In a word—Yum!

Delicious Samples Planned for IFT Booth 2801.

Visitors to the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting & Expo this July 16-19 in Chicago will want to pay a daily visit to the American Egg Board’s booth 2801, or risk missing out on some delicious samples—samples that coincidentally highlight the functional properties of egg ingredients.

A Key Lime Cookie Cup topped with marshmallow meringue gives the retro dessert trend a bit of zing. It features an individual tartlet that relies on a traditional sugar cookie formulation for the crust, filled with a citrus key lime curd, topped with a light, airy marshmallow meringue. Within the sugar cookie, eggs contribute to aeration and emulsification, structure, flavor, color and anti-staling. The classic citrus curd, flavored with key lime, relies on whole eggs for thickening, emulsification, richness and flavor. Egg white of course is responsible for the meringue’s light and airy texture via its aeration and foaming properties.

Playful miniature push pops, portable and indulgent, feature layers of a rosemary olive oil pound cake and two mousse components; the first, blood orange and the second a dark chocolate. The pound cake uses liquid whole eggs for aeration, emulsification, structure, flavor, color and anti-staling properties. The mousse layers use both egg yolk and egg white, with the yolk contributing richness, some structure and emulsification while the egg white helps aerate the mousse.

Within the push pop the rosemary pound cake introduces a savory note, with the blood orange mousse adding a slight bitter twist while the dark chocolate helps balance and round out the flavors.

Finally, Dulce de Leche Pudding with Pumpkin Seed Crunch features rich custard flavored with caramel and vanilla bean and topped with a sweet, yet spicy cinnamon-glazed pumpkin seed crunch. The pudding incorporates egg yolk for creaminess and flavor and capitalizes on its emulsifying and thickening properties for proper texture. Egg white helps the cinnamon spice mixture adhere to the pumpkin seeds and aids with crisping and browning for the topping overall.

Each sample plays off of the trend for individual or single-serving size indulgent treats, portable and perfect for snacking. Each also can be easily reproduced in an individual bakery or manufacturing environment. Show attendees are welcome to ask about the formulations used for these samples. We look forward to hearing your reviews! See you in July.

2016-05-23 08:28:18

Breakfast all day, everywhere…and in the grocery aisles

Americans are not just waking up to breakfast, they’re demanding it morning, noon and night. Every format possible is being explored including handheld, breakfast bowls, breakfast burritos and customizable options that aren’t necessarily portable, but fit into the hearty, filling and better-for-you category. Breakfast share is split among multiple outlets as restaurants and quick serve compete with convenience stores and groceries for the breakfast dining dollar. What this does mean though, is there is a piece of the breakfast market available for the savvy marketer who pays attention to the trends and develops a product that meets consumer need.

An article in Convenience Store Decisions last Fall profiled one chains’ breakfast menu and all aspects of breakfast sales are doing well. Breakfast egg and meat sandwiches are “top sellers” however custom-made breakfast plates are also popular. Breakfast bowls are also big sellers, including one that contains a casserole of scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, cheese, onions, peppers and gravy are doing well too. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

As an aside, breakfast bowls might achieve popularity simply based on the container. A recent article in BBC speaks to the surprising psychology that drives consumer purchases or enjoyment of a meal served in a bowl versus the same food served on a plate. This perception might extend to a prepared bowl breakfast in the grocery aisle.

Translating breakfast popularity into grocery store sales is not only possible, it’s already happening. The fastest growing category by far, according to Nielsen’s “Tops of 2015: U.S. Grocery” report was shelf-stable convenience breakfast, with dollar sales up an amazing 40.5 percent.

This could be explained in part, by another statistic. While restaurant sales are brisk for all-day breakfast at certain chains, when eating in transit, a full 63 percent of consumers, according to one poll, say they will grab something from home. This means food manufacturers have an excellent opportunity to create convenient and filling breakfast options for those busy consumers.

When creating a breakfast dish convenience is key, but health and nutrition also are important considerations. Another article in Grocery Headquarters states, “More and more, people are beginning to realize that consuming too much sugar or not enough fiber or protein first thing in the morning can effect how they feel for the rest of the day.”

Breakfast bowls, plates and sandwiches that include REAL eggs can certainly answer the challenge to supply energy and protein in a pleasing yet satiating format for the consumer. Eggs can help create convenient and nutritious meals for breakfast anywhere and anytime.

2016-05-09 13:45:53

Gluten-free going gangbusters

Going gluten-free? You’re not alone. New Mintel research shows that one in four consumers reports they consume gluten-free foods—a 67 percent increase from 2013. This growth comes despite the fact that nearly half or 47 percent of consumers agree that gluten-free diets are a fad.

If glutgengluten-free is a fad, what is the consumer motivation for buying them? Some are following a doctor’s advice to avoid gluten, however 27 percent of the rest report they eat gluten-free foods because they believe these products are better for their health. Whatever their reasons, more than a quarter of consumers, or 26 percent agree that gluten-free foods are worth an added cost and are willing to pay a premium to buy them.

The good news is that consumers say they’re satisfied with available gluten-free options, meaning that formulating has taken a step in the right direction in terms of flavor and mouthfeel. This has led to category sales reaching $11.6 billion in 2015, posting growth of 136 percent from 2013 to 2015. With more than a fourth of gluten-free consumers (27 percent) looking for gluten-free labels on food packaging, gluten-free food sales soared from 2.8 percent of total food sales in 2013 to 6.5 percent in 2015.

And here’s a fact—some of that excellent flavor and mouthfeel, particularly in gluten-free baked goods, can be attributed to egg ingredients. Most further processed egg ingredients are gluten-free. Certainly whole eggs in the shell are naturally free from gluten and many egg ingredients such as liquid whole eggs, egg yolks or egg whites are as well. The same functional properties eggs supply to mainstream food products are even more critical in a gluten-free formulation where product developers must swap out traditional ingredients and even modify processing methods because the nature of gluten-free batters quite different.

Eggs can help supply aeration for lighter, less dense baked goods and coagulation and binding for proper texture and crumb, for example. One whole egg by itself contains high-quality protein and added protein can be an asset in gluten-free baking applications with common gluten-free flour options lacking the protein contained in wheat-based flours. As you enter or continue to develop products that meet this market need, look to egg ingredients to help further category growth by creating great-tasting gluten-free foods.

2016-04-24 08:05:00

Egg breakfasts better at fueling up kids

New research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, published in the Eating Behaviors journal, compared breakfasts to see which kept children feeling full longer—protein-based eggs or grain-based breakfasts including cereal or oatmeal.

The findings showed that eggs provide a more filling breakfast for children than a breakfast of grain-based foods like cereal or oatmeal.

The study included 40 children, ages 8-10 and asked them to eat one of three 350-calorie breakfasts; eggs, cereal or oatmeal; once a week over a three-week period.

The children were to finish the entire breakfast and afterwards played games with the researchers before eating lunch. The children could eat as much or as little lunch as they wanted.

The researchers asked the children during the course of the morning, “How hungry are you?” or about the amount of food the child thought they could eat at that moment. And the children’s parents recorded their daily food intake in a journal.

At the end of three weeks the researchers found that children who ate the egg breakfast (consisting of scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, diced peaches and one percent milk) ate less at lunchtime, reducing their energy intake by about 70 calories, roughly equivalent to a small chocolate chip cookie. Eating more than caloric needs regularly, even by a small amount, adds up over time and can cause weight gain and possibly obesity.

This is the latest of several clinical trials that specifically assess the effects of high-quality protein from eggs on satiety.

It’s easy to create healthy, filling breakfast meals with eggs. Egg ingredients are available in multiple forms, including liquid eggs or as premade scrambles or patties, to help create breakfast bowls, sandwiches or breakfast platters that can heat quickly in a microwave or oven. Ask your egg supplier about the different forms for egg products or contact us for more information to fuel up your breakfast offerings.

2016-04-11 21:47:29

Consumers trade dieting for healthy eating

Remember the psychologist’s stand that Lucy manned in the old Charlie Brown TV specials? When she realized she had a customer, the sign would flip over and suddenly the doctor was “In.”

What’s “In” for consumers is healthy eating while dieting is supposedly a thing of the past. The primary definition of the word “diet” simply refers to the common types of foods eaten by a particular person, group or even species, however many consumers key in to the secondary definition that talks about restricting certain foods. Rather than restrictions consumers today want to focus on the positives of eating right for a healthy lifestyle, according to a report from NPD Group entitled, “Eating Patterns in America.”

The report states the percent of adults looking at calories on food labels has declined, while the number of adults examining content for sugar, fat, sodium and other elements has risen. In addition, in search of purity, consumers want to avoid unnatural elements, like artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and the like.

This begins to sound once again, like a prescription for…eggs. In fact, the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans include eggs in each of the three healthy eating plans it recommends for consumers.

Healthy eating can include eggs for a wide variety of reasons including the fact that one egg contains varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus six grams of high-quality protein. This high-quality protein in eggs can help reduce hunger and facilitate weight loss as well as help with weight maintenance.

And formulators can tap into the more than 20 functional properties egg ingredients can supply to applications from main meals to snacks, baked goods and handheld sandwiches. Healthier eating means healthier ingredients like eggs are “in” and their inclusion on food labels can give formulators an “in” with consumers.

2016-03-28 15:33:08

No disguises

When my kids were little I tried to disguise certain foods at mealtime to try to get them to eat healthier. If you’re a parent, you know there is a certain age when children would be delighted to have cookies three times a day. For a while disguises worked, but then they started asking, “What’s really on my plate?”

Today’s consumer examines the dinner plate as well, or more specifically examines labels to find out what’s in their food before putting it on the plate. Thankfully their goal is to eat healthier, although an occasional cookie won’t go amiss.

And while the concept of “clean label” appeared on the horizon years ago, this is a trend with staying power that continues to refine and redefine the meaning of “clean.”

A recent article in Food Processing magazine quotes one expert as saying that for a growing population of consumers, these new clean label drivers are “must-haves, not nice-to-haves.” Definitions such as “natural” and “fresh” have been joined by “transparent,” “preservative-free” and in fact an entire list of free-from desires or demands. NPD Group predicts this movement will continue to grow in 2016. And this clean label movement is all-inclusive, extending to cookies equally as much as a main meal. For the consumer it doesn’t matter if they’re having a healthy breakfast or an indulgent snack, the ingredients within should be as familiar as those common to their kitchen cupboards or refrigerator.

A retrospective look at the last seven years of new product introduction on the Global New Products Database hosted by Mintel reveals that clean label claims are a hot item. Among the top ten claims for new food introductions in the U.S., the second on the list is for “No Additives/Preservatives,” with “All Natural” coming in fifth.

Formulators who choose to use egg ingredients for new or existing products will find that eggs fit easily into this consumer desire for clean label. Within the top ten claims for new product introductions containing eggs, for the same time period, “No Additives/Preservatives” and “All Natural” also appear in the top ten.

And while one article after another discusses the challenges formulators face when trying to clean up a label yet find the functionality required for proper flavor, form and texture. Once again, egg ingredients come to the rescue, as formulators can leverage the more than 20 functional properties eggs supply.

In addition to center-of-the-plate main meals, clean label rules apply to treats like cookies or cakes that bring a smile to anyone’s face, regardless of age. The nice thing to know is that when eggs are on the label, no disguises are necessary.

2016-03-14 13:57:25

Enjoying food at any age

Last month, we highlighted an article in the Harvard Business Review focusing on clean label and sustainability practices, most particularly as it related to the worldview held by Millennials. Those issues don’t pertain exclusively to Millennials, although that group is more ardently attached to the principals behind clean labels and corporate transparency than other demographic groups.

Amidst all the discussion about clean label, there are other qualities consumers look for in their foods and beverages and this can change according to lifestyle, eating occasion or age.

For example, Dutch scientists from Wageningen University recently conducted an extensive literature study and found that the older adult population constitutes an area ripe for further research. Relatively few studies have been performed to examine the food perception of older adults.

Taste and textural perceptions change as we age, in addition to sense of smell—which has a direct impact on flavor perception. Yet, researchers say, research on product improvements has focused mainly on flavor and ignored the other sensory aspects.

They urge a more holistic approach that takes into account the food’s flavor, but also a broad spectrum of sensory aspects in addition to packaging design, and even the social context in which the food might be eaten.

Other research confirms the facts that “the majority of new products that are introduced are positioned to a younger demographic, or shoppers aged 21 to 49 years.” Whereas the world population from 2000 to 2050 is projected to grow by 54%, the global population of those aged 65 or older will grow at more than four times this rate, according to a study published by the International Union of Food Science and Technology.

What this points out is that amidst the industry’s overall objectives, to make foods healthier, to keep ingredients simple and more natural, there are always going to be market segments that demand specialized attention and depending on their needs and the market potential, are well worth investigating. Giving consumers what they want as well as what they need—whether they’ve identified the need themselves or not—is a tricky balancing act. However what makes it easier is the drawing from the right portfolio of functional, flavorful ingredients like REAL eggs.

For more information about the nutritional requirements of older adults and the relationship to eggs, The Australian Egg Nutrition Council contains a comprehensive position statement for healthcare professionals on this topic. Read the statement here.

2016-02-29 08:33:08

Egg supply rebounding

The U.S. egg supply is rebounding well after a tough six months for the egg industry brought on by an unprecedented outbreak of avian influenza. A number of factors are at play in the supply rebound beyond affected farms beginning to repopulate. Egg imports, fewer exports and unaffected farms increasing production have all contributed to help with the supply gap.

Furthermore, the Egg Industry Center in Ames, Iowa, reports half of the layers lost in 2015 are already replaced, and if recovery continues at the current rate, by late 2016 the flocks should be at or near 100 percent pre-outbreak levels. With egg supply returning to more normal levels, egg prices have responded by dropping during this first quarter of the year.

As the supply of egg products continues to recover, there will be ample availability for use in the food industry. And barring any further incidents, we expect supply and pricing to regain their previous consistency.

And just a note, egg ingredients continue an unbroken record of food safety for the past 45 years. All further processed egg ingredients are pasteurized, and there have been no incidences of foodborne illness attributed to egg ingredients since this safety step was implemented.

We look forward to fielding your inquires about formulating with one incredible ingredient that supplies so many different, beneficial functional properties to so many different types of applications. We offer a number of sample formulations here for appetizers, breakfast sandwiches and main dishes through desserts that might help spark some ideas.

2016-02-15 14:50:47

Good News for an Incredible Ingredient

By now you’ve probably heard the federal government published the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Good news for eggs is good news for consumers and formulators alike. The guidelines removed a daily limit on dietary cholesterol and include eggs in all three of its recommended healthy eating patterns, which have been shown to reduce the risk of major chronic health conditions facing Americans.

The three healthy eating patterns include: the Healthy U.S.-style, the Healthy Mediterranean-style and the Healthy Vegetarian-style.

These healthy eating patterns are part of the Guidelines’ encouragement for Americans to adopt a series of science-based recommendations to improve eating patterns in order to help reduce obesity and help prevent chronic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. 

The federal government updates the Dietary Guidelines every five years. With this latest update, the United States now joins other nations in a consensus opinion on dietary cholesterol by removing this limit, while still emphasizing the fact that a diverse assortment of nutrient-dense foods helps increase the chances of better health.

The Guidelines urge Americans to follow a healthy eating pattern across their lifespan; to focus on variety, nutrient density and amount; to limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake; and to shift to healthier food and beverage choices.

Eggs supply varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs are also one of the few natural foods that are a good source of vitamin D, which was identified by the 2015 DGA as a nutrient of concern for under-consumption and necessary for helping to build strong bones

The removal of a daily dietary cholesterol limit and inclusion of eggs within all recommended healthy eating patterns supports regular consumption of eggs along with other nutrient-rich whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

And egg ingredients supply the same functional benefits today as they did 10, 15 and 20 years ago. In fact, egg ingredients supply 20-plus functional properties, with one or more benefits per use, depending on the application. Formulators seeking to create foods that fit within the three recommended healthy eating patterns, whether U.S.-style, Mediterranean, or Vegetarian, can rely on egg ingredients for form, function and flavor. 

2016-02-01 14:18:48

Harvard Business Review talks clean label

Calling it a “relentless shift to transparency,” an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in the fourth quarter of last year made it clear that clean label is here to stay. Industry trade publications identified this growing trend years ago but it continues to gain momentum in the mainstream and social media.

As slippery and elusive as the term might seem sometimes, the HBR article does a pretty good job of simplifying clean label as:

Having fewer ingredients that are:

—  Clear about their origins and
—  Recognizable

In terms of population segment, 10,000 people are turning 30 every day and that’s roughly the age they start amassing assets as well as deciding how to spend them and spend their time. They look for jobs with companies that have an impressive stance on social and environmental issues, invest in funds that target sustainability outcomes and check product packaging very carefully.

The article spends more time discussing the investment and financial impacts of this shift towards transparency. However at the end the author includes a series of pointed questioned that he says businesses must be ready to answer for the sake of both employees and increasingly inquisitive customers. The first is one every food manufacturer needs to keep top of mind:

—  “What is every ingredient in your product, why is it there and what does it do, exactly?”

There’s no denying that some manufacturers looked at replacement products last year when avian influenza caused a temporary disruption in the supply of eggs. However it is important to remember that REAL egg ingredients are made from…eggs. And appear as “eggs” on the label.

REAL egg ingredients supply more than twenty functional properties that formulators can use to bind, aerate, whip, gel, emulsify and so on. We have reams of information to help explain how those properties work, when the conversation drills deeper into “why is it there,” or “what does it do?” REAL egg ingredients have a distinct purpose and multiple functional benefits established over years of processing and manufacturing. REAL eggs help keep labels short and simple when examined by a consumer’s probing eye.

For other probing questions posed by the author, read the original article here.

2016-01-18 14:59:05