A culinary tour around the world with MFPC
The question "What in the world is for dinner?" was answered by a variety of speakers at the 24th Annual Midwest Food Processing Conference sponsored by the Iowa, Chicago, Wisconsin, and Minnesota IFT Sections.
The theme of the conference addressed the geographic and ethnic influences on changing food development trends. Two of the five speakers in particular spoke about global product development trends and how these trends continue to influence product development in the United States.
Lynn Dornblaser, Director, Custom Solutions Group, Mintel International, Chicago, Ill., discussed her company's research on the top 10 global product development trends over the next five years. The research tracks new product introductions in five regions around the world-Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa-and uses this information to analyze trends in product development.
Whether growing health concerns on the part of consumers or the food processors worried about legal ramifications from consumers claiming the processed food caused them to experience serious health problems, many of the trends Dornblaser discussed dealt with food and beverage products that address consumers' health and wellness concerns.
Some of these trends include what she called taking care of body and soul (taking a holistic approach to health, balance in formulation and consumption, and mini-sized items); disease prevention (products that address diabetes in adults and children, heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis); balanced nutrition for children (products that get children to eat fruits, vegetables, and dairy products); looking east to Europe (products that include probiotics, are formulated to be low on the glycemic index, or are allergen free); and celebrating age (products that are formulated for older consumers).
Judith Lindsey, Vice President and General Manager, Product Dynamics Div., RQA Inc., Orland Park, Ill., discussed how ethnicity and social history define regions in the U.S. and how population growth and movement leads to national influence. Years ago, foods such as salsa, avocados, and tortillas were considered regional foods (in parts of California, Texas, and other Southwestern states), and people who lived outside of these regions may have never or seldom eaten these foods. Today, because of population movements and a more efficient food distribution chain, these foods are more popular than ever across the country. Even regional styles of food preparation, such as American home style (slow cooking) and Southern are growing in popularity. Lindsey mentioned that one way product developers could incorporate regional trends into their product designs is to keep apprised of regional social issues, such as weather occurrences, immigration, regional products with diverse usage, and agricultural adaptations, to let them know what changes might be on the horizon.
The afternoon was dedicated to the 3rd Annual Culinary Challenge. The challenge carried through with the cultural, ethnic, global, and regional influences theme of the conference. Each of three teams consisting of a food technologist, a chef, and a food science student collaborated to create a product with an ethnic or regional flavor to it. Samples of shrimp wonton and mango dipping sauce; fajita enchiladas with mole sauce; and lemon-rosemary curd garnished with mini éclairs were available for conference attendees to try.
Visit www.ift.org later this year for information about the 25th Annual Midwest Food Processing Conference.
IFT Scholarship and Fellowship Recipients 2005–06
More than $195,000 in undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships administered by IFT were awarded to students for the 2005-06 school year. The complete list can be found at www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1000438.
Applications and instructions for the 2006-07 school year can be obtained at www.ift.org, under "Awards" For more information, contact Elizabeth Plummer, IFT Manager of Foundation Development, 525 W. Van Buren St., Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60607 (phone 312-782-8424, [email protected]).
Leveille leads Wrigley initiative
The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Chicago, Ill., has named Gilbert A. Leveille Executive Director of the newly established Wrigley Science Institute. This initiative is devoted to advancing understanding of the benefits of chewing gum.
Leveille, a Professional Member of IFT, most recently served as Vice President of Technology for Cargill Inc's Food System Design Unit and as a senior consultant on scientific and regulatory affairs for the company.
According to Wrigley, emerging science suggests that chewing gum may have potential benefits in weight management and satiety; reducing situational stress and influencing brain activity and cognitive function; and promoting oral and dental health.
Helm named to Hall of Fame
Cozatta Tucker Helm was recently named to the Human Environmental Sciences Hall of Fame by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and School of Human Environment Sciences. She was honored for her more than 30 years in product development and her efforts to improve the quality of food products.
Helm, a Professional Member of IFT, is Vice President of Research and Development at Wixon Fontarome Inc., St. Francis, Wis.