Bold flavors take center stage
Bitter, warm, and earthy notes are expected to influence the foods we eat, according to McCormick’s Annual Flavor Forecast released in January.

“We see America’s palates embracing stronger flavors—high-impact combinations that are anything but subtle,” said Kevan Vetter, Executive Chef at McCormick. “For example, bold bitter greens will be appreciated for their assertiveness, tamed with the licorice-like addition of caraway—one of the 10 pairings in this year’s report. The warm and earthy duo of roasted cumin and chickpeas is another expression of the year’s big flavors.”

The other eight pairings include roasted ginger and rhubarb, Thai basil and watermelon, bay leaves and preserved lemon, almond and ale, turmeric and vine-ripened tomatoes, pumpkin pie spice and coconut milk, Creole mustard and shellfish, and chives and fish sauce.

Enzyme inhibits yeast growth
A common enzyme used in wine-making to improve the clarification and processing of wine, β-glucanase may also inhibit the growth of wine spoilage yeasts, making it useful as a naturally derived preservative.

Researchers at the Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos and Bodegas Miguel Torres S.A. in Spain examined the antimicrobial activity of a commercial β-glucanase preparation on several wine spoilage yeasts, including Cryptococcus albidus, Dekkera bruxellensis, Pichia membranifaciens, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, and Zygosaccharomyces bisporus, in growth medium and in wine. They tested different levels (in μg/mL) of β-glucanase preparation in growth medium. The results showed that a concentration of 200 μg/mL inhibited the growth of D. bruxellensis and Z. bailii but not C. albidus, P. membranifaciens, Z. bisporus, and S. cerevisiae. Even concentrations as high as 1,000 μg/mL did not inhibit the growth of P. membranifaciens and S. cerevisiae.

The β-glucanase preparation did slow the growth of D. bruxellensis, Z. bailii, and S. cerevisiae in wine. Some of these inhibitory properties differed from those observed in the growth medium, leading the researchers to conclude that the effects of yeast strain variation on the efficacy of the β-glucanase preparation as well as effects of the preparation on wine quality characteristics needs further research.

The study, “β-glucanases as a Tool for the Control of Wine Spoilage Yeasts,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841. 2009.01448.x.

Nestlé to buy Kraft pizza business
Nestlé, Vevey, Switzerland, has agreed to purchase the frozen pizza business of Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill.

The sale includes the DiGiorno, Tombstone, and Jack’s brands in the United States, the Delissio brand in Canada, and the California Pizza Kitchen trademark license. It also includes two Wisconsin manufacturing facilities (Medford and Little Chute) and the right to take on the leases for the pizza depots and delivery trucks. The business will be part of Nestlé USA and will give the company increased market share in the frozen pizza category in the U.S. and Canada.

Kraft said that it expects that approximately 3,400 employees will transfer with the business to Nestlé. The transaction is expected to close later this year.

Roasting ups AO capacities in peanuts
Roasting enhances the flavors of peanuts but it also increases antioxidant capacities of peanuts, peanut flour, and peanut skins.

Researchers at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service incrementally roasted peanuts at 362°F from 0 to 77 min and then measured the water- and oil-soluble antioxidant activity levels of the roasted peanut product samples. The results showed that dark roasting increased the water- and oil-soluble antioxidant capacities for peanut flours and blanched peanuts. What’s more, peanut skins, which are considered a waste product of peanut processing, had high antioxidant capacities across all roast conditions.

According to the researchers, the increases in antioxidants after roasting resulted from greater concentrations of phenolics compounds and Maillard reaction products, which are produced when reducing sugars and amino groups of proteins are heated together.

They also measured vitamin E in roasted peanuts. In lightly roasted peanuts, vitamin E degraded quite rapidly but in darker roasted peanuts, vitamin E degraded much less than in both lightly roasted and raw peanuts. Again, the researchers attributed this to Maillard reaction products.

A sweet tooth for chocolate
Despite many product categories taking a big hit in sales in 2009, worldwide sales of chocolate were actually pretty sweet.

Chocolate confectionery sales in China and Ukraine rose 18% and 12%, respectively, in 2009 and are expected to continue to grow through 2013, according to market research firm Mintel. This is interesting, noted Mintel, because these countries are not known for having chocolate-consuming populations. Sales in 2009 were up 5.9% in the UK, 3.2% in Belgium, 2.6% in the United States, and 1.8% in Argentina compared to 2008.

“It’s clear that despite economic trouble this year, the world’s chocolate lovers didn’t deviate from their favorite treat,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. “Chocolate is a small, affordable indulgence for shoppers who are cutting back on spending elsewhere. Even in countries not known for chocolate consumption, sales are on the rise.”

NCFST starts new consortium
The Illinois Institute of Technology’s National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Summit, Ill., invites food packaging and product companies interested in forwarding scientific advances and commercial applications to join its new High Pressure Research Consortium (HPRC).

Work will consist of building on the step-change science and commercial viability of pressure assisted thermal sterilization (PATS) technology. HPRC will focus on the scientific validity and commercial viability of pressure-enhanced sterilization technologies, which will include PATS and other emerging methods that may help solve the challenges of preserving products that require thermal processing.

For more information, contact Armand Paradis, Director of Business Development, at 708-563-8175, or e-mail [email protected]

Dow gift supports MSU packaging center
Michigan State University recently received a gift of more than $120,000 in laboratory equipment from Dow Chemical Co. to assist in establishing a planned Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability on campus.

Researchers with the center will use the equipment, which includes a moving die rheometer, impact testers, a plastic-order, an extrusion plastometer, and a computer imaging microscope, to develop technologies for improving the environmental impact of product packaging and production processes.

The center, initiated with a gift from Coca-Cola Co., will bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines at MSU and in industry to undertake research and education to measure and reduce packaging’s environmental impact.

Nanoparticle combats free radicals
A tiny particle from corn can protect oils in food from oxidation, thus extending its shelf life. Yuan Yao, an assistant professor of food science at Purdue University, modified the phytoglycogen nanoparticle, a starch-like substance, to allow it to attach to oils, emulsifying them and creating a barrier to oxidation.

“This can be widely used in the food industry, cosmetics, and nutritional supplements, any system in which the oxidation of lipids is a concern,” Yao said. “The shelf life of a product can be low and the quality of the food can become bad because of the oxidation of the lipids.

”To make the phytoglycogen nanoparticle act like an emulsifier, Yao modified the surface of it to create phytoglycogen octenyl succinate (PG-OS). Because PG-OS is thicker and denser than some other emulsifiers, it can protect food from oxygen, free radicals, and metal ions. Yao also added ε-polylysine, a food-grade polypeptide, to oil droplets and PG-OS to enhance the oxidation protection properties. This polypeptide is smaller than PG-OS and it fills in the gaps between PG-OS.

Yao has filed a provisional patent application. The study, “Phytoglycogen Octenyl Succinate, an Amphiphilic Carbohydrate Nanoparticle, and ε-Polylysine to Improve Lipid Oxidative Stability of Emulsions,” appeared in the January 13, 2010, issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

What’s new with food companies
• American Ingredients Inc. has received Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification from NSF International for its ingredients facility in Anaheim, Calif.

• Ajinomoto announced plans to develop proprietary fermentation technology for producing cystine and cysteine.

• Beneo-Orafti’s factory in Oreye, Belgium, has received a higher level International Food Standard certification from the Global Food Safety Initiative.

• Robertet Flavors recently completed a 110,000-sq-ft expansion to its headquarters in Piscataway, N.J.; the project increases the company’s flavor manufacturing capabilities.

• Sensient Flavors and Fragrances Group has expanded its global extraction capabilities into a new product portfolio called Sensient Natural Origins™.

• Symrise has acquired flavors and fragrances manufacturer Futura Labs Group.

by Karen Nachay,
Associate Editor
[email protected]