Ingredients Provide Solutions

ingredientsThe food ingredients industry is continually evolving to help food processors keep pace with changing consumer trends. Ingredient manufacturers and distributors are bursting with solutions that:

  • enhance flavour, mouthfeel and eye-appeal;
  • reduce less desirable nutrients like sugar and sodium;
  • replace artificial ingredients with more label-friendly options;
  • boost food nutrition and functionality; and
  • improve quality and food safety.

The annual CIFST tabletop show presented by the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology is an ideal opportunity to scope out on-trend ingredients from around the world. Here are some interesting discoveries from this year’s show.

Essence of alcohol

Apropos for the mocktail trend, Mizkan® denatured spirits impart depth of flavour from beer, brandy, tequila, whiskey and other libations, without the alcohol. The myriad of applications includes chocolate, beef jerky, beverages, sauces and ice cream.

Citrus fibre

Herbacel – AQ Plus Citrus made from “harvest-fresh, de-juiced, de-oiled dried citrus” is a natural source thickener, stabilizer and texturizer that solves a myriad of problems for food processors. It improves mouthfeel, replaces gums, and the water-binding properties help to retain moisture in the end product. With a neutral flavour and colour this functional ingredient has applications across a wide range of categories including processed meat, fish, dairy, beverage, baked goods, frozen desserts, sauces and dressings. It’s not yet approved as a source of dietary fibre in Canada.

Natural fruit sweetness

Cambrian Solutions offers an alternative to cane sugar. FructoGrape crystallized grape sugar has a low glycemic index and meets the requirements for clean label and non-GMO formulations.

Peppers, still a hot flavour trend

Food scientists at Caldic transformed ghost pepper extract into pearls, through the molecular gastronomy technique of spherification, and spiced up mocktails with tiny bursts of heat.

Sparkling cold brew

Kerry added cold brew style coffee extract to sparkling water, enhancing the sought-after cold brew taste experience with a refreshing effervescence.

Vanillin from trees

With the cost of vanilla extract skyrocketing, some companies are reformulating their products with lower cost substitutes. One option is vanillin, which is typically derived from petroleum. Borregaard AS, a Norwegian company, developed sustainable vanillin produced from wood, a natural, renewable resource.

High protein lupins

Commonly consumed in Europe, lupin beans are a little-known legume in North America. NutriPulse Sweet Lupin Flour has a high protein content of 40 – 50%, a low glycemic index and is rich in dietary fibre. This versatile ingredient can be combined with other flours for baking, pasta and snacks or used as a 1:1 replacement for wheat flour. With no chalky mouthfeel, a naturally sweet taste, and moisture retention properties, it’s ideal for gluten-free baking. One cautionary note, lupin is listed as an allergen in the EU.

Flavourful functionality

The “flavor designers” at Foodarom showcased their flavours by developing concept products for today’s lifestyle needs. Hydrating “Beauty Water” with the age-defying properties of hyaluronic acid and natural collagen is naturally flavoured with cucumber extract, rose, mojito and juniper flavours. “Relax Water”, flavoured with blueberry and lavender, is formulated with GABA and L-Theanine, which are reputed to have a calming effect.

Ingredient suppliers are a valuable resource for food manufacturers. Not only do they have their finger on the pulse of the latest trends, they can provide solutions for product development, quality, food safety and processing challenges.

As a packaged foods consultant, Birgit Blain helps brands that struggle to maintain listings. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw and President’s Choice®. Learn more at or contact her at

© Birgit Blain

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