A product development resource for formulating foods with nutritionally superior, natural egg ingredients.


Spring Issue 2015

Consumer Labeling and the Evolution of Clean

Clean Label

Clean, clear, authentic and transparent—these all represent industry terms for the trend in product labeling. Essentially, they mean the same thing. In an electronic world, the average consumer can find increasing volumes of information—and misinformation—about the foods and beverages they buy. They’re looking for fewer ingredients on the label and want those ingredients to have common, familiar names that are easy to pronounce.

Evidence shows this trend sweeping through not just the food manufacturing industry, but foodservice as well. A recent National Restaurant Association survey asked 1300 chefs to name the top five culinary “themes” for the upcoming year and most mirrors the same trends in food manufacturing. Chefs polled in the survey said natural ingredients and minimally processed foods comprise the second most important culinary issue they face this year. (The No. 1 culinary issue chefs face this year is environmental sustainability.)

No matter whether they are shopping for prepared, packaged foods or meals prepared by a chef, consumers continue to clamor for clean labels. In packaged food, Mintel research shows 93 percent of consumers prefer to see ingredients with common names on the label and 61 percent believe that a product labeled “all natural” is a healthier product.

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.

McKee said food manufacturers should pay careful attention to the label statement, not just because of 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, 2015).

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).

Marketers, challenged by the narrowing definition of what truly constitutes a “natural” ingredient or product, often use other terms to describe to consumers a product’s content and intention, such as pure and simple.

In order to qualify as a clean label product there are a number of ingredients consumers don’t want to see in products, or the “free-from” movement. One aspect of this movement is the desire for products free-from allergenic ingredients. The following article shares some good news related to eggs in regards to this aspect.

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

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 and can be considered GMO-free

  • There is no transfer of any transgenic protein or rDNA from commercialized genetically engineered (GE) crops detected in milk, meat or eggs
  • Scientific studies do not detect any GM DNA in eggs

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 while aiding with a simple label statement

The big idea is to keep ingredients as simple as possible and the label short. Select ingredients that will help achieve this objective, while contributing true functional benefits to formulation. 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 desserts.

REAL Eggs Provide Real Benefits

MacaronREAL egg products prove their superiority in formulations time and again and by any measure, including function, flavor, nutrition and overall performance. The American Egg Board has published a white paper presenting studies and surveys that highlight egg protein quality and amino acid scores and nutrient density and its relationship to the industry’s sustainability efforts and achievements. Other studies highlight egg performance in various application scenarios, primarily in the baking sector.

When formulators look to create a gold standard product, egg ingredients supply the function, flavor, nutrition and overall performance consumers expect from foods like baked goods, pasta, desserts, confections, ice cream and prepared meals. Egg ingredients supply more than twenty functional properties and perform well under stressful processing conditions such as high temperature and high shear. And, while substitutes often require additional ingredients in order to supply desired performance and functional properties, egg ingredients do not. Using REAL egg ingredients helps provide optimal form and flavor and keeps labels short and clean. To download the paper, click on AEB.org/Real.

Heated Products Reduce Egg Allergic Reaction

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. At the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting in 2012, one study presented discussed the results of an experiment where researchers served standard cake/bread recipes with eggs as ingredients, baked at 350º F for 30 minutes, to study subjects recorded as having an egg allergy. Results showed that more than half of the children (56 percent) could tolerate the egg when baked into 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 outgrow their allergy.1, 2

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, 2015.

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

Egg Ingredient Spotlight: Breakfast Sandwiches, the Perfect Culinary Canvas

SpotlightThe simple sandwich in actuality is a master of disguises. It can represent the flavors of almost any nationality and presents endless delectable possibilities simply by swapping the bread, fillings and spreads. In short, the sandwich represents the perfect blank canvas for flavor experimentation and adventure.

Recently, Emily Munday, Culinologist/Nutritionist with CuliNex, LLC in Seattle, WA, spoke with Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine about an American Egg Board foodservice recipe for Tuscan Garden Breakfast Flatbread. The dish features classic naan topped with a sun-dried tomato pesto, roasted artichokes with applewood smoked bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, baby spinach, a rosemary-infused sour cream, and of course, eggs—in this case, scrambled.

Munday calls it an “upscale breakfast combo” that blends globally influenced savory flavors, such as classic Mediterranean with a California twist. Although upscale and edgy in appearance, manufacturers can recreate almost any foodservice concept in a scaled up version with the right ingredients and processing methods. For this particular sandwich, says Munday, ingredients would switch from fresh shell eggs to frozen or liquid. Other helpful ingredient forms could include IQF herbs, pre-prepared pesto sauce, fire-roasted, preseasoned vegetables and par-baked naan.

The point, says Munday, is that “Food manufacturers who avoid getting bogged down in the mundane can capture a decent share of the breakfast market.” She continued, “Don’t be afraid to experiment with upscale concepts and tailor the individual elements to suit a handheld option. Naan bread might not work for someone to eat on the go, but a calzone, Panini or wrap could transform this into the perfect portable meal a consumer would be happy to pick up from a grocery or convenience store.”

Retail breakfast sandwich sales grew 6.7 percent over a 52-week period from 2013-2014, according to IRI. One of the top ten most successful consumer packaged goods brands of 2013 as named by IRI New Product Pacesetters was Kellogg’s Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches, which posted $77.9 million in sales. One element most successful breakfast sandwiches hold in common? The classic protein provided by REAL eggs.

Not All Proteins are Created Equal

ProteinFormulators and consumers alike are sorting out the facts about different protein types as protein continues to receive mounting media and public attention. It stands to reason—protein impacts overall nutrition and can contribute to every day fitness.

As an ingredient, in addition to nutrition, proteins can impact flavor and supply function. REAL egg ingredients provide formulators with a protein ingredient choice that delivers both excellent flavor and a wide range of functional properties that help improve product texture, form and appearance.

The American Egg Board recently published a white paper that presents some of the research from multiple studies for a more comprehensive look at the nutritional qualities of egg proteins. Amino acid profile and bioavailability are two of the markers used to evaluate protein quality. The paper examines some of the health benefits derived from a high quality protein. It also discusses the practical side of egg proteins as applied to various product categories. Formulators can rely on egg protein functionality and flavor to create gold standard products. For more information or to download the paper, click on AEB.org/Protein


Q&A: Solutions to Commonly Asked Questions

Q. We’re introducing reduced fat versions of some of our more popular products. How do we retain full flavor and the right texture and mouthfeel?

QAA. The skinny on low-fat formulating is that REAL egg ingredients supply beneficial functional properties such as emulsification, aeration and binding among others. These properties help compensate when removing fats from formulation, to maintain product quality, appearance, texture and taste.

Whole eggs are low in saturated fat and contain no trans fats. The type of egg ingredient used in a low-fat application will depend on the functional properties desired. In a low-fat sweet baked good such as a blueberry muffin for example, a formulator could look at a custom blended egg mixture that has a higher percentage of egg white while still including some yolk or whole egg. The more dense the product; the more yolk included. A lighter, more airy product would rely on egg white properties, however in most low-fat applications the yolk plays an essential role in binding to help create a good crumb structure and texture.

Proteins in the white content of egg ingredients provide elasticity during heating to help with baked goods’ rise and structure. Even a low-fat, lower calorie version of a muffin will contain some sugar, and sugar delays the formation of foam from egg proteins, allowing for a higher rise. Heat helps set the proteins for a more stable structure.

Transforming a sauce or mayo into a lower fat version mainly involves an oil substitution. Replacing one type of oil with olive oil for example, introduces more monounsaturated fatty acids, considered a more “healthy” fat. When the oil is substituted, other primary ingredients remain the same for functional and textural purposes, such as the vinegar and eggs. Egg yolk helps emulsify the vinegar with the oil layer in a stable emulsion for good shelf presence and presentation.

Updated Buyers’ Guide

Companies that use REAL eggs appreciate their value as ingredients. The next step is finding the best source for the specific type of egg product required. The American Egg Board has just published an updated version of its Egg Product Buyers’ Guide. The guide includes the latest, most accurate list of U.S. Egg Product Suppliers,* identifies the types of egg products they sell and provides contact information. The term “egg products” refers to processed and convenience forms of eggs for commercial, foodservice and home use. These can be classified as dried, frozen, refrigerated liquid and specialty products. The guide is color coded to help formulators quickly and easily identify the source for the type of egg product required, whether dried, frozen or liquid. In addition to the printed guide, a list also is available at AEB.org/BuyersGuide

*Information contained in this Buyers’ Guide was provided by U.S. egg product suppliers and may not be a complete listing.

Egg Product Innovations

Ham Breakfast Scramble

Hormel Foods, USA pairs together traditional A.M. favorites in a shelf-stable format, introducing Ham Breakfast Scramble as part of its Hormel Compleats Good Mornings brand line. The meal contains scrambled eggs, ham and roasted potatoes and represents an excellent source of protein, providing 21 grams per serving. Microwave heating instructions fit into the breakfast trend for meals eaten away from home at the office or other location. Each meal contains 290 calories.

Chocolate Chili Flavored Cookies

Pepperidge Farm, USA introduces a new flavor to its popular Milano cookie line, bringing “sweet heat” to the shelf-stable cookie aisle. These cookies are said to be the “perfect contrast of rich, luxurious chocolate and spicy chili flavor.” This limited edition product is kosher certified, baked free from artificial flavors or preservatives and retails in a 7-ounce pack. Egg products help bind other ingredients together to create a cohesive dough with good texture. This cookie fits the clean label model for a label claim of no additives/ preservatives.

Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles

MorningStar Farms’ Meal Starters concept fits into the consumer desire for from-scratch cooking feel blended with convenience. Kellogg, USA introduces a vegetarian mixture featuring whole black beans and flavorful southwest spices to help create an entrée or main meal. This option contains 77% less fat than ground beef and contributes just 79 calories per serving. Egg white helps bind other ingredients together and fits into most vegetarian diets.

AEB Update:
Egg Products are Safe

SafeNews outlets have been covering the outbreak of avian influenza (AI) affecting farms and flocks in the United States. The U.S. has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world. It was established to ensure the continued safety of the food supply. Following the detection of AI in flocks in several states, the USDA avian influenza response plans were activated. As part of the existing plans, Federal and State partners, as well as the egg industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks. American egg farmers remain vigilant in order to keep their flocks free from disease and to assure the safety of shell eggs and egg products.

The food safety record for egg products remains unbroken at 40 plus years. Since 1970 when Congress passed the Egg Products Inspection Act, all further processed U.S. egg products distributed for consumption must be pasteurized to eliminate Salmonella. This includes all forms of liquid, frozen and dried ingredients. The institution of mandatory pasteurization has proven very successful, confirmed by the fact there have been no recorded outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pasteurized egg products since its inception. In addition, pasteurization inactivates the AI virus. As a result, food manufacturers and foodservice organizations that use pasteurized egg products can have confidence in their safety.

“The impressive safety record of egg products is due to a very successful collaboration between industry and government,” explains Dr. Patricia Curtis, Auburn University Professor and Director of the National Egg Processing Center. “But it’s an ongoing process that requires repeated quality assurance testing. Heat treatment methods used by egg processors ensure harmful bacteria are destroyed.”

Proper handling, storage and usage of egg products is important and detailed information about this, as well as a list of the most frequently asked questions about avian influenza can be found at www.eggsafety.org

REAL Eggs Making Appearance at IFT15

Can you name each of the 20-plus unique functional benefits REAL eggs supply on a daily basis to food manufacturers around the country? Find the list, taste product samples, pick up our new white papers and learn about the types of further processed egg ingredients available and where to get them.

Visit our booth 2802, July 11-14 at the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting & Food Expo at McCormick Place South in Chicago, Illinois.

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