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Flavorings: Clean and Friendly

Posted on:September 5, 2014

September 5, 2014, Global Food Forums, Inc. — The following is an excerpt from the Ingredion-sponsored “2013 Clean Label Conference Report.”    Haz clic aqui ver en español.

Labeling and naming of flavored finished products can be complicated.

Natural flavor added to a cherry pie filling, with sufficient characterizing ingredients (cherries), is labeled “cherry pie,” but natural flavor added to food with not enough cherries to sufficiently flavor the pie is labeled “natural cherry-flavored pie.”

The first step in clean labeling with flavors is to understand the regulations. A lengthy list of compounds that may be termed “natural flavor” is provided in Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 101.22. They include the “essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food are flavoring rather than nutritional.” Artificial flavor includes the substances listed in 172.515(b) and 182.60 of Chapter 21, except where these are derived from natural sources.

“Basically,” explained Gary Reineccius, Department Head of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, “if it is not natural, it is artificial.”

Labeling and naming of flavored finished products can become complicated and a bit subjective. For example, natural flavor added to a cherry pie filling, with sufficient characterizing ingredients (cherries), is labeled “cherry pie,” but natural flavor added to food with not enough cherries to sufficiently flavor the pie by themselves is labeled “natural cherry-flavored pie.” The added flavor now must be natural and cherry-like.

Foods containing artificial flavoring materials that simulate, resemble or reinforce a named or characterizing flavor must be labeled as containing artificial flavoring on the principle display panel. In determining whether added flavor does or does not simulate, resemble or reinforce the characterizing flavor, the principal test is to separate such added flavor from the product. Thus, vanillin added to chocolate would clearly not be a characterizing flavor, because it does not taste
like chocolate.

“Benzaldehyde added to cherry juice would be considered artificially flavored, because benzaldehyde
reinforces and extends the cherry taste. The test is not solely whether an artificial flavor simulates or is chemically identical to the characterizing natural flavor, but also—more broadly—whether it resembles, reinforces or simulates it,” said Reineccius. In lemon pudding with citral and no lemon added for flavoring, the product would be labeled “lemon pudding, artificially flavored.” If a flavor
is natural and is derived totally from sources other than the product whose flavor is simulated, it is either labeled “artificially flavored” or “with other natural flavors” (WONF). If other natural flavors are added and the flavor contributed by the ingredient does not separately characterize the named flavor, then the regulations state that the front panel must say “lemon pudding with other
natural flavors,” for example, and the ingredient statement must list WONF.

In order to label a product with a blend of three or more distinguishable characterizing flavors, such as natural cherry, orange and grape flavors, or a blend with no primary recognizable flavor, the flavor may be declared by an appropriately descriptive generic term, such as “fruit punch” flavor. Such a product entirely flavored with artificial materials could be labeled in the same manner, but the ingredient statement must declare artificial flavors.

When labeling flavors contained in food products, their encapsulation matrices, flavor solvents and preservatives are typically considered incidental additives, added to a food as a component of an ingredient with no technical or functional effect, therefore exempt from labeling according
to 21 CFR 101.100.

Reineccius pointed out that the claim “all-natural” for a product is not the same as natural flavor. “Another claim often seen, ‘no additives,’ does not apply to GRAS substances, listed in CFR 1182.105 to 182.8997 and 184.1. GRAS substances are not considered additives,” he strived
to clarify.

In conclusion, an opportunity for a clean label often means natural flavor over artificial flavor, which typically adds substantial cost. Internal practices and corporate image come into play. Flexibility in labeling and interpretation of flavor characterization or simulation varies, industry-wide. WONF is frequently ignored.

Gary Reineccius, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, greinecc@umn.edu,+1.612.624.3201 http://fscn.cfans.umn.edu and www.flavor.umn.edu/ 

PHOTO of cherry pie from Cherry Mktg Institute


From Walmart to Whole Foods: What Are Shoppers Looking For?

Posted on:August 7, 2014

August 7, 2014, Global Food Forums, Inc. — The following is an excerpt from the Ingredion-sponsored “2013 Clean Label Conference Report.”

2013 Clean Label Conference-Linda Gilbert Chart

Click to view PDF of chart.

Gone are the days when products like Cool Whip,Tang and Velveeta reign supreme. This is an era where the consumer is king, and food providers must understand what their shoppers desire—and respond accordingly.

“Consumers have been pulling us back from the ‘Better Food through Chemistry’ path over and over and over again,” explained Linda Gilbert, CEO and founder of EcoFocus Worldwide. “Now, consumer perception is the reality of the marketplace that we need
to deal with….The consumer has become the voice, not the audience.”

Gilbert’s presentation focused on how stores use private label brands to enter the clean food category in response to their shoppers’ interests and concerns. “It’s important to look at consumers through the lens of where they shop, or through the lens of what
they’re expecting through your particular brand.”

Growth in private label brands is outpacing national brands, Gilbert
said, and store brands are no longer mimicking national ones, but instead are
focusing on innovative, clean label products and packaging lines of their own. In turn, this is differentiating retailers in the marketplace, as well as increasing shopper loyalty and profitability.

When EcoFocus asked consumers what goes into their decision about where they’re going to shop, Gilbert said, “It’s no surprise, given the economics today that affordability is at the top of the list.” But, what may come as a surprise is the fact that moreis the fact that more than half of respondents (54%) said that the selection of natural products is either
extremely important or very important to them. That’s right up there with healthy options (65%), local product selection (55%), organic product selection (45%), and if the store is environmentally friendly (50%) and socially responsible (47%).

Digging deeper, EcoFocus separated the results by retailer and also asked those shoppers if they felt the retailer had a wide selection of natural products. At the top
of the list, 80% of Whole Foods shoppers think a wide selection of natural products is important to them, and 82% said the store offered a wide selection. Trader Joe’s had similar results at 74 and 77%, respectively.

But other retailers on the list didn’t have the same luck, as large gaps appeared between the numbers. Natural products are important to Costco, Sam’s Club and Target shoppers, for instance (at 66, 62 and 67%), but only 35, 35 and 33% of their shoppers think the stores have the wide selection they want.

“A lot of consumers are looking for that wide selection of products,” Gilbert said, “but there’s often a gap between what the store is doing for them and where consumers
see the importance being.”

EcoFocus’ research also delved into retail customers’priorities within the clean label category. The highest priority among Target shoppers, for instance, is “no artificial ingredients,” and another high concern is GMOs. That’s why Target has their Simply Balanced brand, which excludes 105 common, artificial ingredients and many
products with GMOs.As opposed to the Target example, Walmart shoppers place higher priority on healthy choices (65%) than natural choices (55%). “So, it makes a lot of sense that the Great Value products emphasize lower sodium, fat and sugar…more than talking about avoiding preservatives, artificial flavors or things of that sort,” Gilbert said.

Both Target and Walmart have made pledges to their shoppers to increase loyalty and deliver the products they want. In Target’s case, the promise is to eliminate GMOs from the Simply Balanced line by 2014. In Walmart’s case, it is to reduce sodium and sugars in Great Value products by 2015, plus decrease fruit and vegetable prices.

Gilbert went on to describe very similar efforts from Costco, Kroger’s, Wegmans, Publix, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, A&P and Safeway with their private label products. “These brands are accounting for almost 25% of store revenues at some of these retailers today.”

These private labels have become so successful that Gilbert said they may start becoming retail brands themselves. Publix has done this very thing with its Greenwise line and subsequent Greenwise Markets. “So, if you’re a CPG manufacturer, you better wake up and look at what’s going on,” Gilbert urged.

The amount of variables within the clean label trend continues to grow, as customers’ desires evolve, and Gilbert said that has led to an evolution among providers. They are marrying the concepts of clean, natural and organic with others, such as sustainable, local, environmentally conscious and socially responsible. This is affecting everything, from the ingredients in the food and where it comes from to its packaging materials and easy-to-understand labels.

“There is no single clean label consumer out there,” Gilbert began. “It can even vary from category to category. What they expect from a cereal may be different from a snack. So, you need to understand those nuances in order to provide products that are going to have a long life of success with consumers.”

Linda Gilbert, CEO and founder of EcoFocus Worlwide, Linda@ecofocusworldwide.com or +1.727.906.3319

 


Bringing Culinology to Clean Label Development: How and Why it Matters

Posted on:July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014, Global Food Forums — The following is an excerpt from the Ingredion-sponsored “2013 Clean Label Conference Report.”

Culinologist discusses efforts to use natural ingredients to obtain desired colors for clean label products.

Efforts to give bread a plum-purple shade
by using colors derived from natural
anthocyanins proved a challenge; they
have poor heat stability.

In his presentation, Mark Crowell, Principal Culinologistat at CuliNex, said, “We are culinologists, blending the art and science of industrial food production.” He further stated that the products CuliNex creates “must be safe, taste great and meet all specifications and regulatory requirements.”

When discussing clean label products, Crowell maintained that clean label raises the bar, because it requires reliance on fewer ingredients; fewer processing aids; and ancillary category requirements. Products fail, said Crowell, for a few reasons, including
poor planning, poor management, poor conception and poor execution.

In the planning stage, it is important to have a good company strategy; built-in competencies; well planned distribution strategies; and good market and investment analysis. Good management includes having clear goals and what Crowell terms “product champions” on staff.

The concept stage of developing a clean label product must take consumer benefit into consideration; timing and positioning are also crucial. Execution involves having a
sales plan, good retailer support, advertising, price, timing and a product promise.

Having a “product promise” consists of the product’s taste, texture and appearance—but it also must take packaging and shelflife issues into account. The issues of digestion, energy and satiety are important. This requires culinary creativity, as well as knowledge of
natural ingredient functionality and careful commercialization, so one is sure to attract the right audience/consumer.

For his first case study, Crowell used “creative concepting,” which he called the “first step to successful product manufacturing,” to showcase Koochikoo Cookies. These sugar-free cookies were designed to appeal to kids and moms wanting healthier choices. The concept was for a “cheerful chocolatey chip” cookie that was made with “monk fruit and rich, bittersweet chocolate chips that stud a crispy, brown sugar-flavored, whole-wheat cookie.” By having a defined process for generating ideas, Culinex was able to consider a broad array of creative approaches to the cookie’s flavor, texture, appearance, positioning and formulation.

The second case study showcased how to understand and use clean label ingredients; the item used to demonstrate this was Sunsweet Plum Amazins Bread. With 60%of the U.S. prune market, Sunsweet’s bread is the “first branded bakery initiative for them,” said Crowell. As part of the product’s brand identity, Sunsweet asked Culinex to make the bread a pleasing shade of plum-purple.

Said Crowell: “We determined we could do this using purple wheat and purple corn. However, what we could not seem to do was make it a pleasing purple color. We
had purple-gray. This turned out to be a considerable challenge, since all natural purple colors are derived from anthocyanins that have poor heat stability. We were not able to solve this problem until we had a thorough understanding of ingredient functionality and had tested every one of our natural color options through more than 150 experiments. If we knew how hard it was going to be, we would have engaged outside experts sooner and
studied the chemistry more closely.”

In the third case study, Whole Foods’ Salmon Burger, the goal was to “Keep the Gold Standard Gold.” Whole Foods’ management wanted to outsource production of their salmon burger to simplify in-store operations. The existing product, made fresh in each store, was the Gold Standard. It had to be matched by a frozen, manufactured item.

“Our goal was to figure out how to do this while achieving an 8-month frozen shelflife with commercially available ingredients. It took a combination of careful product
specifications for the raw materials (including the salmon); a custom seasoning blend; natural colors; carrageenan to improve mouthfeel; and bind-free water and rosemary
extract to aid oxidative stability. The product was very successful and eventually was rolled out to other regions of the country.

Mark Crowell, Principal Culinologist, Culinex, LLC,
mark@culinex.biz, +1.206.855.0837,
http://culinex.biz

 


Opportunities and Limitations of Natural Antimicrobials

Posted on:July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014, Global Food Forums — The following is an excerpt from the Ingredion sponsored “2013 Clean Label Conference Report.”

2013 Clean Label Conference-Kathleen Glass-Antimicrobial Alternatives

Click to view PDF of chart.

The primary function of food antimicrobials is food safety; the secondary function is shelflife extension. “In order to be effective as an antimicrobial,” explained Kathleen Glass, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Food Research Institute at University of Wisconsin Madison, “several factors need consideration.”

“Concentration of active compounds, antimicrobial solubility, dissociation constant, food composition (e.g., fat, moisture, hydrophobic proteins, free iron, pH, salt, water activity),synergistic effects between antimicrobials, processing, cooling, and storage temperature and times all affect antimicrobial effectiveness,” Glass continued.

A key characteristic of antimicrobials is amphiphilcity. An amphiphilic antimicrobial is partially lipophilic, with ability to pass through cell membranes; and it is also partially hydrophilic and, thus, is soluble in the aqueous phase. Sodium chloride is a conventional antimicrobial that reduces available water. Others include organic acids and their salts, such as lactate, acetate, diacetate and antimycotics (both acid and salt forms), like sorbate, benzoate and propionate. Nitrite, phosphates and some antioxidants are also included.

To be considered a “natural antimicrobial,” it is generally understood that the compound must be naturally occurring or directly extracted using simple methods, chemical reactions or naturally occurring biological process. No petrochemicals or genetic engineering can be used, explained Glass. No processing could be used that would not be done in a home kitchen. Antimicrobials from natural sources include microbial, plant or animal sourced compounds. Microbial sources include fermentation byproducts,
like organic acids and other primary metabolites, such as bacteriocins like nisin; competitive cultures, bacteriophages and natamycin (pimaricin); and minerals
and gases, like sodium chloride and 100% CO2 or CO. Plant sources include spices, extracts, essential oils, oleoresins, natural wood-smoke components, natural nitrate or nitrite and fatty acids. Animal sources include lysozyme, chitosan, lactoferrin and milk lactoperoxidase.

Fermentates are commercially available, proprietary ingredients that are derived from culturing sugar or milk and spray-dried. Often, they are blends of organic acids like lactic, propionic and acetic. These may or may not contain bacteriocin activity, and their byproducts depend on what starter cultures are used (for example, Propionibacterium,
Lactococcus, Pediococcus, etc.). The substrate and controls, such as temperature, oxygen and nutrient availability, also help determine the fermentation byproducts.

Organic acids in their undissociated form enter the cell, lowering its internal pH, denature proteins, disrupt proton motive force, inhibit membrane transport and starve cells.

Chelating metal ions can cause sub-lethal injury to pathogens and enhance efficacy of other antimicrobials. Organic acids and salts have optimized efficacy with
lower pH values (<5.5, near pKa) and lower temperatures (4 vs. 7 or 10°C)—except when the pH is <4.6; then, combined stress with higher temperatures increases inactivation rate. Combining with other antimicrobials also optimizes efficacy.

Bacteriocins are polypeptides that inhibit other closely related species. They are the byproducts of lactic acid bacteria fermentation, such as nisin, pediocin and reuterin.
Active against Gram-positive bacteria, they bind to receptors, which affects pore formation, causing leakage of molecules and cell death of pathogens. Bacteriocins
are bacteriocidal but have some disadvantages. Bacteriocins may be inactivated by proteolytic enzymes in raw foods, and some microbes have developed resistance.

Additionally, they are less effective in high-fat foods, and they also may inhibit beneficial competitive microflora. Bacteriocins work best in low-fat foods, with pH <6, and in combination with other antimicrobials.

Plant extracts, spices and glycerides used as antimicrobials are native compounds that protect the plant. They can be extracted with water or ethanol and concentrated. Common plant extracts used in foods that provide flavor and antimicrobial activity include
cinnamon, thyme, mustard, cloves and oregano. Antioxidants commonly used in foods that also provide antimicrobial activity include dried plum, rosemary, tocopherol, (vitamin E) and ascorbate (vitamin C).

Disadvantages of plant extracts include variability due to variety, extraction methods and agricultural practices. They can also partition into the fat phase, which tends to make them less effective and also may impart strong odor, flavor or color. There may be unknown toxicological effects at higher concentrations. Activity may also decrease after heating
some extracts.

Clean label antimicrobials can be applied to a wide variety of foods. Typically, they are ingredients familiar to consumers, yet they can enhance the safety of foods. Optimization
of ingredients can reduce usage levels, improve sensory attributes and be cost-effective.

CLC-Glass chart-online-pdf

Kathleen Glass, Ph.D., Associate Director, Food Research
Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
http://fri.wisc.edu/, kglass@wisc.edu


Natural Antioxidants: Maximizing Effectiveness for Shelflife Extension

Posted on:May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014, Global Food Forums — The following is an excerpt from the Ingredion sponsored “2013 Clean Label Conference Report.”

2013 Clean Label Conference-Shahidi-Chart

Click to view PDF of chart.

Antioxidants, when present in food or in the body at low levels, can delay, control or prevent oxidative processes leading to food quality deterioration or initiation and propagation of degenerative diseases. Antioxidants are generally phenolic and polyphenolic in nature and can be either synthetic or natural.

Effective at low concentrations, antioxidants are nontoxic; have good carry-through properties; and often are of reasonable cost, said Fereidoon Shahidi, University
Research Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St.John’s, Canada. Primary antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and reducing agents. Synthetic antioxidants in foods include BHA, BHT, TBHQ and PG. Ascorbic acid and tocopherol can either be synthetic or naturally sourced, while mixed tocopherols, rosemary, sage and green tea are natural. Secondary antioxidants include EDTA and citric acid, which deactivate pro-oxidants.

Consumers now demand clean labels with no artificial ingredients, while longer shelflives and stability in foods are also expected. “Food processors can meet the needs of both groups by using plant-derived natural extracts,” offered Shahidi.

Over 5,000 polyphenolics have been identified in different plants. These compounds are present to protect plants against herbivores; attack by microorganisms; and from stress due to sunlight. Antioxidants also participate in wound-healing in plants, and they attract pollinators.

Important components of functional foods, antioxidants occur as phenolic acids (hydroxybenzoic acid derivatives), phenylpropanoids (cinnamic acid derivatives), tocols (tocopherols and tocotrienols), flavonoids, isoflavones, coumarins, tannins, carotenoids, phospholipids, amino acids, protein hydrolysates, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and many more.

Lipid oxidation, causing flavor, odor and shortened shelflives in food, happens with time, light, heat or enzymes. Metals, like iron and copper, which all foods have, are initiators. With iron, Fe2+ is more soluble than Fe3+ and is more than 100 times more reactive than ferric.

“Photooxidation requires singlet oxygen, produced by interaction of light and a sensitizer like chlorophyll. This reaction is unaffected by most antioxidants but is inhibited by quenchers of singlet oxygen, such as beta-carotene,” Shahidi stated.

Natural antioxidants are available commercially. Rosemary extract, green tea extract and mixed tocopherols are commonly used in clean label products. Rosemary has
FDA GRAS status (21CFR 182.10); it contains carnosic acid and carnosol, extending shelflife in meats, poultry, seafood, edible oils, snacks, sauces and dairy products. Green tea contains catechins and can be used in the same products as rosemary. Natural tocopherols are usually a mixture from deodorizer distillate. The most abundant
and commonly used is from soybean oil processing, containing mainly gamma, delta and alpha tocopherol.

Applications for rosemary and green tea extracts include meat, poultry and seafood, which are highly susceptible to oxidation, resulting in a warmed-over flavor, discoloration and protein degeneration. Baked products are susceptible to oxidation because of long shelflife requirements. Mayonnaise, dressings, soups and sauces have a large oil-water interface and complex food matrix that increases their susceptibility to lipid oxidation.

Oxidation risk also is high in margarines, which have a biphasic food matrix. Meanwhile, shortenings are more saturated, but one needs to be aware of their trans fatty acid content and governing regulations. Nutrient content claims can also be made for antioxidants,
if they have an established RDI according to 21CFR 101.54(g) and are present in amounts qualifying for the claims. Vitamins A, C and E, riboflavin and selenium are examples.

Antioxidants without RDIs do not qualify, and many warning letters have been issued by FDA for misuse of the term, advised Shahidi. Many plant extracts provide naturally derived antioxidants that offer both clean labels and health benefits in foods, he concluded.

For a link to the chart accompanying this seminar write-up, please click: Shahidi chart–pdf–2013 CLC.

Fereidoon Shahidi, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry,Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL,Canada A1B 3X9

 


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