Consumers increasingly want to know what’s in their food, whether it be protein, sweeteners, flavors, colors, or GMOs, and where the ingredients come from. They also want products that are perceived to be more natural and wholesome. The food industry has taken notice and is stepping up to the challenge. Here are 10 novel food ingredients—on display at the recent IFT15 food expo in Chicago—that may be part of your favorite food product or drink in the near future.
1. Made from water lentils, a new plant-based protein from Parabel can increase the protein content of beverages, snacks, and bars. The product—a free-flowing powder—contains 65–70 percent high-quality plant protein, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Cultivated in an aquatic farm, the floating plant reproduces on its own, enabling daily harvests and a sustainable source of protein.
2. Allulose, a low-calorie sugar from Tate & Lyle, exists in nature and can be found in small quantities in some fruits and foods, such as figs and raisins. The sweetener is about 70 percent as sweet as sucrose or table sugar, but contains 90 percent fewer calories. It contributes less than 1 calorie per gram and has no effect on blood glucose levels. Food uses range from beverages and candy to cereals and condiments.
3. Pulses or legumes are growing in popularity due to their nutritional punch, avoidance of allergens, and use in vegetarian dishes. At the IFT15 food expo, Ingredion showcased a gluten-free pita made with chickpea flour that was filled with vegan ‘meatballs’ made with faba bean protein and yellow lentil semolina to boost protein content.
4. One of the tiniest organisms on the planet, microalgae are poised to disrupt the food system. Solazyme is using microalgae to produce whole algal flour—a lipid-rich ingredient that can replace or reduce dairy fat, egg yolks and oil in many recipes; whole algal protein—a vegan protein with fiber and micronutrients; and high-stability oils with superior levels of healthy monounsaturated fats.
5. Fresh-cooked meals may not always contain all the nutrients a consumer needs, especially for seniors and those with weakened immune systems or health problems. That’s why Fortified Food Coatings has created delicious restaurant-quality meals for home delivery that feature a thin layer of gelatin enriched with calcium, vitamin D, and collagen peptides (protein) from natural sources for greater nourishment.
6. Native to Southeast Asia, the mankai plant is a source of highly digestible vegetable protein—45 percent on a dry weight basis. Hinoman uses hydroponic technology to grow the microgreen plant, which contains vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Its small size (0.5 mm) allows the whole leaf to be used in multiple foods and beverages, such as pasta, baked goods, smoothies, bars, and snack foods.
7. Two new natural sweeteners made from blends of stevia glycosides from PureCircle USAare designed for use in ready-to-drink tea and dairy applications. The ingredients deliver more upfront sweetness and reduce bitterness. They also enable sugar reduction in products—up to 50 percent in a chocolate mousse and up to 40 percent in a tea drink.
8. Consumers who like their foods hot and spicy are looking beyond traditional peppers like jalapeno to ignite their adventuresome palates. At the IFT15 food expo, Kalsec introduced three new pepper extracts—ghost pepper, pasilla, and cayenne—to meet consumer desire for specialized heat. Other specialty peppers include ancho, guajillo, habanero, poblano, and Szechuan.
9. While sodium consumption has become a concern for policy makers and some consumers, specialty salts are growing in popularity with chefs and foodies. At the IFT15 food expo, Morton Salt sampled an appetizer dusted with salt crystals to add both flavor and crunch.
10. Almonds are moving rapidly beyond their top snack nut status and into packaged foods and drinks. At the IFT15 food expo, Blue Diamond Almonds touted the nutritional benefits of almond flour, noting that a 2-ounce serving provides 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 75 mg of calcium. Three particle sizes of almond flour extend its usage in baked goods, snacks, coatings, soups, and sauces.