The FAO Food Price Index remains steady

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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) held steady in March 2019, averaging 167 points and still hovering around its highest value since August 2018. A sharp increase in dairy prices and somewhat firmer meat values were offset by declining cereal, oil and sugar price quotations. This resulted in the overall value of the FFPI remaining nearly unchanged from February but down 3.6 percent from the corresponding period last year.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 164.8 points in March, down 2.2 percent (3.7 points) from February and now almost at par with its March 2018 value. Among the major cereals, wheat prices fell the sharpest, driven by large exportable supplies and a slack demand, in particular for the US origin wheat, and generally favourable prospects for this year’s harvest. Maize prices also dropped, pressured by ample export availabilities and expectations of a large crop in Argentina. International rice prices were mildly firmer in March, as weak fresh demand capped increases in the Japonica and lower quality Indica markets.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 127.6 points in March, down 5.9 points (or 4.4 percent) from the previous month, mostly reflecting weakening values of palm, soy and rapeseed oils. International palm oil prices contracted in March after three consecutive rises, underpinned by renewed concerns over subdued import demand and stock build-ups in key producing countries. At the same time, quotations for soy oil retreated as profitable margins continued to boost crushing in the United States, while rapeseed oil prices dropped to an 11 month-low, tied to accumulating rapeseed inventory levels in Canada and promising crop prospects in the Black Sea region.

» The FAO Meat Price Index* averaged 162.5 points in March, up marginally (0.6 points or 0.4 percent) from its revised value for February, continuing a trend of modest price volatility observed for several months. In March, price quotations for pig, bovine and poultry meats received some support from a surge in import demand, especially from China, notwithstanding increased export availabilities from major suppliers.  By contrast, price quotations for ovine meat retreated for the third month in a row because of continued large export availabilities from Oceania.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 204.3 points in March, up 11.9 points (6.2 percent) from February, registering a third consecutive increase. In March, international prices of butter, Whole Milk Powder (WMP) and cheese rose, underpinned by increased import demand in anticipation of a tightening in export availabilities from Oceania stemming from a seasonal decline in its milk production. By contrast, Skim Milk Powder (SMP) prices slipped slightly from the high values registered in February, reflecting a slowdown in demand for current deliveries.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 180.4 points in March 2019, down 3.8 points (2.1 percent) from February 2019. The decline largely reflected bigger harvests in the main producing countries than previously anticipated. India is now expected to become the world’s largest sugar producer, overtaking Brazil, with the latest production estimates pointing to an 8-percent increase during October 2018-January 2019, in comparison to the same period in the previous season. Furthermore, the continued weakness of the Brazilian Real spawned additional downward pressure on world sugar prices.

* 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


Ingredient Suppliers Offer Insights about Future of Texturants

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Consumer demand for high-quality products and for specialties such as gluten-free items are drivers for the texturants market. The company Research and Markets forecasts a growth for the global texturants market by 2022.

For the starch market, Research and Markets forecasts CAGR of 5.85% 2018-2022. The market is competitive and driven by an increase in the trend of health and wellness and growing consumer demand for all natural ingredients.

World Bakers asked three specialists from texturants suppliers companies about the evolution of this ingredient market over the next few years.

Charlotte Commarmond, Senior Director, Marketing and Innovation, Ingredion EMEA, says that athough texture is an area of food science that has traditionally been overlooked, this is rapidly changing as its potential continues to be realized by the industry.

“In a recent study, 69% of food producers polled believe consumers exert more influence than ever before and where they lead, manufacturers will follow. The bakery industry shows continued demand for products with health and nutrition-based claims, while an increased drive towards authenticity and realness will manifest itself as a demand for less perfect, less uniform products,” Commarmond says.

Maintaining taste and texture while meeting the demand for shorter recipe development times remains a challenge for bakers, the expert adds. “This is one of the reasons why, at Ingredion, we have developed the capabilities to fast-track and scientifically predict desired textures, assisting manufacturers to get their products optimized and to market as quickly as possible,” Commarmond underlines.

She also mentions texture as a powerful and potential-filled tool at the disposal of today’s food and drink manufacturers. “It not only enables them to maintain product appeal and quality while formulating for trends such as gluten-free, clean label, nutrition plus, nutrition minus and authenticity, it also offers a way to make their products stand out, resonate and compete on differentiation, rather quality or price. For many, this could mean the difference between failure and success in a highly competitive marketplace,” Ingredion specialist stresses.

Furthermore, Will Ballantyne, category tech manager bakery, food & beverage solutions Tate & Lyle Europe, thinks that texturant innovation will evolve by continuing to support important consumer trends in gluten free, and clean label, while delivering the same taste and texture that consumers desire.

“Tate & Lyle is committed to developing products that align with the evolving preferences of consumers and meet their demand for simpler ingredient lists. The recently introduced CLARIA® Bliss tapioca-based starch line and CLARIA® Instant starches enable manufacturers to formulate with functionality similar to modified food starch in terms of process tolerance, appearance and clean taste, and meet consumer demand for simpler ingredient lists,” Ballantyne undelines.

Jerzy Baczewski, technology manager EMEA Brenntag, explains that texturants are a broad group of ingredients, and they have different functionalities. Texturants do not work alone, but interact with other ingredients in a formulation.

“Texturants are an essential part in each food product, in bakery, but also in other segments. Ingredient manufacturers will develop new products and new grades which fit the trends in the market. So it is Brenntag’s role to support the food industry in selecting the right texturant for each formulation will continue,” Baczewski says.

Texturants are a type of specialty ingredient, used to control and modify the texture and mouthfeel of the food and beverage products, largely used for the bakery and confectionery industries. Food texturants are could be made of synthetic chemicals or could be extracted from natural substances and are used as a direct additive in products to provide the required physical appearance to the food product.

Source: World Bakers


Inside the factory that makes NYC’s most legendary bread

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Following is a transcript of this video:

Narrator: Orwashers bakery was founded in 1916 by Abraham Orwasher, a Hungarian immigrant determined to bring quality Eastern European breads to his local community. Since being sold to its current owner in 2008, the business has expanded to two brick-and-mortar locations plus a massive wholesale production facility, which makes bread for some of the biggest restaurants in NYC.

Spencer: All right, so today we’re in the Bronx at Orwashers’ giant factory. This is where they make the bread that’s getting sent out to some of the biggest restaurants and supermarkets in the city, and we’re gonna go get a behind-the-scenes tour to see how it’s all done.

Spencer: You know the, the hairnet’s a really good look on everyone.

Keith: I really like it. It reminds me of a lunch lady.

Spencer: Exactly! That’s what you’re givin’ me right now. How do we look?

Keith: Great.

Spencer: Ta-da! Pose, pose. You ready?

Keith: Yup.

Narrator: The factory is split into three separate areas for mixing, shaping, and baking.

Keith: So right now you have the water, starter, and flour, and it’s being incorporated, and we’re shortly gonna add the yeast and then the salt to it. This can make a lot of bread, a lot of dough.

Spencer: How many loaves do you think you’ll get out of something this size?

Keith: Well, I mean, right now we’re mixing a couple hundred pounds, so could essentially get probably 150 loaves.

Spencer: That’s a lot of dough.

Narrator: Once the dough is mixed, it makes its way into the shaping room. Bakers and machines work together to shape 40 different types of dough daily, which will produce over 150 different types of bread products overall. They make everything from the classics like ciabatta and sourdough to more original options like the nutrient-filled raisin and sunflower seed spelt. Before the shaped dough is ready for the oven, it makes a pit stop to the humidity-controlled proofing room.

Keith: Here you go.

Spencer: Whoa! Ugh, it’s like a sauna in here!

Keith: Well, not quite.

Spencer: I feel like this is good for my pores though.

Narrator: After proofing and fermenting for various amounts of time depending on the type of dough, everything eventually makes its final destination into the oven room.

Keith: Right, so you have your deck oven and your three convection ovens, or rack ovens, and this is where all the bread is baked, and then we move it a little bit over to cool it.

Narrator: The freshly baked bread is then shipped out first thing in the morning seven days a week. Well, all except one.

Spencer: How about this guy right here?

Keith: Perfect.

Spencer: Is this mine? I can take him home with me?

Keith: It’s all yours.

Spencer: Fresh out of the oven baked bread just for me? Oh, my God, that’s amazing. Thank you so much.

Keith: You’re very welcome.

Spencer: Keith, this was excellent. I really appreciate you taking us behind the scenes. We had a lot of fun.



Faster genome evolution methods to transform yeast

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Scientists have created a new way of speeding up the genome evolution of baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same yeast we use for bread and beer production.

This is to develop a synthetic yeast strain that can be transformed on demand, making it particularly attractive for industrial biotechnology applications, such as the mass production of advanced medicines to treat illnesses such as Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB). It could also have massive implications for the future study of DNA.

Led by Professor Patrick Cai at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, in collaboration with Prof. Junbiao Dai from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, two back-to-back papers are being published in Nature Communications on May 22nd, 2018.

The researchers have developed a “rapid, efficient and universal” way of transforming the yeast at a molecular level using a method called SCRaMbLE (Synthetic Chromosome Rearrangement and Modification by LoxP-mediated Evolution). This system allows researchers to “reshuffle the deck of cards” for the genome, and customize new yeast strains which can on-demand recombine with each other to generate novel genome combinations which have not been found in nature before.

Yeast is a very well understood organism and in a biological sense humans and yeast share a number of similarities in their genetic makeup. By re-building the yeast genome from the ground up helps us to better understand the basis of human life.

Prof. Cai explains: “Essentially we can fast track the engineering cycle. Usually it would take years to optimize yeast strains for industrial applications, but with SCRaMbLE it could take just two or three days. When you can couple engineering with evolution, you have a very powerful tool in hand.”

The SCRaMBLE system not only allows researchers to integrate pathways into the synthetic yeast genome, but the yeast itself can also be evolved to become a better host under stress conditions, providing a unique opportunity for it to evolve, adapt to the challenges and perform in extreme conditions, such as extreme temperatures and toxic environments. This makes it particularly attractive for industrial biotechnology applications, such as the production of advanced medicines.

This could have huge implications for the future study of DNA and the mass production of new medicines to treat illnesses such as Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB).

Professor Cai said: “One of the most exciting developments in industrial biotechnology is the synergy between synthetic biology and metabolic engineering that is enabling us to produce fuels, novel medicines and high value chemicals, nutrition supplements, anti-tumour molecules and antibiotics. I hope that the technology we have developed here will go some way to speeding up the process for the bio manufacture of these important products.”



Tokyo-based pastry chef named Asia’s best

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Fabrizio Fiorani

Fabrizio Fiorani

Tokyo-based patissier Fabrizio Fiorani, who was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony in Macau on March 26, has always loved tiramisu, the Italian confection of coffee-soaked sponge cake layered with sweetened mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder. It was the first dessert he learned to make, at the age of 14, while working at a gelato shop in his native city of Rome, and it’s still the treat he craves most at the end of a long day.

At Bulgari Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, where Fiorani has been the head pastry chef since 2015, some of his most delightful creations are humorous (tiramisu translates, roughly, as “cheer me up”) riffs on the dish. Once, he presented it as a glazed cookie precisely cut into the shape of Italy — including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily — alongside a chocolate truffle filled with coffee ganache.

Another time, it came in the form of edible letters spelling out “tiramisu.” More recently, he turned it into a pair of faux Groucho Marx glasses, perched atop a red plastic nose and served with mascarpone gelato. The “glasses” were coffee-flavored biscuits dotted with mascarpone cream and covered with a delicate layer of chocolate; he found the plastic nose at a ¥100 discount shop.

“I’m sure that by the end of the meal you’re not hungry. Still, I want to entice you, and the best way to touch someone is with a smile,” he says.

While his compositions are whimsical, the flavors are, in keeping with executive chef Luca Fantin’s philosophy of using Japanese produce to reinterpret classic Italian recipes in a modern way, “100 percent Italian.”

Fiorani, 32, has a closely shaven cap of dark brown hair and a jokey manner that belies the seriousness with which he approaches his craft. He began cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants when he was 17. Later, he spent 10 years working with Heinz Beck at three-Michelin-starred La Pergola, in Rome, before he was offered the chance to help launch Heinz Beck Tokyo, which opened in the capital five years ago. The following year, he joined Bulgari Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, where he oversees pastry.

Visual impact and purity of flavor define Fiorani’s style, which he describes as “lighter than traditional French pastry,” since he uses less sugar and cream.

“You start eating with your eyes and then your sense of smell. Taste is the last story. But if the visual (presentation) is not related to the ingredients, it has no meaning,” he explains.

For his Raspberry Splash, Fiorani uses a magnetic stencil to paint an image of the fruit on a disc of white chocolate, which conceals a trio of raspberry confections. A kabocha pumpkin tart, with cubes of amaretto jelly and burnt butter ice cream, comes crowned with crispy wafers shaped like autumn leaves.

The signature dish, Latte, that he’s been perfecting for the past year is a meditation on raw milk from Hokkaido — it’s presented as a gelato, encased in a smooth mousse and then topped with a flurry of milk granita, under a veil of vanilla-scented sugar glass. The dish, he says, is meant to evoke “childhood memories” linked to “mother’s milk, the first flavor.”

When we meet on a recent afternoon, I arrive 30 minutes late and in a bad mood. I’m not a sweets person, but I accept when Fiorani offers me a dish of the Latte dessert. It manages to be impossibly light and deeply satisfying, familiar and yet intriguing. As I scoop up the last bite of gelato, I can feel the fog of my grumpiness lifting. All that remains — at the bottom of the bowl and in my mind — is the sweet residue of fleeting pleasure.

“I can’t save the world with my desserts, but I can give our guests 20 minutes of happiness,” Fiorani says with a wink.

For Fiorani, the Best Pastry Chef prize represents a victory for contemporary Italian cuisine: “My goal is to create a unique experience of Italian pastry. This award is a recognition of the entire team at Il Ristorante Luca Fantin and the effort that goes into making our guests happy every day,” he says.



Aston Foods Brand is Transferred to Vacuum Cooling Company

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The rights of Aston Foods have been transferred to VACUUM COOLING COMPANY, a BVT Group Member.

With the realization of this transfer, the brand name of one of the pioneering organizations in the Vacuum Cooling industry is reunited with its founder Patrick Duss.

Mr. Duss is often referred to as ‘Mr. Vacuum Cooling’ and is one of the pioneers in the segment. Duss and the Dutch VACUUM COOLING COMPANY have joined forces to create more awareness and understanding for this game-changing technology in the food industry.

The Aston Foods International AG, a manufacturer of equipment for vacuum cooling for bakery production based in Steinhausen, Switzerland, had filed for bankruptcy last year, and on October 23, 2018, a single judge at the cantonal court in Zug declared the company bankrupt and dissolved it.

The company belonged to the industrialist Karl Nicklaus, while the managing director was Jörg Trübl. Before the bankruptcy was official, there were rumors surrounding the company, which founder Patrick Duss had sold to Nicklaus in 2013. There were legal hassles for rent and construction costs, followed by a name change and the bankruptcy of Aston Foods and the re-establishment of Aston Foods International AG.

The latter was then part of Stosus AG, in which Nicklaus had grouped together several companies. At the end of October 2018, Aston Foods International AG went bankrupt.





ADM adds new line of organic flours

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Portfolio includes organic premium bread and all-purpose flours, with additional organic milled products coming soon.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) announced March 25 that it is launching a line of consistent, high-quality and high-performing organic flours. The new line utilizes ADM’s extensive wheat sourcing network and U.S. Department of Agriculture organic-certified facility to provide consistent wheat procurement and processing tailored to meet customer needs.

The new organic flour portfolio includes organic all-purpose flour and organic premium bread flour, with additional organic milled products coming soon.

“We’re excited to bring our customers some of the most reliable organic flours on the market,” said Kevin Like, vice president of commercial and sales for ADM Milling. “With this new line, developers can now more easily deliver consistent taste and texture in their baked products and meet the growing organic packaged foods demand driven by label-conscious consumers.”

Backed by more than a century of milling experience, ADM said its organic flour portfolio provides industry-leading reliability and high-quality performance for efficient manufacturing operations. Additionally, ADM’s expansive origination network helps solve for common sourcing and blending challenges commercial bakers encounter when formulating certified-organic products.

ADM’s organic flours join the company’s complementary range of organic and grain-based products.



The Future of Desserts

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Desserts have long since left the boundaries of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry and cake, pie, or ice cream. Modern desserts include such ingredients as florals, figs, vinegars, alcohol reductions, and even normally savory or pungent elements like tahini and lemongrass.

Among the top food trends recently noted by research group Mintel are “less sweet” desserts featuring ingredients such as olive oil and rosé. From 2015 to 2018, Mintel showed a 16% increase in the use of olive oil as a flavor in desserts.

For some desserts, the exotic new is rooted in the past. For example, tahini (sesame paste) has been appearing in a number of new dessert applications. Soom Foods, LLC, reports that its classic tahini, and even moreso, its chocolate-flavored tahini, are in hot demand as an ingredient used in restaurant desserts, such as ice cream bars, milkshakes, and cakes. (All this sounds less strange when one considers that the Near and Middle Eastern countries have a centuries-old tradition in the honey-sweetened ground sesame dessert known as halvah.)

Another driver of the tahini trend has to do with the impact of allergen avoidance in food manufacturing. Tahini can be used in place of peanut butter in nearly any recipe calling for the latter. Developers should note, however, that like peanut butter and other nut butters, tahini is a concentrated source of calories.

Where there’s tahini, can hummus be far behind? The chickpea spread also is lending itself to sweet offerings. Hummus & Pita Co. offers hummus in flavors such as chocolate, cookie dough, and pumpkin spice. As these desserts fill many consumer demands for sweet, exotic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and, for the most part, healthful attributes, we can expect to see a lot more such creations hitting the shelves.

“We always try to anticipate trends,” admits Jean-Yves Charon, pastry chef and co-founder of Galaxy Desserts, Inc., one of the largest manufacturers in the world of brioche and macarons. “For example, fifteen years ago we started making French macarons. Today, we make a million macarons a day.”

While spotting opportunities in the market can lead a company to success and growth, no matter how intriguing a particular trend is, certain fundamentals are always important in developing a successful dessert product. Flavor, simplicity, and attractiveness will give a good dessert — no matter how exotic — staying power. “I don’t think flavors that really push the boundaries can last,” says Charon. “Bacon desserts have dwindled in the past few years, and, whatever happened to glitter cappuccinos? Consumers will try [anything unusual], but then the novelty wears off and people go back to what they know.”

Hand to Hand

One of the obstacles manufacturers face when riding the wave of a new food trend is consistency during product development and initial rollout. This is especially true of desserts, which can lose a great deal of flavor and texture when made in large batches. Charon’s long experience with product consistency has helped Galaxy, where volume is a must, avoid such deficits.

“It’s impossible for us to make small amounts because we’re equipped for large volume,” explains Charon. “But in some ways, consistency is easier with mass production, because the recipe must be more scientific. Specs are critical. You need to constantly check the flour’s texture, check the pH of the chocolate, use a refractometer to measure the density of syrups and the viscosity of your chocolate — in the world of pastry and mass production, science is still king.”

Other directions dessert makers are taking in reimagining the category include concepting more individualized approaches. “The dessert category is definitely in the spotlight when it comes to eggs,” says Elisa Maloberti, director of the American Egg Board. “Dessert is a favorite category among Millennials and Gen Zs,” she says. Maloberti points to a 2018 study conducted by The Center for Generational Kinetics on behalf of The Hershey Co. The study found that 87% of Gen Z “thinks about dessert one or more times a day.”

This generation also likes to share sweet indulgences with friends over social media. Moreover, the demographic boasts $44 billion in buying power, according to a 2017 NPD Group research study. But it’s not just young consumers driving trends. The category is influenced by overarching market trends, such as clean label, transparency, sustainability, health, wellness, and convenience. “This manifests itself in a variety of ways,” says Maloberti. “For example, smaller portions — think, mug cakes — and ingredient selection, such as artisan grains. These drive quality and such items as made-on-demand desserts.” Maloberti also brings up the inescapable indulgence factor: “If I’m going to have dessert, I want it to be worth the calories. So, make it good!”

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 72 million or so baby boomers are making their own marks on the dessert category. Jennie Schacht, a cookbook author and culinary consultant, points to the ways this older generation is influencing trends.

“Aging boomers are worrying about climbing rates of diabetes and other health challenges,” she notes. “I often hear about people wanting to cut down on their intake of refined sugar and starches.” Schacht believes this will lead to a continuing increase in the use of whole and artisan grains in baking, as well as desserts sweetened with fruit and honey, among other alternatives. “Not so long ago, recipes in this arena were difficult to find,” she says. “Now, it’s a vibrant area, as reflected in a wealth of blogs, cookbooks, and products.”

As does Charon, Schacht believes that the classics may be reinvented, but will never go out of style. A perfect example of this is the pavlova Schacht recreated as an ice cream sandwich for her cookbook, “i scream SANDWICH.” Since Schacht released her book, the ice cream sandwich trend has experienced a significant rise, with companies such as Cream Inc. and Farchitecture BB, LLC’s Coolhaus opening stores — and selling product to supermarkets — on a national level.

Sweet for the Sweets

The greatest challenge to today’s dessert crafters is meeting demands for reduced sugar. After all, the whole idea of dessert is to provide a sweet ending to a meal. When it comes to sugar alternatives, today’s consumers are tempering their love for sugary foods. A recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) study found that 76% of respondents were trying to limit or avoid sugars in general. The IFIC survey also found that six in 10 respondents view added sugars negatively.

Lifestyle trends that are focused on healthier choices and “clean” eating, coupled with regulatory mandates and media messaging linking excessive sugar consumption to health concerns, are some of the key influencers driving the growing demand for sugar-reduction solutions. Inc.’s Whole Foods Market Inc. recently made some predictions about where the sweet future is taking us, “without so much sugar.” According to the company’s 2019 trends report, (luo han guo), the extract of monk fruit that’s about 200 times as sweet as sucrose will be used as a sweetener to replace added sugars in some of the company’s product lines.

Fruit-sweetened products, too, are part of the company’s plan for sugar reduction in desserts. In the coming year, Whole Foods and its 365 Everyday Value brands will launch a limited collection of sweet products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits, including a mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars.

Still, sucrose plays an important role in making confections. It’s needed for creating crisp cookies, moist cakes, and silky ice creams. Developing these types of desserts with less sugar or using sugar replacements can be challenging.

The sweetness of sugar can be more easily replicated than the textures and nuances it provides. In addition to monk fruit, stevia is enjoying increasing use as ingredient technologists improve masking off-flavor notes from the leaf-derived sweetener that is also several hundred times as sweet as sucrose.

Hitting that sweet spot with a high-intensity sweetener like stevia or monk fruit won’t make up for the loss of bulk or functionality that sugar provides. For reduced-sugar bakery products, overcoming sensory differences can be accomplished with careful formulation using blends of stevia and another ingredient.

Commonly, these blends include erythritol and chicory root fiber. These bulking agents help deliver the tenderness and mouthfeel consumers expect in bakery applications, and can successfully replace the functionality of sugar. Moreover, they are cost-efficient.

Other sweeteners and texturizers in common usage for sugar replacements include native starches, reduced-sugar corn syrups, corn syrup solids, maltodextrins, and others. Allulose, a monosaccharide similar in structure to fructose and possessing about 70% of the sweetness, is a new competitor among alternative sweeteners. At only about 5% the caloric value of sucrose, the flavor is a close match and it boasts no aftertaste. Allulose also can form the browning Maillard reaction, important in baked confections.

By carefully using ingredient combinations, product developers can easily achieve a 25-30% reduction in sugar. That’s enough to make a reduced-sugar label claim, desirable to many consumers.

For frozen desserts such as ice cream, sugar is what lowers the freezing point and prevents the formation of large ice crystals, creating that smooth, silky texture expected in a premium ice cream. This can be challenging when reducing or replacing sugar. However, erythritol has been shown to work well in this capacity. It has a small molecular size — about one-third that of sucrose — so it yields a threefold freezing-point depression factor. Greater freezing-point depression such as erythritol provides softens reduced-sugar ice creams, ensuring a scoopable texture, while helping to replace sugar’s bulking aspects.

Amber Waves

While replacing sugar can be a significant obstacle in designing desserts, displacing white wheat flour from its prime position in baked goods also requires its own complement of considerations. As noted by Galaxy’s Charon, creating and adhering to specs is markedly critical in batch dessert production, and this is especially the case when working within the current crush of gluten-free and non-GMO demands.

Artisan grains are standing in for white flour in a variety of desserts, and this trend is not expected to diminish soon. According to the Whole Grains Council, part of the Oldways Preservation Trust, whole grains have been in vogue for a number of years and will remain so.

Chefs and bakers focus on the culinary benefits of flours and other ingredients from non-mainstream grains, while consumers have become more attuned to them for other attributes, such as nutrition, sustainability, and for many of them, non-GMO status. Grains such as rye and sorghum are on the rise and are being incorporated into more desserts than ever before.

“The prevalence of sorghum in food products has increased four-fold over the past six years,” states Kelly Toups, RDN, director of nutrition for Oldways. “This rise in popularity can be attributed to several factors. Sorghum is naturally gluten-free, and it’s grown from traditional hybrid seeds, so it’s non-GMO.”

There are a variety of dessert applications for which sorghum (and other artisan grains) can be used. The ratio of sorghum flour that can be successfully added to a recipe is typically 15-20%. Adding too much can cause baked goods to crumble.

To help prevent crumbling, egg or a starch (such as cornstarch) can be added to help bind the flour and prevent crumbling. This should be done at a ratio of 8g starch to 120g flour.

Other artisan grains, depending on the application, can be a little less technically demanding. This is best accomplished by making the idiosyncrasies of the grain work for you.

For example, a dessert “granola” at b. pâtisserie in San Francisco uses a heritage strain of red wheat for its distinctly hearty flavor and texture.

The pastry chef at Bien Cuit in Brooklyn incorporates buckwheat — not a true wheat, so it’s gluten-free — into salted chocolate shortbreads with thyme. The toasty notes of buckwheat bridge the savory notes of thyme and salt, enhancing the depth of flavors within the cookies. Most importantly, buckwheat flour can replace 100% of the all-purpose flour in most recipes without negatively affecting texture or appearance.

Eggs and Chocolate

Along with sugar and flour, another core ingredient in desserts is the highly versatile egg. The Egg Board’s Maloberti notes that the health focus is a positive thing for some standard baking ingredients, such as eggs. “Eggs are truly an ideal ingredient for contemporary desserts,” she explains. “They’re a single ingredient with incredible functionality that support a clean label.”

Eggs have always been an important ingredient in baked goods because of their flavor and high functionality, facilitating leavening, browning, structure, and texture. “Eggs can help provide tenderness, airiness, or chewiness in a baked dessert,” she says. “And for gluten-free treats, eggs help improve mouthfeel by positively affecting crumb quality, dough rheology, volume, texture, and moisture content.”

Another major ingredient influencing dessert trends is chocolate. It’s the workhorse of the pastry kitchen. Always a favorite in desserts, little has changed until the recent creation of Ruby chocolate, a type of chocolate made from the ruby cocoa bean. The variety has been under development since 2004 but was only introduced to the market in September 2017 and was not available for sale to consumers until 2018.

Ruby chocolate has a sweet-tart taste, with little of the cocoa flavor traditionally associated with other varieties of chocolate. The production methods are currently a trade secret, but the manufacturer stresses the lack of any genetic modification. There is speculation that the chocolate is made with unfermented cocoa beans, which naturally have a reddish color.

Desserts will continue to evolve and entice. And while developers will try to keep up with the trends, success will remain in focusing on the purpose desserts serve: to bring sweetness and comfort, with a little (or a lot) of indulgence to a meal’s finale.



Hershey Chocolate Company Joins Blockchain Advertising Consortium

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Blockchain-based consortium AdLedger has on-boarded The Hershey Company, a leading American chocolate production company, media outlet AdWeek reported on March 26.

Hershey, along with French media group Publicis Media and The Global Audience Based Buying Conference & Consultancy (GABBCON), has reportedly joined AdLedger. AdLedger was founded by IBM, Tegna and blockchain company MadHive in 2018, and is a nonprofit consortium that develops shared ledger technologies for the digital advertising market.

Apart from advertising, Hershey’s deployment of blockchain technology could be expanded to the operation of chocolate factories, facilitating tracing of cacao “from bean to bar,” according to Vinny Rinaldi, head of addressable media and technology for The Hershey Company. “This would be a fundamentally massive shift in the way that we think,” Rinaldi reportedly added.

As Cointelegraph reported last August, advertising lacks the transparency of data and process. Blockchain can purportedly address these issues, making sufficient information available to everyone within the ecosystem on how publishers verify their traffic, and the processes that ad agencies and other intermediaries follow to ensure that they work with publishers with verified traffic.

Last year, IBM and Salon Media piloted a proof-of-concept blockchain product dubbed “The Campaign Reconciliation Project” created by AdLedger. The product is set to short-circuit intermediaries between advertisers, publishers and consumers, which currently render the industry vulnerable to high-tech ad fraud, such as bot fraud and domain spoofing.

Last October, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota partnered with blockchain advertising analytics firm Lucidity to cut down on fraud when buying digital ads. Through the partnership with Lucidity, Toyota and global ads agency Saatchi & Saatchi were reportedly looking to attain transparency in Toyota’s digital ad campaign buys and eliminate wasted spending.



Bridor Introduces Frozen Nordic Loaf

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French bakery product manufacturing company Bridor has launched a Nordic Loaf, inspired by the traditional dark rye bread of Northern Europe.

Following a rich and tasty recipe based on buckwheat flour, rye flour, malted wheat, and malted barley, the loaf answers consumer demand for ‘better for you’ bread that delivers on taste and satisfaction.

The 330g loaf boasts a generous crunchy topping made from white sesame, poppy and yellow flax seeds.  Providing essential trace elements for the nutrition-conscious, the seeds also add flavor, texture and increase the breads visual appeal. The loaf’s crumb is dark and dense, yet it benefits from being both soft and easy to slice – The Nordic Loaf offers the perfect base for a snack or more substantial meal throughout the day.

The trend for Scandinavian goods has impacted the UK from furniture to food and is perfectly on trend for UK bread eaters. This latest offering additionally appeals to those looking for low gluten options and bakery products made with sourdough starters that deliver extra flavor. Ticking all the boxes, the Nordic Loaf delivers a satisfying malty taste and a look that is perfect for making trendy ‘open’ sandwiches – known as tartines in France.

Supplied frozen, the Nordic Loaf requires defrosting for up to 10 minutes before being heated at 200°C for 11-13 minutes. Supplied in boxes of 26 units and pallets of 32 boxes, the loaf is ideal for restaurateurs, hoteliers and foodservice outlets as well as a range of retail customers for a consistent product that customers will love.

Bridor was established in France, the home of bakery and bread, and boasts a long-standing heritage and expertise. Known for its ongoing innovation, Bridor draws inspiration from around the globe to deliver new and exciting products that appeal to an international audience.