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Food & Beverage Reporter Jan-Feb 2016

10 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | FOOD & BEVERAGE REPORTER ... from Page 7 (and, in SA, grain-free flours from chia, coconut, flax and almond) are starting to pop up in products everywhere. “Ancient” is synonymous with heirloom, natural/organic, non-GMO, and it seems to be a term that resonates loudly with the growing numbers of health-conscious consumers, says Innova, adding that ancient grains “are being used in everyday products such as pasta and wraps, or being applied as star ingredients in side dishes”. Clean food/label claims such as “organic” and non-GMO feature strongly as a trend in the Innova report, and on the show the emphasis on “natural” was everywhere. Innova says some of the hot buttons for consumers wanting healthier choices are sugar-free, high (quality) protein and good fats. During 2013-14, these were some of the fastest growing “clean” claims on new product labels: • Animal friendly (+111%) • GMO-free (+46%) • Organic (+37%) • No additives (+37%) • No preservatives (+11%) Innova also found a lot of sugar- free activity in the confectionary/ chocolate sector, with stevia finding more applications, and with other naturally- sweet, sugar alternatives in demand. It says the vegan market is continuing to show healthy growth, with vegan claims growing by over 30% in the last four years. OK, FIE trends weren’t all about health, but you can see from the above how much focus the wellness lifestyle is receiving from the international food sector. And it seemed to make perfect sense in Paris, a city obsessed with artisanal food and “au-naturelle” ingredients. Against this background, I attended an interesting and cautionary presentation by Peter Wennstrom, president of Swedish consultancy, The Healthy Marketing Team. He pointed out that the huge focus on healthy food products had also created huge problems for the food industry and that the failure rate in Europe for products with strong health claims was as high as 80%. Wennstrom told me that marketers were finding themselves in a no-man’s land that many did not really understand – “a place called nutrition marketing, somewhere between food and pharmacy”. And he warned that many food brands would not be able to make the leap into the nutrition/health space, space it would be more prudent for them to rather acquire nutrition-focussed brands. I couldn’t agree more. Consumer perceptions of most big brands just can’t tolerate too much bending away from their comfort zones. There were large Chinese pavilions at FIE housing scores of small stands I t’s no secret that soybeans (Glycine max) have proteins with anti-nutritional and allergenic properties that affect metabolism and the assimilation of nutrients in both humans and animals. Now, researchers from the Universities of Arizona and Illinois have bred a new variety in which levels of the three proteins associated with soy’s negative properties have been significantly reduced compared to existing varieties. The new variety could help soy discard its tarnished reputation as an “anti-food” at a time when demand for plant proteins is soaring. Three specific proteins have been identified as major contributors to the anti-nutritional and allergenic properties of soy. They are: P34, a major allergen for both humans and animals; Kunitz trypsin inhibitor (TI), which affects the digestibility of soybeans; and lectins (LE), known to hinder the absorption of other nutrients in food. Humans, calves, pigs, fish and dogs have all shown intolerances or sensitivities to these proteins. Individual soybean varieties containing “null” genes (i.e. genes that limit or stop the production of these proteins) had been developed in earlier Is this the Super-Soy we’ve all been waiting for? Free-from is on the fast track Innovation Winner Dutch company Scelta Mushrooms was overall winner of the FIE 2015 Innovation Award for its natural salt-reducing solution, Scelta Taste Accelerator (STA). STA, extracted from mushrooms, uses the natural power of umami to increase flavour – as an alternative to MSG/I+G/AYE – and reduces sodium by up to 50% in processed foods without compromising taste and function. The product can be declared as natural and can be used in many different savoury solutions. INGREDIENTS

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