Avalanche studies aid ice cream formulation
Can the technology that avalanche experts use to study snow properties and ice crystals in snow be used by food technologists to improve the texture and appearance of ice cream? Scientists with Nestlé and the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Switzerland are collaborating on research that examines the microscopic ice crystals found in both snow and ice cream with a goal of maintaining ice cream’s original texture and structure for longer periods of time.

SLF scientists analyze how ice crystals form in snow and how this affects its properties for better understanding of how an avalanche forms by using an x-ray tomography machine for long-term observation of tiny particles in a substance at temperatures from -20˚C to 0˚C. Ice crystals alter the texture and structure of ice cream as they grow and change shape, and the ice separates from the ingredients like cream and sugar as the ice cream ages, said Hans Jörg Limbach, a scientist at the Nestlé Research Center.

The Nestlé researchers use the x-ray machine to record the size and shape of the ice crystals and air bubbles in ice cream and have found that as some ice crystals grow in size they fuse together to create larger crystals, which harden or coarsen the texture of the ice cream.

The researchers already know that a number of different factors can trigger the growth of ice crystals, but if they can discover the main factor, they can find a better way to slow it down, reported Cédric Dubois, a scientist at Nestlé The researchers are conducting a follow-up study using higher resolution images to study the microscopic particles in ice cream.

Craft beer sales hop 15% in 2011
Craft brewers report a 13% increase in volume and a 15% increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, which represents a total barrel increase of 1.3 million, according to new research released by the Brewers Association, the trade association representing small and independent brewers.

Sales of craft beers increased from $7.6 billion in 2010 to $8.7 billion in 2011, which represents 9.1% of the $95.5 billion U.S. beer market. In 2010, craft brewers represented 4.97% of volume of the U.S. beer market, and this number increased in 2011 to 5.68% with 11,468,152 barrels produced. This is the first time that the total market volume share for craft beers has surpassed 5%, driven in part by a variety of styles and flavors available and the fact that consumers are developing a taste for these small-batch beers from independent brewers, said Paul Gatza, Director, Brewers Association.

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Tomato fiber has AO effect in chicken
The addition of tomato fiber to cooked chicken products minimized lipid oxidation, and researchers believe that the fiber could be used to extend the shelf life of these products, according to a study in Journal of Food Science.

The researchers analyzed how the addition of tomato fiber, beet root fiber, and inulin affected the color, texture, and lipid oxidation of chopped, cooked chicken products.

While the addition of tomato fiber minimized lipid oxidation the best, it did lead to a red-yellow color development in the meat. The results also showed that the beet root fiber provided an antioxidant effect and a change in color of the meat but the changes were not as intense as the tomato fiber, reported the researchers. The addition of inulin did not provide any antioxidant benefit or alter the color. The three fibers each increased water-holding capacity, but only the addition of tomato fiber reduced cook losses.

The study, “Assessment of Different Dietary Fibers (Tomato Fiber, Beet Root Fiber, and Inulin) for the Manufacture of Chopped Cooked Chicken Products,” appeared in the April 2012 issue of Journal of Food Science.

Cocoa butter structure affects oil migration
The migration of oil between phases in chocolate-enrobed products can cause significant changes in the structure and functionality of a food material. A study published in Journal of Food Science examines oil migration from a cream filling product to cocoa butter using a mass transfer model based on Fickian diffusion and found that the rate of migration of the oil into the cocoa butter was a function of how the cocoa butter was prepared.

The research team from University of Guelph and University of California, Davis, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor spatial and temporal changes of liquid lipid content and a 1.03 T aspect imaging MRI spectrometer to acquire images. Three methods were used to prepare the cocoa butter (static, seeded, and sheared), and the samples were prepared as a two-layer model system of cocoa butter and model cream filling (a 60:40 w/w ratio of peanut oil to interesterified hydrogenated palm oil). The samples were stored at 25˚C for 56 days.

The results showed that liquid oil movement through a solid matrix is not only dependent on the concentration of the particles but also on factors such as the geometry of the dispersed phase and particle shape, size, and distribution, according to the researchers. The sheared sample had the lowest rate of migration constant due to the effect of particle size and distribution on liquid oil diffusivity, they wrote.

The study, “Effect of Cocoa Butter Structure on Oil  Migration,” appeared in the March 2012 issue of Journal of Food Science.

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Locally grown produce gaining in popularity
Locally sourced foods are becoming more popular at grocery stores and restaurants, and 52% of consumers say buying local produce is more important than buying organic produce, according to market research firm Mintel.

Fruit products with a natural/organic claim have declined 58% between 2008 and 2011 while vegetable product launches with that claim have decreased by 77% during the same time period, as stated in research from Mintel’s Global New Product Database.

“Natural and organic produce items aren’t completely passé, but local varieties are steadily gaining ground,” said John N. Frank, Category Manager, CPG food and drink reports at Mintel. “Interestingly enough, senior citizens are even more likely tobelieve that buying local produce is more important than organic.”

ILSI seeks nominees
The International Life Sciences Institute North American Branch is accepting nominations for its 2013 Future Leader Award.

The award is given to nutrition and food scientists proposing research in the areas of experimental nutrition, nutrition and toxicology, and nutrition and food science. The grant will last for a period of two years at a funding level of $15,000. The recipients will be selected in late 2012, with funding to begin by early 2013.

The deadline to submit nominations is June 15, 2012. For more information, contact Courtney Kelly at 202-659-0074 ext. 143 or [email protected], or visit www.ilsi.org.

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What’s new with food companies
Kemin has received Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) for all its food ingredients manufactured at its Belgian facility. Its AssuriTea™ Green green tea extract received GRAS designation for food and beverage applications.

P&G Chemicals’ refined glycerin plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, has received grade A food safety certification from the British Retail Consortium for demonstrated commitment to food safety and quality management.

Rousselot and Jellice have formed a sales and distribution joint venture.

Symrise AG has purchased the Brazilian activities of fragrance manufacturer Belmay, has acquired Trilogy Fragrances, and has formed a strategic partnership with biotech firm Indevex.

Vitiva has agreed to manufacture Naturamed Ltd.’s line of plant-derived extracts and to market the ingredients in the United States and Europe.

Wenger Extrusion Group has acquired Source Technology A/S.

Wilmar International Ltd. has made a major investment in Blue Pacific Flavors. The deal will enable Blue Pacific to expand its global flavor ingredient business and raw materials supply chain.


Karen Nachay,
Associate Editor
[email protected]