Regional Tastes Speak Volumes
Virginia Dare to unveil research findings at IFT
Global flavors have been attracting attention as consumers seek
flavor adventures in our shrinking world. But for the IFT 2007 Annual
Meeting and FoodExpo (July 28-Aug. 1 in Chicago), Viginia Dare will unveil
taste opportunities that hit closer to home. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based
manufacturer has built its reputation through beverage and sweet flavoring
expertise and its latest round of research will further the company’s
leadership role. Anton Angelich, group vice president of marketing for
Virginia Dare, discusses the company’s research and how it will
influence product development in the beverage and food industry.
Q: Tell us about your current research project?
A: We’re testing a
hypothesis: We think people are interested in comforting, regional foods,
along with food that provides a nutritional boost.
We see some overlapping consumer preference themes,
including a strong interest in health, wellness and homeopathy. We also see
a theme of comfort and retro foods. Throw into that mix our global village;
as people migrate around the world, they bring their flavors with them.
Q: Can you give us an example?
A: Cajun/Creole/New Orleans foods will score high across the board.
These foods have been around long enough they’ve become part of our
going-out or eating-in foodway. And these foods have regional links.
Q: How are you culling the information?
A: We ask
about familiarity and preference for many regional tastes, including New
England/ Yankee, Tex-Mex, Soul Food, Hawaiian/ Polynesian, Pennsylvania
Dutch/Amish and Native American/Indian. We delve into flavors as well, from
mango and toffee to vanilla and apple. We are asking for information about
attributes — including ingredient statements or packaging —
that are important to consumers. We also ask about health concerns, from
osteoporosis to eye health, cardiovascular health to cancer.
Q: Can you tell us about the findings?
A: The results will be
shared at a press conference on Monday, July 30th.
Results will show certain preferences for tastes that have been overlooked
in the past. When companies put together products it’s often based on
something like a peach, with a focus on the peach flavor. But the winning
delivery could be peach cobbler, which is more complex, but based on
people’s comfort with that tradition.
Taste rules, and that’s an important message.
Looking at past studies between success and new products, the highest
scores are taste and familiarity. If people are familiar with them, they
have a good chance of succeeding. Taste is difficult when you have a
lifetime of food history behind it.
Q: What will you be showcasing at IFT?
A: We’ll have products that tie in with results from the survey.
There are a lot of baked goods that tie into Southern Traditional cuisine,
such as pie. New England is known for brown flavors like maple. We’ll
sample healthy breakfast and cereal snack bars that contain fiber, vitamins
and protein. We’ll also be tapping into our expertise with healthy
beverages, including smoothies with certain nutrients; and a soy product
for heart health.
Cargill has branded its erythritol product line
formerly known as Eridex under a new name, Zerose erythritol, to better
convey that the all-natural sweetener contains “zero sugar, zero
calories, zero aftertaste and zero artificial ingredients.” Zerose is
a bulk sweetener that tastes and functions like sugar in beverages, dairy
products and confections that appeal to consumers who want to manage their
weight or sugar levels or sugar intake. Like sugar, it reduces water
activity in a food product, provides volume and provides the freeze point
depression needed in many frozen treats. The brand launch includes the
introduction of a new consumer education web site at serosweetener.com,
designed to answer questions about erythritol and explain its benefits as a
natural sugar alternative.
— Cargill, 15407 McGinty Road West, Wayzata, Minn. 55391; Cargill.com;
A&B Ingredients has made its Acai juice
concentrate available in North America. In making the announcement, A&B
Ingredients’ Managing Director Gil Bakal said, “Acai is one of
those remarkable natural fruits that are full of antioxidants, amino acids
and essential omegas. In fact, many studies have shown that the Acai berry
is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world. We are
pleased to be able to offer the beverage industry this incredible fruit in
concentrate form, which means manufacturers can enjoy the same advantages
of Acai pulp, while paying less freight and having greater control over
inventory. In short, you can produce more with fewer raw materials.”
The Acai concentrate is 32 times more concentrated than pulp, plus it is
clarified to make it easier to work with.
— A&B Ingredients, 24 Spielman Road, Fairfield,
N.J. 07004; 973-227-1390; abingredients.com.
Glanbia Nutritionals says a new report confirms its
Prolibra has been clinically proven to have a significant impact on fat
loss and muscle mass retention. In a 12-week double-blind,
placebo-controlled study, researchers found that adults consuming Prolibra
lost 82 percent more fat than the placebo group, and retained twice as much
lean muscle mass. According to the company, retention of lean muscle mass
during dieting contributes to a healthy basal metabolic rate, which can
eliminate the effects of yo-yo dieting. It says the synergistic effect of
Prolibra’s components, including proprietary whey peptides,
contributed to significant fat loss while preserving lean muscle mass.
— Glanbia Nutritionals Inc., 523 6th Street,
Monroe Wis. 53566; 608-329-2800; glanbianutritionals.com.
Seal of guarantee
DSM Nutritional Products has introduced the Teavigo
Seal-of-Guarantee to indicate the Teavigo green tea ingredient’s
standardized, guaranteed purity level, which meets a minimum of 94 percent
on dry basis. The ingredient is applicable to a range of applications
including foods, beverages and dietary supplements. The company says
Teavigo is free of caffeine, herbicides and pesticide residue and has
little to no impact on taste and color.
Nutritional Products, 45 Waterview Blvd., Parsippany, N.J. 07054;