Push for healthy foods spurs ingredients boom

Major food companies such as Kraft, Kellogg?s and Heinz are responding to increasing government pressure and the demands of anxiety-stricken consumers concerned about obesity, diabetes and heart disease by producing healthier versions of many of their staple supermarket foods.

The UK-based Food and Drink Federation has committed itself to reducing salt levels. In the US, trans fats must be recorded on all food labels by 2006. Similar initiatives are taking shape in other markets.

It?s a situation that is presenting opportunities for ingredients suppliers to provide fat-, salt- and sugar-reduction solutions with minimal taste compromises.

One company intent on seizing the moment is Irish ingredients supplier Carberry Group. ?We?ve been responding to customer briefs and to the current trend to reduce salt,? said a spokseperson.

?Traditionally, salt replacers have a metallic, bitter taste. We combine ours with a lactic yeast extract that hides the metallic notes. We?re getting salt reduction of up to 54 per cent in a variety of applications such as chilled savoury snacks, pizzas, ready meals and sauces.?

?It is possible to make nutritious, good-tasting food,? noted Ailbhe Fallon of Fallon Currie Consulting, which represents Ajinomoto and Orafti. ?But ingredients suppliers need to better market these ingredients to food companies.?

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