Exploring coffee aroma retention
For many coffee lovers, the aroma of a cup of steaming java plays a key role in the consumption experience. Researchers at two European universities examined some of the factors that affect coffee’s aroma compounds and found that increasing the concentration of lyophilized coffee extract helped to retain the compounds. They also learned that brewing procedures affect aroma compound retention.

The researchers used static headspace and headspace with solid phase micro extraction analyses to study the effects of the extracts from a conventional roasted coffee blend and from Torrefacto coffee brewed by filter coffeemaker and espresso coffee machine on the retention of aroma compounds. Lyophilized coffee extracts obtained from coffee brewed by an espresso machine had higher retention values than those extracted by a filter coffeemaker. Understanding the nature of aroma compound retention in coffee extracts is important to food manufacturers, the researchers said, because a product’s aroma affects consumer acceptance.

The study, "How Does Roasting Process Influence the Retention of Coffee Aroma Compounds by Lyophilized Coffee Extract?," appeared in the April 2008 issue of Journal of Food Science. The Fundación Empresa-University and Asociación de Amigos of University of Navarra provided a grant for the study. For more information, visit www.ift.org and click on "Publications."

USDA seeks comment on child nutrition
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is soliciting public comments on a revision of a currently approved collection of information about the Child Nutrition Labeling Program. The purpose of the voluntary program is to aid participating schools and institutions in determining the contribution a commercial product makes toward the food-based meal pattern requirements of the program.

The comments must be received by June 9, 2008. For more information, contact Tim Vazquez at 703-305-2609. To access the notice in the April 8, 2008, Federal Register, visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/e8-7239.htm.

Coating technique reduces fat uptake
Fried foods absorb oil during frying, and this is of concern to people monitoring their diets for weight loss or health reasons. Scientists in Korea have examined how various concentrations of a dry particle coating affect the fat content and sensory characteristics of deep-fat-fried foods.

The researchers cited other studies in which ingredients such as alginates, powdered cellulose, soy protein isolate, and gums have been tested and used to reduce fat uptake in fried foods. These ingredients were applied after mixing with wheat flour. The researchers wanted to investigate dry particle coating, and they cited research that has shown that soybean hulls can be effective in dry particle coating applications. They reported that the dry particle coating technique, which combines different powders with different physical and chemical properties to form composites, is also environmentally friendly and safe.

They used four different types of soybean hull–wheat flour composites that contained 0%, 1%, 5%, and 10% of soybean hulls. The results showed that doughnuts containing 1%, 5%, and 10% of the hulls had decreased fat contents of 11.5%, 13.6%, and 35.8%, respectively. No significant differences in appearance, flavor, crispiness, and taste were reported.

The study, "Preparation of Low-Fat Uptake Doughnut by Dry Particle Coating Technique," appeared in the April 2008 issue of Journal of Food Science. It was supported by the Korea Food Research Institute. For more information, visit www.ift.org and click on "Publications."

Resource helps change eating habits
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture offers a resource to help food and consumer electronics companies transform the way Americans eat.

The "Partnering With MyPyramid: Corporate Challenge" action kit showcases the role these industries can play in encouraging healthier eating and physical fitness.

According to USDA, the goal of the program is for companies to make information from USDA’s Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid more readily available to consumers at the time of purchase.

"Food companies and consumer electronics companies will also have the chance to step up to provide opportunities for families to connect to good nutrition and activity where they work, play, and where they purchase and prepare food," said Brian Wansink, Executive Director, USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, and IFT member. "This could involve the creative distribution of nutrition information or development of new products and new ways of encouraging physical activity."

The action kit provides companies with information on how to sign up and develop a project. For more information and to download the kit, visit www.mypyramid.gov/challenge.

Trans fat sources differ in effects
Researchers from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Nestlé Research Center, and French Dairy Council have found that trans fatty acids derived from natural sources affect cardiovascular risk factors differently than industrially produced ones.

The results of their research—called the Transfact Study—found that the harmful HDL cholesterol-lowering property of trans fatty acids is specific to those produced through industrial methods. The researchers also discovered that women are more sensitive than men to the effects of certain trans fatty acids. Research on the mechanism underlying these effects is needed, according to the researchers.

The study, "Do Trans Fatty Acids From Industrially Produced Sources and From Natural Sources Have the Same Effect on Cardiovascular Diseases Risk Factors in Healthy Subjects? Results of the Trans Fatty Acids Collaboration (Transfact) Study," appeared in the March 2008 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Emulsion structure replaces fat
An emulsion structure shows promise as a fat replacer in salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, spreads, and margarines.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham in the UK said that the structure—an air-filled emulsion coated in the protein hydrophobin, which comes from mushrooms—resembles the physical properties of a fat globule. The structure is said to replace up to 50% of fat without affecting the finished product’s texture. Hydrophobin can be extracted from the inside of the commonly consumed white cap mushroom.

The researchers have also collaborated with colleagues at Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, to study the psychological issues surrounding eating and to develop products that are both healthy and acceptable to consumers.

Profiling phenolics
Scientists have developed a standardized profiling method for making detailed identification of phenolic compounds in most foods as well as distinguishing slight variations in the types and amounts of the compounds. The information provided by this method can be used in nutrition studies and in developing nutrition guidelines.

The researchers have already identified about 60 phenolic components in Ginko biloba leaves, including many that had never before been detected. They also examined phenolics in more than 360 other foods such as Mexican oregano, Fuji apple peel, soybean seed, broccoli, dry beans, tea, and coffee.

James Harnly and Long-Ze Lin, chemists with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, presented their findings at the Experimental Biology 2008 meeting last month. For more information, visit www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr or www.ars.usda.gov/research.

Food, ingredient companies expand

An impressive number of food companies—some based in the United States, some internationally based—have opened new facilities or announced plans to expand. Here’s an update on some key projects.

• Alb Gold and Bionade, two companies based in Germany, plan to build their first U.S. food and beverage plants in Amana, Iowa. Alb Gold will produce egg-based organic pastas, and Bionade will make an organically fermented soft drink at a plant that will include a restaurant and tourist center.

• Burdock Group has moved its toxicology consulting firm’s headquarters from Vero Beach, Fla., to Orlando, Fla., to accommodate its rapid growth.

• Danisco A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark, will open two manufacturing plants in India. One plant will manufacture blends for the ice cream market and the other will produce enzymes for uses in animal nutrition products, food and beverages, and laundry detergents, as well as in applications that include ethanol processing, grain processing, and textile manufacturing.

• Frutarom USA Inc., North Bergen, N.J., has expanded its New Jersey facility with the addition of 3,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art flavor development laboratories.

• Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., will begin construction of a new production facility in Dubuque, Iowa, later this year. A wholly owned subsidiary of Hormel will operate the 327,000 sq-ft-facility, where microwave meals will be produced. It is expected to be operational by November 2009.

• Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is in the process of moving its operations across the city to a new 20,000-sq-ft facility. The company will increase its production capacity by at least 50%. New processing and packaging equipment will be installed at the site, which will include office, warehouse, and shipping space, as well as a full-scale laboratory for in-house product-quality testing.

• Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis., will expand operations at three Wisconsin manufacturing plants in Hilbert, Plymouth, and Kiel over the next five years. This will create a total of 500 new jobs.

• Takasago International (USA), Rockleigh, N.J., in partnership with Peace River Citrus Products Inc., Vero Beach, Fla., will open its Takasago Citrus Center in Florida this spring. The facility will house equipment to manufacture flavors from various citrus fruits.

by Karen Nachay,
Assistant Editor 
[email protected]