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    FW: Nutritious Foods for Kids Competition - University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

    FW: Nutritious Foods for Kids Competition - University of Arkansas

    FW: Product Development Team Finalist-Cornell

    FW: IFTSA Closing Ceremony & 28th Annual College Bowl Competition

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Let’s Celebrate IFT

Many exhibiting companies use the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo as a springboard to promote a special event that is being celebrated by that company.  This event might be an anniversary, an acquisition, a new initiative or program, a culinary demonstration, or even a results study.

From the company’s perspective, IFT becomes an opportunity to share this event with the attendees.  And from the attendees’ view, they get to help celebrate the event, learn more about the company, and possibly acquire some knowledge that can be put to valuable use in their work.  In any case, these mini-events create a celebratory atmosphere at IFT and promote closer relationships between the exhibitor and the attendee.

Here are some examples of special events to watch out for:

  • Kermin Food Technologies, Booth 7017, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Join the company at its booth on Monday, June 13, at 3:30 p.m. for some festivities,  including an unveiling of new products — an antimicrobial for Listeria control I deli meats; water- and oil- soluble antioxidants and extracts; and a Fortium liquid antioxidant for color stability.
  • The combined resources of Corn Products and Natural Starch are demonstrated at Booth 6839.  At the candy counter, for example, a wide range of prototype treats, including mints, chews, chocolates, gummies and more, balance sweetness with caloric content, add nutrition, optimize texture and develop appealing taste profiles.  The booth is also showcasing strategies (texture, sweetening, ingredient replacement and nutritional enhancement) for dairy, sweet and savory, and bakery products.
  • An educational resource (Functional.Egg.org), launched by American Egg Board, Booth 5600, contains six 10-minute educational videos that focus on the multifunctional benefits of egg products.  Viewers can watch the videos or sign up to test their Egg-Q through a series of quizzes.  And even better yet, viewers can receive a certificate for continuing educational credit.  At Special Events Pavilion (Booth 8153), Cargill provides a presentation, “Great Science Meets Great Taste: A Revolutionary New Approach for Formulating Great-Tasting, Reduced-Calorie Beverages” on Monday, June 13, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.  Using “tribology” (the science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion), the company developed TastewiseTM reduced-calorie solutions that optimize the balance between taste and mouthfeel in beverages.  At Cargill, Booth 6039, attendees are able to take the TasteWise challenge to see if they can tell which lemon-lime soda is zero-calorie.
  • Almond demonstrations are conducted by Research Chef John Czukor at Almond Board of California, Booth 5229.  Attendees can see and sample innovative yet practical almond recipe concepts within the chocolate, snaking, bakery and cereal categories.
  • A “Happy Hour” — Sunday and Monday, from 2 – 4 p.m., at Symrise, Booth 5016 — features Mixologist Junior Merino, who concocts special cocktails, the kind of creations that have crowned him as ” the liquid chef.”  Visitors can also meet Chef Adolfo Garcia, trendsetter and owner of Gusto, a Mano, La Bocha and Rio Mar in New Orleans.  Chef Garcia demonstrates novel culinary creations for 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Sunday and from 11:30 to 1 p.m. on Monday.

How do events such as these affect your needs when product formulating?  As you think about your answer, see you at the party!

Understanding MyPlate

Today’s post is from special contributor, Dr. Robert Post, Deputy Director, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Empowering people with actionable guidance on nutrition is one way to help reduce the alarming trends for obesity and chronic illnesses.  On June 2, 2011 the USDA released the new MyPlate food icon and supporting communications initiative.  The MyPlate icon is a familiar symbol for mealtimes that is a simple  visual reminder for consumers to build a healthy meal among the food groups and encourages consumers to seek more information on how to do that by visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov.  MyPlate and its accompanying nutrition messages reflect the recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).  The Guidelines focus on balancing calories with physical activity and encourage Americans to consume more nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) will lead a multi-modal campaign among public and private sector partners to spread the DGA consumer themes and nutrition messages.  Between September 2011 and December 2013 a series of “how tos,” action prompting messages, and educational materials will be used to promote each message at www.chooseMyPlate.gov.  Communication themes include: Foods to Increase, Foods to Decrease, Balancing Calories, and Be Active Your Way.  There will be messages for each theme and the initiative will start with the message “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.” In addition, the USDA is encouraging consumers to share what their plate looks like by taking photos and posting them on Twitter with the hash-tag #MyPlate.  Consumers can also upload photos of their plate on the USDA Flickr Photo Group.

With useful resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly education information, ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information for individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children.  These resources and tools can empower parents and kids  to build a healthier diet.

Overcoming health and nutrition issues requires great teamwork of partners at all levels.  In order to help reduce obesity and build a successful communications campaign, the USDA has launched a new partnership program called the Nutrition Communicators Network.  The program is free of charge and has two partner categories—Community Partners and National Strategic Partners.  Examples of Community Partners include educators, schools, community programs, doctors offices, and authors while National Strategic Partners include large, national organizations such as food manufacturers, media outlets, grocery retailers, or restaurant chains.

I will speak about this and much more at IFT’s Annual Meeting & Food Expo.  Join me at the IFT symposium Changing the Food Environment: What Are We Doing to Implement the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? on June 13th to learn more about the MyPlate icon, long-term communication plans, and MyPlate partnership opportunities.  We will also have booth (#7854) at the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo and encourage you to stop by while you are in the exhibit hall.

Getting Serious About Sustainability

“In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal,” posits a headline for an article on climate change that appears in the June 6, 2011, issue of Newsweek. Whether or not you believe that carbon emissions are contributing to global warming and the resulting weather issues that have made headlines in recent months, it’s clear that the topic of protecting our planet merits some serious consideration.

As Newsweek science writer Sharon Begley points out in the article, “Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage.”

In that context, sessions in the sustainability track of the 2011 IFT Annual Meeting’s Scientific Program certainly seem more relevant than ever. This track will showcase efforts of food companies, academia, and government to create a more sustainable food supply. The science to support efforts in food sufficiency; sustainable product development and packaging; ingredient sourcing and food production; waste management; and the business case for environmental sustainability will be addressed. Here’s a preview of what is planned.

  • Session 008 from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, is titled “Fundamentals of Sustainability for the Food Industry.” It will provide early risers with insights into the basic concepts of sustainability as they relate to the food industry.
  • Session 124 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday, June 13, will also focus on some of the basic elements of this complex topic. Its title—“What Does Sustainability Mean to the Food Industry? Part 1: Defining Sustainability”—provides a concise description of the session content. Those weighing in on the topic will represent some powerful industry players—Mars, Wal-mart, and the International Food Information Council.
  •  Session 142 from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Monday, June 13, will continue the discussion begun earlier that morning. Titled “What Does Sustainability Mean to the Food Industry? Part 2: Industry Case Studies,” the session will feature presenters from more high-profile companies—Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.
  • Session 026 on Sunday, June 12, from 10:30 a.m. to noon is titled “Greening of Food Processing and Packaging Technologies” and will feature speakers from industry, academia, and government. It will explore issues including climate science, energy management in food processing, and enhancing brand value via a sustainability program.
  • Session 079 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, will bring issues of health, wellness, and nutrition into the sustainability discussion. The session is titled “Sustainable Food Systems: Nutrition and the Environment.”
  • Session 186, “Greening of the Restaurant,” from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, June 13, will analyze the restaurant industry’s path to environmental responsibility.
  • In Session 230 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14, representatives from companies that earned 2010 Beverage Innovation Awards will discuss their respective paths to sustainability. The session is titled “Sustainability: How Beverage Innovation Award Winners Did It.”
  • In Session 259, “How Can Food Scientists Contribute to the Reduction of Food Losses to Support Food Security Efforts Worldwide?,” the roster of speakers will include World Food Prize winner Phil Nelson. The session will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 14.
  • Session 278, “Advances in Food Processing and Sustainability,” which takes place from 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, will be built around the goal of sharing new perspectives on sustainable food processing issues, including a special focus on sustainability assessment in a food plant.

As even a quick glance at this list of sessions makes clear, the conversation about sustainability can cover a lot of ground. What aspects of sustainability do you find most relevant and compelling? What sustainability issues and agendas are on the front burner at your company?

Serving Up Healthy Menu Options at IFT 11

Consumers visiting some of their favorite restaurants will soon see more than just the daily special on the menu. Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calories to menus and menu boards and provide additional nutrition information upon request. The National Restaurant Association and market research firms have noted that consumers want more transparency about the food they purchase at restaurants and demand more healthful options. So how can the food industry work with the restaurants to supply healthier foods and ingredients? Join a panel of experts at scientific session 121, “What’s on the Menu? The New Federal Menu Labeling Law—Challenges and Opportunities,” (Monday, June 13, 8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.), during the 2011 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, June 11–14, New Orleans, La, to learn more about trends in the foodservice industry and how ingredient suppliers and chefs are working to increase fruit and vegetable offerings and reduce calories and added sodium and sugar.

Chefs and product developers working in the foodservice industry will find a variety of ingredients to help them improve the nutritional profile of foods and beverages at the IFT Food Expo. There are ingredients to help reduce sodium in soups, breads and breading used on chicken and fish but still maintain functionality and flavor. New oils that have zero grams of trans fat or less saturated fat are available, and some of these oils have high oleic contents and healthy blends of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fiber and whole grains can be added to breads and pastas. Certain dairy-based ingredients can increase the protein content of certain beverages like smoothies. Many different sweeteners are available to help reduce added sugar in foods and beverages. The oils and other nutrients found in nuts and seeds provide added health benefits when used as toppings or inclusions.

What healthy or better-for-you menu items have you noticed at your favorite restaurant and how do they taste? If you are a chef, what have you done to improve the nutritional quality of restaurant food?

The Beacon Lecturers

New this year at the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo is the Beacon Lecturer series. Two sessions will be led by two prestigious individuals who use their extensive experience and knowledge to dispense provocative opinions and cutting-edge strategies in the fields of science and technology. The two presenters for the Beacon Lecture Series are Patrick Wall and Regina M. Benjamin.

Patrick Wall is world-renowned for his contributions to consumer protection and food safety.

He is an associate professor at the University College Dublin’s School of Public Health and Population Sciences. In addition to his professorial duties, Dr. Wall is the leader of a significant research project on the best approaches to risk and benefit communication within the European Union. Also, he is chairman of the Advisory Body for the Delivery of Official Controls at the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency and is trained as both a veterinary surgeon and a medical doctor. Dr. Wall’s research covers foodborne illnesses and other diseases related to consumer behavior or lifestyle choices.

In response to the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad-cow disease), Dr. Wall was instrumental in the establishment of a science-based consumer protection agency, the Irish Food Safety Authority. The agency’s purpose was to strengthen regulators’ ability to monitor the food chain as well as to restore consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply. He later served as chairman of the management board of the European Food Safety Authority. Also, Dr. Wall was one of the non-Chinese nationals appointed to the committee overseeing food safety at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Regina M. Benjamin is the Surgeon General of the United States. In this capacity she provides science-based wisdom on the best ways to improve the health of U.S. citizens and directs 6,500 uniformed health officers serving in global locations, working to accomplish the same.

Prior to accepting her current post, Dr. Benjamin was an associate dean at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. She founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in 1990 to provide much-needed medical services to an underserved rural fishing village and was the first physician under the age of 40 to be elected to the board of trustees of the American Medical Association. In 2002 she was appointed president of the State of Alabama Medical Association, making her the first black female president of a state medical society in the United States.

Dr. Benjamin has frequently referred to the preventable illnesses that have plagued her family, including the death of her father from complications due to diabetes and high blood pressure. “I cannot change my family’s past, but I can be a voice to improve our nation’s health for the future,” she has said. Dr. Benjamin has thus placed great emphasis on the importance of healthy dietary options as the solution to health problems linked to poor diets and overconsumption.

Both speakers will offer different perspectives on food and health, perhaps contradicting the opinions and philosophies of food scientists and technologists. Opposing viewpoints are part of what makes these lectures alluring and provocative.

Tell us: Do you plan to attend the Beacon Lecture series? Do views that differ from those of your own cause you to question the usefulness of food science and technology or do you firmly believe that food science and technology have a place at each family’s dinner table?

Students Prepare To Network In The Big Easy

IFT Fun Run 2010

IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo 2010 attendees participating in the Fun Run.

I know what you are thinking…waking up super early to go for a run in New Orleans heat and humidity sounds like the last thing you want to do, right?  Well, believe it or not, the Fun Run, sponsored by the IFT Student Association and Feed Tomorrow foundation, is actually really fun.  Not only do the proceeds from this 5K run/walk go to undergraduate and graduate scholarships, but it offers a chance to get together with fellow students, new professionals, exhibitors and food industry experts of all ages.  And if you can’t bond through a friendly competition and desire for water and air conditioning, when can you bond?

You can register online for 5K/3.1 mile run/walk until Friday, June 3.  The 11th Annual Fun Run will take place at Audobon Park and kicks off at 6:15 a.m. on Monday, June 13.  Oh, and did I forget to mention that you get a free race t-shirt if you participate?  In addition, custom plaques will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place men’s and women’s 5K winners.  Collect Fun Run pledges from your peers, and you could qualify as the “Top Fundraiser” and win a Canon PowerShot digital camera, perfect for snapping pics of everyone you meet at this year’s meeting.

However, I understand if sweating is not your thing.  Thankfully, the 2011 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo offers students many other events–social and educational–to get involved with your peers.  These events not only help you network with industry professionals, but they also provide ways to advance your professional and technical skills.  Here’s a look at some of what is planned for this year.

  • Booth and Student Lounge: The IFTSA booth will be located in the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Lobby H.  Be sure to stop by, hang out, and pick up your schedule of student events.  The student lounge will also be located in Morial Convention Center, room 281.  This is a great place to meet, mingle and lounge.
  • Mixer and Chapter of the Year Display: Plan on attending the Mixer, to be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 13 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in Grand Ballroom AB.  Meet and mingle with other students and professionals while viewing the Chapter of the Year displays and enjoying refreshments.
  • Welcome Assembly and College Bowl Competition: Join your fellow students on Monday evening, immediately following the Student Association Mixer at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside for the presentation of the Chapter of the Year Competitions, Fun Run, and Excellence in Leadership awards.  Afterwards, the finals of the 26th Annual Intercollegiate Food Science and Technology College Bowl Competition will take place.  The College Bowl facilitates interaction among students with different universities, encourages the accumulation and retention of knowledge, and…it’s fun!
  • Undergraduate Research Paper Competition: If you have been participating in an independent research project, the Undergraduate Research Competition is for you.  The competition is open to any IFTSA undergraduate member who has participated in original research, and who has not graduated by July 1, 2010.  The competition will feature both an oral and poster component.  These hybrid finals will take place on Sunday, June 12, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. in Morial Convention Center, room 388.
  • Professional Development Oral Sessions: These sessions are designed to give students experience presenting orally, as well as feedback to refine their presentation skills.  Selected students will have the opportunity to to present their research on Sunday and Monday afternoon, from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. , and selected professionals will act as judges and provide written feedback to the presenters.
  • Product Development Competitions: Always a highlight of the Student Association year and Annual Meeting, there are three product development/process competitions taking place this year.  The Product Development Competition, sponsored by Mars, showcases the food scientists of tomorrow and their ability to apply the knowledge and skills learned in school to a real-world situation.  Product development teams from participating universities each conceptualize a new food idea, then work to see that idea through the stages of production and marketing.  In the Disney-IFTSA Product Development Competition, the IFTSA and Disney Consumer Products, Inc. have challenged student members of the IFT to address and important wellness need by creating healthy snacks for kids.  The competition goal is to create a market-relevant, nutritious and delicious snack applicable to a retail food or beverage item that integrates a fruit or vegetable in a product targeted to children under the age of 12.  Now in its third year, the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries competition requires student teams to use scientific skills and innovative thinking to create products and/or processes that can improve the quality of life for people in developing nations.  In the 2011 challenge, student teams were asked to “utilize food science and technology to address the issue of iron deficiency in developing countries.”
  • End-of-the-Meeting Networking Reception: To end the meeting with a bang, students will be gathered at the IFTSA Networking Reception at Maison on June 14 from 7 – 10 p.m.  It will be an informal event that brings students together to network and…ahem…party!

Consumer Preferences for ‘Fresh’ Drive High-Pressure Processing

Ifantis Turkey with HPP technologyConsumer preferences for “fresh” and preservative-free products and retailers’ desires for longer shelf are driving the double-digit global growth of food volumes undergoing high-pressure processing (HPP). From its beginnings in chilled guacamole, HPP has expanded into multiple food & beverage categories, including ready-to-eat and raw meats, wet salads, juices, cheese products, and dips.

If you want to get up to speed on the state-of-the-science on high pressure processing and its application, the 2011 IFT Annual Meeting & Foods Expo® in New Orleans is a great place to start. At IFT11, several scientific sessions will explore high-pressure processing and other emerging technologies. On Tuesday afternoon, session 269 will explore novel applications of high pressure for conversion and preservation of food compounds. The presenters will address process efficiency as a function of pressure, temperature, time, and product properties and the impact on scalability, safety, and quality. Topics to be covered include low-moisture foods (e.g., powders), enzyme conversion, biochemical reactions in foods, and proteins and food structure.

Session 249 on Tuesday morning will highlight process uniformity during high pressure pasteurization and sterilization. Participants will learn the impact of physical-thermal properties of food material in controlling thermal non-uniformity during pressure treatment as well as gain an understanding of the use of mathematical models in identification of the least-treated zone within a pressure vessel and process optimization.

In addition to the symposia, several posters sessions will reveal the latest research on HPP and various food constituents. This research runs the gamut from HPP effects on antioxidant characteristics of persimmon fruit; high pressure processing of wet-pack fruits; combined pressure-temperature effects on carotenoid retention and bioavailability in tomato juice; and high pressure processing on rheology of egg and egg components to structural changes of Streptococcus thermophilus peptidases subjected to HPP; the effect of pulsed UV light, high hydrostatic pressure, and nonthermal plasma on the potency of major wheat allergens; and potential use of high hydrostatic pressure combined with cold as a quarantine treatment for the Mexican fruit fly.

Is HPP in your future?

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