juice concentrates with high nutritional value out of non-traditional juice ingredients, such as cucumbers or cantaloupe. According to beverage market analysts, future growth continues to be driven by three major factors—health and wellness, convenience and premium quality. Niche products will play an increasing role in beverage innovation, as well. In addition to beverages, the company will also debut a series of new curries that bring exotic spices and flavors into pre-blends that make processing prepared entrées a breeze. Vegetable Juices Inc., 708-924-9500, www.vegetablejuices.com

Say Cheese

It was all about cheese at one IFT booth. Land O’ Lakes had a cheese-tasting event that featured their award-winning Cheddar cheeses. Visitors were educated on the techniques and standards of evaluating cheese, which must start with good quality milk; sanitary and properly operating equipment; uniformly active starters; standardized and proven manufacturing procedures; and controlled curing time and temperature. A defect grading system helps Land O’ Lakes experts grade their cheese based on characteristics such as bitterness, acidity, yeasty, dirty socks (a sharp, dirty, sweaty flavor), etc. Defects can include coarseness and “crumblyness” and adjectives such as mealy, short and weak. Licensed cheese maker Dale Schmidt demonstrated the techniques used to evaluate cheddar cheeses of various ages and qualities. Schmidt has nearly 30 years experience in the production of high-quality cheeses and is operations manager at the Kiel, Wis., facility. Land O’Lakes Ingredient Solutions, 800-328-1322, www.landolakes-ingredients.com

Pure and Simple

Consumers increasingly demand affordable, healthier products with great taste. Puratos has a wide variety of unique products that are both healthy and delicious. Their Puravita range of bread bases responds to consumers’ needs with products that benefit and delight the whole family. Puravita offers 100% whole grain, folic acid and an excellent source of omega-3 formulations. The entire Great Taste & Wellness range of breads and sweet goods delivers health, without sacrificing pleasure. Puratos Corporation, 800-654-0036, www.puratos.us

Texture Tricks

Two texturizing products were highlighted at this year’s IFT at one booth. Cargill’s ActiStar™ resistant tapioca starch is a virtually invisible source of dietary fiber that can replace flour in a wide array of baked goods. With about 80% total dietary fiber, ActiStar RT is claimed to contain one of the highest Total Dietary Fiber (TDF) levels of any resistant starch, permitting reduced inclusion levels to achieve the TDF target. Also offered by Cargill are Fiber Krunch™ crisps, which resemble crisp rice but provide extended shelflife, improve product quality and enhance consumer satisfaction. The crisps’ sustainable crunch is the result of combining the fibers in ActiStar resistant starch and chicory. Cargill Texturizing Solutions, 877-650-7080, www.cargilltexturizing.com

Quality Soy Farming

The long-awaited Farm Bill passage has paid off for farmers interested in growing new soybean traits. The Quality Incentive Program (QIP) is a provision enacted with the Farm Bill. It will provide incentives to farmers that will help offset costs of growing certain oil seeds. Oil seeds targeted by the bill include soybeans. QUALISOY engaged the American Soybean Association to lead the process of working with legislators on QIP. Over the months, many agricultural, public health and food organizations expressed their support. QIP is designed to protect farmers and encourage them to try new trait-enhanced varieties. QUALISOY is a collaborative effort among the soybean industry to help market the development and availability of trait-enhanced soybeans and soybean oil, reduce environmental impacts of livestock production through improved soybean meal and improve the global competitiveness of the U.S. soybean industry. A diverse, 22-member QUALISOY Board of Directors sets research priorities, evaluates existing and emerging technologies and sets quality standards for traits, products and processes. For additional information, visit www.QUALISOY.com .

Puff 'n Stuff

A leader in the puff pastry industry for over 25 years now offers puff pastry with zero grams trans fat per serving. Pennant Eat Well™ Puff Pastry with Zero Trans Fat delivers delicious taste with the reliable baking performance the industry has come to expect from Pennant. Now, operators can offer the mouth-watering flavor of puff pastry, while meeting consumers’ health concerns about trans fat. Pennant’s Eat Well Puff Pastry is made with the finest quality ingredients and delivers superior dough height and reliable, consistent baking performance. Available in convenient frozen sheets and squares, it simplifies preparation of signature recipes, while satisfying the market’s demand for healthier choices. Pennant Foods, 630-366-7531, www.pennantfoods.com

Saucy and Sealed

A dry pre-coat ingredient system makes possible a new type of product that features a flavorful, saucy layer between the outer breading and inner meat, seafood or cheese. Seal ‘N Saucy™, from Advanced Food Systems, can be applied to pieces of marinated chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, fish or cheese. The pre-coating system is custom-developed to deliver flavor profiles such as Buffalo, Pepper Jack, BBQ, Honey Mustard, Marinara and many others. To apply the dry Seal ‘N Saucy Precoating system, the substrate, such as chicken or shrimp, is marinated if desired, then coated with the dry mix, fully cooked and frozen. The saucy layer is created when a consumer or foodservice operator fries the finished product. The end-product delivers a unique taste experience, without the need for a dipping sauce, and is a simple, convenient, labor-saving system. Advanced Food Systems, 800-787-3067, www.afsnj.com