Analyzing time spent eating
Americans age 15 and older spent about 2.5 hours eating or drinking on an average day, according to a report that analyzes the amount of time that Americans spend on food-related activities.

The researchers with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service collected data on Americans’ time use patterns and eating and said that the information may provide insight into why health outcomes vary over time and across different segments of the population and lead to improved programs and policies aimed at reducing obesity and improving overall nutrition.

Other findings include that 11% of the population spent at least 4.5 hours a day eating or drinking, lower-income Americans (household incomes less than 185% of the poverty level) spent less time eating and drinking than those with higher incomes, and those who ate or drank while watching television had higher-than- average body mass indexes.

The study, “How Much Time Do Americans Spend on Food?” is available at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib86.

Paying more for sustainable food
While more than half (57%) of consumers are willing to pay more for local and sustainable food at restaurants, the majority of them are willing to pay only 1%–5% more, reported market research company Mintel.

Sustainable attributes of restaurant food do not drive consumer decisions to the extent that menu selection, prices, and convenient locations do, but sustainable initiatives can help a restaurant stand apart from others, especially as the “green” movement continues to evolve, said Eric Giandelone, Foodservice Director, Mintel.

Consumers base their decision on where to eat on menu selection (74%), pricing (69%), and convenient location (67%), with only 7% indicating that local/organic ingredients and sustainable ingredients drove their decision.

Reviewing food fraud threat
Deterring food fraud requires efforts from numerous areas, including criminology, the food industry, social anthropology, and political science, according to researchers with Michigan State University.

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They conducted a literature review to provide a reference document that defines food fraud and helps regulators shift focus from intervention to prevention. Their research outlined the history, core public health risk, risk assessment methods, basic application of the criminology and behavioral sciences, core fraud opportunity, and applicable laws and regulations. The overview of this topic provided in the study can help determine the best enforcement tactics and emphasizes the need to support a continued public–private partnership approach, wrote the researchers.

The study, “Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud,” appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Journal of Food Science.

Dairy facility opens at SDSU
Dairy ingredient manufacturers now have a dedicated location to research, develop, and test new dairy-based ingredients and processes at the Institute for Dairy Ingredient Processing.

Located at the Davis Dairy Plant at South Dakota State University, the institute allows manufacturers to conduct scale-up trials without having to shut down an entire production line at their own plants, said Lloyd Metzger, Director, Midwest Dairy Foods Research at the university. Equipment available at the institute includes multi-stage low and high pressure filtration systems, falling film evaporator, two-stage spray dryer with agglomeration capability, and more.

Dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff program, dairy processors, dairy suppliers, alumni and friends of the SDSU Foundation, the State of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University provided funding for the facility.

Cooking temps affect stock
Cooking temperatures may affect the physical and chemical characteristics of chicken stock, and higher cooking temperatures improve consumer liking, according to a study published in Journal of Food Science.

The researchers measured the effects of starting temperatures (22°C, 85°C, and 99°C) and cooking temperatures (85°C and 99°C) of chicken stock on physicochemical and sensory properties like clarity, color, viscosity, protein content, amino acid content, mineral content, and overall liking. The results showed that the protein content and viscosity were significantly higher for stocks cooked at 99°C, but that there was no effect on amino acid content, color, or clarity. There were no significant differences in the measured free amino acids or in total amino acids in the stocks. The calcium concentration in stocks cooked at 99°C was significantly less than stock cooked at 85°C. The stocks cooked at 99°C had higher overall liking scores than stocks cooked at 85°C and commercial samples.

Product developers, culinary scientists, and professional chefs can use the information and analyses presented in the study to optimize stock-based products, wrote the researchers.

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The study, “Effects of Cooking Temperatures on the Physicochemical Properties and Consumer Acceptance of Chicken Stock,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02435.x. 

Frozen food group seeks nominations
The Frozen Food Foundation is accepting nominations for the third annual Frozen Food Foundation Freezing Research Award, which is presented in conjunction with the International Association for Food Protection. The award honors an individual, group, or organization for preeminence in, and outstanding contributions to, the field of research impacting food safety through freezing. The award recipient will receive a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium sponsored by the Frozen Food Foundation. The nomination deadline is Feb. 28, 2012. For more information, visit www.frozenfoodfacts.org or www.foodprotection.org.

Improving chocolate acceptability
Knowing the target market preferences and selecting the appropriate roasting and conching conditions is important when producing dark chocolate from a single origin, reported researchers in a Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture study.

Investigating the effect of two cocoa origins (Ghana and Ecuador) and two processing conditions (roasting time and conching time) on dark chocolate acceptability (color, flavor, odor, and texture), the researchers learned that the differences in acceptability among dark chocolates were related to the differences in flavor acceptability. The results showed that a long roasting time lowered chocolate acceptability in the chocolate samples from Ghana and had no effect on acceptability of the samples from Ecuador.

The study, “Dark Chocolate Acceptability: Influence of Cocoa Origin and Processing Conditions,” appeared online early in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4592. 

What’s new with food companies
ADM has launched its interactive website, NovaSoy.com, which provides information about soy isoflavones.

• The United States Pharmacopeia and Biothera have developed the first monograph for beta-glucan from bakers yeast.

Colloïdes Naturels International and Bio Serae Laboratories have merged to become Nexira.

FMC Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire South Pole Biogroup.

Horn (formerly E.T. Horn) has opened a new corporate facility in La Mirada, Calif.

Kalsec and Omniactive Health Technologies  have formed a strategic partnership to produce, market, and distribute zeaxanthin from paprika globally.

Kemin’s AssuriTEAWellbeing has received GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status for food and beverage applications.

3M has developed a new test to enumerate lactic acid bacteria in food samples through a partnership with Kraft Foods Inc.

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Kraft Foods Inc., which recently announced plans to create two independent companies, has named Irene B. Rosenfeld, currently Chairman and CEO of Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the global snacks company and W. Anthony (Tony) Vernon, currently Executive Vice President and President of Kraft Foods North America, Chief Executive Officer of the North American grocery company. Kraft expects to complete the spin-off by the end of 2012.

National Everclean Services has acquired CNS/FoodSafe.

Red Arrow Products Co. has won the Hormel No. 1 Supplier Award for its continuous improvement, innovation, growth, partnership, and customer service.

Sealed Air’s Diversey business and GE have formed an alliance to deliver water and energy management services to Diversey’s cleaning and sanitation customers.

Solazyme Roquette Nutritional will begin producing its microalgae-derived ingredient at Roquette’s commercial production plant in Lestrem, France.

VION Food Group and NIZO Food Research will collaborate to develop naturally derived protein-based ingredients to replace fats in their products.

Wixon has received Global Food Safety Initiative certification Food Safety System Certification 22000:2010.

Z Trim Holdings and Aveka Nutra Processing have signed a manufacturing contract.


Karen Nachay, Associate Editor
[email protected]