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Ingredient innovation winners from Fi Europe 2022

A cohort of new food technologies, highly functional health ingredients, emergent sensory sciences and unique manufacturing processes were recognised at the Fi Innovation Awards, hosted in Paris last week, as part of the giant ingredients expo, Fi Europe 2022 (FiE). 

Gerkens Sweety cocoa powders.

Sensory Innovation Award

Based on years of R&D work, sensory data and insights, Cargill’s new brand of Gerkens Sweety cocoa powders were awarded the Sensory Innovation Award.

“We are able to reduce sugar with 30% in the final application, which is cocoa beverages, in a natural way using our specialty cocoa powders,” said Ellie Nikolova, commercial marketing manager at Gerkens.

The Sweety Range consists of two Gerkens cocoa powders that are low in bitterness, while still maintaining a “strong well-balanced chocolatey taste” with a strong sweet perception by consumers, hence less sugar is needed in the final application. 

Another finalist in this category was Senson Umami Liquid Bean – based on gut-friendly, neutral tasting germinated fava beans – which offer a “significant amount” of soluble simple amino acids, delivering full bodied meat-like flavours and boosting flavours of the other ingredients. It is naturally brewed using only germinated fava beans and water.

The category also featured MycoTechnology’s ClearIQ Flavor, a clean-label bitter-blocker and flavour-clarifier based on a natural extract from the liquid fermentation of the Cordyceps sinensis mushroom.

Also featured was Savour Flex, a toolbox designed to elevate low-fat snacks by modifying the sensations attributed to fat and oils in the mouth, triggering specific receptors and providing a full-bodied taste.

Another runner up was ADM’s proprietary PearlEdge White Color Solutions, which are derived from natural sources, including native corn starch. The titanium dioxide alternative delivers brilliant, stable and uniform white colouring for a variety of food and beverage applications.

Plant-based innovation

In the category of Plant-Based Innovation, Bunge was recognised for its PurePro pea and faba proteins, which are proprietarily produced and designed to taste authentic, slice efficiently and deliver melt, mouthfeel and gooeyness properties in a grilled cheese application.

“At 2 g per serving, our ingredient is designed for its ability to enhance melt and texture to create a beautiful vegan cheese,” said Mark Stavro, senior director global marketing and product management at Bunge.

Relative to dairy cheese, vegan cheeses have very low protein (0 g per serving versus 6 g per serving), poor melt and poor performance in grilled cheese applications, the company says.

Other finalists in this category included Chondrus150 S, a mixture of a native starch and a wild alga (Chondrus crispus) with nutritional (supply of fibres, iodine and trace elements) and functional (texturising power) properties. It is recommended for savoury or sweet vegetable preparations.

The category also recognised Plantéria, a group of GRAS-certified organic compounds derived from berries and citrus that provides a multi-hurdle antimicrobial and antioxidant protection in a variety of prepared plant-based foods.

Foodiq’s Fabea+ tasteless protein powder-form ingredient was also in the spotlight for its versatility in taking any shape or flavour desired. Fabea’s protein and fibre comes from Finnish fava beans that are put through a fermentation process.

Another runner up in the category was Limagrain Ingredients’ Pep’s Balls, which are clean label, ball-shaped protein pieces designed to boost the nutritional profile of products such as bread, pastries, cereal bars and meat replacement products.

Sweegen on the show floor at FiE 2022.

Food Tech Innovation Award

Meanwhile, stevia specialist Sweegen nabbed the Food Tech Innovation Award for its novel bioconversion process for the production of Bestevia Rebaudioside M (Reb M).Sweegen on the show floor at FiE 2022.

Making low and zero sugar products and securing an ideal taste and consumer experience has been a major challenge for the European market. In July 2021, Sweegen’s Bestevia Reb M produced via a proprietary bioconversion process became the first new stevia ingredient from a new production technology to be approved for use in the European market by the European Food Safety Authority.

“Our innovation is for the novel production process of Bestevia Reb M for the bioconversion [of stevia],” said Sally Aaron, head of global marketing at Sweegen.

“What’s beautiful about this award is that it’s hitting on key trends, such as naturality and sugar reduction. It’s taking into consideration what our clients and consumers need, and it’s looking at how to make sugar reduction scalable and global.

“Sugar reduction is a huge need that is driven by consumers and governments. F&B manufacturers need all the tools that they can get. We need them both in Europe and globally.”

Bestevia Reb M has significant taste advantages over current stevia ingredients like Reb A, Sweegen highlights. Earlier this year, the company won a patent lawsuit involving Reb M against PureCircle by Ingredion.

Health Innovation Award

Limagrain Ingredients took home the Health Innovation Award for its nutritional wheat, designed to be rich in resistant starch, called Lifywheat. LifyWheat flour is positioned as “ten times richer in fibres and 80% of these fibers are resistant starch.”

“This is the acknowledgement of 20 years of research,” Anne Lionnet, business developer, said. “We are launching in Europe a wheat that is high in fibre, which is resistant starch that will help address societal diseases such as diabetes. This helps reduce glycemia and has a prebiotic effect on the microbiota, which actively participates in intestinal health.”

LifyWheat is marketed as a multipurpose ingredient. The flour can be used in a variety of products including bread, pasta and biscuits.

The runner up in this category was Sonnin Pro. Dubbed a “revolution in fast food,” the frying oil solution that is designed to reduce up to 25% oil uptake in fried products while saving up to 10% oil usage cost.

A natural extract replaces current chemical solutions in the frying oil without any change in other performance aspects, making it a “plug-and-play” solution.

Sustainability Innovation

Olam food ingredients (ofi) was awarded for Cocoa Compass, which focuses transparency along the cocoa supply chain. The initiative spans child labour monitoring across all ofi’s sustainability programs in nine countries to deliver 100% traceability of cocoa sourced directly from the farm, farmer group or cooperative.

“Cocoa Compass is one of our several product strategies, but it is the one we launched for an individual product. Our team has worked incredibly hard to get the data and metrics, which we share with our customers,” Nicky Barber, global head of communications at ofi, explained.

“There is a huge team in our origin countries who are working with farmers, helping them to increase their livelihoods, protecting the environment and helping communities to thrive with education and help.”

Other runners up in this category included DSM’s canola protein ingredient, CanolaPRO, which is upcycled from the by-products of its patented, solvent-free rapeseed oil extraction process. The protein solution is marketed as highly nutritious, containing all nine essential amino acids. 

Euroserum was also acknowledged in this category for its new dairy ingredient, SICALAC 90 EC, which is a 90% demineralised whey specifically developed with the environment, animal welfare and social commitments in mind.


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