James N. Klapthor

In July, The Economist, a weekly business magazine from London, took a quick glance at the growing interest of food companies’ research and development labs in the article, “Food for Thought.” In doing so, the magazine utilized the recent IFT Annual Meeting in New Orleans, referencing it and technical presentations given there. Specifically, the article noted Keith Cadwallader’s research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the aroma of hamburgers and hamburgers containing 25% soy. Surprisingly—and gratifyingly, according to the article—adding a bit of soy to hamburger may actually improve its flavor by augmenting meaty aromas in the burgers. The article also touched on research by Margaret Hinds at Oklahoma State University, who took the soy sampling a step further. Using dozens of untrained taste-testers, Hinds discovered that commercially made burgers consisting almost entirely of soy were only preferred when they had characteristics closest to those of beef burgers. According to the article, only one of five patties tested compared favorably to an ordinary hamburger. Research by Lynn McMullen of the University of Alberta earned notice in the article for producing a gum made from barley that could replace the textured feel of fat in sausages. Also, Ingolf Gruen’s research team from the University of Missouri was mentioned for devising the right mix of antioxidants in convenience foods that may reduce the unfavorable “warmed over” flavor that can come with storage of meat foods over time. The Economist circulates nearly 200,000 copies a week throughout the United Kingdom.

On July 1, the Edmonton Sunday Journal of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, ran a light-hearted yet in-depth feature on Paul Jelen and his ongoing research on whey at the University of Alberta, entitled, “‘Waste Product’ Whey May Be the Magic Bullet of Healing.” Noting that whey research has been Jelen’s life work for more than 30 years, the article acknowledged his mission to determine whether whey can offer definitive nutritional and immunological benefits beyond what’s currently known. The article notes not only his two-directional approach to whey benefits—seeking ways to break down sugar crystals in dairy-based products to enhance digestion by lactose-intolerant consumers, and determining if whey protein can supply special benefits to athletes—but also his unscientific, practical experience research. While recuperating from hip surgery, Jelen mixed whey protein into his daily doses of yogurt to see whether it might affect recovery. According to the article, his rate of recovery was remarkable. But Jelen can’t be sure whether to attribute this to whey. “Fortunately, I don’t have to do a control experiment,” he said, referring to his other hip, which is healthy. The Edmonton Journal distributes approximately 150,000 copies on Sundays.

In the August 1 article, “Powerhouse Grains,” published in the Chicago Tribune, Joanne Slavin, University of Minnesota, brought new outlook into research on whole-grain foods. Her opinion—that the whole (grain) is better than the sum of its parts—puts into perspective the tone of the article. No longer to be eaten for the benefits of its fiber alone, Slavin remarked that, “recent findings suggest it’s more than just fiber. In fact, it’s the whole food—literally the whole grain”—that works in powerful ways to help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. According to the article, it’s the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in whole-grain foods that are all beneficial to health. “Many of the protective substances in whole grains are also in fruits and vegetables,” said Slavin, “but in whole grain foods, they’re more concentrated.” The Chicago Tribune is one of the nation’s largest daily newspapers, circulating well over 600,000 copies a day.

The importance of the Student Product Development Competition at the IFT Annual Meeting is not lost on the news media. After this year’s competition in New Orleans, newspapers and television stations in Wisconsin and North Carolina jumped on their local students’ bandwagons for their favorable accomplishments in the contest. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was among the many newspapers that made mention of the University of Wisconsin IFT students’ winning entry, Handicotti—a held-held, microwavable pasta—noting it in the June 24 issue and again on July 8. On July 23, the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., boasted the achievements of IFT students from North Carolina State University, whose crispy, spicy, nacho bowl, Munchatas, placed third. The CBS- and Fox-television affiliates in Raleigh also noted the success of the students. The circulation of the Journal Sentinel tops 275,000. The News & Observer reaches more than 150,000. In the alternative news magazine Details, published in New York City with a distribution of 500,000, the Cornell University Food Science Dept. got top billing in the August article, “Junkies,” devoting more than three glossy pages and two full-color, full-page photos promoting students’ work on such products as Café Latte, an entry in the 2000 student competition, and ChickIn Crisperz, their 2001 entry that earned honorable mention. 

Media Relations Manager