Students get creative
Future food scientists from Purdue University honed their product development skills in the Sara Lee Innovation Award competition, with the winning team taking the $10,000 top prize.

Three students developed the winning entry, Tuscan Essential Biscotti, which provides caramel or raspberry flavoring when stirred into hot drinks and can then be eaten as a snack.

The team members included Patti Tanner, a first-year graduate student in food science; Kayleen Wichlinski, a dietetics and business nutrition major; and Matt Wolf, a biological and food process engineering major.

In addition to the monetary prize, the winning team’s entry will be assessed by Sara Lee Corp. for possible commercialization. But because the competition was so close, Sara Lee has asked the first- and second-place teams to present their prototypes to the company, said Connie Weaver, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Dept. of Foods and Nutrition, and a Professional Member of IFT.

Students on the second-place team developed an on-the-go snack that featured bagel sticks packaged with a yogurt dipping sauce.

The entries were judged by Sara Lee executives and Purdue professors, who examined taste and quality as well as cost and potential marketability.

Students from the sophomore to graduate level in four academic departments were eligible, including agricultural and biological engineering, foods and nutrition, food science, and hotel and tourism management.

The first innovation award competition was held in the spring of 2007, when Sara Lee announced the partnership with Purdue. This year’s qualifying teams have been working on their food inventions since the start of the 2007 fall semester.

Research competition focuses on food
The Aristides Daskalopoulos Foundation, Maroussi, Greece, is organizing the 2nd International Scientific Research Paper Competition. The subjects are food science and technology—food safety and nutritional science—nutrition and health. For more information, call +30-211-3494-101 or +30-211-3494-483, e-mail [email protected], or visit

Keeping probiotics viable in ice cream
Probiotics have beneficial effects when consumed, and their use in foods and beverages—particularly dairy products—is growing. Ice cream is one of the applications in which researchers are exploring the inclusion of probiotic bacteria; however, the process of making and freezing ice cream can kill or damage the bacteria.

Researchers with Ege University, Izmir, Turkey, examined the effects that oligofructose and inulin had on the survival of Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 and Bifidobacterium animalis Bb-12 in low-fat ice cream stored at -18°C for 90 days. They first examined samples of ice cream mixes that included probiotics, probiotics/oligofructose, and probiotics/inulin. Oligofructose significantly enhanced the survival of the two bacteria in the ice cream mix. After the ice cream mixes were frozen and the storage period completed, the viable counts for L. acidophilus La-5 and B. animalis Bb-12 decreased, but the recommended minimum limit of 106 CFU/g was maintained for B. animalis Bb-12 in the ice cream supplemented with oligofructose during storage. The researchers said that the possible prebiotic effects of oligofructose in the ice cream mix helped more of the bacteria to survive.

The study, "Effects of Inulin and Oligofructose on the Rheological Characteristics and Probiotic Culture Survival in Low-Fat Probiotic Ice Cream," appeared in the May 2008 issue of Journal of Food Science. For more information, visit

Eating breakfast affects BMI
Most of us have heard the statement, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Now researchers have learned that it is more important than ever to encourage young people to eat breakfast.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health Project Eating Among Teens (EAT) studied the association between the frequency at which breakfast is eaten and five-year body weight change in more than 2,200 adolescents. The results revealed that subjects who ate breakfast daily during adolescence consumed a healthier diet and were more physically active than those who did not. After five years, the daily breakfast eaters tended to gain less weight and have lower body mass index levels than those who had skipped breakfast. Body mass index level is used to estimate the degree to which an individual is underweight, overweight, or obese.

"The dose-response findings between breakfast frequency and obesity risk, even after taking into account physical activity and other dietary factors, suggests that eating breakfast may have important effects on overall diet and obesity risk, but experimental studies are needed to confirm these observations," said Mark Pereira, a corresponding author on the study and Associate Professor at the university.

The study, "Breakfast Eating and Weight Change in a 5-Year Prospective Analysis of Adolescents: Project EAT," appeared in the March 2008 issue of Pediatrics.

A cut above the rest
The Beef Information Centre, Calgary, Canada, recently released a new technical resource that provides information and step-by-step instructions on how to cut beef into some of the most popular cuts on the market today.

The DVD, which is free, is available in two versions: one for foodservice operators and one that is retail-specific.

By focusing on cuts that make innovative use of the large muscles found on today’s animals, the DVD addresses the issue of how to meet consumer demand for smaller-sized portions and consumer-sensitive price points when beef animals are increasingly larger.

BIC consulted with a specialized team of technical meat professionals to develop the DVD.

"By turning a creative eye to previously unexplored cutting techniques and combining them with more traditional cutting methods, we have developed the ultimate primer for foodservice professionals and retailers looking for beef choices that are innovative, profitable, and have high consumer appeal," said Duane Ellard, BIC’s Western Channel Development Manager.

For more information, visit

FDA posts food labeling guide
The Food and Drug Administration has released a downloadable food labeling guide that summarizes the statements required to appear on food labels.

While the guide does not answer every question about food labeling, it does answer those asked most frequently. It offers information about the labeling of colors, food allergens, nutrient declarations, trans fats, serving size, health claims, and more.

For more information and to access the guide, please visit

Cargill, AQSIQ launch food safety program
Cargill Inc., Wayzata, Minn., and the Chinese government have formed a joint food safety management training program to provide Chinese government officials, academics, and business leaders with food safety training to expand their expertise and knowledge in food safety management.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ) will select 20–25 senior-level professionals who have food-related experience to participate in the program, which will begin later this year. Cargill will provide financial support and lend its expertise to design and implement an innovative food safety training and leadership development program. The two-week program will include food safety training from the private sector, international food standards organizations, government officials, and academic institutions located in Europe and North America.

Food and ingredient companies on the move
Food companies around the world have expanded facilities, formed alliances, or invested more in product development. Here is an update on some of those projects.

• Mars Inc., McLean, Va., and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Chicago, Ill., recently entered into a merger agreement that will form the world’s largest confectionery company. Under the terms of the agreement, Wrigley will become a separate, stand-alone subsidiary of Mars. The combined company will have a strong foundation of established brands in six areas: chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery, gum, food, drinks, and pet care. Mars will transfer its global non-chocolate confectionery sugar brands, including Starburst® and Skittles®, to Wrigley.

• Vivartia S.A., a Greece-based food manufacturer, has entered the U.S. market with the acquisition of Nonni’s Food Co., Tulsa, Okla., a supplier of biscotti cookies and other specialty baked goods products.

• Silliker, Homewood, Ill., recently acquired 80% of the Portuguese company EGI, which specializes in food microbiology testing.

• J.M. Smucker Co., Orrville, Ohio, has acquired Europe’s Best Inc., a brand of frozen fruit based in Montreal, Canada.

• Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minn., has acquired Ecovation Inc., Victor, N.Y., a provider of wastewater treatment and renewable energy solutions for the food and beverage manufacturing industry. The acquisition complements the cleaning and sanitizing systems currently offered by Ecolab Food & Beverage to its dairy, beverage, and meat and poultry producer customers.

• Takasago International Corp., Northvale, N.J., Takasago Ltd., based in Japan, and Mitsubishi Corp., Tokyo, Japan, recently acquired Dan Kaffe, a Malaysian manufacturer of coffee extracts and spray-dried coffee.

• McCormick & Co. Inc., Sparks, Md., has acquired Billy Bee Honey Products Ltd., Toronto, Canada. Billy Bee Honey, which has a 60% share of branded honey sales to retailers in Canada, has developed and marketed new products using honey, including mustard, sauces, and salad dressings.

• Barentaz Europe BV, Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, has acquired a majority of shares of Vitablend Holding, a producer of antioxidants, vitamin, and mineral blends, and nutraceuticals. Barentaz announced that the transaction should strengthen its technological capabilities.

• Robertet Group, Grasse, France, recently took an equity position in Plantes Aromatiques du Diois, a French company specializing in organic essential oils and aromatic plants, as well as the implementation of sustainable development and fair-trade channels of organic aromatic plants around the world. Robertet is a global supplier of flavors and fragrances.

• Givaudan Flavours Corp., Vernier, Switzerland, has sold its St. Louis, Mo.-based food ingredient business and manufacturing facility to PCI Co., St. Louis, the owner of Diehl Food Ingredients, Sensory Effects, and Emulsion Technology Inc.

by Karen Nachay,
Assistant Editor
[email protected]