Whey Proteins Trending Up

Posted on:August 23, 2012
Whey protein sports drink

The global market for whey powder, whey proteins and whey protein fractions is predicted to be US$ 6.4 billion in 2014 with WPC80, whey isolates and hydrolysates growing by double digit figures.

A while ago my business partner, Peter Havens, and I were discussing what would be a hot topic for a conference theme. We settled on proteins. The one-day seminar (plus an opening reception the preceding evening) will be held April 10, 2013. It is entitled “Protein Trends & Technologies.” Indications from consumer packaged food company surveys to data on consumer “hot buttons” to world food trends all point to proteins as a subject of high and on-going interest. For more information on statistics and examples on the protein trend, click here.

The word “proteins” covers a broad range of concepts. In the foodservice industry “proteins” usually refers to center-of-plate type components like steak, fish and poultry. Food scientists often work with proteins at the fundamental level. That is, protein molecules, whether from beef or milk, soybeans or peas have many characteristics in common. Our developing schedule of speakers all excel in their fields. For example, Dr. Erika Smith, leader of the protein program at General Mills, Inc. and Dr. Rene Floris with NIZO in The Netherland are presenting information on the use of various types of protein ingredients to solve technical formulation problems in foods and beverages.

One protein category, whey proteins, has been of much interest to the food and nutritional products industries for many years. Whey proteins are incorporated into foods and beverages for their functional characteristics such as ability to form gels to their nutritional benefits. A recent report by 3A Consulting “Global Opportunities for Whey and Lactose Ingredients 2010-2014” shows their popularity continues. The report predicts that the global market for whey powder, whey proteins and whey protein fractions will experience a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4 percent, reaching US$ 6.4 billion in 2014. The 3A Consulting report notes that high-value protein products with a high protein levels and further processing – WPC80, isolates and hydrolysates – are growing by double digit figures driven by sports and energy nutrition products. The growth of whey proteins with lower protein levels is more static. I can promise you that there is more to come on THIS topic.

Heritage to Canned Tomatoes

Posted on:August 21, 2012
Hybrid, heritage, canned tomatoes

Large, bountiful hybrid tomatoes on the left; small tasty heritage tomatoes on the right and canned tomatoes in the middle. They all have a place in one’s diet.

I haven’t blogged for a bit. What can I say; I’ve been busy. That, in fact, is the bases for this blog. I once wrote a blog entitled “Why I Love Processed Foods.” At the time I was in the middle of a northern Minnesota winter. Since I had not stocked up on venison jerky to carry my family through the season, I was glad to have non-local foods with extended shelf lives.

It is now summer in the Chicago area and I’m writing from the opposite situation. My vegetable garden has been producing fresh garlic, eggplant, green peppers, onions (bugs got the broccoli) and tomatoes…lots of tomatoes. We have been eating hybrid cherry, Big Boy and/or Early Girl varieties for two months with surplus to feed retired and unemployed friends and neighbors and, well anyone that shows the slightest inclination to accept the big juicy veggies being forced upon them.

I experimented this spring and also planted an expensive little heritage plant. It finally just delivered three, small, blemished but noticeably delicious tomatoes. As my husband said, “The ugly ones taste the best.” So, are heritage better than hybrid tomatoes? Are fresh tomatoes better than canned versions?

Yes and no. Yes…little can compare to the taste of sliced fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil smothered in balsamic vinegar (a favorite “pig out” food of mine). And no…my lack of kitchen time means canned diced tomatoes and sauces have been the cornerstone of many meals this summer. A fast meal of freshly sliced and battered eggplant, pressed garlic, mozzarella all smothered in [canned] Ragu tomato sauce…wonderful. Fresh green peppers stuffed with grains and fresh vegetables and Del Monte’ canned diced tomatoes and chilies…quick, healthy and tasty. The small quantity of heritage tomatoes feeds one’s “inner gourmet.” Fresh hybrid tomatoes feed the neighborhood. Canned vegetables feed the harried cook and the masses, all year long.

— Claudia Dziuk O’Donnell, Co-owner, Global Food Forums, Inc.

Is Gluten Free a Trend or Fad?

Posted on:May 22, 2012


Cover slide for May 2012 presentation on food trends

A May 2012 presentation on U.S. food trends resulted in an audience discussion on the gluten free products. The whole presentation can be viewed through a link in the blog. 

This last week I gave a presentation on trends in the food industry at the May 2012 Food Executive Women’s meeting. The Chicagoland-based group ( was founded about 21 years ago and its membership profile is somewhat similar to the Institute of Food Technologies, just all female.

The presentation covered trends previously mentioned in this blog with further details.  It also included comments on a few additional trends. The audience had questions and comments on one trend in particular…that of “free from” foods for which gluten free was used as an example. Although they differ from each other, statistics from both Packaged Facts and New Nutrition Business show phenomenal growth in the U.S. gluten free market. Many in audience were nutritionists and the question arose as to whether gluten free was a trend or a fad. They also asked from where were the statistics on gluten sensitive people derived? Were they self-diagnosed?

Although I am not aware of a quantitative way to differentiate a fad from a trend (I’d appreciate comments), interest and attention to gluten free is here to stay. There are simply too many people legitimately impacted by gluten for it to go the way of low carbohydrate foods (although I’d argue that hasn’t disappeared either, just morphed into interest in new eating patterns).

While certainly many have falsely self-diagnosed gluten issues, clinical research does support very high rates.  One study (Fasano A, et al. 2003. Arch Intern Med. 163(3):286-92.) places the prevalence of Celiac disease at 1 in 133 in the U.S. based on the presence of serum antibodies and intestinal biopsies.  Another study (Sapone, A, et al. 2001. BMC Med.9:23.) places the number of gluten-sensitive individuals at about 10% of the U.S. population. They again identified Celiac patients by antigen typing and intestinal biopsies and gluten-reactive individuals by a gluten challenge carried out for about four months under clinical supervision.

Anyway, for anyone that has the interest (and patience…it may take over a minute for the slides to load), the presentation can be viewed by clicking here.

— Claudia O’Donnell, Co-owner, Global Food Forums, Inc.

Clean Labels, Global Consumer and Food Manufacturers

Posted on:April 28, 2012
natural or organic foods

As in many countries, Mexico has regulations governing organic products. The National Counsel for Organic Production (CNPO) was established in 2007.

Processed and formulated food products that seem unprocessed and unformulated are of interest to both consumers and manufacturers around the globe.
Many discussions of the clean label trend (where only a few consumer-friendly ingredients are used to formulate a product) seem to imply that consumer attitudes are the sole driving force.
I would argue that clean labels benefit food manufactures in other ways as well. For example, as the processed foods industry becomes increasingly global and CPG companies strive to distribute their branded products around the globe, formulated foods are transferred across country borders more easily when only a few traditional ingredients are used (1). That is, countries tend to have more restrictions on the use of an ingredient like “hydrogenated oil” than on an ingredient like “butter.”
Secondly, although “natural” and “organic” are two similar product attributes generally valued by consumers, they are also in competition with each other. A food processor can chose to market an organic product or a natural one. The first is often more expensive to do since it often has to meet more specific regulations than the second. An earlier Global Food Forums blog written on this received more comments than usual, “Giving Consumers What They Want: Natural or Organic”. Manufacturers tend to lean towards developing and marketing natural rather than organic foods and beverages due to operational issues.
So what makes a label “clean?” The website owned by National Starch/Corn Products International provides a few insights. Global consumer research conducted by MMR Research Worldwide in January 2011 and reported on the website’s research page notes among other findings that:

  • in France, “Natural”/”all natural” is the most appealing front-of-pack claim and 81 percent of French consumers rate the ingredient list as quite or very important when buying a food or drink,
  • in the UK, 68 percent of British consumers find on-pack claims relating to “no additives” / “no artificial ingredients” important,
  • in Spain, 69 percent of consumers rate on-pack claims relating to “no additives”/”no artificial ingredients” as important.

Are clean labels the ultimate goal? No. In consumer poll after poll, taste, price and convenience often trump all else. Consumers have the right to “want it all.” Trying to figure out how to deliver an optimal combination of valued benefits is the food industry’s challenge.

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Forums,Inc., a conference and seminar service provider

(1) The academic paper “Factors Impacting New Food Introductions in Emerging Markets” discusses the three key influences impacting new product decisions; company specific factors (related to the company launching the product), product specific factors (the nature of the product itself) and region or country specific factors (the area into which the product is launched). Regulations on food and beverage ingredients fall under governmental policies and regulations, a regional factor.

Global Trade to Saliva & Obesity to Breast Cancer

Posted on:April 21, 2012

A new study points to genetic differences in vitamin D receptors as potentially being responsible for higher breast cancer rates among African American women compared to European American women. A lower vitamin D level in the blood is linked to higher risk.

I keep a running copy of news items that I think may be useful for presentations, reports, articles and so on. Here’s a short list of news items that I’ve recently posted on Global Food Forums. It covers studies such as a recent one on amylase enzymes in saliva and the potential link to diabetes to the size of the U.S. and Chinese grocery market. I hope it’s useful, or at least interesting.

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

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