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Formulating Fiber into Foods and Beverages

Posted on:October 23, 2011
Researchers have found fiber in brewed coffee

Using a specific analytical procedure, Spanish reseachers have found soluble fiber in coffee. Depending on testing procedures, perhaps dehydraded coffee can be a source of fiber.

The health benefits of fiber are many. Although benefits differ as to whether a fiber is soluble or insoluble, the benefits range from decreased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes to laxative effects and ability to more easily maintain weight.

Generally speaking, fiber is defined as plant material that is resistant to hydrolysis by the endogenous enzymes of the mammalian digestive system. That is, humans can not digest it. One soluble fiber, chitosan, is commonly derived from exoskeleton of crustaceans, such as shrimp and crabs, and is sometimes called an “animal fiber.” It is sold as a dietary supplement in North America.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses (such as chickpeas, beans) are excellent health foods and can sometimes be a good source of dietary fiber. However, as the food industry strives to develop better-for-you processed foods, there is interest in finding ways of enhancing the fiber content of many different kinds of foods.

Ingredient suppliers provide a broad range of products for the fortification of food. Examples include brans from the hulls of grains to other sources such as peas, fruit, sugar beet and bamboo fiber to name just a few. One commercially available sugar beat fiber, for example, contains some 73 percent TDF (total dietary fiber) in the form of hemicellulose, pectin, cellulose and lignin. Pea fiber can be over 90 percent TDF and soy fiber is typically 75 to 80 percent TDF.

When suppliers purify and modify fiber, blander, more colorless ingredients are created and the percent of TDF can be increased. For example, powdered cellulose can be up to 99 percent dietary fiber.

“New” and sometimes surprising sources of fiber are also being discovered. For example, coffee beans themselves are rich in dietary fiber. However, two Spanish researchers using a method involving enzymatic treatment plus dialysis discovered that brewed coffee (and thus potentially dehydrated instant coffee) contains 0.47 to 0.75g soluble dietary fiber per 100ml of coffee 1. This is more than many orange juices, for example.

The following chart provides ways fiber can be added to foods. The fiber from different sources all add up in a formula. Thus, while cinnamon packs a powerful flavor punch, it is more than half fiber and can contribute at least some fiber to the total fiber content of a finished product.

If anyone has other favorite ingredient sources of fiber, just let me know and I can add them to the list.

Ingredient Percent TDF
Corn bran, crude 79.0
Cinnamon, ground 53.1
Wheat bran, crude 42.8
Chia seed 34.3
Cocoa, powder 33.2
Flaxseed 27.3
Black Pepper (spice) 25.3
Rice bran, crude 21.0
Bulgur, dry 18.3
Beans, garbanzo (chickpea or bangal gram) 17.4
Coconut meat, dry, unsweetened 16.3
Oat bran, raw 15.4
Onion powder 15.2
Oats 10.6
Almonds, blanched 9.9
Beans, pinto 8.6
Dates, deglet noor 8.0
Pumpkin, canned 2.9
Quinoa, cooked 2.8
Blueberries, frozen, unsweetened 2.7

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24 – Click here to search database
1Díaz-Rubio ME, Saura-Calixto F. 2007. Dietary fiber in brewed coffee. J Agric Food Chem. 55(5):1999-2003
Click here to see abstract

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Trends, a conference and seminar organizer service


Is Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor Normal?

Posted on:August 13, 2011

Some 7 percent of Americans say they like to eat their ice cream other than in a cup, cone, sundae or sandwich. Champagne ice cream floats and on pancakes would be two alternatives.

The Global Food Forums blog intends to cover a range of thoughtful, hopefully even profound, issues of the food industry. This blog, no doubt, addresses one of the most serious topics of the day. What do you prefer, vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Now you can compare yourself to other Americas. Is your favorite ice cream flavor “normal?” Or is it a bit strange?
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) says that based on ice cream consumption figures, the top five individual flavors in terms of share of segment in the United States are vanilla (27.8 percent), chocolate (14.3 percent), strawberry (3.3 percent), chocolate chip (3.3 percent) and butter pecan (2.8 percent). Source: IDFA/The NPD Group’s National Eating Trends In-Home Database.
However, a Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011, found that 28 percent of Americans say chocolate is one of their two favorite ice cream flavors, followed by 26 percent saying vanilla and 22 percent saying cookie dough/cookies and cream.
There are differences between regions of the USA. For example, some 10 percent of Easterners say black raspberry is one of their top two favorite ice cream flavors, but only 3 percent of those in the South agreed. See the chart below for more flavors and differences between US regions.
The poll also surveyed the preferred way to eat ice cream. Some 44 percent say in a cup, 30 percent say in a cone, 16 percent say as a sundae, and 2 percent say as a sandwich. Some 7 percent say their favorite way is “something else.” I guess we can let our minds wander (and wonder) on that.
Lastly, some 52 percent of Americans say hot fudge is their favorite ice cream topping followed by nuts and caramel (38 percent each) , whipped cream (36 percent), and 31 percent say fruit. Some 19 percent expressed a preference for sprinkles, 15 percent for candy bits and 11 percent for marshmallows. Some 19 percent said they prefer to eat their ice cream plain, perhaps in a last ditch effort to control a few calories.


Favorite Ice Cream Flavor by Region of the USA
“What would you say your favorite two ice cream flavors are?”
Flavor East Midwest South West
Chocolate 31 32 28 21
Vanilla 27 22 30 22
Cookie dough/ Cookies & cream 26 22 21 19
Butter Pecan/ Swiss Almond 12 24 21 15
Mint Chocolate Chip 15 15 15 15
Strawberry 8 10 15 12
Rocky Road 8 11 8 19
Coffee 10 7 6 14
Peanut Butter 10 9 7 8
Cherry Vanilla 10 6 7 7
Pistachio 7 6 6 8
Black Raspberry 10 6 3 6
Peach 6 4 7 3
Seasonal, such as pumpkin or eggnog 4 4 5 4
Other 13 12 13 15
Do not eat ice cream 1 3 2 5
Source: The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by Harris Interactive

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Forums, conference and seminar organizer


What Does a Food Scientist Earn?

Posted on:August 12, 2011
A food scientist adding the vitamin folate to apple sauce

A technician adds a precise amount of B vitamin folate (which helps prevent spina bifida) to a dish of applesauce. Food scientist salaries increase with the amount of formal education and years of experience. Photo by Brian Prechtel, Courtesy USDA ARS

Food science is concerned with all technical aspects of food and is usually considered distinct from the field of nutrition. Activities of food scientists include the development of new food products, design of processes to produce these foods, choice of packaging materials, shelf-life studies, sensory evaluation of the product with trained expert panels or potential consumers, as well as microbiological and chemical testing. Food science is a highly interdisciplinary applied science. It incorporates concepts from many different fields including microbiology, chemical engineering, and biochemistry. (Source: Wikipedia: Food Science)
What do food scientists earn? Well, hopefully the admiration from food plant managers when they solve a production or QC problem; or the admiration of sales and marketing when they develop a successful new food or beverage. However, monetary compensation is needed to pay the bills.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks wages of many occupations, including food scientists. May 2010 data sets the mean wage of food scientists at $65,380/year. It varies by industry, with those with the Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation) earning an annual mean wage of $92,810/year, while those in Dairy Product Manufacturing earn a mean annual wage of $53,440. It also varies by state and area. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California, has the top reported food science salaries at an mean annual wage of $137,360 and Eastern Oregon nonmetropolitan area is at the low end with $44,430/year. States with the highest level of employed food scientists are California, followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin the Illiois. States with the highest concentration of jobs are Minnesota, followed by Wisconsin and Nebraska. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
One of the industry’s trade magazines, Food Technology, has an annual salary where it breaks down wages by degrees (BS, MS, PhD and MBA), years of experience, sex (generally male or female) and several other parameters. In 2009, those with BS degrees earned a median yearly salary of $79,000, those with an MS some $85,000, PhDs earned $103,000/year and an MBA (one may assume many also had a technical degree) at $108,000. Pay increased with years of experience. Food scientists with bachelor’s degree and five or less year’s experience earned about $50,000 per year, while MBAs with 26 to 30 years earned $134,850/year. With increasing experience, regardless of degrees of education, all groups reported eventually reaching median incomes of at least $100,000 in their careers. Pay differed significantly by sex with men earning more, sometimes significantly more, than women at all levels of experience and types of degrees. The lone exceptions were women with PhDs and 6-15 years of experience who earned more than men. (Source: Kuhn, ME. 2010. 2009 IFT Membership Employment & Salary Survey. Food Technology. February, pages 20-37)

The degree isn’t necessarily easy and often not thought of when students consider technical careers. However, it can be an interesting, challenging and rewarding career with better job propects than many areas.

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Forums, a conference and seminar organizer


Managing Weight: Good Foods vs. Bad Foods

Posted on:August 1, 2011
Weight Control and French Fries

Certain foods such as fried foods and refined grains were associated with weight gain; fruits, vegetables and yogurt with weight loss.

In the food industry, healthcare community, governmental policy arena and certainly among consumers from a personal concern, one of the biggest issues is how the American (and indeed global) population can control its weight. A recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine casts interesting insights into the “Battle of the Bulge.”
The research reviewed data from three separate studies (the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study), involving 120,877 healthcare professionals who were not obese at the start of the study. The study participants were followed for 12 to 20 years. Every four years, the study participants completed questionnaires about what they ate, lifestyles and current weight.
What they found was that certain foods (French fries, potato chips, sugar-sweetened drinks, red meats and processed meats, other forms of potatoes, sweets and desserts, refined grains, other fried foods, 100 percent fruit juice and butter were associated (from most to least) with the greatest increase in weight. Foods resulting in no weight gain or even weight loss included dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
The researchers noted that “Differences in weight gain seen for specific foods and beverages could related to varying portion sizes, patterns of eating, effects on satiety, or displacement of other foods or beverages.” I can only image the ad line for one potato chip company of years past “I bet you can’t eat just one,” exemplifies a “pattern of eating.” As for “displacement of other foods or beverages,” by eating a lower calorie, higher-fiber grain or vegetable-based foods, the thinking is that you’ll end up eating less of higher calorie foods like fried foods.
In the end, I still believe “everything in moderation” generally works best. It just that the research seems to say that by eating certain foods, it’s easier to “be moderate” in your diets.
The reference for the study: Mozaffarian, D, et al. 2011. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men. N Engl J Med. 364:2392-2404. For the actual article, click here.

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Forums, a conference and seminar organizer


What’s the New Food Claim?

Posted on:July 20, 2011

A recent survey by the Sheldon Group (Knoxville, Tenn.) that queried 1,013 Americans finds Americans most want to see “Natural,” “Organic” or “Grown in the USA” claims on their food products.

Asked “Which is the best description to read on a food label?”, 25 percent of consumers said “100 percent natural” or “All natural.” Another 24 percent said “USDA Certified Organic” or “100 percent organic.” However, some 17 percent preferred “Grown in the USA.”
“…we believe the popularity of ‘Grown in the USA’ reflects three important trends,” said Suzanne Shelton, president of Shelton Group. “First, Americans are increasingly worried about food contamination, and they’re concerned about water treatment and crop fertilization in other countries. Second, there is growing support for family farms and local sourcing — a trend that’s gone mainstream in the last several years, including at Wal-Mart.
“And finally, people are concerned about the economy and job losses, so buying ‘Grown in the USA’ is a way to help fellow Americans,” Shelton said. “Red, white and blue is the new green.”
So, a previous Global Food Forums blog noted that consumers often reach for “natural” claims since they often offer a less expensive alternative to “organic,” without understanding they mean two different things. The question that remains is “Are Americans willing to pay more for ‘Made in America’ foods and food ingredients?

Sheldon Group

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Forums, a conference and seminar organizer


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