RSS

New Study, New Recommendations Highlight Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been making headlines as nutritionists tell the general public that consumers need to make a more conscious effort to include it in their diets due to its health benefits.  A recent study led by a researcher from the University of Turku, Finland, and published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that a low vitamin D intake during childhood is associated with a higher risk of sub-clinical atherosclerosis in adulthood. 

Atherosclerosis is caused by cholesterol accumulation in the artery, which can lead to inflammation and blocked arteries. This chronic disease can go undetected and consequently untreated for decades. 

The study involved a large sampling of the population studying health effects of vitamin D over a long period of time. The study was initiated in 1980, when researchers measured the vitamin D levels of more than 2,000 young people in Finland, ages three to 18 years old. The same subjects were examined 27 years later, at ages 30 to 45, to measure carotid intima-thickness. The scientists also took into account other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, physical activity and diet. 

Subjects with vitamin D levels in the lowest quartile in childhood were at significantly higher risk of IMT as adults. Vitamin levels below 43 nmol/L) were at significantly higher risk of IMT as adults. Current U.S. guidelines suggest optimal levels of vitamin D in childhood is 50 nmol/L. 

The study indicated children at high risk of developing vitamin D deficiency as those whose diet is poor in sources of vitamin D as well as children who do not have adequate sunlight exposure. 

Lead author Markus Juonala, professor of internal medicine at the University of Turku said in an interview on the Education News website, “Earlier studies have shown that vitamin D inhibits vascular calcification. It is also a potent immune modulator. There’s a lot of data showing that vitamin D insufficiency is bad for health, “ said Juonala. 

Overall, the authors concluded that low vitamin D levels in childhood were associated with increased carotid IMT in adulthood and further, that this association is independent of conventional cardiovascular risk factors.  The study further states, “Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are highly prevalent among children worldwide.”

The recently released Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report for its 2015 recommendations listed vitamin D, alongside other nutrients, as one that is under-consumed and deemed a “shortfall nutrient.” 
Of these shortfall nutrients, vitamin D was called out as a “nutrient of public health concern” because under consumption has been linked in the scientific literature to adverse health outcomes. 

Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, eggs fall into the category of a naturally occurring source of vitamin D. One large egg, according to USDA, contains 41 IU of vitamin D. 

While functionality and flavor are primary considerations for formulators using eggs in applications the nutrient profile and contribution of individual ingredients can be a concern as well. Particularly when formulators are looking at creating a breakfast sandwich for example, to fit consumer demand for quick and easy handheld meals they can eat on the go, protein choice and nutritional profile become more important. Real eggs are a great choice.  

 


Juonala M, Voipio A, Pahkala K et al. “Childhood 25-OH Vitamin D Levels and Carotid Intima-media Thickness in Adulthood: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study.”  J Clin Endocrinol Metab; February 10, 2015, doi 10.1210/jc.2014-3944. 

 

2015-05-01 19:06:02
 

Finding the “Sweet Spot” with Millennials (and other consumer groups)

As more data comes in about Millennial preferences, one aspect noted by Datassential is that, compared to the rest of the country, the Millennial audience seems characterized by a preference towards sweet flavors. 

In one of its “FoodBytes” reports published last Fall, it found seventeen of the top twenty dishes that skew towards Millennials are beverages and all but one are sweet. 

The difference really is remarkable. For example one dish, a Banana Split Flatbread served at Bonefish Grill appealed to 79 percent of Millennials, but just 29 percent of the total U.S. population, a full 50 percentage-point gap. 

Not that Millennials are the only consumer segment purchasing sweet items. The breakfast circuit also witnessed success with sweeter offerings including cinnamon swirls and cinnamon bread pull-aparts or dishes featuring peaches and sugar.  And close to half of all consumers surveyed said they were likely to purchase a croissant/donut from Dunkin’s. 

Formulators can take advantage of this ‘sweet tooth’ indicator for Millennials and other consumers while playing into the desire for single serve, convenience treats. Baked goods like cinnamon rolls or donuts are popular small indulgences. 

Retail sales bear out the trends seen within the foodservice segment. Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) reports the revamped Hostess Donettes, a mini donut, took second place just behind Little Debbie for the 52-week period ending November 30, 2014. The category leader, McKee Foods Corp., saw its sales increase 13 percent and the overall donut category appeared healthy in 2014, with a sales increase of 10 percent overall. 

General Mills recently rolled out Pillsbury™ Minis, bite-sized bakery treats in resealable packages containing four cinnamon rolls, crumb cakes or a variety of muffins. This roll-out specifically targets the C-store audience. As the company reports from IRI AllScan store data for the latest 52 weeks ending Sept. 7, 2014, breakfast items represent 64 percent of the nearly $2 billion packaged bakery category and grew five percent compared to the previous year. 

In cake donuts whether full-sized or mini, egg yolks add richness and tenderness to the finished product and aid with volume and shelf life. In a mini-muffin or crumb cake bakers can rely on egg ingredients to contribute binding and supply an impressive degree of leavening action. Nothing helps a baking formulation along better than egg ingredients, for appearance, texture and mouthfeel.

2015-04-17 16:30:16
 

Yolks for You: Successful Formulating

While the benefits of whole eggs and egg whites are well-known and celebrated, last fall the consulting and research group Sterling-Rice in Boulder, Colo., named 2014 the “Year of the Yolk” in its annual “Cutting-Edge Dining Trends” report, bringing the yolk into the spotlight.

In January, Restaurant.com predicted eggs would star in dishes in every daypart, not just breakfast, as the number one dining trend for 2014. Aside from being a tasty addition in foodservice establishments to everything from egg salad and omelets to more creative culinary concoctions such as egg topped burgers and pizzas, egg yolks play an important role in food manufacturing.

Salted yolk remains a staple for mayonnaise and salad dressing manufacturers for its emulsification properties, stemming from its composition of low-density lipoproteins. Pasta benefits, too, because egg yolks serve as a natural protein binder for all types of noodles. Plain dried egg yolk contains 30-32 percent protein and liquid/frozen egg yolk protein ranges from 15.3-16.0 percent. This binding capability is particularly useful in par-cooked pasta sold refrigerated under modified packaging conditions, or in prepared foods sold either refrigerated or frozen.

Egg yolks can supply a rich, golden color to pasta and baked goods, help bind, coagulate, act as a humectant to absorb moisture and of course, emulsify. Egg yolk thickens and binds when heated due to the protein denaturation making egg yolks a popular addition in meat and meat substitute patties and hot creamy sauces.

Egg yolks are available in dried, liquid and frozen forms. Typically, further processed frozen egg yolk will be comprised of either 10 percent salt or sugar. This is added to the egg yolk to inhibit gelation and avoid increasing the ingredient’s viscosity. Freezing the egg yolk does not affect their emulsification properties.

An enzyme modified egg yolk possesses high water solubility, enhanced emulsifying properties and has greater heat stability. In addition, the egg yolk features a full complement of impressive nutritional values.

2015-04-02 19:52:27
 

Don’t have this, but DO include that — What Consumers Want to See on Product Labels

A recent talk delivered at Food Labeling: Strategic Regulatory Compliance, early in February, by Shelly McKee, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services for the American Egg Board delved into the terms that help define clean labels for consumers.  Along with listing many ingredients consumers want to avoid (and the ways that egg ingredients can help formulate foods that suit that audience), Dr. McKee discussed the ingredients and types of labels consumers are looking for.

Most manufacturers are aware that consumers look for ingredients that are:

  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easily recognizable
  • Have at home
  • Natural
  • Familiar
  • Simple
  • Real
  • Limited to five ingredients or less

Certain studies get a bit more specific, however, about consumer desires. Consumers want product labels that include:

  • Any nutrition (80 percent)
  • Show the food is a good/excellent source of (vitamins, etc.) 62 percent
  • Foods low in sugar/carbs, salt/sodium 50 percent
  • Contain a full serving fruit or vegetable 48 percent*

In the International Food Information Council (IFIC) “Food Insights” annual survey, 2014 edition, IFIC reported 65 percent of consumers do read the Nutrition Facts panel. While reading, they are looking for ingredients that will boost the levels of certain nutrients in their diet, including:

Ingredients consumers want to increase (or get a certain amount of):

  • Fiber – 53 percent
  • Whole grains – 53 percent
  • Protein – 50 percent
  • Calcium – 36 percent

The Hartman Group published research supporting IFIC findings and relating it to health and wellness as key drivers for consumers, stating:

  • 28 percent seek out foods and beverages that are minimally processed
  • 26 percent look for only ingredients they recognize
  • 25 percent for locally grown food
  • 25 percent looking for foods with the shortest ingredient lists

The big idea here is keep it simple, make it healthy and keep the label short. Use ingredients that can help achieve this objective, including not just the functional side but the nutritional side as well. And don’t forget the golden rule — it needs to taste good too.

This is why ingredients like REAL eggs make such a difference. REAL eggs help keep product labels simple,  and authentic. With all of the functional benefits provided by REAL eggs there is no single substitute that can recreate the functional properties eggs provide and create a gold standard food consumers will enjoy.  This blog and many resources on this website discuss the functional benefits of egg ingredients. For more on the nutritional side, log onto www.eggnutritioncenter.org

*Mintel Nov. 2014 presentation

2015-03-20 01:34:07
 

Consumers Want Their Labels (and Foods) “Free-from”

A recent talk delivered at Food Labeling: Strategic Regulatory Compliance, early in February, by Shelly McKee, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services for the American Egg Board delved into the terms that help define clean labels for consumers. One issue she discussed was the “free-from” movement.

“Free-from” — what does that mean? This is an offshoot of the clean label movement and there are different ingredients that consumers might bundle into this desire.

While one aspect of the free-from movement is looking for products free-from allergenic ingredients, there is good news on that front as it relates to eggs.

The prevalence of food allergies in the U.S. is increasing and no one disputes the serious nature of a foodborne allergy. However, while an average of two percent of the population under age five is allergic to eggs, most children will outgrow their egg allergy by late childhood.

Recent studies find that heat-driven changes in the protein structure of eggs can make them safe for the majority of children with an egg allergy. One study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting in 2012 served participants standard cake/bread recipes that used eggs as ingredients, in a preparation baked at 350° F for 30 minutes. It found that more than half of the children (56 percent) could tolerate the egg baked in the cake or bread product.

Children who can tolerate heated egg products appear to outgrow their allergy to native egg at an accelerated rate compared with patients with an egg allergy who maintain strict avoidance of egg.  The researchers said this evidence of outgrowing a food allergy could lead to these individuals being able to enjoy a much more diverse diet. Those who were diagnosed with an egg allergy before age ten were the most likely to go on to outgrow their allergy. 1, 2

In addition, a high number of consumers are looking for products free from additives. Mintel data tracking shows “no additives” is the top claim on all new products launched globally from 2009 to 2014.

Consumers are looking for the products to be “free-from”:

  • Gluten
  • GMO
  • Highly processed ingredients

This means good news for formulators who use REAL egg ingredients, because eggs fit the free-from scenario in most instances and fit the consumer desire for transparency, clarity, authenticity and familiar, as well as natural.

  • Eggs, in the shell, are not bioengineered engineered3 and can be considered GMO-free4
  • There is no transfer of any transgenic protein or rDNA from commercialized genetically engineered (GE) crops detected in milk, meat or eggs5
  • Scientific studies do not detect any GM DNA in eggs6

 

Eggs also are:

  • Sugar free
  • Generally free from antibiotics
  • Gluten free
  • Easy for consumers to recognize on product labels
  • Highly functional, supplying twenty-plus functional properties to help create proper texture, mouthfeel, taste and appearance

REAL egg ingredients can obviously help formulate for the “free-from” product segment, and with more than twenty functional properties, supply benefits to products from appetizers through dessert. Now that we know what consumers want to avoid, what qualities do consumers want in their foods? Watch for our next blog post as Dr. McKee looks at the ingredients consumers say they like.

 

1. An egg a day to keep allergies away. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/news/New/Pages/AnEggaDaytoKeepAllergiesAway.aspx. Accessed March 3, 2013.

2. Outgrowing Food Allergies — Evidence Shows Multiple Factors Affect Outcome By Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD , Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 15 No. 5 P. 12

3. Check with your egg ingredient supplier about other ingredients that might be added to aid the functional properties of egg ingredients.

4. While eggs are considered free of bioengineering, FDA does not allow eggs to be labeled as GMO-free because there is not a non-GMO egg for comparison.

5. Espanier R., 2013. The fate of transgenic DNA and newly expressed proteins. In G. Flachowsky (ed.) Animal Nutrition with transgenic plants No. 1, p. 112-127. CABI Biotechnology Series, Oxfordshire, UK.

6. Sieradzki et al: Assessing the possibility of genetically modified DNA transfer from GM feed to broiler, laying hen, pig and calf tissues. (2013) Pol. J. of Vet. Sci. 16(3):435-441.

2015-03-05 17:36:30
 

Consumer Labeling and the Evolution of Clean

Are consumers reading labels? Yes they are — according to the International Food Information Council’s annual survey, Food Insight 2014, 65 percent of consumers read the Nutrition Facts Panel, second only to the number of adults that look for the expiration date (66 percent). Their attitudes towards label claims have evolved over the years. A recent talk delivered at Food Labeling: Strategic Regulatory Compliance, early in February, by Shelly McKee, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services for the American Egg Board revealed what attracts consumer buyers and what turns them off.

Food manufacturers need to pay careful attention to what they put on the label, not just due to government oversight, but also to earn and hold onto consumer trust. Only 38 percent of U.S. consumers say they trust what is on the label. (Mintel).

A full 93 percent of consumers prefer to see common names for ingredients on their labels, while 61 percent of consumers believe that a product labeled “all natural” is healthier (Mintel, 2013). This obviously creates a paradox for marketers between a stated consumer desire for natural, versus the threat of a lawsuit based on the amount of current litigation surrounding the term.

What the food manufacturing industry turns to in lieu of natural is a “clean” label, however this is an insider, industry phrase. Consumers call it something else. Regardless of the term and many have emerged — clear, simple, authentic, transparent — several surveys and studies show what the term means to the buying public.

According to a Gallup survey, U.S. adults identify clean labels as having

  • All natural ingredients
  • Recognizable ingredients
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No added sugar
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No MSG

The list of what they don’t want seems to outweigh what they do. There are also surveys that reveal the positive things consumers want on product labels and examples of products that capitalize on these desires. However, the list of “Nos” leads into another subsection of labeling, the “free-from” movement. We’ll examine what that means in our next blog post. 

2015-02-18 17:39:29
 

Incredible Breakfast Trends Regional Flavors are “In”

Your favorite breakfast might depend on your geographic location. Despite the proliferation of chain restaurants and national retail brands for packaged goods, regional preferences and tastes abound and influence our food choices. Three areas of the country in particular have had a strong influence on breakfasts, identified in the latest Incredible Breakfast Trends  report for the first quarter of 2015. 

Trend 1: New York City Melting Pot 

Millions of immigrants entered through the gateway of Ellis Island and while some scattered to other parts of the country, many stayed in New York. The city has remained one comprised of ethnic neighborhoods, each with its own cuisine. 

Breakfasts influenced by ethnic cuisines are arguably the most interesting meals. The 2015 National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey of American Culinary Federation chefs listed ethnic-inspired and traditional ethnic breakfast items as the top two trends respectively in the Breakfast/Brunch category. And ethnic-inspired breakfasts ranked sixteenth overall within the top 20 food trends for 2015. 

Trend 2: Southern Cookin’ 

Chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, grits and ham might be Southern staples, but even those north of the Mason-Dixon line enjoy this fare. The numbers prove it; Datassential shows egg dish ingredients of grits, country ham and biscuits tracking at 213, 162 and 145 percent of the national average, respectively. And in the south, breakfast sandwiches include both ham and biscuits approximately twice as often as the national average. 

Trend 3: California Sunrise 

In addition to its dedication to better-for-you breakfasts, California also favors fusion cuisine, to marry the best of foods and techniques, keeping menus dynamic. Datassential verifies that overall a full 50 percent of Americans are now interested in BFY breakfasts. And the NRA chef survey verifies that fusion cuisine is taking hold of the country at large as California spreads its influence to other states. Chefs ranked ethnic fusion cuisine above authentic ethnic cuisine as the top trend for that category. 

Menu trends do find their way into the retail case when food manufacturers create an adaptation that appeals to consumers who want to control their eating location, occasion and price point. The majority of consumers say their tastes are shaped by their restaurant experiences, however the majority of meals are not eaten inside a restaurant, on the road, at work and at home. (NPD1) 

These trends are becoming reflected in the brigade of breakfast offerings in the retail freezer case. Tyson Day Starts line was comprised initially of seven varieties, among them the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, joined by a bevy of egg/cheese/sausage combinations on a variety of enticing grain-based canvases, from flatbread to biscuits and wraps.  The unique part of this market entry is that it came from a company, whose prepared food offerings account for just 10 percent of its revenue, showcasing the dynamic opportunities that exist for food manufacturers in the prepared food breakfast segment. Tyson said in a recent Bloomberg article that it is examining further options for the breakfast market.2 

The regional taste trends found on restaurant menus prime consumer taste buds to offer food manufacturers greater leeway for experimentation with bold ethnic flavors and tastes. A simple sauce, the right spice combination or even a particular cheese selection can elevate the handheld breakfast sandwich, bowl or prepared meal to a regionally-inspired overnight success.

 

 

1 - https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/the-economy-of-eating-in-america-americans-are-going-out-less-and-getting-more-meals-from-home/

2 - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2015-01-16/bacon-gets-breakfast-competition-from-tyson-chicken-commodities.html

2015-02-18 17:36:27
 

Dried Egg Whites

Egg whites, also called albumen, are increasingly sought out by food formulators who are trying to boost the protein content of all types of foods. This is because egg whites are almost all protein and water. Thus, when dried, egg whites are a concentrated source of high-quality protein.

 
Many food manufacturers find that when a formulation calls for egg white, it is easiest to work with whites that have been already separated from the whole egg and dried into a powder form. With most of the moisture removed, dried egg whites have a long shelf life and are shelf stable. 

Dried egg whites readily reconstitute and easily blend with other dry ingredients. One pound of dried egg white reconstitutes with water to yield 8 pounds of liquid egg whites.

In the United States, dried egg whites are usually produced by spraying atomized liquid egg white into a heated drier chamber. A continuous flow of accelerated heated air removes most of the moisture. The resulting ingredient is referred to as spray-dried egg white, spray-dried egg white solids or spray-dried egg albumen. Egg white can also be dried on trays or pans to create a flake or granular form.

Glucose, a reducing sugar, is removed from egg whites before drying to produce a product with excellent storage stability. Whipping aids such as sodium lauryl sulfate may be added to dried egg white products at less than 0.1% by weight of the liquid prior to drying. The sodium lauryl sulfate functions as an emulsifier and a thickener to help build volume and to stabilize the foam when beating or whipping the end product. 
Dried egg white with sodium lauryl sulfate is often referred to as high-whip dried egg white.

Specifications for any of these forms vary by supplier; however, in general, spray-dried egg white with glucose removed has a moisture content of 8.5%, a protein content of about 82%, and no significant fat or carbohydrates. The rest is water and ash. This product, if kept dry, has almost an infinite shelf life.

Food manufacturers use dried egg whites in a variety of applications including frozen desserts, bakery mixes, meringues, coatings and batters. Recent innovative applications include high-protein snack chips and par-cooked pasta used in heat-and-eat soups and entrees. 

2015-01-19 23:08:50
 

Yolk's on You: Successful Formulating

While the benefits of whole eggs and egg whites are well-known and celebrated, last fall the consulting and research group Sterling-Rice in Boulder, Colo., named 2014 the “Year of the Yolk” in its annual “Cutting-Edge Dining Trends” report, bringing the yolk into the spotlight.

In January Restaurant.com predicted eggs would star in dishes in every daypart, not just breakfast, as the number one dining trend for 2014. Aside from being a tasty addition in foodservice establishments to everything from egg salad and omelets to more creative culinary concoctions such as egg topped burgers and pizzas, egg yolks play an important role in food manufacturing.

Salted yolk remains a staple for mayonnaise and salad dressing manufacturers for its emulsification properties, stemming from its composition of low-density lipoproteins. Pasta benefits, too, because egg yolks serve as a natural protein binder for all types of noodles. Plain dried egg yolk contains 30-32% protein and liquid/frozen egg yolk protein ranges from 15.3-16.0%. This binding capability is particularly useful in par-cooked pasta sold refrigerated under modified packaging conditions, or in prepared foods sold either refrigerated or frozen.

Egg yolks can supply a rich, golden color to pasta and baked goods, help bind, coagulate, act as a humectant to absorb moisture and of course, emulsify. Egg yolk thickens and binds when heated due to the protein denaturation making egg yolks a popular addition in meat and meat substitute patties and hot creamy sauces.

Egg yolks are available in dried, liquid and frozen forms. Typically, further processed frozen egg yolk will be comprised of either 10 percent salt or sugar. This is added to the egg yolk to inhibit gelation and avoid increasing the ingredient’s viscosity. Freezing the egg yolk does not affect their emulsification properties.

An enzyme modified egg yolk possesses high water solubility, enhanced emulsifying properties and has greater heat stability. In addition, the egg yolk features a full complement of impressive nutritional values.

2015-01-07 17:40:31
 

Egg Ingredient Spotlight: Does Clean Label Still Matter?

The short answer is “yes,” however there are different reasons why it still matters and why using REAL Eggs makes sense for formulators.

Despite the flurry of lawsuits over the word “natural” on product labels, consumers are still looking for real and authentic ingredients and fewer of them. Some industry experts are using terms like “transparent” or “transparency,” in terms of desired company values, practices and ingredients. As Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as the dominant market force, their values and purchasing habits become more important. This is a generation interested in authenticity and sustainability, which dovetails with the clean label philosophy

In addition to shorter labels, consumers prefer ingredients similar to those found in a typical kitchen. Egg ingredients, available in dried, liquid or frozen forms, can generally be listed as “eggs” on the label. Most consumers, in fact 94% of them, have shell eggs in the refrigerator at home and are familiar with and enjoy eggs.

Egg ingredients can supply more than 20 different functional properties within formulation, a fact that means a great deal creating a clean label product. When one ingredient can perform multiple functional tasks within formulation this translates into a shorter ingredient deck.

Concerning sustainability, the egg industry recently completed a landmark, 50-year study documenting progress towards an improved environmental footprint. The U.S. population increased 72% over the last 50 years, yet egg farmers increased the hen supply by just 18% to meet this greater demand. Today the industry releases 71% lower greenhouse gas emissions, has reduced water usage by 32% and improved hen feed to deliver a scientifically nutritious diet, while requiring fewer corn and soybean crops.

American farmers supply most of the further processed eggs used in this country, for a reliable domestic source, saving transportation compared to ingredients from overseas. And further processed egg ingredients are pasteurized according to strict standards to ensure their safety. Domestic sourcing, improved sustainability, incredible functionality and a safe track record – REAL Eggs make sense for clean labels.

2014-12-22 21:03:14