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Wood-derived ingredients could be future of food, researchers say

From FoodBev.com

Manufacturers could soon be using wood-derived polymers such as xylan, fibrillated cellulose and lignin to improve the texture and reduce the energy content of food products, according to Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre. The Espoo-based organisation said that the wood-derived ingredients could be used in yogurts, baked goods such as cakes and muffins, and meat products.

As the food industry searches for new natural ingredients that improve the quality of products and promote consumer health, its research has shown that the polymers have properties that make them stand out from their traditional counterparts.

Xylan, a hemicellulose extracted from birch pulp, could be used as texture enhancer in yogurt: VTT’s studies shown that xylan can improve the smoothness of yogurt and enhance its stability when compared to conventional manufacturing techniques.

Fibrillated cellulose, which is produced by wet-grinding cellulose fibres, forms a web-like gel that could be utilised as a thickening and stabilising agent for fermented dairy products – yogurt included. It may also reduce cholesterol in the human body.

VTT tested lignin in the manufacture of muffins and found that, in addition to giving muffins a fluffier texture, lignin proved to be a surprisingly efficient substitute for whole eggs and egg yolks. Lignin also functioned as an emulsifier in mayonnaise and contributed to juiciness in a meat product, VTT said.

Read the full article here.

This groundbreaking technology will soon let us see exactly what’s in our food

From the Washington Post

Imagine a scanner the size of a grain of rice, built into your phone. You go to the grocery store and point it at something you want to buy. If it’s an apple, the scanner will tell you what variety it is, how much vitamin C it has and how long it has been in cold storage. If it’s a fish, you’ll learn whether it’s really orange roughy or just tilapia being passed off as something more expensive. If it’s a muffin, the device will tell you whether there’s gluten in it.

Although you won’t be able to do it tomorrow, this isn’t some kind of distant Jetsonian vision of the future. I’ve held the rice-size scanner in my hand; it was built for only a few dollars. I’ve seen bigger, more robust versions of the scanner do the things that your smartphone will be able to do, probably during the administration of the president we’re deciding on right now.

Every substance reflects (and absorbs) light in a different way, and the graph of that reflected light is a kind of optical fingerprint. Except it’s better. Although the whorls and lines in our fingertips don’t say anything inherent about their owner (See that swirl? Doesn’t mean you’re smart.), the peaks and valleys of the optical fingerprint do. That peak there is vitamin C. That other one is sugar. This pattern means gluten.

Identifying a food and its characteristics based on the scan is a twofold job: First, you simply match the optical reading to a library of known objects; second, you read the topography of the graph to zero in on specific characteristics. The two together can tell you an awful lot about what you’re scanning.

Read the full article here.

Food processors get a kick start with Food Starter

From Food In Canada

With nearly 20,000 new food products introduced to the market each year, consumers have a lot of choice. Each new product represents countless hours of hard work perfecting the product, conducting market research, meeting regulatory requirements and making critical business decisions.

Food Starter is a new venture that provides a launch pad for the discovery, creation and success of new food products and companies in Toronto.

Launched in 2015, Food Starter is a hands-on incubator program for entrepreneurs who want make a breakthrough in the food market. The 20,000 square foot facility provides access to shared production and packaging facilities, business advisory services and a structured training program to help entrepreneurs build and grow their food processing business.

“Food Starter focuses on helping early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products so they can become successful in the marketplace and create sustainable jobs,” says Dana McCauley, Food Starter Executive Director. “Our programs bring together all the necessary pieces and people to develop a successful, saleable food.”

McCauley and her team provide clients with customized services including essential business skills, access to commercial and industrial equipment and assistance fielding the regulatory landscape.

Read the full article here.

Report Card on Ontario Food and Beverage Processing Industry Innovation Tells the Story

From Newswire.ca

Food and Beverage Ontario has released two reports on innovation in the Ontario food and beverage processing industry. Reports have indicated that there are several value-creating physical and on-line innovation resources available in Ontario to processor businesses across the province but coordination and communication continue to be key to uptake.

Complementary on-line innovation resources are also available and are largely concerned with information on government programs and funding and advisory services for businesses. Report highlights:

  • Processors cite product innovation as their top innovation priority, however they rank innovation technology and methods as the overall industry priority.
  • The greatest challenge limiting a company’s ability to innovate was identified by over 50 per cent of the respondents as financial resources and time.
  • Companies that seek out external support equally prefer both in-person contact and websites.
  • Processors are asking for innovation resources to be better coordinated, easy to navigate and to access.

“We have been working hard for the last year mapping resources and building a provincial innovation network with key stakeholders,” said Norm Beal, CEO, Food and Beverage Ontario. “Now it’s time for FBO to implement a coordinated plan that will make it easy for Ontario’s 3,000 plus processor businesses to locate exactly the innovation support they need to be more competitive.”

Read the full article here.

North America Expected to Have the Highest Food Processing Equipment Market Share by 2020

From Digital Journal

Persistence Market Research Pvt. Ltd is released new forthcoming report on title “Food Processing Equipment Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020”. The report finds that Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets for food processing equipment. The market is driven by increasing demand of processed food products in emerging and developing countries including India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. In Asia Pacific region, China accounts for the largest market in food processing equipment. According to Italian Trade Commission, the total market size of the Indian food processing industry is expected to be reaching around USD 330.0 billion by 2014-15.

In North America region, the U.S. accounts for the largest market in food processing equipment. Growing awareness level regarding new food products, rising economy, investment on research and development over food processing equipment are some of key reason, which drive the food processing market in European region. Global food processing equipment market is expected to grow in single digit growth during forecasted period 2014- 2020.

Learn more about Tri-Mach Group’s sanitary Ever-Kleen® line of processing equipment here.

Read the full article here.

Fewer meat inspectors could lead to more food-borne illnesses: union

From CTV News

The union representing Canada’s meat inspectors says slaughter facilities in Manitoba are severely understaffed and public safety is at risk.

Bob Kingston, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s agriculture union, says slaughterhouses in the province typically operate with one-third fewer inspectors than required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

That will be exacerbated by the federal government’s decision to cut $35 million from the agency’s budget, which will mean 273 fewer inspectors across Canada by 2018, he says.

“Canadians do not trust the food industry to police its own safety practices, yet the government is relying more heavily on food-production companies to self-police,” Kingston said Thursday at a Winnipeg news conference, one of several the union has held across the country recently.

“Without action to address the inspection shortage, it is just a matter of time before the next major food-borne illness outbreak occurs.”

Kingston said the current shortage of federal meat inspectors is so acute, that Manitoba’s plants are borrowing inspectors from other federally licensed facilities to fill in the gaps.

Read the full article here.

The Hottest – and Weirdest – Ingredient Trends at IFT

From FoodNavigator USA

Can the world’s smallest vegetable give other sources of plant protein a run for their money? Will consumers accept ‘synbio’ ingredients, and will the rare sugar allulose be a hit? FoodNavigator-USA hit the show floor at IFT to find out what’s hot, what’s not and what’s next in food formulation.

See the full slideshow here.

Protective Packaging to Combat Food Waste

From Packaging Europe

According to a recent report one third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, costing consumers globally more than £259 billion per year. In addition, around 200,000 tonnes of the 15 million tonnes of food thrown away in the UK every year comes directly from stores. Supermarkets and growers must work much more closely with their suppliers to help tackle the food waste crisis, while ensuring the consumer receives the same quality of packaging.

Innovative packaging

There are a number of ways to effectively reduce food waste through protective packaging improvements. For example, improved design of packaging helps to ensure it is fit for purpose so it adequately protects food products as it moves through the supply chain. This highlights why it is crucial packaging developers understand the distribution process and where and why waste occurs. For example, a one size fits all, multi-purpose packaging solution can help cut the amount of packaging used. By having the ability to hold multiple items, flexible solutions have many benefits including less stockholding for packers.

Damage reduction

Damages lead to increased costs for replacing goods, including manufacturing, shipping, and labour associated with processing the replacement and the claim. When a product has to be replaced and re-distributed, and the original damaged item returned and disposed of, the product’s carbon footprint multiplies. These incidents can also impact a company’s brand reputation.

Therefore, in my opinion, the best form of packaging is easy to transport, move and lift and must be protected against being dropped or crushed. A regular shaped package can be stacked without too much space between each package being wasted and provides stronger support for the product itself. This means more packages can be transported in a container of a lorry. Unusually shaped packages can lead to space being wasted and this can be costly if thousands of the same package are been transported.

Read the full article here.

Quebec veal producer bringing new products to market

From the Montreal Gazette

Pork expert Mario Maillet says pigs are roughly the same size as young calves. So when he took over last year as president of Écolait, Quebec’s largest veal producer, he spearheaded efforts aimed at exploiting calf carcasses more like pigs. The result is Vivo, the company’s new and fast-expanding brand of novel veal cuts and innovative food products.

The first product — veal bacon — was launched in Métro and IGA stores across Quebec in early December. A second product — Black Forest veal ham — is set to hit grocery store shelves later this month. Several more pork-like veal products — all of them low sodium, gluten free and halal quality — are in the works.

According to Maillet, sales of veal bacon are sizzling. That has led to a doubling of production from 500 to 1,000 cases a week. That could triple once the new product begins rolling out in food stores across Ontario and Western Canada later this month.

Écolait also operates a slaughterhouse and processing plant in Terrebonne, a cutting plant in upstate New York, and is strategically allied with Ontario’s Delft Blue Food Innovations. Both Écolait and Delft Blue are part of the Grober Group. Headquartered in Cambridge, Ont., Grober is the largest integrated milk-fed veal business in North America with several divisions that do everything from the manufacture of milk replacer to the raising, processing and marketing of up to 150,000 veal calves a year in Canada and the United States. Écolait slaughters 1,700 mostly bull calves a week at its facilities, about 1,200 of them from Quebec farms.

According to statistics from both the federal government and the veal industry in Ontario and Quebec, which together represent 95 per cent of Canada’s veal market, Quebec accounts for 80 per cent of total national veal production.

Read the full article here.