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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Sept. 27 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.

Packaged Facts: Clean-label consumers exploring plant-based items

Several overlapping trends are driving interest in plant-based proteins, but a rise in veganism or vegetarianism isn’t one of them. While most Americans still eat meat, their diets are becoming more adventurous. Young people in particular are expanding their food horizons. They’re a driving force in alternative protein, with more than half eating plant-based meat at least once a month. They are also more than twice as likely as baby boomers to consider themselves flexitarian, according to a new report from Packaged Facts. Read more at Meat and Poultry

Cargill invests in chocolate production facilities for reduced sugar ranges

Cargill has invested $5 million in its site in Mouscron (Belgium) to enhance its capabilities for producing chocolate with lower sugar levels. As the company noted, its investment allows for the introduction of a range of bespoke and innovative reduced-sugar chocolate recipes to meet the increased consumer demand for confectionery perceived as offering a healthier choice. According to the ingredient solutions company, demand for chocolate is growing by approximately two percent per year, with a clear majority of consumers viewing chocolate as an indulgence, to be enjoyed in the moment. However, the company noted that there is now a growing group of consumers on the look-out for chocolate that tastes just as delicious but also contains less sugar. Read more at Confectionery Production

Prebiotics 2.0: Prebiotic ingredients increasingly target specific bacteria

Within the digestive health category, probiotics are so popular that they have transcended from dietary supplements to ingredients in food and drinks. Probiotics, however, are only one piece of the digestive health puzzle. Slowly but surely, prebiotics are being recognized as a necessary component of digestive health. Driving this growth is an overall interest in fiber consumption. “Innova Market Insights called out fiber as a key trend for 2019, noting that 44% of U.S. consumers were increasing their fiber consumption,” says Taylor Halstead, product manager for specialty carbohydrates, for Cargill. Consumer understanding of prebiotics is less pronounced but growing as more products hit the market and receive media coverage. Read more at Nutritional Outlook

Creating lifelong healthy eaters with a clean-label supply chain

Clean-label products have as few ingredients as possible and a supply chain that makes it easy to trace all of them. In a recent interview, Kristin Groos Richmond, CEO and co-founder of Revolution Foods, shared how the company is creating lifelong healthy eaters through a clean-label supply chain. Revolution Foods makes and delivers two million meals per week to 2,500 sites, which include early childhood education centers, community and afterschool youth programs, districts and charter schools. The healthy meals exceed federal nutrition guidelines because chefs work with registered dietitians to create them. Read more at Forbes

Flavor trends worth noting in 2019

Some trends have lasted long enough that they’re now considered fundamental changes in the way consumers eat. The penchant for healthful, less-processed foods, including lower-sugar options, stands out as an example, as does the increasing demand for the new, different and foreign. Innovative taste combinations, created by pairing spicy and sweet or sweet and savory components in unexpected ways, are also gaining traction, with functional ingredients often added to these formulations. Read more at Food Processing

Can clean-label starches withstand freezing and high-heat applications?

Clean-label is an important purchase prerequisite for many a consumer these days. Even foods designed for convenience such as frozen, canned, jarred and instant foods are getting the clean-label treatment. For many consumers, the health benefits they associate with a cleaner label are non-negotiable, no matter the product. Starches play an important role in these foods by providing texture, which has a significant impact on how consumers experience food. But achieving the right texture can be difficult, particularly when a food’s processing subjects it to extremes in temperature. Rice flour, rice starch, potato starch and tapioca starch are among the most common clean-label starch alternatives today. Read more at Nutritional Outlook

How to make food and drink Generation Z will crave

With Generation Z set to be the largest and most ethnically diverse generation yet, forward-thinking manufacturers are beginning to look seriously at catering to them. Gen Zers account for between $29 billion and $143 billion in direct spending, according to Forbes. Nielsen reports Gen Z now makes up 26% of the U.S. population. At first glance, this generation appears to have some similarities to millennials, demanding authenticity, social responsibility, ethnic flavors and nuanced classics. However, these demographic groups vary widely enough that manufacturers should take notice of them individually. Read more at FoodDive

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