Rather be Blue
Blueberries are one of the hottest beverage ingredients of late, with good reason. Aside from their healthy attributes, there is the amazing, across-the-board appeal of blueberries. Consumers equate blueberries with antioxidant power and readily accept them as an ingredient in almost any product. Their inclusion gives a homey and familiar touch and a warm “halo effect” characteristic of blueberry-anything. Not only do blueberries have an all-American association, as a native U.S. fruit, they are an excellent choice for product developers who want to project a responsible carbon footprint. From healthy juices and beauty-from-within beverages tonouveaunon-alcoholic cocktails, blueberries are synergistic with so many ingredients, and blueberry additions to fiber drinks are also gaining in popularity, as they can be positioned as real food containing natural antioxidants. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council,www.blueberry.org

Power Yogurt
An innovative new yogurt has been developed for the U.S. dairy market. Old Home Foods’ Safflower Power™ Yogurt is the first yogurt incorporating CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in the U.S., Old Home Foods says. Enhanced with Clarinol® CLA from Lipid Nutrition, it has all the benefits of yogurt, plus the distinctive health benefits of CLA, which include reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle. The yogurt will be available in the refrigerated section of Minnesota grocery stores, in eight varieties, and is claimed to be gluten-free and high fructose corn syrup-free, with as little as 160 calories per cup. Old Home Foods, www.safflowerpower.com, Lipid Nutrition, www.lipidnutrition.com

Say Cheese, Quickly
A new yeast extract enhancer for Cheddar cheese is said to develop the flavor of a six-month aging in only six weeks. Savoury Systems says the flavor enhancement qualities of their bakers’ yeast extract helps develop immediate flavor improvement. The high protein (68%) and amino acid content promotes the growth of lactic acid bacteria to further develop flavor in approximately six weeks, under normal conditions. The overall cost reduction is one half of the normal six months of aging, the company claims. Savoury Systems International Inc., 888-534-6621, www.savourysystems.com

Starch Line Expansion
A leading supplier of food ingredients is growing its expansive line of food starches with a new launch. Tate & Lyle’s X-PAND’R®683, a pregelatinized, waxy maize starch, is designed to deliver a crispy, crunchy and cohesive texture to a wide variety of bakery and snack applications. The company’s newest starch aids in the development of cohesive and pliable dough that can be processed through conventional sheeters and extruders, without stickiness, says the company. It is ideal for sheeted and formed, coated and extruded snacks; and cakes, cookies and muffins. For more information or samples of X-PAND’R 683, call 866-653-6622. Tate & Lyle, www.tateandlyle.com

Whey With Color
A new line of colored whey crisps contains 50-80% protein. Zumbro River Brand’s whey crisps use natural colors, such as turmeric and annatto, in their production. Higher protein crisps can help answer formulation challenges in developing high-protein foods. Made using a proprietary extrusion process, the crisps have a crunchy texture and a mild dairy flavor, making them ideal for nutrition bars. The colored crisps join the currently available cocoa- and vanilla-flavored crisps. Zumbro River Brand, www.zumbroriverbrand.com

Functional, Fiber-enriched Beverages 
One manufacturer of acacia gum has launched what it calls a breakthrough product for fiber-enriched functional beverages. Fibregum™ Clear, from Colloides Naturels International (CNI), is obtained through a specific purification process that offers exactly the same benefits as conventional Fibregum, but is designed for functional beverage applications. An all-natural acacia gum particularly rich in soluble fiber (minimum 90%), Fibregum offers exceptional, scientifically proven nutritional properties, including a strong, probiotic effect, says CNI. It is also claimed to help balance intestinal microflora and favors the growth of “good” bacteria (bifidobacteria, lactobacilli). Colloides Naturels International Inc., 800-872-1850, www.cniworld.com

Nature’s Fruit Sources
One company completed the patent process for its natural antioxidant from grapes. Ethical Naturals Inc. (ENI) filed applications for the use of this antioxidant extraction technology for the production of high-ORAC extracts from other fruit sources. The technology has now been applied to the production of a new Standardized Fruit Blend (SFB™), extracted from a wide variety of fruit sources, including apple, bilberry, chokeberry, pomegranate and more. The ingredient is standardized both for ORAC value (7,500units/gram) and for polyphenols (40%). The final product has a very low taste profile and is highly water-soluble, making it ideal for inclusions in beverages, foods and dietary supplements, says the company. Ethical Naturals Inc., www.ethicalnaturals.com

Powerful Probiotics and Cranberry
A new, patent-pending product for women’s health has been announced.  UAS Laboratories Inc.’s Cran-Gyn DDS® combines the power of DDS probiotics with the highest quality cranberry extract and D-mannose. DDS-probiotics contain the superstrain, Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, a patented and trademarked strain from UAS Laboratories. DDS probiotics have over 200 studies on a variety of health conditions, including effects on Candida albicans and E.coli responsible for urogenital infections. This powerful combination inhibits E. coli-related urinary tract problems, restores healthy microflora, improves digestive health and boosts immunity. Cran-Gyn DDS offers a natural alternative for the management of urinary tract infections, yeast infections and to support digestive health, says the company. UAS Laboratories Inc., www.UASlabs.com

Soy Appealing
Now, snack and bakery manufacturers can enhance their products with the nutritional benefits of soy, in the form of “crunchy nuggets.” Suitable for breakfast snacks, granola mixes, nutrition bars and specialty bakery products, Clextral markets the equipment and expertise to put processors on the fast track to manufacturing proprietary soy inclusions with a variety of attributes (size, color, density, texture). The twin screw extruder gently cooks and shapes the soy crisps in a continuous process, while protecting the essential proteins, amino acids and minerals, claims the company, giving the snacks a healthy appeal. Clextral Inc., 813-854-4434, www.clextral.com

Pure Prevention
With heart health high on manufacturers and consumers’ agendas, cardiovascular health solutions for supplement, food and beverage products are much in demand. Glanbia Nutritionals’ MeadowPure™ flax and its new, patent-pending CVH47 whey peptide deliver the cardiovascular benefits of ALA omega-3s. Recent clinical research links CVH47 with improved vascular function, associated with preventing diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension, according to the company. Glanbia Nutritionals is poised with the technology, the clinical backing, and the development and applications expertise to help manufacturers create consumer-winning products. Glanbia Nutritionals, 608-329-2800, www.glanbianutritionals.com

Shifting Nutritional Expectations
The March 1, 2010, issue of E-dition, Prepared Foods’ electronic newsletter, examined shifts in consumer expectations of health products, through the eyes of industry professionals. For the third consecutive year, Prepared Foods partnered with Clear Seas Research to uncover what industry professionals believe are the current trends for consumers and the areas of highest interest surrounding consumer food choices.

Current consumer trends remain focused on natural, healthy and convenient foods, according to the survey, and there is a high degree of interest in products positioned as low-calorie, indulgent, whole-grain-rich and low-fat. More professionals also now believe consumers are trending toward products claiming to be high in fiber; low in sugar, salt, calories or glycemic index; and gluten-free. To see the complete version of the E-dition article, type in “Shifts in Consumer Expectations for Health Products” in the search field at www.PreparedFoods.com. To subscribe to E-dition, go to www.PreparedFoods.com/enews. pf