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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Oct. 18 2019

Each week we collect the top stories and latest news in food trends and production, making it easy for you to stay current on science and innovation.

Stevia: A sweet gift of nature that can support healthy weight

Stevia is a natural sweetener that is supposed to be sweeter than sugar. It is native to South America and the Guarani tribes of Paraguay have been using it since ancient times. It is basically a bushy shrub that also goes by the names of honey leaf plant and sweet chrysanthemum. Today, it is grown in many parts of the world. The leaves of this plant can be used to give a sweet flavor to food and drinks.  Despite being extremely sweet, it does not increase blood sugar levels of diabetic patients and can safely be used to add sweetness to their diet. A study at the University of Leuven, Belgium, says that stevia stimulates a protein that is essential for our perception of taste and is involved in the release of insulin after a meal. Read more at The Health Site

Blockchain to track your purchases to their origin

Consumers are more and more preoccupied with how products are made. After decades during which price and quality were the two primary attributes they looked for in products, nowadays the demand for sustainably produced goods is on the rise. Contributing to this increased awareness are both a greater concern for the environment and also frequent scandals involving labor rights violations in the supply chains of some of the best-known brands. Several multinationals are experimenting with blockchain-based platforms to ensure traceability and sustainability in their supply chains and to reduce costs. But challenges remain in the implementation of such solutions. Read more at Interesting Engineering

The mechanics of clean label — deep dive

Akin to “natural,” clean label lacks a formal definition. Regardless, U.S. consumers ranked it their most widely followed diet. Popular attributes include: a short list of recognizable ingredients, minimal processing, sustainability, transparency, certifications (such as organic), claims (like non-GMO), and a long “free from” list—allergens, gluten, dairy, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, sugar, chemical additives and more. Formulators know simpler foods are often the most difficult to manufacture, prompting ongoing innovation among ingredient suppliers. Read more at Natural Products INSIDER

NPD Group: U.S. consumers beginning to weigh in on environmental impact when making food and beverage purchases

An increasing proportion of U.S. consumers (between 18 and 44 years old) claim to be factoring in the environmental impact before purchasing food or beverage products, according to research from the NPD Group. The group’s National Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracking Service found that one in 10 U.S. adults switched to a different food or beverage brand because it had “earth-friendly" practices such as recyclable packaging, and nine percent considered the environment a top factor when making food and beverage purchases. Read more at Food Navigator

Fostering strategies to expand the demand of the lupin market

The growing demand for plant-based dietary fiber and proteins in the food and beverage industry is now driving the popularity of lupin plants and their seeds, which are gaining wide use among populations looking for gluten-free, high fiber diets. High on soluble fibers and nutritional value, lupin seeds and flours are witnessing rising demand in product for lowering cholesterol levels and boosting digestion. Lupin adds formulation function as well. Lupin flour, for example, can also add to the texture of bakery products, such as pasta, and lupin seeds are added to dairy products and sausages to provide a substitute for low-fat and high protein ingredients. Read more at Europlat

Could air-based foods be the alternative diet trend that saves the planet

We are already seeing a shift from animal-based to plant-based protein. The next evolution—from land-based to air-based protein—will allow us to [feed] a growing population without needing to remove rainforests or natural habitats, according to Dr. Lisa Dyson, CEO of Air Protein. Dyson and her team have built a carbon-transformation technology based on NASA’s ideas that is now set to take the world by storm—making delicious, nutritious foods from elements of the air we breathe. Read more at Sustainable Brands

When efforts to eat clean become an unhealthy obsession

Whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, raw food or all-organic, many people these days are committed to so-called "clean eating"—the idea that choosing only whole foods in their natural state and avoiding processed ones can improve health. It's not necessarily a bad thing to eat this way, but sometimes these kinds of food preferences can begin to take over people's lives, making them fear social events where they won't be able to find the "right" foods. When a healthful eating pattern goes too far, it may turn into an eating disorder that scientists are just beginning to study. Read more at NPR

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