Archive for February, 2018

Planning and Innovation Key for Spring Cake Success

February 24th, 2018
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The spring cake season can come out of nowhere. The madness of the winter holiday season subsides and is followed, in many regions, by a cold spell that drive shoppers in doors with no reason to purchase cakes.

And then, as suddenly as the trees begin to bloom, the rush is on for graduation parties, Mother’s Day, Easter, first communions and more.

That’s why it’s important to use the slow winter months to plan ahead, says Lynn Schurman, owner of Cold Spring Bakery in Cold Spring, Minnesota.

“We use this time of year to plan out what we’re going to sell and then we come up with designs that we’re going to do,” Schurman says. “We do the prototypes, get pictures, send the marketing out so that we’ve got designs that are fast and easy to do and everybody knows what their options are versus our decorators having to stop and think ‘OK, how should I decorate this cake?’ it makes it much faster taking orders.”

Schurman says Cold Spring Bakery usually comes up with six to 12 new designs for most seasons, but will increase that for the spring, which consumers seem to want more options. Designs are created, dummies are made, and photos are taken for consumers and for the company’s supermarket customers.

Throwing another wrench into the process this year is the relative early April 1 date for Easter.

“With Eastern being earlier, we’re having to work on some of these ideas sooner than we usually plan on,” Schurman says. “It’s all about being prepared.”

That preparation even extends to employee training. Instead of looking at the winter months as a chance to cut labor costs to the bone, that time can be used to teach employees new skills.

“We do a lot of internal training. I know some businesses try to cut labor costs way down when it’s quiet, and we do as much as possible, but we also want to take advantage of the time we do have to get people trained,” Schurman says. “When it starts getting busy, I want people who know how do hold a decorating bag and do some of the designs we’ve come up with. Do it now while it’s quiet and there are snow storms and people aren’t shopping.”

It also makes sense to use the time leading up to spring to find employees who have shown the potential to decorate cakes and make sure they know the ropes. If they can learn the basics, they can be valuable team members in the busy times, working on sheet cakes or decorating cookies and other orders.

“We look for attitude when it comes to potential decorators,” says Schurman. “We want people who want to learn new things. And we also try and look for people who have shown any kind of artistic flair in the past. Sometimes you can tell by the way someone is arranging displays or if they understand color.”

And, just as with every other aspect of the business, efficiency is an important trait. When the busy season hits, those potential decorators must be able to jump in and get it done.

“Sometimes we run into people who are very artistic, but they don’t understand that we’re trying to make a profit on cakes,” Schurman says. “They want to be artistic and do every cake different and spend time to add extra stuff to each cake. We try to weed those people out before we get to the busy times.”

Being Innovative

When it comes to graduation cakes and other spring cakes like Easter– and Mother’s Day-themed pieces, the most influential trends are those that shy away from tradition, says Shawna LaMott with Lucks Food Decorating Company.

For graduation cakes, think bold, multi-colors instead of traditional black and gold. Even school colors seem to be going stagnant. Also prepare for clever takes on modern young adult life.

“Sheet cakes are always a popular sale for graduation and can be updated with growing trends like cheeky messages or images found in social media,” says LaMott. “Puns like ‘Welcome to Adulthood’ or ‘Go on with your grad self,’ along with piled-high sweets keep the party celebratory rather than scholarly.”

Spring cakes are seeing success with a move away from traditional pastels and toward strong, natural elements, like decorations with textures and details from nature. Think foraged foliage, wildflowers and agate. Natural color is growing in demand.

“Alternatively, the colorful and cheeky trends can apply to Mother’s Day and Easter cakes as well,” LaMott says. “Easter can be bright instead of pastel with simple, high-color graphics like fried eggs or retro candies. Puns like ‘Eggcellent’ add humor to Easter cakes, while Mother’s Day messages are often delivered on a dessert. Watch for color splatters and creative brush strokes.”

But to truly be prepared for a profitable spring season, Schurman says, you might have to be prepared to go easy on the cakes.

“Right now people are not buying as many cakes as they have in the past,” she says. “We’re doing a lot of cupcakes. We’re trying to figure out new designs to incorporate more options with cupcakes for graduation parties and events. Really, anything we can do to use them right now is important, because that’s what people are looking for. They’re not necessarily looking for cakes.”

Options that Cold Spring Bakery have used are decorating cupcakes and arranging them in the shape of a cross for Easter, or for the influx of first communion cakes Schurman says her business sees in the spring. Or cupcakes and a sheet cake can be combined in a design; the sheet cake decorated to look like a stained-glass window and the cupcakes arranged in a shape.

“We’re also trying to figure out if there are other kinds of desserts that can be incorporated,” she says. “Not all graduation parties are doing cakes anymore. They’re looking for other options and we try to come up with new ideas, whether it’s using cookies, brownies or anything like that.”

For graduation parties, consumers are looking for unique ideas like ice cream sundae bars, bowls of candies in the school’s colors and more, all of which can be incorporated to boost cake sales.

LaMott says a cost-effective way to respond to these current trends to by adding trendy details and style to desserts that don’t require a lot of time for decorating.

“Pre-made edible decorations are a great solution,” she says. “Lucks is always studying and updating our seasonal decorations to inspire decorators year after year. Our wholesale products are easy to apply and look great on social media.”

Regardless, Schurman says, there are seasons when bakers need to admit that cakes alone might not be the most profitable option.

“People have to look at other options. I heard somebody complaining because their cake business is down and asking what they can do to improve it,” she says. “My whole thing to other bakers is to look beyond cakes to increase your business. Decorate everything out. Decorate donuts, brownies whatever you can.

“It’s the same still and sometimes you’re even looking at higher margin items in those other categories. If you focus on complaining that the cake business isn’t there, you’re probably not going to increase your sales. But you will by adding new products and new options.”




Dr. Oetker proposes to buy Unilever’s Alsa baking and dessert business

February 24th, 2018
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Unilever has revealed that German food manufacturer Dr. Oetker has made a binding offer to buy its Alsa baking and dessert business for an undisclosed price.

Asla, which was acquired by Unilever in 2010, manufactures flan mixes and baking powder among other products.

Unilever revealed that the transaction with Dr. Oetker would include Asla’s manufacturing plant in Ludres, France.

Of late, Unilever has been looking to optimize its business to provide better value for the company’s shareholders. Reports of its plans emerged in March 2017 when the company was reported to be mulling over selling certain food brands from its consumer goods portfolio to raise a capital of £6 billion.

In December 2017, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant made a deal of €6.825 billion to offload its margarine and spreads business to global investment firm KKR.

The sale of its Alsa baking and dessert business seems to be in line with the media reports in March 2017.

Commenting on the sale of Alsa baking and dessert business to Dr. Oetker, Bauke Rouwers – General Manager of Unilever France, said: “In the context of our global strategy to accelerate long term, sustainable value creation, the baking and desserts category is not part of Unilever’s evolving core portfolio.

“We are confident that under Dr. Oetker’s ownership and support, Alsa, which has established a strong legacy in the world of desserts since its origins in 1897 in Lorraine, would be able to progress to its full potential”.

Dr. Oetker is a historic food processing company, which was founded way back in 1891. The German food company manufactures baking powder, cake mixes, yogurts, pudding and frozen pizza among others.

Commenting on the transaction by the company with Unilever, Didier Muller – General Manager of Dr. Oetker France said: “Alsa is a brand whose know-how and product quality perfectly complement our product range.

“We would be happy to welcome Alsa into Dr. Oetker’s group. Our goal is to pursue the brand’s growth and development both in France and internationally, based on its know-how and innovation capabilities.”

The binding offer from Dr. Oetker will have to go through the standard regulatory requirements and consultation processes, said Unilever.

Last month, Unilever struck a deal to acquire Romanian ice cream company Betty Ice for an undisclosed price, in a move to strengthen its ice cream business.




The FAO Food Price Index remaining steady

February 24th, 2018
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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 169.5 points in January 2018, nearly unchanged from December 2017 but almost 3 percent below the corresponding period last year. While firmer prices were registered for cereals and vegetable oils in January, dairy and sugar values were generally weaker and meat quotations remained steady.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 156.2 points in January, up almost 2.5 percent (4 points) from December and 6.3 percent from January 2017. Despite large supplies, wheat and maize prices received some support from a weaker US dollar as well as concerns over weather.  International rice values continued to firm up in January, sustained mainly by renewed Asian demand.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 163.1 points in January, virtually unchanged from December, as moderate rises in palm oil values were outweighed by weakening prices for other oils, notably sunflower and rapeseed oils. International palm oil quotations strengthened as global import demand picked up just when seasonal production declines were looming in Southeast Asia. By contrast, rapeseed oil prices were pressured by both excess supplies in the EU and larger than expected availabilities in North America and Australia, while those of sunflower oil were affected by sluggish global import demand.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 179.9 points in January, down 2.4 percent (4.5 points) from December 2017. Although this decline pushed the index further down for the fourth consecutive month, it is still 41 percent higher than its trough reached in April 2016. During the month, international price quotations for butter and cheese declined, while those of milk powders increased. Abundant milk supplies in the northern hemisphere and Australia represented a factor that heavily influenced global dairy prices, including the declines in butter and cheese prices. However, the possibility for seasonal milk production in New Zealand to be lower than expected lent support to Whole Milk Powder (WMP) prices. Skim Milk Powder (SMP) values also increased, mostly on account of strong import demand.

» The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 170.6 points in January, almost unchanged from its slightly revised value for December 2017. At this level, the index is 7.4 percent higher than its January 2017 value and 19.5 percent below its all-time high reached in August 2014. International price quotations for poultry and pigmeat continued to slide due to higher export availabilities amid weak import demand. Prices of bovine meat were up marginally, reflecting lower quantities offered for sale from Oceania, while those of ovine meat rose supported by strong international demand, especially from Asia and the Middle East.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged almost 201 points in January, down 1.6 percent (3.2 points) from December and as much as 30.4 percent below the corresponding month last year. International sugar quotations remained under downward pressure mostly because of strong production outcomes in major producing countries and, hence, ample export availabilities.

* Unlike for other commodity groups, most prices utilized in the calculation of the FAO Meat Price Index are not available when the FAO Food Price Index is computed and published; therefore, the value of the Meat Price Index for the most recent months is derived from a mixture of projected and observed prices. This can, at times, require significant revisions in the final value of the FAO Meat Price Index which could in turn influence the value of the FAO Food Price Index.

Download full dataset: Excel, CSV

Download full dataset: Excel



BakeMark acquires Multifoods brand from CSM Bakery Solutions

February 24th, 2018
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BakeMark announced that it had reached an agreement with CSM Bakery Solutions to buy the Multifoods brand of mixes and bases to expand its product portfolio.

The leading manufacturer and distributor of bakery ingredients, products, and supplies will also acquire two manufacturing facilities from CSM as part of the agreement. The facilities are located in Elyria, Ohio and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“Increased customer demand coupled with our strategy to grow our ingredients business created the need for these acquisitions,” says Jim Parker, BakeMark President and CEO. “Adding the Multifoods brand and these manufacturing facilities will certainly help us better support our customers and industry partners and help us meet our goal of driving success for them and all our stakeholders well into the future. It’s an exciting time.”

The Multifoods line of bakery mixes and bases will join BakeMark’s vast lineup of exclusive brands, which includes Westco, BakeSense, BakeQwik, Trigal Dorado, C’est Vivant, and Sprinkelina.

“The Multifoods brand brings a rich history of product quality and customer loyalty, and is a perfect fit into our exclusive portfolio of the industry’s finest brands,” says David Lopez, Director of Marketing for BakeMark. “With an expanded solutions offering, we look forward to meeting more of our customers’ needs across the U.S. and Canada, and partnering more with our customers on their successes.”




EU Bans Use of Artificial Sweeteners in Dietetic Bakery Products

February 24th, 2018
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As a result of the EU’s new rules on dietetic foods, applicable since July 2016, a whole range of products carrying dietetic suitability statements needed to be re-labeled and/or reformulated. In addition, Commission Regulation 2018/97, published on January 23, 2018, bans the use of artificial sweeteners in fine bakery products aimed at people with special dietary needs. It is applied starting February 13, 2018 but products already on the market can be sold until stocks are exhausted.

This came as a result of the EU’s new rules on dietetic foods, applicable since July 2016 and, in addition, Commission Regulation 2018/97, published on January 23, 2018, bans the use of artificial sweeteners in fine bakery products aimed at people with special dietary needs.

It becomes applicable on February 13, 2018 but products already on the market can be sold until stocks are exhausted.

Commission Regulation 2018/97 removes the category “fine bakery products for special nutritional uses” from the food additives regulation, which means that the following sweeteners may no longer be used in bakery products in the EU:

– E 950 Acesulfame K

– E 951 Aspartame

– E 952 Cyclamic acid and its Na and Ca salts

– E 954 Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts

– E 955 Sucralose

– E 959 Neohesperidine DC

– E 961 Neotame – E 962 Salt of aspartame-acesulfame

– E 969 Advantame

The EU’s Food for Specific Groups (FSG) regulation 609/2013, adopted in 2013, became applicable in July 2016. It abolished the concept of “dietetic food” by repealing Directive 2009/39, which set out general rules for “food for particular nutritional uses.” In addition, Regulation 2018/97 removes dietetic fine bakery wares from the additives regulation.

The scope of the FSG regulation 609/2013 is limited to infant and follow-on formula, processed cereal-based and other baby food, food for special medical purposes and total diet replacement for weight control. Products no longer falling within the scope of this regulation, such as dietetic fine bakery products, are regarded as regular food and must comply with existing EU legislation on labeling and nutrition and health claims.

Products Affected a Commission report on foods for diabetics, published in 2008, concluded that there are no scientific grounds for developing specific compositional requirements for this category of foods because diabetics can choose a healthy diet from normal foods. This means that food for diabetics are excluded from the scope of the FSG regulation 609/2013.

By removing the category “fine bakery goods for special nutritional uses” from the additives regulation, the use of the aforementioned artificial sweeteners is no longer allowed in any “fine bakery products” including low-calorie and reduced-sugar bakery products. Bakery products with “energy-reduced” or “with no added sugars” claims, must comply with the criteria set out in the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims regulation 1924/2006.

The new Regulation foresaw that two reports should be prepared by the Commission in order to analyze the need to establish special rules for: young-child formula (the so called “growing-up milks”) and food intended for sportspeople.



Bakery, Food Safety, Ingredients ,

Winners announced at Masters de la Boulangerie

February 24th, 2018
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From 3rd to 5th February, the much-anticipated Masters de la Boulangerie organised by Lesaffre, took place, at the heart of the Europain show in Paris.

Artists-experts in international baking, also visionaries and pioneers for their profession, 3 new elite bakers have just been awarded the honorary title of 2018 World Master Baker :

  • Peter BIENEFELT – Nutritional Bread Making (Netherlands)

Bake & Dine Challenge Bread takes center plate:   “Tasty Highlight” A multi-flavoured bread that dresses  and completes a laid table, to arouse  guests’ curiosity.

Bake & Dine Challenge Bread takes center plate: “Tasty Highlight” A multi-flavoured bread that dresses and completes a laid table, to arouse guests’ curiosity.

  • Déborah OTT – Gourmet Baking (France)

Creation & Innovation Challenge The Wow factor Viennese  pastry: “The Parisienne” A brioche with passion fruit cream... and also – a female bust, enrobed in  lace, which evokes the French era of  Parisian cancan evenings.

Creation & Innovation Challenge The Wow factor Viennese pastry: “The Parisienne” A brioche with passion fruit cream… and also – a female bust, enrobed in lace, which evokes the French era of Parisian cancan evenings.

  • Peng-Chieh WANG – Artistic Bread Making (Taiwan)

Art of dough challenge The multi-coloured spectacle of the General and  his officers is one of the best-known celebrations  in  Taiwanese  religious  art.  The  battle  crown,   the   make-up,   the   touches   of   gold   and   the    decoration, the drum and the trident have been  painstakingly   reproduced.    Without  forgetting  the  use   of    Taiwanese    fruits    like     lychee and rose.  A  section  of  the  piece  was   for       tasting...       revealing        its  flavours  of  prune  and   flowers.

Art of dough challenge The multi-coloured spectacle of the General and his officers is one of the best-known celebrations in Taiwanese religious art. The battle crown, the make-up, the touches of gold and the decoration, the drum and the trident have been painstakingly reproduced. Without forgetting the use of Taiwanese fruits like lychee and rose. A section of the piece was for tasting… revealing its flavours of prune and flowers.

Men and women who are writing a new page in the history of baking…

« As organiser, Lesaffre showcased its vision of the bakery of tomorrow and the candidates all got on board. We took a risk, they did too – and the results are clear to see! »
Nadine Debail, Event Communications Manager – Lesaffre


Bakery, Events , , ,

Barry Callebaut partnership produces high-flavanol chocolate

February 24th, 2018
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Barry Callebaut has revealed a partnership with FlavaNaturals to produce chocolate containing high levels of cocoa flavanol in the US.

The announcement follows three years of collaboration on the development of FlavaBars, a line of chocolate containing five times the cocoa flavanol content of a typical dark chocolate bar.

FlavaBars are said to leverage over a decade of development by Barry Callebaut on high-flavanol chocolate. The company said that although flavanols are naturally occurring in cocoa beans, they are significantly reduced during the traditional chocolate production process. Requiring no additives or fortification, this chocolate retains flavanols through “optimised cocoa sourcing and processing”.

Peter Boone, CEO of Barry Callebaut Americas, said: “Consumers today are constantly trying to achieve balance in their diet. Our proprietary sourcing and processing methods allow us to better preserve the naturally existing flavanols in cocoa. Working with FlavaNaturals, we are able to provide a new chocolate experience for US consumers.”

FlavaNaturals CEO Alan Frost added: “FlavaNaturals is proud to partner with Barry Callebaut, a world leader in cocoa innovation and sustainability. Our ultimate vision is to change the way people think about consuming chocolate. Chocolate may have been your weakness, but with FlavaBar, it becomes your strength.”

The bars which are available in six flavours – roasted almond, Himalayan pink salt, blueberry and green tea matcha, pure cocoa nibs, espresso ground coffee, and crystallised ginger – are now sold online, with expansion to retail planned in spring 2018.

Source: FoodBev


Chocolate , ,

Nestlé Buys Majority Stake in Latin American Company Terrafertil

February 24th, 2018
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Nestlé announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Terrafertil, a company selling natural, organic, plant-based foods and healthy snacks.

The move widens Nestlé’s presence in a fast-growing category in Latin America, the United States and the United Kingdom. Nestle did not say how much it was paying and how big a stake it was taking in the company.

Terrafertil, and its flagship brand ‘Nature’s Heart’, is recognized for its wide portfolio of natural and mostly organic products. It is the world’s largest buyer of goldenberries (Physalis), an Andean superfood high in vitamins and antioxidants.

The company was founded in 2005 in Ecuador by five entrepreneurs and is managed by three founding brothers, David, Raul and Daniel Bermeo. It quickly expanded its presence in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and the United Kingdom. In 2017, it entered the United States with the purchase of ‘Essential Living Foods’. Terrafertil has received international recognition for its positive social impact through its work with hundreds of small farmers. It employs 400 people and has four factories in Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

The transaction includes all of Terrafertil’s operations and assets in the seven countries where it operates. Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestlé Zone Americas said, “We are excited to welcome Terrafertil and its employees to the Nestlé family. Its natural, organic and healthy products fully support Nestlé’s purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future. This investment allows us to strengthen our presence in fast-growing categories such as plant-based foods, beverages and healthy snacks, known as ‘superfoods’ due to their high natural nutrient content.”

Freixe said “Terrafertil will continue to be managed by its founders. It will operate as a stand-alone entity, to leverage its unique corporate culture including entrepreneurial spirit, agility and flexibility.”

Nestlé brings several benefits and synergies. Beyond expanding our presence and distribution around the world, we will capitalize on its experience in areas such as Research and Development, marketing knowledge, and operational efficiencies. Above all, we share Nestlé´s commitment to society, to the communities where it operates and the environment”, said the Bermeo brothers, founding partners of Terrafertil.

Source: Abasto


Companies ,

Government pressure steers reformulation

February 24th, 2018
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Salt, sugar and fat long remain to be the perennial villains in the food industry with many food manufacturers and companies looking for healthier ways to reformulate products. Salt is often associated with health conditions, excessive consumption of salt is known to affect heart health and blood pressure, and more recent studies have confirmed that a high-salt diet reduces resting blood flow to the brain and may cause dementia. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the essential minerals in salt can act as important electrolytes in the body. They help with fluid balance, nerve transmission and muscle function. There are often conflicting messages that leaves many consumers questioning: “How much is too much?” and “Should I be concerned about salt consumption?” FoodIngredientsFirst takes a close look at what is happening in the industry.

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency introduced a traffic light system to help consumers eat more healthily and highlight the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fats on packaged foods, which can be a good indicator of how healthy a packaged product actually is. More often than not, seemingly “healthy” food is laden with salt, sugar and saturated fats, that otherwise, UK consumers would not be aware of.
A diet high in sodium and low in potassium raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.5 million deaths could be prevented each year if the global sodium consumption would be reduced to the recommended value maximum of 2g per day which corresponds to 5g of salt per day.
Within food, salt can be an important ingredient for shelf life, stabilization, and more importantly, taste. Pre-packaged goods fit in line with many of today’s consumers, who commute daily for work and have very busy hectic lives. Convenience food options are often the “go-to” for quick lunches and easy dinners, but there are categories in which sodium is used to a high level, in breakfast cereals and bakery items.
80 percent of the sodium we eat is in the food we buy, according to Marie Tolkemit, Junior Product Manager of Specialties at Jungbunzlaur. “Looking into statistics it is easy to see that the most sodium we eat comes from processed foods, bakery and meat. So within these categories is the most potential to reduce sodium,” she tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“We do see a growing governmental pressure to reduce sodium in various countries (e.g. US, Chile, Israel, South Africa, UK) around the globe. In these countries, the governments have already set targets to reduce the sodium intake within their population and the food industry has to follow these targets, in consequence, the awareness to reduce sodium in rising within the population,” she explains.
Next, to these governmental targets, some companies like Nestlé and Mondel?z have set their own sodium targets they want to reach within the next years, which they actively communicate to their customers.
“If we look at consumer surveys we can see that low sodium products are after Low sugar and GMO-free the top 3 requested products,” Tolkemit adds.
“If we look at the claims at newly launched products, we find that most of the low sodium products, entering the market are not actively promoted as being lower in sodium. So the industry might fear that the customers think that a product which has lower sodium content is less tasty,” she claims.
Also speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst, Christiane Lippert, Head of Marketing at Lycored said: “Governments and health bodies across the world have prioritized sodium reduction and consumers are responding – more than six in ten Americans have now cut back on foods higher in salt. The pressure to reduce sodium is often seen as a challenge, but it’s a big opportunity to add qualities that appeal to consumers – in particular, improved taste and umami impact.”
“Cardiovascular disease now accounts for around three in ten deaths worldwide – more than any other illness. Given the link between excessive sodium intake and heart disease, sodium reduction isn’t going to fall off the agenda any time soon,” she explains.
“Salt and sugar are similar in that they’re both necessary for moderation, but dangerous in excess. Average salt intake worldwide is 9-12 grams per day, which is double the recommended maximum level,” Lippert reveals.
David Hart, Business Unit Director for Salt of The Earth also states that food containing less sodium is unambiguously healthier and helps people reach the WHO recommended intake of 5 grams of salt per day. And according to Hart, it is mostly Western countries that have average consumption levels of almost twice the WHO recommendations.
“As long as sodium/salt consumption is significantly above the WHO recommended intake of 5 grams of salt per day, sodium reduction will be a focus,” he notes. “More than 75 countries have national programs for salt/sodium reduction, and these efforts range from consumer education to maximum sodium limits in food, front-of-package labeling and even tax on high-salt foods. These programs are a catalyst for the industry to find solutions for lower salt products.”

Health, Ingredients

Are probiotics the next protein?

February 3rd, 2018
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As consumers search for new ways to manage their health, probiotics may be the next source they turn to. According to “The Gut Health Mega-Trend” report by Schieber Research, phrases like “best foods for gut health” have seen a 350% increase in Google searches over the past five years while “best foods for inflammation” has seen a 250% increase.

“The rapid growth of the global probiotics market is due to increased interest in functional foods as well as rising incidence of digestive and gastrointestinal disorders,” said Rosanna Pecere, executive director, International Probiotics Association Europe. “Consumers are becoming more aware that a well-balanced microbiota is essential for the normal functioning of the body, and they’re looking for ways to ensure that the correct balance is maintained.”

A recent survey of 220 nutraceutical industry professionals by the organizers of Vita Foods Europe revealed that food companies and ingredient developers are listening to this growing demand. When asked to choose the three most important health benefit areas for their companies, nearly 23% of respondents named digestive health, with the same number identifying general wellbeing and healthy ageing. This was the first time that digestive health has been a top concern for the industry in the three times that the poll has been conducted.

“Growth in the functional food and beverage market has also been driven by consumer interest in healthy living,” said Yiannis Kourkoutas, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Democritus University of Thrace. “This is particularly true among younger demographics, but population ageing has also been conducive to sector expansion.”

Dr. Kourkoutas noted that large-scale research efforts have found that the composition of gut microbiota is associated with a growing number of health problems besides local gastro-intestinal disorders, which include neurological, respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

As more research supporting probiotic claims emerges, bakers and snack makers have begun tapping into this growing health trend.

“We’re seeing innovation in snacking with added probiotics like never before,” said Elizabeth Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group. “With the invention of shelf-stable and heat-resistant, lab-created probiotics — we’re seeing snacks from popcorn to kale chips coming out with added benefits.”

Living Intentions is an early adopter of the trend and offers a line of popcorn that contains 2 billion colony-forming units of probiotic cultures. The snack is available in four varieties: Tandoori Turmeric, Salsa Verde, Cinnamon Twist and Berry Smoothie.

For consumers looking for a nutrient-dense breakfast, flapJacked delivers a line of probiotic muffins with 20 grams of protein. The company’s Mighty Muffins use GanedenBC30 to impart digestive benefits and offer a convenient way for on-the-go consumers to enjoy a healthy snack.

Bakeries such as ShaSha Co. also have launched probiotic products. The company offers four flavors of organic cookies, which include lemon ginger, cocoa and ginger snaps. The baked foods are made with whole grain flour and contain both prebiotics and probiotics.

While adding popular nutrients such as protein and fiber to products has become a prevalent default, opportunities abound when it comes to developing snacking items with probiotics.



Health, Ingredients ,