Browsing: Ingredients

Yoghurt and dairy beverages lead protein NPD boom

Protein content has been one of the key areas of activity in new product development in the food and drinks industry over the past couple of years.

Protein content has been one of the key areas of activity in new product development in the food and drinks industry over the past couple of years.

Protein content has been one of the key areas of activity in new product development in the food and drinks industry over the past couple of years. Nearly four percent of global launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of June 2015 used a high-in or source-of protein positioning, rising to nearly eight percent in the dairy sector and 14 percent in the yoghurt category.

“Dairy products have always had an inherently healthy image and a perception of high protein levels,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, “so it is a sector that has been able to adapt relatively rapidly to this rising interest in protein, in some cases by simply changing its labelling and/or positioning.”

The US has led this rising interest in protein content, both overall and specifically in the dairy sector. Over 17 percent of US dairy launches were positioned on their protein content in the 12 months to the end of June 2015, which is well over twice the global average. Yoghurt had the highest penetration, with over one-third of launches marketed on a protein platform, followed by milk drinks with just under a quarter.

While one-third of yoghurt launches using a protein positioning is fairly impressive, it still trails behind US Greek and Greek-style launches, which accounted for nearly 57 percent of total introductions, indicating that by no means all Greek yoghurts are using a high-protein positioning yet.

In addition to Greek-style yoghurts, other traditionally high-protein fermented dairy products are being introduced onto the market, led by the Icelandic fermented dairy product skyr. Skyr is also moving from its home in Iceland to a number of European markets. Perhaps not surprisingly this started in Scandinavia, but there were launches by Arla Foods in countries such as Germany, the UK and the Netherlands in the spring of 2015.

In the milk drinks market, performance was initially a key focus for protein beverages, but we are now seeing both relatively specialist performance products and more mainstream lines. In the US, introductions have included an organic version of Cytosport’s market-leading Muscle Milk protein beverage, Morning Protein Smoothies from Sprout Foods, Plus Protein Dairy Beverages from retailer Safeway and TruMoo Protein Milks from Dean Foods.

In Europe, recent launches include Lactel’s Sporteus protein-enriched milk drinks in France, positioned as sports beverages; the leading US protein shake Muscle Milk Protein in Germany; and Austrian dairy company Nöm’s extension of its fasten flavoured milk range with a fasten Protein Drink option.

“High protein foods are one of the most sought-after nutritional choices of the moment,” according to Williams “and the dairy sector appears to be extremely well placed to benefit. Yoghurts and milk drinks are the current leaders in terms of activity, but there may also be opportunities in other products such as cheese, particularly soft and fresh products.”

New dairy protein solves watery low-fat cottage cheese problem

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a unique new clean-label protein solution that tackles the long-standing problem of watery low-fat cottage cheese.

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a unique new clean-label protein solution that tackles the long-standing problem of watery low-fat cottage cheese.

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a unique new clean-label protein solution that tackles the long-standing problem of watery low-fat cottage cheese.

Sales of cottage cheese are rising as consumers seek out healthy dairy products that are low in fat and high in protein. Just like Greek yoghurt and Skyr, cottage cheese falls into this category and is enjoying a surge in popularity. New launches of cottage cheese products globally increased by 39 percent between 2010 and 2014, according to Innova Market Insights. Growing numbers of consumers enjoy cottage cheese because it offers a tasty and healthy option for multiple occasions, including snack time, breakfast, lunch and even dessert.

Arla Foods Ingredients’ new dairy protein is simply added to the dressing (cream) that is combined with the curds to make cottage cheese. It reacts with the salt in the dressing to create a thicker texture and a creamier end product. This eliminates the need for the stabilisers frequently used to enhance the quality of low fat cottage cheese, which tends to have a runnier consistency than the standard version and is therefore more likely to require thickening. This is often done using starches and gums, which may mean sacrificing clean label status.

Because the cream dressing containing Arla Foods Ingredients’ dairy protein is better quality, the proportion of curds required in the recipe can be reduced without any negative impact on product quality – enabling manufacturers to optimize their production costs and maximise profitability.

Claus Andersen, category and application manager for Cheese at Arla Foods Ingredients, says, “This is a unique solution for improving cottage cheese products, especially low fat cottage cheese, which often presents technical and quality challenges. Now manufacturers can achieve a thick, creamier and tastier end product, using a dairy-based ingredient that is clean label and familiar to consumers.”

Cottage cheese made with Arla Foods Ingredients’ new protein is also more stable and less likely to separate and lose its texture when it has been left to stand, improving its overall appearance and consumer appeal. The protein is easy to use in the production process and the cottage cheese is made in the usual way. As well as improving the quality of low fat cottage cheese, the protein also offers benefits to the standard version, in the form of improved flavour, texture and reduced costs.

New half-fat soft cheese solution

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a whey protein solution that enables dairies to produce low-fat soft ripened cheeses that taste as good as the full-fat versions.

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a whey protein solution that enables dairies to produce low-fat soft ripened cheeses that taste as good as the full-fat versions.

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a whey protein solution that enables dairies to produce low-fat soft ripened cheeses that taste as good as the full-fat versions.

Nutrilac® SoftCheese makes it possible to reduce fat in soft ripened cheese by 50 percent with no loss of creaminess. It is supplied as a white powder that is simply added to the cheese milk prior to the pasteurisation stage. Overall it adds no extra cost to the manufacturing process because it increases the final yield in the region of 10 percent to 20 percent. This means it more than pays for itself in the form of greater output.

Claus Andersen, category manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, says, “Of all the major dairy categories, cheese is among the least developed when it comes to sales of reduced fat products. The reason for this is mainly technical, in the sense that it’s very difficult to produce low-fat cheeses that make the grade in terms of taste and texture. Taking some of the fat out of the cheese has a major impact on quality, principally because it makes the product matrix too hard. This means the majority of low fat cheeses compare poorly with their full-fat counterparts.”

Cheese-makers have traditionally tried to address this with fat substitutes, such as fibres, but these have generally been a poor replacement for fat and eating quality has suffered. In addition, they require declaration on labelling, which is undesirable in a category where the only ingredients listed are usually milk, salt, rennet and culture. Whey protein, however, behaves in cheese in a similar manner to fat, ensuring the product retains its creamy texture and taste.

Arla Foods Ingredients asked an independent laboratory to run tests to assess the quality of each cheese in terms of taste, texture and appearance. In all cases, the Brie made with Nutrilac SoftCheese outperformed the reference cheese.

“Reducing the level of fat and increasing the amount of whey protein in a soft ripened cheese can result in the product that has eluded cheese-makers until now: a delicious low-fat cheese indistinguishable from its full-fat equivalent. At last, high-quality reduced fat soft ripened cheese is within reach – and so is the potential for increased sales in this under-developed sub-category of the dairy market,” Mr Andersen says.

Stevia still at the starting gate in sugar-free confectionery

Just over 1% of confectionery launches in 2014 featured stevia despite spreading regulatory approval for stevia sweeteners in USA, Australia & EU.

Just over 1% of confectionery launches in 2014 featured stevia as an ingredient, despite spreading regulatory approval for stevia sweeteners in the USA, Australia and the EU.

With ongoing concerns about health and the reduction of sugar in the diet, the sugar-free confectionery market should be booming, particularly in the face of ongoing technical developments that have improved sensory properties, and the appearance of new sweeteners and other ingredients with a more natural image.  

Yet sugar-free lines accounted for less than seven percent of global confectionery launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2014, which is a similar penetration level to that in 2013.

There are significant differences between product types, however, with sugar-free launches representing just one percent of chocolate confectionery introductions, rising to 7.5 percent in sugar confectionery and to over 63 percent in chewing gum. Even within the very diverse sugar confectionery market, penetration varies by type of product, with sugar-free launches focused particularly in the hard candy market, where they accounted for nearly one-fifth of introductions.

In combining calorie, particularly sugar, reduction with naturalness, the spreading regulatory approval for stevia sweeteners in markets such as the USA, Australia and then the EU over the past five years or so has caused something of a revolution in sweetener use across a range of food and drinks markets, although this has had only limited effect in confectionery to date. Just over one percent of confectionery launches in 2014 featured stevia as an ingredient, which was a similar level to that in food and drinks as a whole, but behind the levels of use in soft drinks and tabletop sweeteners, for example.

Formulation problems and the bitter after-taste of stevia are felt to have held back product activity in some instances, according to Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, but some sectors have found this less of an issue, particularly liquorice sweets and medicated confectionery, and improved formulations are now being introduced to allow more products in other areas.

The USA is leading activity levels in sugar-free confectionery with sugar-free lines accounting for 11 percent of total confectionery launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2014. Uptake of stevia is also more advanced, featuring in 2.6 percent of introductions, which although still relatively modest, is twice the global average.

A review of new product activity over the past few months reveals a wide range of introductions in the USA featuring stevia, including additions to the Coco Polo and Chocorite chocolate bar ranges, SteviDent’s Stevita chewing gum, Ricola Liquorice Pearls, Rap Protein Gummis and Sencha Naturals Green Tea Mints.

A major step forward in Europe in 2014 was the introduction of the first European confectionery lines from chewing gum market leader Wrigley to feature stevia, with its introduction of Extra Professional Mints in Forest Fruits and Classic Mint variants.  Initially launched in Germany, the mints are slated for launch in 20 European markets.  Wrigley has used stevia in chewing gum in Japan, where it has been permitted for many years, but this marked its first multi-country introduction of a stevia-sweetened product.

Fears over the health impact of sugar consumption and concerns over the safety of some artificial sweeteners should give a major boost to plant-based “natural” sweeteners, and the development of new sweetener systems is already offering solutions to improving taste profiles.  The confectionery industry has been perhaps slower to take on stevia sweeteners than originally forecast, Williams concludes, and it remains to be seen how take-up will develop over the next few years.

Manuka Health launches bioactive supplement

In what is a pioneering move for the Manuka Honey industry, Manuka Health is the first to have combined all natural CycloPower technology with the proven health benefits of genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey.

In what is a pioneering move for the Manuka Honey industry, Manuka Health is the first to have combined all natural CycloPower technology with the proven health benefits of genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey.

Manuka Health, one of New Zealand’s most successful and fastest growing honey brands unveiled MGO™ Manuka Honey with CycloPower™, an advanced natural bioactive supplement, at Expo West in California, the world’s largest trade show for the natural, organic and health products industry, early this month.

In what is a pioneering move for the Manuka Honey industry, Manuka Health is the first to have combined all natural CycloPower technology with the proven health benefits of genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey. When combined with active ingredients (such as the methylglyoxal molecules found in Manuka Honey), the naturally fibrous cyclodextrin molecules in CycloPower substantially elevate the beneficial activity of Manuka Honey, making it tens of times more potent against certain bacteria then the Manuka Honey of the same strength. MGO Manuka Honey with CycloPower is more stable, soluble and bioavailable for more efficient delivery over a longer period of time.

“CycloPower is a breakthrough natural bioactive booster for more highly effective supplementation,” explains Dr Mike Durbin, Manuka Health’s general manager of wellness. “It is to natural healthcare what turbo is to cars – a way to get more performance without increasing the dose.”

“By combining MGO Manuka Honey sourced from some of the greenest, most remote areas of New Zealand with CycloPower, Manuka Health has created a significantly more potent bioactive supplement than MGO Manuka Honey of the same strength,” says Mike. “CycloPower also lowers the Glycemic Index of Manuka Honey by 3-4 times. This helps the body manage blood sugars better, making it suitable for pre-diabetics and people with reduced insulin sensitivity.”

So far, Manuka Health has created two dietary supplements using CycloPower. MGO 400+ Manuka Honey with CycloPower Tablets support overall dental health by supporting the balance of good bacteria in the mouth and throat and maintaining a neutral pH balance in the mouth, which helps prevent tooth decay. The prebiotic effect of MGO 400+ Manuka Honey with CycloPower Capsules supports digestive health by aiding the balance of good and bad bacteria in the lower gut helping to relieve bloating, irregularity, stomach upsets and acidity.

According to Mike, the launch of Manuka Health’s MGO 400+ Manuka Honey with CycloPower products into the USA is timely, given the ever-increasing demand for natural healthcare products.

“Sales of natural products are growing fast in the USA, with natural personal care products leading the way. In fact, in 2009, natural products sales topped a massive $56.7 billion,” he explains. “There is definitely a growing segment, both in the USA and internationally, which recognises the benefit of using natural products that provide tangible health benefits, but don’t contain artificial ingredients, preservatives and other chemicals.”

New generation nutritional products

Nutritional products: The development of a stable delivery system for key health enhancing properties could soon be applied to general foodstuffs thanks to the efforts of a team of scientists from the Riddet Institute.

Nutritional products: The development of a stable delivery system for key health enhancing properties could soon be applied to general foodstuffs thanks to the efforts of a team of scientists from the Riddet Institute.

The development of a stable delivery system for key health enhancing properties could soon be applied to general foodstuffs thanks to the efforts of a team of scientists from the Riddet Institute.

The health benefits of Omega-3 and other essential bioactive materials such as antioxidants, vitamins, lactoferrin and bovine serum albumin are widely known. However, bioactive material easily degrades during  processing, storage and  digestion so a group of Riddet Institute scientists have been studying delivery carriers.

For nearly a decade Dr Aiqian Ye and his colleagues have been researching food derived carriers with breakthroughs that have important implications for New Zealand’s dairy farmers – adding value to what they already produce.

“We are working towards developing a new generation of health-enhancing foods using milk-derived encapsulating systems that allow for higher dose delivery.”

Internationally, much research has been carried out on the delivery of medicines via chemically-synthesised molecules however less research has been carried out on nutraceutical delivery via naturally occurring molecules. This research is carried out here in New Zealand and is funded through the government’s Centres of Research Excellence funding.

Dr Aiqian Ye says if we can ensure that the beneficial properties survive processing, storage and the journey through the digestive system then health benefits can be magnified.

“We’ve created NanoEmulsion Shell Technology, known as NEST for short, through a joint venture between the Riddet Institute and Speirs Nutritionals, a local biotechnology company.

“It is a protein-coated nanoemulsion droplet that protects, in this particular case, Omega-3 from oxidation thereby improving the chances of the nutraceutical arriving to the right location for digestion. We used micellar casein, a milk-derived substance, as the emulsifying agent. The IP has since been secured by a global European manufacturer which is using the technology and marketing it internationally in a joint venture.”

More recently Dr Ye and his colleagues have researched a further protective layer using liposome technology to deliver active compounds such as lactoferrin and vitamin C.

“In the near future, we anticipate products on the shelves of supermarkets that utilise this technology. However that will be up to manufacturers and consumer demand.

“Our work also has repercussions for the medical world as food-derived molecules may have more appeal than chemically-synthesized molecules.”

Dr Ye says the group now need to research more protective layers with the aim of improving delivery.

“This work is well recognised internationally with a number of PhD students from other countries due here shortly to continue to work on this field alongside our team at the Riddet Institute.”

Dairy drives global health innovation

Dairy is perfectly positioned to profit from the most important consumer trends shaping the food industry.

Dairy is perfectly positioned to profit from the most important consumer trends shaping the food industry.

“Dairy, more than any other category, is perfectly positioned to profit from the most important consumer trends shaping the food industry,” says Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business, whose new report “Key Trends in the Business of Dairy Nutrition” outlines the 14 trends driving the category.

Dairy has already lead innovation in the industry, says Mr Mellentin, tapping into consumer trends to create entirely new product areas.

“The long-held view that dairy fat is connected to risk of cardiovascular disease has now been firmly debunked by a steady stream of good quality science,” says Mr Mellentin in the report. “One day we will see that low- or no-fat dairy products have been a huge mistake. However, the strength of the low/no-fat belief is now so entrenched in consumer beliefs that this will take 20 years or more to change, for the mass of consumers.”

However, the most health-conscious consumers – the niche of savvy consumers who so often kick off innovations – are learning about dairy’s revised health image from other sources and will embrace “new dairy”.

“Science shows that dairy is nature’s whole food, with more benefits that are bringing new opportunities,” says Mr Mellentin. “It’s too early for companies to use these benefits for marketing purposes, but over the next decade they will support dairy’s ‘naturally healthy’ identity.”

“A major part of Dairy 2.0 is about bringing formats that are established and traditional in one market and introducing them in a new market where they can be positioned as new and different,” Mr Mellentin says. The most conspicuous success so far is Greek yoghurt, but there are many others succeeding on a smaller scale, such as kefir and skyr.

Dairy has also driven the protein trend: “In the midst of the hype about protein it’s important to remember that it’s dairy – specifically Greek yoghurt – that has created the trend and has driven the market to its current heights,” he says.

In digestive health it’s largely dairy that has created a market and continues to dominate it and although Europe’s health claims regulations have put an end to the growth of probiotics there, dairy probiotics are growing massively in many other markets, in particular Asia where:

  • Danone Activia is getting huge growth using exactly the same techniques that made it such a success in Europe and the US
  • Probiotic brand Yakult reported a 48 percent increase in its Asian sales in the year ending March 2014

And in health ageing, again, it is dairy products that have created the most successful formats, such as those for brain health (Danone Souvenaid) and bone health (Fonterra’s Anlene and Danone’s Densia), and many others.

“In fact dairy will continue to be the most important category for future growth in food and health and the place where you are most likely to find innovation,” says Mr Mellentin.

The Asia Pacific food ingredients market: you are what you eat

There is a rise of interest in the Asia Pacific food ingredients and additives market.

There is a rise of interest in the Asia Pacific food ingredients and additives market.

The global economy today is witnessing increased focus on feeding its population. As the world aims to cope with the worrying multiple challenges of inflation, recession and inconsistent recovery rates, demand for the proverbial pot of gold is slowly moving from that of black gold; namely petroleum – to the more pressing concern of food shortage. Indeed the next global demand area is the world’s challenge to feed its growing populations, especially in the emerging Asia Pacific region that has led to the rise of interest in the food ingredients and additives market.

By Natasha Telles D’Costa, Research Manager, New Zealand GIC, Frost & Sullivan

Food ingredients – going natural

While the trend towards natural has been defining the food ingredient market for over a decade now, the Asia Pacific market had been slower in embracing it. However, once done it has steamed ahead and is today a global leader in natural alternatives to synthetic food ingredients – a fact that is attested to by the large number of food ingredient manufacturers from BASF to Cargill entering and reiterating their commitment to the Asia Pacific Market.

The food ingredient market – a quick snapshot

Buoyed by end user growth, the global food ingredients market was estimated at around US$65 million in 2013 and is growing at six-eight percent year on year. As economies emerge, food demand will continue to shift towards Asia in the upcoming decade. Asia Pacific has emerged as a key market for these ingredients. APAC’s major markets for food ingredients are split between the application sectors of bakery, dairy, confectionary, savoury, nutraceutical and others. In terms of functionality, these ingredients are split as colours, preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers, enzymes, fortified food ingredients and others. While the individual application segments are growing considerably, it is the nutraceutical sector buoyed by the fortified food ingredients products that are driving demand in this market.

Ingredient watch – key growth sectors

While the demand for food ingredients in Asia Pacific is on a growth trajectory due to its emerging nature, there are certain ingredients that are acting as the flag bearers of industry growth. These ingredients are the colours, preservatives and fortified ingredient markets. All three markets are based around the industry’s need to recreate its health reputation and the resulting growth is testimony to such an initiative bearing fruit. In the following segment we will deal in detail with sub-sectors within these markets that are buoying growth.

Food colours market: The global food colours market was estimated at around US$1.5 billion in 2012 and is growing annually at two-four percent. The food colour industry in Asia Pacific was estimated at around US$450 million in 2013 and growing annually at three-five percent.  Natural colours account for 33 percent of this market and over 60 percent of products launched in Asia Pacific today contain natural colours. This fact has been further established by the entry and investment into Asia by all major natural colour manufacturers such as Sensient, Chr. Hansen, BASF etc.

Food preservatives market: Food preservatives or shelf-life extension ingredients are particularly relevant in Asia Pacific due to the tropical climate of a majority of its member countries. In addition, most countries in the Asia Pacific region are plagued with a lack of infrastructure and refrigeration facilities that have caused manufacturers to invest even more in preservatives to ensure the product remains fresh until it reaches the consumer. The total shelf-life extension food additives market in Asia-Pacific was estimated to be $84 million in 2012, growing at a CAGR of 8.2 percent in revenue. In terms of consumption, Asia-Pacific represents the third-biggest market only after North America and Europe. Preference for natural antioxidants is rising in spite of current higher consumption of synthetic antioxidants. Increasing interest in convenience foods and snacks drives the overall antioxidants market. Key subsectors include vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), herbal extracts (rosemary extracts), hindered phenols (butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA; butylated hydroxytoluene, BHT; and tertiary butyl hydroquinone, TBHQ), ascorbyl palmitate (derivatives of vitamin C) and propyl gallates. The antioxidant market in Asia-Pacific is highly fragmented with a strong influx of local manufacturers who possess a significant market share. The market in Asia-Pacific is diverse; developed countries (e.g., South Korea and Japan) account for 40 per cent of the market and consume non-genetically modified (GM)-based antioxidants, while developing countries (e.g., Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam) consuming more GM-based antioxidants.

Fortified Food ingredient Market: Globally, the nutraceutical ingredients trends act as the key purchase indicator for nutraceutical products. As consumer awareness on nutraceuticals grow, so does the demand for specific ingredients such as Omega-3 and phytosterols. In Asia Pacific these fortified food ingredients are key growth drivers;  accounting for over US$7 billion worth of revenues to the industry or 38 percent of the global nutraceutical ingredient market. The major fortified food ingredients in use in Asia pacific are differentiated into the categories of heart health, digestive health, eye health and women’s health amongst others. These ingredients, ranging from Omega-3 to phytosterols are driving innovation and investment into this market and are expected to continue to grow to be major growth areas for the overall food industry due to their relatively low consumption norms in relation to high prices. Countries such as Japan, Australia, Korea and New Zealand have highly sophisticated local and export nutraceutical ingredient set-ups, while China, India and ASEAN countries are moving from sourcing hubs to downstream processors and manufacturers of nutraceuticals at present.


As the Asia Pacific food consumer witnesses a rising income status, additional revenue will be allocated to sophisticated value added food demand. Increasing awareness of healthy eating and growing levels of aspirational living will result in ingredient branding becoming a key purchasing factor – as global brands promise better quality.  This scenario will result in increased demand for healthy ingredients and rising awareness of ingredients. The Asia Pacific food ingredient industry is thus expected to grow from strength to strength as local demand and global multinational investment thrust it into the spotlight as the favoured child of the global food ingredient industry.

About Frost & Sullivan    

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, mega trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies?

High value fungi may offer new industry for NZ

Scientists could open up new opportunities New Zealand exports following recent research into the cultivation and commercialisation of two edible fungi crops – saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus) and Bianchetto truffle (Tuber borchii).

Plant & Food Research’s Alexis Guerin and Hon. Associate Professor Wang Yun have been investigating the high-value delicacies on a farm in Lincoln with successful and tasty results.

“These crops could be the next innovative gourmet export food product for New Zealand,” says Dr Guerin.

“Elsewhere in the world they are highly regarded for their potential health benefits and even support a dedicated truffle-tourism industry.”

In New Zealand, truffles retail for around $3,000/kg, but Dr Guerin is quick to point out that “you don’t need 1kg to enjoy them, the flavour is powerful and sensational. A few grammes per person is enough for some of the best recipes.”

While PŽrigord black truffles have been grown commercially in Europe since the early 1800s, it was not until the 1970s that their cultivation methods were improved by scientists. Similarly the cultivation of most other edible mycorrhizal mushrooms is still very much in its infancy.

The pair’s research into saffron milk cap mushrooms provides another commercial opportunity.

“We harvested 85kg of saffron milk cap in the 2014 season from January to May. The high yield was in part because of irrigation on some sites and very favorable conditions with warm temperatures and regular rainfall,” says Dr Guerin.

Both crops are the fruits of perennial fungi that live in symbiosis with trees. The fungi colonize roots and transform them into mycorrhizae (from Greek,’fungus-root’), real root organs resulting from the merger between plant and fungal tissues. The fungus supplies the tree with water and nutrients while the tree provides the fungus with soluble carbohydrates from photosynthesis.

The pair’s research, published in the international journal Mycorrhiza, also showed a symbiotic relationship between host pines, onset of fruiting, and mushroom yields – potentially improving the value of pine plantations by providing a secondary income and competitive control of the invasive and poisonous Amanita muscaria (fly agaric).

Yet while research to date has yielded promising results Dr Guerin notes that for both crops more research is required to further develop the young edible mycorrhizal mushroom industry in New Zealand, particularly understanding the factors that affect yields and the postharvest storage, packaging, and shelf-life of the gourmet delicacies.

Has one of triathletes’ great villains met its match with a kiwi sports supplement?

aug14-ingredients-400The UK’s prestigious Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Chichester University has just completed a major peer-reviewed clinical trial on triathletes during cycling, using a sports supplement formulation developed by New Zealand-based company Sujon Berryfruits of Nelson.

The research showed a clear, unequivocal result – that taking the Sujon blackcurrant powder lowered lactate accumulation during the cycling trials for the triathletes, without affecting performance.

Research leader, Professor Mark Willems from Chichester University says “the  finds have positive implications for training practice and aerobic performance for endurance athletes”.

Professor Willems presented the research results to delegates at the International Sports Nutrition Conference in the USA in June and the results will be published in the Journal of International Sports Nutrition.

As part of the research athletes were also checked for the effect of the Sujon powder formulation on cardio-vascular function. “We found that the powder had no negative effect during performance but assisted recovery,” says Professor Willlems.

Sujon Blackcurrant powder is produced by Nelson-based Gibb Holdings. Company Marketing Director Michelle Manson said that the UK Lactate research results confirm what the company had found through its own NZ-based research. The company initiated athlete trials with the New Zealand Nelson Giants basketball team in 2010 and as a result had built an international client base including five teams that are World Champions in their codes as well as a number of individual country and code champions.

“Many of our customers are supplied under confidentiality agreements and we haven’t been able to promote why they use our supplement and what the results are,” says Manson. “But this open research by Chichester University is wonderful and the results so clear. We expect significant global demand for what is quite a unique New Zealand ‘story,’” says Manson.

“Our formulation is derived from specially selected blackcurrant crops. We believe it’s a certain combination of polyphenol in the blackcurrant crops that produce the results, especially the compounds that produce that intense purple-red colour in blackcurrants: known as  anthocyanins. The Cawthron Institute analytical services played a pivotal role in our product development stage by enabling us to confirm, shelf life, product efficacy and dosage rates. The Sujon powder is truly natural and has no other ingredients in it – it’s a formulation unique to NZ-grown blackcurrants and our processing systems. And we’re thrilled the independent research says it works!” says Manson.

Futuristic meat-based products for the ageing population

Futuristic meat-based products for the ageing population

By Dr Mustafa M Farouk, AgResearch Ltd, Food Assurance & Meat Quality, Food & Bio-based Products, Hamilton

People are living longer. The proportion of individuals over the age of 65 is one of the fastest growing segments of our population.

There are a number of nutritionally related concerns associated with advanced age, such as the loss of muscle mass and strength, difficulty in chewing and swallowing and reduced taste sensitivity. Meat is rich in nutrients that can help maintain muscle mass, and when combined with the right amount of exercise, meat can also help the elderly preserve their muscle strength.

How can we develop meat products that are affordable yet will maintain the dignity of this growing consumer demographic group?

In order to maintain their dignity and to make them feel they have still “got it”, it is important that these functional meat products possess attributes such as texture and consistency that does not remind them of their age or make them feel infirm. The products must also have stronger flavours due to their higher taste thresholds.

Scientists at AgResearch are collaborating with university and food industry colleagues to develop products that meet those requirements. The products, all meat-based and currently in the concept/prototype states, include ice cream, bread, chips, spaghetti/noodle, yoghurt, mousse, gnocchi, and icings/toppings for muffins and cakes.

These foods, minus the meat components, are already accepted and enjoyed by the elderly whether living independently or under care in nursing homes. Therefore, transiting to the meat-based version won’t be difficult as these products have been designed to mask the perceptibility of the meat components in their formulary. Most importantly, these products are enjoyed by the young and the active in the wider population, so those advanced in age won’t feel any different eating them but stand to gain the most nutritionally.

Flour producer receives grant to develop nutrition products

Flour producer receives grant to develop nutrition products

Farmers Mill is the first independent grower-owned and operated flour producer in the country to receive funding from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), for the specific development of nutrition focussed flour and baking products.

Farmers Mill, which has partnered with Lincoln University and the Food Innovation Network, will receive support from Agmardt aimed at exploring market opportunities and encouraging innovative ideas within the agribusiness sector.

The grant will assist with in-market development of a nutritional product range using specific grain and flour based products. The project is expected to deliver flours and pre-mixes which have a low score on the glycaemic index (GI). It is well established that low GI foods can keep blood sugar levels steady and even help metabolise fat more efficiently.

The programme represents an investment by Farmers Mill of over $200,000 in the coming 12 months with total development costs expected to exceed $300,000.

Charles Brennan, Professor of Food Science at Lincoln University, says the research to be conducted at Lincoln utilises the University’s knowledge in food innovation and human nutrition.

“This pioneering project will demonstrate how we can utilise science to help trim the waistlines of New Zealanders,” he says.

CEO of Farmers Mill, Grant Bunting, says the investment is consistent with the MillÕs philosophy and commitment to New Zealand grown grain and uniquely customised, flour based products.

“We are excited to be working in partnership with Lincoln University to analyse what refinements and improvements can be made to our milled grain to produce a healthy, great tasting product range. We are not prepared to comprise on quality and we are keen to ensure these innovative developments keep Farmers Mill products at the forefront of the industry for many years to come,” he says.

The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation’s dietician, Sarah Hanrahan, said the Farmers Mill project is a commendable development in light of current trends and consumer needs.

“Grains and grain based foods are important in the diet of most New Zealanders so we definitely welcome any advances to improve the healthfulness of this valued food group in our everyday diet,” she says.

Earlier this year Farmers Mill launched a range of flour based products and premixes and announced the company’s strategic relationship with French multinational yeast supplier, Lesaffre.

Whey concentrate goes mainstream

Whey concentrate goes mainstream

Arla Foods Ingredients has launched its advanced whey protein Lacprodan® DI-7017 into the lifestyle nutrition market for the first time.

Lacprodan DI-7017 is a 100 percent whey protein concentrate rich in the essential and branched chain amino acids that are scientifically proven to optimise the body’s muscle-building and satiety response mechanisms. The ingredient offers quicker digestion time than casein, and is suitable for use in a range of great-tasting food and beverage applications, including long-life UHT drinks.

Initially launched in 2012 into the clinical nutrition market, Lacprodan DI-7017 is now available to companies looking to tap into the surge in popularity of high-protein products among mainstream consumers. According to Euromonitor, protein supplements represent the fastest growing category in consumer health, with global sales rising by 59 percent to US$5.4 billion between 2006 and 2011.

Peter Schouw Andersen, business development manager for health & performance at Arla Foods ingredients, says: “Whey protein has long been popular with body-builders and elite athletes for its superb muscle-building and satiety benefits. In recent years, however, it has emerged from this niche to go mainstream. Increasing numbers of ‘ordinary’ health-conscious consumers are now demanding food and beverage products that help them stay fi t, toned and looking and feeling good but which are convenient to integrate into their everyday lives.”

“The key to tapping into this growth opportunity is to offer consumers lifestyle protein-based products that are delicious and easy to consume, since these shoppers are not willing to make the taste and convenience sacrifices accepted by niche protein consumers such as body-builders.

Lacprodan DI-7017 enables food and beverage companies to do this. It offers all the proven nutrition characteristics of whey proteins, but is also easy to use in mainstream products that consumers will love and be willing to pay a premium for.”

Lacprodan DI-7017 is ideal for use in a comprehensive range of functional foods and drinks, including milk and water-based beverages and soups. It contains 100 percent whey protein, is UHT-stable, offers neutral pH and tastes good. These attributes make it especially attractive to manufacturers wishing to develop long shelf life products designed for weight management and the increase of muscle mass simultaneously.

New Zealand Avocados go global

New Zealand avocados

The Avocado Industry Council announced last month that it will partner with the Ministry for Primary Industries in a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called Go Global— a five year programme to increase the productivity and capability within the avocado industry to deliver significant additional returns for New Zealand.

Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of Avocado Industry Council, says it is a landmark development for the avocado industry that will increase sales to more than a quarter of a billion dollars by 2023.

“This PGP programme will create significant value across the industry, helping position New Zealand’s avocado industry to capitalise on the growing demand domestically and in Asia, for premium, safe, and healthy produce. Part of this will involve developing a New Zealand avocado story to highlight the health and versatility of our avocados,” says Scoular.

The Go Global programme’s vision is to equip the industry with the tools to triple productivity to 12 tonnes per hectare and quadruple industry returns to $280 million by 2023.

New Zealand aims to become the avocado supplier of choice in Asian markets, by gaining an early foothold, and a “first mover” advantage in those markets.

“A consistent supply of premium avocados and a unified marketing strategy which creates a point of difference for New Zealand avocados will drive this growth,” she says.

The programme will address the industry’s biggest challenge of low and irregular bearing. Collaborative research, with strong cross industry participation will deliver best practice across the value chain which is transferred through a network of innovation leaders, rural professionals and growers. The programme aims to achieve widespread adoption of best practice driven by examples of success.

Ashby Whitehead, chair of Avocado Industry Council says the New Zealand avocado industry will be transformed to an efficient, well-informed, and highly capable industry, supplying premium health food to a number of high-value markets domestically and internationally.

“The programme includes co-investment from growers, packers, processors and exporters, it is a real cross-industry collaboration,” says Whitehead.

The programme will have a strong focus on knowledge sharing across the avocado industry, which will also be able to be utilised by the recently successful “Avocados for Export” programme, funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, and led by Plant & Food Research.

Strengthening information flow, performance and efficiency will be achieved through the development of an information portal, increasing supply chain efficiency and benchmarking performance.

Justine Gilliland, director PGP, MPI, says a total investment of $8.56 million has been secured for the programme, with MPI committing $4.28 million over five years, and the balance coming from industry partners as a mixture of cash and in-kind contributions.

“We’re excited by this new programme. It’s the first horticulture programme involving fresh fruit in the PGP, showing the diversity of the industries involved in the PGP,” says Gilliland.

“We are thrilled to be part of the PGP—the industry is motivated and ready to capitalise on the real opportunities that exist for our industry. This PGP programme will see the emergence of a globally competitive, high value, sustainable horticulture industry delivering real returns to New Zealand,” says Scoular.

MPI and Avocado Industry Council will now negotiate and agree a contract so Go Global can formally commence.

Massey food tech passes 50 year taste test

Massey food technology passes 50 year taste test

When Massey’s Bachelor of Food Technology degree was introduced in 1964, it was a first for New Zealand.

After 50 years of leading the country in educating food technologists the university is excited to celebrate its rich history.

“Food technology is such a vital part of Massey’s history and reputation, and of its future,” Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says.

“Our graduates, like Dick Hubbard, have helped build the New Zealand food industry and have gone on to run their own businesses or work for some of the most prestigious and international companies.”

As the New Zealand food industry has grown over the past five decades, so has Massey’s Food Technology programme. The degree, initially offered at the Manawatu campus, expanded to its Albany campus in 1995, and has been taught in Singapore since 2008.

While the past 50 years have proven to be successful for the programme, the future looks bright as well, says Mr Maharey. “The plan for a FoodHQ – New Zealand’s Food Innovation Gateway in Palmerston North – cements Massey’s leadership of the industry, and will enable our food technologists to collaborate even more closely with leading researchers and industry partners,” he adds.

Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health head Professor Richard Archer says, “we have so much to celebrate. This is truly an exciting time for the programme and it’s all due to a legacy of hard work.”

To celebrate 50 years, a symposium featuring industry leaders and food technology staff will be held on June 30 at the Manawatu campus.

For more information about the Food Technology 50th anniversary celebration Visit:

Ancient grains advance on tradition, nutrition and naturalness

Ancient grains are continuing their return to consumers’ diets, reflecting rising levels of awareness of their nutritional properties, as well as the unique flavours that they can impart to a wide range of food and drink products.

According to data from Innova Market Insights launch numbers for food and drink products containing grains such as quinoa, chia, buckwheat, hemp and amaranth, have been rising strongly in recent years.

Launches of products containing quinoa rose nearly 50 percent over the 12 months to the end of September 2013, for example, and have risen more than five-fold over a five-year period. Rising interest in the US has largely been responsible for this growth, although launches are now becoming increasingly common in Europe.

Quinoa, a small, light-coloured round grain with a distinctive nutty earthy flavour, is indigenous to South America, where the Incas regarded it as the “mother of all grains”.

As well as finding a place in a variety of different grain-based food categories, including breakfast cereals, snack bars and biscuits, activity in other sectors is rising and now includes confectionery, beverages, ready meals and baby foods. The use of quinoa in baby foods has been particularly evident in recent months, with US launches including Plum Organics Mighty 4 Essential Nutrient Blends in the US, Biobim Mixed Vegetables with Quinoa organic jarred baby meals in the UK and Babybio cereals featuring quinoa in France. There is also a focus on gluten-free formulations, with 38% of launches featuring quinoa using a gluten-free positioning in the 12 months to the end of September 2013.

Another upcoming ancient grain is chia, a Latin American annual herb high in protein, dietary fibre and antioxidants, with a high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids in its oil. Although much less established than quinoa, it is showing a similar growth rate. Launches of products containing chia rose from probably single figures five years ago to in the hundreds now, with an increase of nearly 50 percent in the 12 months to the end of September 2013 alone. The US dominated activity, accounting for nearly half of the total introductions recorded. Launches ranged across a number of sectors, including soft drinks with Ahhmigo’s Chia & Water with chia fibre, Omega-3 and protein to keep consumers “hydrated and satiated”; snacks with Lesser Evil’s Chia Crisps; and cereals with Nature’s Path Organic’s Qi’a “superfood” breakfast cereal made with a blend of chia, hemp and buckwheat.

Perhaps most significant for ancient grains, however, has been the move more squarely into the mainstream with products such as Kellogg’s recently launched Special K Nourish multigrain cereals and cereal bars made with quinoa in combination with oats, barley and wheat.

“Ancient grains were once very popular basic food cereals, but faded away and became largely obsolete in many countries, with the rise of modern cereal crops, such as wheat and corn,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Interest in these alternative grain products perceived as traditional, natural and nutritious has become increasingly apparent,” she contends “and their use is extending out of the specialist health foods sector and into the mainstream, as well as out of cereal products and into the wider processed foods market.”

New Zealand’s favourite honey revealed

The popularity of Manuka honey has been confirmed in a recent national survey, which places it above Clover and other floral varieties.

In the New Zealand-wide survey launched by Airborne Honey this month to celebrate the country’s first National Honey Week, 40 percent of Kiwis named Manuka as their favourite and 29 percent choose Clover. A number of other floral honeys featured further down the scale, including Vipers Bugloss (three percent) and Rewarewa (2.26 percent).

The survey also revealed that the favoured way to eat honey in New Zealand is on toast (57 percent), followed by a sweetener in hot drinks (nine percent) and straight off the spoon for medicinal purposes (nine percent). Most New Zealanders eat honey once or twice a week with only two percent never eating honey at all.

“Manuka honey has taken a few hits in international and local media this year, which has a lot to do with fraudulent activity overseas. It’s great to see that despite all that, New Zealanders still value, support and enjoy eating Manuka,” says Peter Bray, managing director of Airborne Honey. “It’s also encouraging to see that some of the other, perhaps less well known honeys, such as Vipers Bugloss and Rewarewa have been pinpointed by some Kiwis as being their favourite honey. Hopefully, people will continue to experiment with the full range of floral varieties, instead of just sticking to the tried and trusted favourites. We’re lucky in New Zealand to have so many unique honey types and tastes, ranging from dark, malty and almost savoury to the very light and sweet. There’s a honey for everyone.”

When it comes to shopping for honey, just over half of Kiwis still look for the best value honey on the shelf, with 51 percent looking at the price first. After that, 38 percent buy based on what the honey looks like in the jar, 28 percent look for the label they’re always used to seeing and 26 percent buy based on nutrition and origin information.

“It is entirely understandable and not at all surprising that New Zealanders are shopping around for the best deal,” says Mr Bray. “Many people, especially those with families to feed, have a tight food budget. Having said that, the fact that shoppers aren’t paying much attention to the information on the label does suggest that many don’t fully understand or appreciate how to shop for a genuine, nutritious, quality honey product. It’s important to understand that going for the cheapest option can sometimes be a false economy. If possible, buy a honey that can prove that it is what it claims on the jar (type of honey etc) and is not heat damaged. Otherwise, you are likely to be disappointed with the taste and it will not provide the nutritional qualities that honey should do.”

The most pleasing result from the survey for Mr Bray, whose family has worked in the New Zealand honey industry for more than 100 years, is that most Kiwis are still eating honey on a weekly basis.

“The fact that New Zealanders are eating honey regularly with very few not eating it at all is just further confirmation that we’re a honey-loving nation with higher consumption per head (1.65 kilos per annum) than anywhere else in the world,” says Mr Bray. “The people that founded the honey industry in New Zealand, including my great grandfather, William Bray, who started Airborne Honey, would be over the moon.”

The right fibre combination for healthier baking

Soluble and insoluble fibres produce successful results in added-fibre bread and sponge cakes.

DuPont Nutrition & Health has overcome the sensory challenges in added-fibre bread and sponge cakes using combinations of soluble and insoluble fibre. Drawing on the fibre ingredients DuPont™ Danisco® Litesse® and FIBRIM®, the solutions bring new opportunities for bakers to produce healthier products with high appeal.

Fibre has become one of the ingredients that consumers regularly look for on product packaging. But efforts to develop bread and cakes with a high fibre claim have hit a wall of sensory issues, such as reduced crumb softness, poor texture and low volume. Bakery application specialists at DuPont have tested a series of solutions to resolve the problems.

The latest trials show that combinations of the soluble fibre Litesse and insoluble fibre FIBRIM® produce the best result, giving bread and sponge cakes a volume similar to a control recipe, along with a comparable crumb softness and resilience over a 14-day shelf life. FIBRIM also contributes to improved surface browning.

Xue Si-Ying, bakery group innovation manager and application specialist at DuPont Nutrition & Health, says – “This is an exciting finding. We can now overcome the volume and texture challenges that we used to have with high-fibre breads and cakes. This means consumers can enjoy the goodness of fibre in baked goods without having to compromise on product quality.”

A fibre-rich diet can help avert constipation, hypertension and the growth of intestinal pathogens. However, despite extensive awareness campaigns by national health authorities, fibre intake in most parts of the world is still much lower than the 25-30g recommended daily intake (RDI). Added-fibre bakery products with high consumer appeal can play a part in reversing this trend.

DuPont Danisco is the brand for a range of products that help provide enhanced bioprotection, an improved nutritional profile, and better taste and texture with greater cost efficiency and lower environmental impact, meeting the needs of manufacturers of food and beverages, dietary supplements and pet food. Through the work of the global network of food scientists and technologists in DuPont, the Danisco® range is supported by a uniquely broad spectrum of know-how across applications and processing.

DuPont Nutrition & Health addresses the world’s challenges in food by offering a wide range of sustainable, bio-based ingredients and advanced molecular diagnostic solutions to provide safer, healthier and more nutritious food. Through close collaboration with customers, DuPont combines knowledge and experience with a passion for innovation to deliver unparalleled customer value to the marketplace.

Leading expert wary of adding some medicinal properties to wine

Aleading New Zealand toxicologist is in two minds about applying medicinal additives to food or wine.

University of Canterbury food expert Professor Ian Shaw says the concept of adding chemicals with medicinal properties to food has been around for hundreds of year. But he says people are really just become much more acutely aware of the benefits and pitfalls.

“People are now selecting food according to the chemicals they contain. Companies are promoting the fact their food contains vitamins and other healthy elements. We’re now getting more specific about what we want to eat, Professor Shaw says.

“Is it right to add medicines to food, water and wine to mass medicate consumers? The answers are yes and no. Of course it is right to add some things.

“In New Zealand we have very low levels of iodine in the soil and environment generally because we are a volcanic nation. With not enough iodine in our food we get more goitre which means more thyroid cancer.

“So it makes a lot of sense to put iodine in food to stop that happening. Nobody would argue with that. We fortify our bread with salt which contains iodine to ensure everyone gets enough iodine.

“But at the other end of the spectrum is a chemical called resveratrol which is present in grapes and blueberries so is therefore present in tiny levels in wine.

“This chemical has been shown to have all sorts of beneficial properties such as extending life or preventing heart attacks and neurological diseases. Some companies are considering adding this to wine and creating a new market for people who would not normally drink wine but who might start drinking it feeling they may live longer. Now I am not sure that is a good idea.

“A lot of research papers say how good it is. But we are slowly starting to see other views. Some say resveratrol’s properties look a bit like the female hormone which means it could promote breast cancer. Would it? I don’t know. So to me to add that to our food would be too risky. Because we don’t yet know what the risks are.

“Seaweed contains high levels of iodine, which prevents goitre, but should iodine deficient New Zealanders be force fed seaweed or should iodine be added to our daily bread? Spina bifida is a terrible birth defect caused by a lack of folate in food, but should we force everyone to consume more folate?

“What are the negative effects of eating too much folate? Are these risks outweighed by the benefit of preventing a few spina bifida cases in New Zealand each year? Fluoride is highly toxic, but at very low doses it prevents dental caries; so, why is there so much fuss about adding fluoride to drinking water?’’

Supergrain tipped to help prevent diabetes

The new BARLEYmax™ ‘supergrain’ is now available to New Zealanders wanting to improve the nutritional value of their breakfast.

Heart 1st and Digestive 1st cereals with the BARLEYmax proprietary wholegrain hit Countdown shelves this month. Made by Australian producer Goodness Superfoods, the cereals are a popular hit across the Tasman.

BARLEYmax wholegrain is in a league of its own in delivering health benefits, including reducing obesity, risk of diabetes, heart disease and colo-rectal cancer.

Developed by the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), BARLEYmax is a non-genetically modified wholegrain with:

• Twice the fibre of regular grains, important for lowering cholesterol reabsorption and weight management

• Four times the amount of resistant starch, known to aid in maintaining a healthy digestive system

• A low Glycemic Index (GI), crucial to managing Type 2 diabetes and keeping energy levels stable for longer

Leading nutritionist and Goodness Superfoods ambassador, Dr Joanna McMillan, supports BARLEYmax’s health benefits as a great way to kick start a healthy lifestyle.

“There are not many breakfast cereals on the market that I recommend, but Digestive 1st and Heart 1st really stand out nutritionally being wholegrain, low GI, high in fibre and resistant starch, low in added sugars and they taste great.

“Increased wholegrain intake has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even help with weight control. These cereals really do have the potential to help combat many of the chronic diseases,” says Dr McMillan.

Heart 1st and Digestive 1st breakfast cereals are the only two cereals in the country containing BARLEYmax. The wider range of Goodness Superfoods products including wraps and bars plus the new Freekeh range, will be available in New Zealand in 2014. Freekeh is young, green wheat toasted and packed with nutritional benefits.