And we also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Liam Fenton from StoneX.
NIZO and consortium partners publish method for enumerating bacterial spores in cocoa powders
Independent food research and knowledge company NIZO has announced the publication of a peer-reviewed paper outlining a practical method for determining bacterial spore concentrations in cocoa powders.
The manuscript includes expert insights on how to interpret the results, in order to assess spoilage risks for heat-treated liquid beverages.
The presence of bacterial spores in cocoa powders is inevitable, due to the natural fermentation process of cocoa beans. These heat-resistant bacterial cells can potentially cause food spoilage when they survive heat treatments and can germinate and grow in the finished product.
Usually, spore concentrations in cocoa powders are low, and spoilage incidents rare. However, a reliable method to determine spore concentrations is needed to properly assess the risk of spoilage for finished heat-treated (e.g. UHT) dairy products containing cocoa powders.
At the same time, results can vary depending on which classical microbiological plating methods are used, making interpretation and reliable risk assessment difficult. Furthermore, cocoa powders pose added challenges compared to other beverage ingredients, due to factors including its antimicrobial effect, poor wettability and dark color.
The research project that led to the enumeration method brought together a pre-competitive industrial consortium including cocoa producing companies Olam Cocoa, Cargill and Barry Callebaut; cocoa buying companies The Coca-Cola Company, FrieslandCampina and Abbott Nutrition; and process technology and packaging company Tetra Pak. The paper has been published in the Journal of Food Protection, and is available via Open Access.
The members of the consortium thus joined forces to define, optimize and agree on one practical and reliable method to enumerate bacterial spores in cocoa powders, that overcomes these challenges.
This method provides an important reference for cocoa producers and buyers worldwide to reach agreement on acceptable specifications of spores in cocoa powders for risk assessment of spoilage of finished products.
Robyn Eijlander, senior project manager microbiology and food safety of NIZO said, “Food waste continues to be a global problem, and is thus a key focal point for NIZO, as well as for the industrial players who took part in this consortium research project.
“Reducing food spoilage is an important pillar in decreasing food waste, and every player in the food production chain needs robust methods to assess the risks. As an independent research and knowledge company, NIZO brought together the different players – producers, buyers and processors – to develop and publish an agreed-upon method. NIZO also provides expert interpretation, consultancy and support for applying this method in practice.”
Kerry publishes ebook to help customers as consumer needs evolve
Kerry, the taste and nutrition company, said it is predicting a rise in demand for functional beverages with two in three consumers influenced by health and wellness when choosing what to eat or drink.
To address a growing need for brands to stand out in the marketplace, Kerry has launched a new eBook that outlines how manufacturers and brand owners can create functional beverages to appeal to consumers in search of premium products.
Global product launches with functional claims grew by 19% between 2014 and 2018 as brands introduced more functional additive ingredients to meet rising consumer demand (Mintel GNPD, 2019). Kerry said this represents an opportunity for brands as consumer demand grows.
Functional beverages were previously associated with sports enthusiasts, but a growing number of lifestyle consumers are also entering the category. These include healthy agers, vegans and vegetarians, and millennial women.
Key functional needs sought by consumers include improved immunity and digestive health, with demand for plant-based products also on the rise.
However, Kerry said, a gap exists between what consumers believe is the functional benefit versus the actual science. Now more than ever, it is important for brands to effectively communicate the advantages of products.
“Healthier food and beverage choices have long been on top of consumer’s mind, but in recent years we have seen a huge increase in interest towards holistic wellbeing. Consumers do not only want to consume beverage products that are lower in sugar, they are actively looking for added health-enhancing ingredients. The Covid-19 pandemic has further increased the importance of this trend,” Janka Reke, strategic marketeer for beverages with Kerry Europe & Russia, said.
“We are also seeing that consumers are putting a growing emphasis on purchasing sustainable products. Almost 2 in 3 of European consumers would like to see companies to take a position on sustainability. For quality products, responsible and sustainable sourcing is key.”
The new eBook guide contains insights on key trends and details on the ingredients that will create premium functional beverages. It includes: Market and consumer trends driving growth; examples of premium beverage innovation across categories; how to address taste and texture challenges; and functional ingredients and solutions across protein, immunity and gut health.
“Lifestyle consumers are looking for quality, backed ingredients that they can trust. They are also looking for products that are living up to their expectations around taste, texture and flavor,” Celia Ridet, senior technologist with Kerry, said.
“A key challenge of creating fortified beverage products is the impact on texture and mouthfeel. Creating a tasty flavor profile and making sure that the off-notes from fortification are balanced out are key for the enjoyment of the product.
“Kerry’s new eBook contains information on key market drivers and powerful functional ingredients to help you create outstanding functional beverages. It will help you discover new trends and technologies that will help your product stand out in the marketplace.”
Casper’s ice cream thrives despite pandemic
Utah-headquartered ice cream company Casper’s Ice Cream has been responding to the coronavirus pandemic that has seen a big surge in demand for ice cream.
The company, which has been in business since 1925, has been working to fulfill increased orders and demand from its more than 10,000 retailers who are selling out of ice cream.
One of the company’s brands, FatBoy, was making more than 500,000 ice cream sandwiches a day prior to the pandemic.
Another of the company’s brands, Jolly Llama, has recently introduced a line of plant-based ice creams. It also produces the Churnbaby premium ice cream brand.