Quest rebuilds Creative Centre

In 2002, a fire destroyed one of Quest International’s research and development facilities at the company’s headquarters in Naarden, the Netherlands. But the dedicated employees at the headquarters and from other Quest locations around the world helped to ensure that the facility was rebuilt.

Quest held a conference and tour in September to introduce its customers to its new Creative Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in late 2004. Professionals presented material on topics including microbiology, nutrition, foodservice, and law. Speaking at the event, Cees de Jong, group vice president of flavors for Quest, told the audience that despite the loss of the R&D building, there was a silver lining. That silver lining, he explained, was the chance to build a facility that housed the most up-to-date technology and equipment.

Included in the Creative Centre are separate laboratories for beverage, sweet, savory, and flavor delivery applications and bio and organic chemistry, analytical R&D, and microbiology. The beverage pilot plant includes equipment to test the bottling of a wide variety of beverages in PET containers and glass bottles.

Some of the scientists and flavorists worked with laboratory equipment suppliers to custom-design some of the chromatography and other instruments that scientists will use for specific applications and custom-designed flavor ingredients.

In addition to housing laboratories and pilot plants, the Creative Centre also features a high-tech kitchen used by Quest’s corporate chef for culinary product design. Located in the center of the kitchen is a Molteni cooking island, allowing the corporate chef to create a wide variety of culinary applications right before the customers’ eyes. And in case those customers are not on location, the kitchen is also wired with cameras so that they can view live broadcasts of culinary developments offsite.

Finally, the facility’s one-of-a-kind data system for flavor and market products evaluation and sensory profiling allows Quest scientists and staff around the world to access this information.

National Starch introduces new identity
The Food Products Div. of National Starch and Chemical Co., Bridgewater, N.J., is now known as National Starch Food Innovation. The company changed its name and identity to more accurately reflect its products and services offered to the packaged and prepared foods industry.

“As our industry and its challenges continue to change, we have also changed,” said James P. Zallie, group vice president. “Today, we represent more than starch. By changing our name and our identity, we are asking the industry to take a new look at National Starch. And when they do, they will see one of the most forward-thinking, innovative global suppliers.”

The company is expanding its capabilities beyond just supplying starch to include texture modification, natural and wholesome food labeling, and nutritional fortification.

Kraft sells sugar confectionery business
As part of its sustainable growth plan, Kraft Foods Inc., North-field, Ill., has sold its sugar confectionery business to Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Chicago, Ill.

“This divestiture is part of out strategy to transform Kraft’s portfolio,” said Roger K. Deromedi, chief executive officer of Kraft, in a press release. “By enabling us to better focus our resources, the sale should create value for Kraft, as well as our employees, customers, and shareholders.”

The sale includes the Life Savers, Crème Savers, Altoids, Trolli, and Sugus brands. It also includes sugar confectionery manufacturing facilities in Iowa, Tennessee, Romania, and the UK and inventories and equipment for the confectionery business located in two Canadian facilities.

With our confectionery focus and expertise, we look for these brands to flourish under the Wrigley umbrella and anticipate being able to take full advantage of their marketplace potential,” said Bill Wrigley Jr., chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Wrigley, in a press release.

Approximately 700 Kraft employees in the sugar confectionery business are expected to transfer to Wrigley.

Danisco restructures several business divisions
Danisco A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark, has launched a restructuring plan involving several Danisco sites in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. According to the company, the restructuring of its operations aims to enhance production efficiency and safeguard cost competitiveness of the xanthan and culture media businesses.

The company plans to restructure the sites in France that it acquired from Rhodia Foods by discontinuing production of dairy media in Vinay, adjusting the production structure at its xanthan plant in Melle, France, and eliminating positions at facilities in Vinay, Melle, and Aubervilliers, France. Over the next few months, Danisco will develop a relocation plan for the affected employees. The company will move all of its European media production to Tønder, Denmark.

The restructuring plan also affects the functional systems site in Zaandam, Netherlands, and sites located in Brabrand, Denmark, and Niebüll, Germany. The company will reduce the number of employees at these locations.

Chr. Hansen discusses potential sale
Chr. Hansen Holding’s board of directors plans to investigate selling its global food ingredients activities.

The company, based in Hørsholm, Denmark, says that the sale of its Chr. Hansen Food Ingredients division will create a stronger platform for positive development of the business. The division includes all cultures, enzymes, colors, flavors, seasonings, sweeteners, animal health, and human health activities and sites. The process of finding a new owner, which will continue throughout the year, will not affect customers.

The supermarket celebrates 75th anniversary
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the supermarket, an enterprise that continues to offer consumers one-stop shopping convenience and ever-increasing variety, the Food Marketing Institute recently announced.

King Kullen is recognized as the first supermarket. Opened in August 1930 in Jamaica, N.Y., it was similar to today’s warehouse clubs. Others that followed were Piggly Wiggly, Ralphs Grovery Co., Weingarten’s Big Food Markets, and Henke & Pillot.

Before the advent of supermarkets, corner grocery stores carried about 700 items, mostly sold in bulk. Consumers generally had to shop at specialty stores for meat, produce, baked goods, and dairy products. The supermarket brought all of these items—and then some—under one roof. According to FMI, the number of products carried by supermarkets has risen from 6,000 in 1960 to 14,000 in 1980, and to more than 30,000 today.

Bunge Ltd., White Plains, N.Y., in November formed an alliance with Procter & Gamble Food Ingredients and Peter Cremer North America, both located in Cincinnati, Ohio, to produce and market cholesterol-reducing phytosterol ingredients for foods and pharmaceuticals. Peter Cremer will oversee the manufacturing, and P&G Food Ingredients will be the primary marketer of the product line. Bunge has a 50% stake in the alliance.

Corn Products International Inc., Westchester, Ill., has closed a corn refining facility in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Andean region in South America. The company has transferred production from these two facilities to other locations.

Danisco A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark, has entered into a joint venture agreement with the Chinese company, Henan Tangyin Yuxin Co. Ltd. The new company, to be called Danisco Sweeteners (Anyang) Co. Ltd., will produce xylitol and xylose for the Chinese and international markets.

Danisco Flavours, a division of Danisco A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark, is constructing a flavor production facility at its existing emulsifier and functional systems plant in Penang, Malaysia. The facility, which is expected to be completed in mid-2005, will replace a flavor production plant in Singapore.

DSM Food Specialties, a division of DSM N/V, Heerlen, Netherlands, has won gold honors in the Hi Europe Best Innovation in Health Ingredients awards for its active peptide, PeptoPro®. The ingredient is the result of a patented process that hydrolyzes milk proteins to produce a mixture of peptides. The peptides stimulate insulin production, which ensures that glucose is transported more rapidly from the blood into the muscle cells. PeptoPro was used in sports drinks to boost the performance of the Dutch Olympic athletes in the 2004 games in Athens, Greece.

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., New York, N.Y., announced in November plans to construct an aroma chemical manufacturing plant in Hangzhou, China. The company plans to open the facility in late 2006.

McCormick & Co. Inc., Sparks, Md., has acquired C.M. van Sillevoldt B.V., which sells spices, herbs, and seasonings under the Silvo brand in the Netherlands and the India brand in Belgium. The Silvo business dates back to 1883, and has achieved growth through products and packaging that focus on convenience, quality, and ethnic flavors.

Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Mo., has announced that Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., will process Monsanto’s Vistive™ low-linolenic soybeans and market Vistive oil for use by the food industry. Cargill will process the soybeans at its facilities in Iowa Falls, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines, Iowa.

Scholle Corp., Irvine, Calif., has acquired the French packaging company Flextainer SA. The business will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Scholle Corp. Flextainer specializes in the development and manufacture of systems and accessories for liquid packaging, particularly in the wine industry.

Sunset Brands Inc., Natick, Mass., has signed a preliminary agreement to acquire the exclusive U.S. distribution rights to select low-carbohydrate and no-carbohydrate snack products produced by Betafoods Inc., under its Chip’s Chip™ brand. Sunset Brands will assume the marketing and distribution of Snackers™ and Cheese Thins™ brands.

Symrise Flavor Div. North America, Teterboro, N.J., and SweetGredients have entered into a cooperative agreement to develop a new line of flavors that contain Gaio® tagatose, a natural sweetener. Under the agreement, Symrise will act as SweetGredients’ exclusive flavor industry partner in the United States and will develop one-of-a-kind flavors and flavor blends using the sweetener. SweetGredients is a joint venture of Arla Foods Ingredients, Viby, Denmark, and Nordzucker, Braunschweig, Germany.

Unilever Philippines, a division of Unilever, London, U.K., has announced that it will close its food manufacturing plant in Las Pinas, Philippines, sometime in 2005. The plant produces peanut butter and pasta. The company will outsource the manufacturing activities to a facility in Manila, Philippines. Plans are underway to upgrade its Gateway Dressings plant in Cavite, making this plant a regional producer and supplier.

WestFarm Foods, Seattle, Wash., has sold its ice cream business, including the license of the Darigold brand, to Humboldt Creamery Association, Fortuna, Calif. As part of the agreement, Humboldt Creamery will acquire WestFarm Foods’ Los Angeles, Calif., plant and certain ice cream manufacturing equipment from the company’s Seattle plant.

Javier Ferran has left his position as President and CEO of Bacardi Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda, for personal and family reasons. The company has commenced a search for his replacement.

Burdock Group, Vero Beach, Fla., has hired Amanda Persad as Staff Toxicologist, Richard Isbrucker as Toxicology Specialist, and Phil Casterton as Toxicology and Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Specialist.

Douglas Campbell recently joined Environmental Health Testing LLC, Orlando, Fla., as Vice President of Business Development.

Flavors of North America, Carol Stream, Ill., has hired Jean Gallagher as Technical Manager of Sweet Flavors.

Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga., has elected Manuel “Manny” A. Fernandez, Managing Director of SI Ventures, to the company’s board of directors.

Granito Coffee Works/Aspen Enterprises, San Antonio, Tex., recently named Keith A. Sheller Vice President of Sales.

Griffith Laboratories, Alsip, Ill., has hired Bob Wotzak as Vice President of Research and Development.

GTC Nutrition, Golden, Colo., has hired Juliana Zeiher as Food Applications Manager.

Nutra-Park, Middleton, Wis., has named Juan Francisco Villegas Sales Representative.

Roberto Armenta has been named Natural Products Biochemists of Prince Edward Island Food Technology Centre, Charlottetown, Canada.

Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis., has named Jim Hinsenkamp Retail Operations Manager of Sales, Keith Kehl National Account Sales Manager of Safeway Business, and Brad Deckard National Account Sales Manager of Food Lion and Winn Dixie Businesses.

Silliker Inc., Homewood, Ill., has named Pamela Meijer as Technical Sales Manager.

Source Food Technology Inc., Research Triangle Park, N.C., has named Santosh Padki to lead its new Omega-3 Div. as Vice President and General Manager.

Recognizing the growing popularity of energy drinks like Red Bull, Anheuser-Busch has launched a new Budweiser beer infused with caffeine, guarana, and ginseng. Trade named BE (B-to-the-E), the drink also contains aromas of blackberry, raspberry, and cherry, which impart a lightly sweet and tart taste.

“We created a great new drink that’s outside the boundaries of the taste adults would expect from a traditional beer,” said Nathaniel Davis, A-B Brew-master. “With B-to-the-E, we’ve come up with a beer that has a taste with a ‘wow’ factor at the finish.”

The beer targets contemporary adults who are looking for the latest beverage to keep up with their highly social and fast-paced lifestyles. BE comes in a slim 10-oz can with bold red and black graphics. It is priced slightly higher than Budweiser and marketed through local print advertising, point-of-sale materials, bar and club promotions, and online programs. BE contains 6.6% alcohol by volume.

In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for plant sterols’ ability to lower heart disease risk by lowering cholesterol. To take advantage of this health claim, Masterfoods USA has developed a snack bar containing plant sterols and cocoa flavanols. Each 0.78-oz bar contains at least 100 mg of flavanols. Called CocoaVia, the snack bars come in four flavors: Chocolate Crunch Bar, Chocolate Almond Crunch Bar, Chocolate Blueberry Crunch Bar, and Chocolate Cherry Crunch Bar.

A clinical research study demonstrated that consumption of two CocoaVia bars/day significantly reduced cholesterol levels. In the study, one group of 35 participants received a placebo (non-sterol-containing)snack bar (the control group) twice a day, while the other group of 35 participants ate the plant-sterol-containing bar twice daily (the treatment group). Study participants had their cholesterol levels checked twice at the beginning of the study, again at the mid-point of the study, and twice at the end of the six-week study period.

At the onset of the study, participants had an elevated fasting total and LDL cholesterol >240 mg/dL and >160 mg/dL, respectively. At the end of the study, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and the ratio of total:HDL cholesterol decreased significantly by 4.7%, 6%, and 7.4%, respectively, in those who consumed the plant sterol-enriched snack bars. Plasma lipids did not change in the control group. There were no changes in body weight, blood pressure, or HDL cholesterol in either treatment group.

“Plant sterols are a clinically proven ingredient that lowers cholesterol,” said Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Research Chemist at Mars, Inc., one of the study authors. “Physicians and cardiologists have recommended the sterol-containing spreads to their heart health concerned patients. Now this research shows that patients have another food option with not just the sterol benefits, but with the multiple cardiovascular benefits of cocoa flavanols and great taste, too.”

Many low-carb products rely on the addition of non-nutritive sweeteners to keep their carbohydrate counts in check. Del Monte uses this approach for a new line of low-carb canned fruit products. The Del Monte Carb Clever line of canned fruit products contains 50–70% fewer carbohydrates than conventional canned fruit.

Rather than packing the fruit in heavy syrup or natural fruit juices, Del Monte packs the fruit in water sweetened with Splenda® brand no-calorie sweetener. The result is delicious, ready-to-eat fruit that’s lower in carbs and calories, while retaining a pleasing sweet taste.

Many health and nutrition experts are concerned about reports, such as those from ACNielsen, indicating that 44% of low-carb dieters—an estimated 15 million Americans—have either cut back or stopped eating fruit as a result of the diet.

“The ACNielsen research regarding insufficient fruit consumption while on low-carb diets underscores the market need for the Del Monte Carb Clever line of products,” said Josie Welling, Vice President of Marketing, Del Monte Fruit. “People on these diets, as well as those cutting back on refined sugar intake, are really trying to do something positive for their health. Continuing to enjoy fruit, while being conscious of their total carb and sugar intake, is easy with Del Monte Carb Clever.”

Many consumers like to eat fish but don’t know how to prepare it . Bumble Bee Seafoods helps to solve this dilemma with its introduction of Prime Fillet ready-to-heat entrée-style tuna steak. The individual serving of 100% natural albacore tuna comes in an easy-open, vacuum-sealed pouch . Three varieties are available: Lemon & Pepper, Mesquite Grilled, and Ginger Soy.

“More than 50% of canned tuna consumption today is in the form of a sandwich, with another 20% consumed as tuna salad,” said Bumble Bee President and CEO Christopher D. Lischewski. “Prime Fillet Albacore Steaks offers today’s busy consumers—from moms through professionals to college students—the chance to enjoy albacore as a seafood dinner with just a few minutes’ preparation and little to no fuss.

“The tuna steaks are high in protein and vitamin B, and provide omega-3 fatty acids, whose benefits include strengthening the immune system, reduced risk of heart disease and hypertension, as well as improved mental health,” Lischewski said.

InBev USA has launched Beck’s Premier Light—the lowest-calorie beer in the United States market. The imported beer—brewed in Bremen, Germany—contains only 64 calories and 3.9 g of carbohydrates per 12-oz serving. The beer comes in familiar Beck’s packaging—a green bottle with the signature oval front label. It is available in 12-oz non-returnable longneck bottles in 6, 12 and 24 packs, as well as on draught.

“We are very excited about early enthusiasm from retailers for Beck’s Premier Light,” said Victor Melendez, Director of Marketing at InBev USA. “It’s a fantastic-tasting beer that stays true to its German roots in both taste and its brewing process. Not only does the beer have incredibly low calories, but it will be the first low-carb import to hit the U.S. market.”

To address the growing Hispanic population in the U.S., Celestial Seasonings has created a line of teas especially for Hispanic consumers. The herb teas—Honey Lemon Diet, Apple Banana Chamomile, Cinnamon Apple, and Linden Mint Herb—are available in 10-count packages with Spanish-first bilingual copy.

“The research and development behind these teas represents the best of art and science,” said Joan Boykin, Director of Marketing at Celestial Seasonings. “We formulated our new line of teas around herbs and flavors popular in the Hispanic market, like linden, mint, honey, lemon, and chamomile, as well as familiar favorites like cinnamon and apple.” Each tea is naturally caffeine-free and blended with 100% natural herbs, spices and other flavors. Honey Lemon Diet and Cinnamon Apple can also be enjoyed as iced.

A 2004 ACNielsen poll shows that diet tea is the best-selling tea in the Hispanic market, and many chamomile and linden teas are among the top-selling flavors. In blind taste tests, Celestial Seasonings Honey Lemon Diet Tea was preferred 9 to 1 over the top competitor, and Apple Banana Chamomile was preferred 4 to 1 over the highest-ranking competitive tea.

Most Americans (75% of women and 50% of men) do not get enough calcium in their diet, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. In fact, only 14% of teen girls and 35% of teen boys are meeting their 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowance of calcium. To help alleviate this dietary deficiency, McNeil Nutritionals has developed CalciMilk with double the calcium of ordinary fluid milk. Each 8-oz serving contains 600 mg of calcium. The product is available in whole, 2%, and skim varieties.

“Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis is not an ‘old woman’s disease.’ Even young celebrities are in the news on the subject,” said Maureen Conway, Director of Nutrition Services and Communications at McNeil Nutritionals. “People are shocked to discover bone loss can start at an early age in some individuals. When consumers began to forgo milk for other less nutritionally dense beverages, we exchanged refreshment for the nourishment that historically contributed to healthier bones. That is one reason why osteoporosis today is more prevalent.”

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