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Don't Abandon "Natural" Too Quickly

Who ever could have imagined the word “natural” could provoke such controversy? A flurry of lawsuits caused many companies to back away from use of the word on product labels. However, the quest for natural hasn’t ceased. In fact, it’s gathering momentum. Research shows consumers want natural, clean label ingredients in their foods and beverages while at the same time demanding authenticity from food manufacturers. 
A national survey released by Consumer Reports in June reveals consumers want natural labels but have a certain level of expectations from the manufacturers in return. A total of 59% of consumers check to see if the products they are buying are “natural.” Among the findings 87% of consumers believe a food with a natural label should not include artificial ingredients. 
 
Fortunately, manufacturers can turn to natural ingredients like REAL eggs. Eggs supply valuable, beneficial functional and nutritional qualities appreciated by formulators and consumers alike.  Eggs are simply listed as “eggs” on the label – a clear choice for manufacturers that want to create clean, natural products. 
 
The ingredients listed on the nutrition deck in the back can boldly declare your product intentions. Discover the benefits REAL eggs can provide for your formulation. 
2014-08-04 13:24:32
 

Eggs in Formulation Create a Sweet Ending for Dessert Category


Dessert. While the vision this word conjures for each individual will differ (chocolate cake? Bread pudding? Éclairs filled with custard?) certain adjectives universally apply, such as rich, luscious or decadent. Regardless of the improved health consciousness among Americans, consumers still enjoy a little tidbit of indulgence and are not ready to give up dessert.



One way to control calories while still enjoying dessert is on-the-go snacking options with single serve portions. Other manufacturers find creating mini-portions of favorite treats will help satisfy a sweet tooth without causing undue guilt. Whatever the method employed, the number of desserts introduced for 2013 which included eggs as ingredients rose sharply compared to previous years dating back to 2008, which measured segments containing dessert type products, as collected by Mintel in the GNPD database. A dessert could include any type of sweet baked goods such as cakes or pastries, cookies or ice cream, included under dairy-based frozen products.

Cakes, Pastries and Sweet Goods as a category, rose an amazing 65 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 figures. Cookie introductions containing egg ingredients went up 27 percent and dairy-based frozen products rose an astounding one hundred twenty-three percent for 2013 compared to product introductions in 2012. The number of “Other Frozen Desserts,” which would fall outside of the dairy category, doubled, with twice the number of new product introductions including eggs for 2013 compared to 2012 according to Mintel data.

The overall category of retail packaged sweet baked snacks and desserts stood at $12.7 billion in 2012 with a slow but steady CAGR of 2.5 percent since 2008.

One way to help continued growth within this category is to provide sweet indulgence with real, natural ingredients that consumers can trust, such as eggs. Egg ingredients help cakes remain moist and egg whites help aeration and rise. In cookies eggs can help bind other ingredients together and of course, the rich, smooth creamy texture of ice cream is due to the yolk. Egg ingredients come in convenient forms from powders to liquid or frozen, to suit any dessert manufacturing facility’s operational needs.

2014-05-19 13:12:31
 

Prepared Meals for 2013 See Egg Usage Increase

Home cooking isn’t necessarily a thing of the past, but with increasingly tighter schedules, many consumers rely on prepared meals, or frozen meals requiring assembly, for some of their daily meal staples. In fact, according to Packaged Facts, in 2013 with growing volume and increased unit prices, retail value “saw its best year of growth since 2009” for ready meals sold in the U.S.


Prepared meals can include trendy breakfast bowls or handheld sandwiches, designed for convenience and portability, or a complete dinner ready to be reheated at home. Mintel GNPD data shows within the Prepared Meals category, the number of new product introductions including eggs took a dramatic leap last year, increasing 85% when comparing 2013 figures to 2012. New product introductions in that category had held steady for almost five years prior to this, however all analysts point to the breakfast segment in particular as a prepared meal phenomenon.  Eggs and egg ingredients supply an affordable, nutrient-rich protein source for bowls; wraps and handheld sandwiches and consumers look for these attributes in the products they buy.

According to Wade Hanson, Technomic Inc., Chicago, as quoted from Food Business News a year ago, “consumers basically say breakfast sandwiches take shape as the perfect breakfast food.” He attributed this attributes such as affordability, portability and the fact sandwiches are easy to eat without making a mess. Other reports indicate consumers are beginning to understand the value of including a high-quality protein in the breakfast meal and eggs offer a protein choice for consumers seeking meatless options that still offer great flavor.

While breakfast sandwiches might have started in foodservice, they now occupy a good portion of the breakfast section in the frozen case. ConAgra stated in an analyst’s call in 2013 that its consumer food segment’s frozen breakfast products have increased around 30% over the last five years. Another major food giant Tyson jumped into the frozen handheld breakfast category late in 2013 and the company has estimated the frozen handheld breakfast category grew by $1 billion in a one-year period.

Egg product suppliers offer multiple options for food manufacturers including dried, liquid, frozen and even precooked eggs in the form of patties, omelets or scrambles. These are quick-frozen to ensure freshness and easily customizable to include herbs, spices or diced vegetables, according to manufacturer specifications.

 

2014-05-05 14:21:08
 

New Bakery Products Using Eggs in 2013 “Rise” in Numbers

Nothing tantalizes the senses quite as much as a freshly baked treat just out of the oven. In-store bakeries on the retail level rely on aroma to draw customers into the department. But whether fresh or packaged, the product’s taste and texture is what brings customers back for more. And eggs supply a critical functional building block that baked goods need to ensure success on multiple sensory and practical levels.


Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) has tracked new product introductions since 2008 that included egg ingredients. The top product categories consistently, year after year, include cakes, pastries and sweet goods followed by cookies—all popular bakery items. In the time period of 2008 through 2013 close to 1,000 new products were introduced in those top two categories alone, and this doesn’t account for the many thousands of bakery products already enjoyed by consumers on a daily basis.

In 2013, the category of Cakes, Pastries & Sweet Goods saw 65 percent more new product introductions using eggs as ingredients compared to 2012, while cookies were bit more conservative, although still a respectable 27 percent increase in new products for that same one year time period.

Multiple reasons account for egg ingredient popularity in these categories. First, eggs aerate baked goods naturally due to their ability to form foam and produce a stable structure when heated. Egg whites can be whipped into foam six to eight times greater in volume than the original ingredient. When whole eggs are whipped and used to aerate baked items, this is generally called leavening.

During baking, egg proteins bond with each other and work with the gluten in the flour to create a protein matrix, which consists of air bubbles known as micelles. The proteins form the walls of these cellular structures, which contribute to product height, volume and stability.

As heat is applied, or as the product bakes, the proteins trap air and moisture within the bubbles and this contributes to the baked goods’ humectancy or moistness—a sign the product is fresh and not stale. This characteristic is useful from cakes to cookies and pastries to pan bread.

An egg wash might help brown bread crust or contribute flavor to specialty breads and rolls. In pastries, eggs help emulsify custards or fillings, to create a rich, smooth and creamy mouthfeel. And for baked goods the need to be frozen and shipped or are sold in the freezer case for consumers to prepare at home, eggs contribute all the functionality already mentioned, in addition to helping retard crystallization. Eggs ensure consumers can enjoy a fresh-baked sensory experience in almost any type of baked product.

2014-04-23 15:40:40
 

Egg White Products

Egg white, also known as albumen, contains 56% of the whole egg’s total protein along with the majority of the egg’s niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium and sulfur. Alone, egg whites are about 88% water and 10% protein. They are virtually free of fat and cholesterol, making them a nutrition powerhouse, as egg white proteins play an important role in the body since they have a high biological value. In recent years, egg whites have been used to increase the protein levels in nutritional bars and sports energy products.


Egg whites also possess important functional properties that assist product developers with formulating all types of foods — from mainstays such as canned chicken noodle soup to on-trend appetizers such as frozen crab rangoon and hand-held stuffed sandwiches. Egg white proteins provide structure and coagulative properties to noodles, which is especially important for cooked noodles held in a liquid or high-moisture frozen medium. Frozen appetizers rely on egg whites to prevent ice crystals from forming. When combined with other ingredients such as water or milk, egg whites create the perfect glaze for sealing breads, rolls and pocket-style sandwiches. The glaze helps prevent the crust from drying out and becoming tough. It creates a desirable transparent shiny surface on breads and rolls and can act as an adhesive for holding topical ingredients such as nuts and seeds.

But what whites are best known for is producing high-volume foams, which serve to leaven soufflés, meringues, angel food cakes, frostings and candies. They also provide leavening to increase volume and lightness in cakes.

Egg white products come frozen, dried and in refrigerated liquid form. Dried egg white products can be spray-dried, pan-dried and instant-dissolving, with each form possessing unique functionalities that make them particularly well suited for specific applications.

2014-03-03 05:00:56
 

Egg Yolk Products

Egg yolks are the yellow portion of a whole egg. They comprise 30% to 33% of the total liquid weight of a whole egg and contain the entire fat content of the egg in a balanced mix of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids with no trans fatty acids. Yolks also contain a little less than half of the protein of the whole egg and a high proportion of vitamins and minerals. Further, the yolk’s lipid profile includes a number of functional and healthful nutrients, including lecithin, choline and carotenoids.

  • The phospholipid lecithin, which acts as an emulsifying agent in foods such as sauces and dressings, can also be used to coat ingredients, aiding in their dispersion in a food matrix. In baked goods, lecithin reduces the rate of moisture loss as well as exerts a tenderizing effect.
  • Choline is an essential nutrient shown to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as contribute to fetal brain development.
  • The xanthophyll carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to contribute to eye health, assisting with preventing macular degeneration that can lead to blindness. The carotenoids make the yolk yellow, providing a rich color to baked goods, sauces and dressings.
  • Egg yolk is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D, a nutrient associated with bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern among the American population.

Egg yolks are available in a wide variety of forms, including dried, frozen and refrigerated for a host of applications. They are a nutrient-dense ingredient that contributes to a clean label.

2014-02-17 12:58:09
 

The New Generation of Heat-and-Eat Meals

Many consumers, who traded down from restaurant meals in favor of retail-prepared foods that require simple heating prior to eating, are predicted to continue the habit even as the country’s financial situation improves. A major influence on this dining shift is the premium positioning of recent retail rollouts, ranging from frozen skillet meal kits to extended-shelf life refrigerated casseroles to microwaveable shelf-stable entrees.


Egg products can contribute to the quality of these meals in terms of functionality and nutrition. After all, eggs provide “20-plus functions,” including aeration, or how eggs lighten up foods; coagulation, or how eggs solidify; crystallization, or how eggs prevent ice crystal development; emulsification, or how eggs improve creaminess; protein, or how eggs are an economical source of high-quality protein; and texture, or how eggs provide structure.

For example, most pasta-based, heat-and-eat entrées contain cooked pasta made with eggs. Egg white proteins provide structure and coagulative properties to noodles, which is especially important for cooked noodles held in a liquid or a high-moisture frozen medium. This is exemplified in the new pasta-based Healthy Choice frozen steaming entrées.

Cooked pasta can also use whole egg products. The egg yolk contains xanthophyll, a carotenoid that has a yellow-orange pigment and gives the yolk its characteristic color. This pigment contributes a rich color to pasta, which is important in frozen entrées such as new Contessa Shrimp Primavera.

An attribute that many of the new generation of heat-and-eat entrées possess is simplicity. This involves ingredient lines with readily recognizable ingredients that a consumer could buy and have at home, such as eggs.

Simplicity is an attempt include the essential ingredients in a food formulation, according to the Natural Marketing Institute, Harleysville, PA., which has identified “pure & simple” as one of the top trends for the new decade. In the heat-and-eat entrée category, simplicity has become the ultimate sophistication.

Egg products are recognized by product developers as bringing more to product formulations with less. “With 20-plus functions, some might say egg products are anything but simple. But the truth is, egg products are uniquely pure and simple,” says Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing, American Egg Board, Park Ridge, IL. “Their inclusion on ingredient statements is simple — egg, egg white or egg yolk — making egg products a natural fit for gourmet heat-and-eat entrée formulations.”

2014-02-03 05:00:18
 

Egg Products: Always a Safe Choice

Food manufacturers can have confidence in the egg product supply, as all further-processed and packaged egg products sold in the United States are pasteurized according to strict standards to ensure their safety. Quality control departments require that each and every egg product meets federal, state and internal safety checks. Eggs products make the grade…always.



The egg product safety record assures food processors of the knowledge that they are using a safe ingredient when including further processed, pasteurized eggs. The nutritional and functional power of eggs is supplied by nature, while the safety record is provided by producers’ hard work and conscientious effort to implement best practices.

Government and private industries work together to achieve this safety record, which conforms to the Egg Products Inspection Act that Congress passed in 1970. The Act requires all egg products distributed for consumption to be pasteurized to destroy Salmonella. Since the Act was passed, there have been no recorded outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pasteurized egg products. This safety record is especially impressive considering that more than 76 billion eggs are consumed annually, with slightly more than 30% in the form of egg products in liquid, frozen or dried form.

The first step in producing an egg product is removal from the shell. This is followed by filtering and cooling to maintain quality while waiting for further processing, which may include the addition of non-egg ingredients, mixing or blending, stabilizing, pasteurizing, cooling, and packaging for freezing or subsequent drying.

“The USDA-approved pasteurization (heat treatment) methods assure food manufacturers that they’re using high-quality, safe egg products. The companies involved in producing egg products conduct thousands of quality assurance tests to be sure harmful bacteria are destroyed during the pasteurization process,” says Dr. Patricia Curtis, Auburn University Professor and Director of the National Egg Processing Center.

FDA regulations require qualifying statements when the terms “no hormones or antibiotics” are declared on labels for eggs. Additionally, no hormones or therapeutic antibiotics are used in the production of eggs for human food. Antibiotics may be used occasionally, but eggs from treated hens are removed from the market for a specified period of time in accordance with applicable regulations.

Although pasteurized refrigerated eggs may have a limited shelf life of a few weeks, both frozen and dried egg products, when properly stored, maintain a stable shelf life for months. It is important that food processors manage incoming raw egg products to keep them safe. For example, frozen egg products should not be allowed to thaw until it is time for immediate use. Refrigerated egg products should always be kept at 40°F or below. Dried egg products should flow freely and not be caked up or hardened, possible signs of degradation. Like all ingredients, further processed egg products should be used well within any expiration dates.

Creating appealing food products with great taste is challenge enough. Exceed your expectations and take the worry about safety out of your formulation concerns with real egg products. For more information about the wide variety of pasteurized, government-inspected, further-processed egg products, contact the American Egg Board, 877/488-6143 or 847/296-7043, or visit www.aeb.org.

2014-01-20 05:00:34
 

Whole Egg Products

From the Nutrition Facts to the ingredient statement, discerning consumers often base purchase decisions on what is included or missing from a food label. Formulating with whole egg products helps keep labels clean and simple, as “whole eggs” or “eggs” on ingredient statements conveys purity and naturalness, as compared to chemical-sounding ingredients. And with 20-plus functionalities, no other single food ingredient can directly replace whole eggs in product formulations.



Whole eggs can provide prepared foods with exceptional richness in terms of color, flavor and texture. They also can assist with emulsifying, stabilizing, increasing volume, improving machineability and more. Plus, whole eggs are considered nutrient dense, as an average Large egg (50 grams) contains 6.25 grams of high-quality, complete protein; 5 grams of fat, the majority of which is unsaturated; and a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including choline, vitamin D, phosphorous, and riboflavin..

To enable ease of distribution, storage and use, the egg products industry offers whole egg products in three basic forms: dried, refrigerated liquid and frozen.

With dried whole eggs, most of the moisture is typically removed through spray drying, providing product developers with a highly concentrated egg product. Sucrose, corn syrup or sodium silicoaluminate are sometimes added as anti-caking agents to assure a free-flowing product. Without these ingredients, the dried whole egg product could harden and solidify, making it difficult to incorporate into food systems. These ingredients also help preserve the whipping properties of dried whole egg. Dried whole eggs have the advantage of long shelflife and stability and are easily mixed with other ingredients.

Refrigerated, liquid whole eggs are the most convenient form of whole egg products. As with all types of egg products, they are pasteurized to maintain safety and quality through shelflife. Quick and easy to use at the commercial level, some liquid products may contain small amounts of other food ingredients in order to maintain product quality and functionality.

Frozen whole eggs can be thawed as needed, and used in a similar manner to refrigerated, liquid eggs. Frozen whole egg products also often contain other ingredients to preserve quality and functionality. For example, sugar, corn syrup, citric acid or salt can be added to prevent gelation during freezing, as gelation leads to an increase in viscosity.

2014-01-07 16:05:29
 

Home Entertaining Innovations

Call it an appetizer, a side dish or simply a snack, gourmet finger foods and premium condiments purchased at the supermarket and consumed at home are one of the hottest trends in prepared foods. This is likely a result of Americans having traded down from gathering with friends at restaurants to home entertaining. In response, retailers are dedicating larger amounts of refrigerated and freezer merchandising space to such products, which range from premium cracker spreads to frozen hors d’oeuvres.


Ethnic seasonings and regional dishes are influencing product development efforts, with many formulators also relying on egg products to ensure quality and premium positioning. For example, gourmet dips and spreads often use egg yolks to achieve a rich and creamy consistency, as egg yolks are a concentrated sources of phospholipids and lipoproteins, which are excellent emulsifiers for stabilizing oil-in-water solutions. Egg yolks also help bind the many flavors, spices and particulates added to dips and spreads, thus preventing separation.

Indeed, many frozen appetizers are fried or baked prior to being packaged, and egg products in the dough help prevent freeze-thaw deterioration. Egg products in batters also help with adhesion, or the binding of the breading to the food. It is the proteins in egg products — specifically in the whites — that assist with adhesion.

With consumers’ increased interest in new flavors and cuisines, premium appetizers are an ideal option for enjoying without over indulging. Egg products can assist with quality, and at the same time keep ingredient statements simple and clean, as if the products were prepared fresh by a chef.

2013-12-23 05:00:07