New beverage blends and newly blended supplier companies featured prominently at the recent IFT tradeshow in New Orleans. Held June 11-14 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists is the largest annual North American Exposition for companies that supply the food and beverage industry. BevNET visited upwards of 80 different companies at the show in its quest for interesting beverage prototypes. PHOTOS FROM IFT11
High-intensity sweetener/sugar blends were common among the concept beverages sampled at this year’s show. Rather than being presented as reduced-calorie alternatives, these hybrids were, in light of recent commodity sugar price hikes, being cast as cost-reducing alternatives to full sugar formulations. Price-driven sweetener swapping and blending is nothing new in the beverage industry. In fact, the most commonly used beverage sweetener, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), began appearing commonly in beverages in the early 1980’s when major CSD manufacturers needed an alternative to price-volatile sucrose (sugar), according to Dr. John S. White, president of White Technical Research, speaking on behalf of the Corn Refiners Association.
Beverages were not the only thing being mixed for the sake of cost-driven efficiency. Some major supplier companies were doing their best to blend with each other following a recent spate of mergers. Here are few of the newly blended entities:
Germany-based life-sciences giant BASF purchased a major position in the North American human nutrition market through its acquisition of Cognis. Completed in December, the $3.1 billion acquisition positions BASF as a major supplier of health and functional ingredients for the beverage industry.
Positioned cozily across the aisle from each other at IFT11, DSM and Martek appeared to be getting along nicely since their $1.1 billion merger in February. The acquisition of Martek provided Holland-based DSM with a deep range of on Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) such as microbial Omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and Omega-6 ARA (arachidonic acid).
Corn Products/National Starch
National Starch’s trio of prebiotic soluble fibers meshed nicely with Corn Product’s line-up of corn-derived beverage ingredients. Corn Products completed its purchase of National Starch in October of 2010 for $1.3 billion. The name for the newly merged entity has not yet been announced.
Many of the beverage samples BevNET tried at the show highlighted functional ingredients. Prominent among these ingredients were some of the following functionalities:
- Immunity-enhancing – Though on the market for year, immunity-enhancing ingredients were abundant at the show, particularly in the form of prebiotic soluble fibers. Also being marketed were immune health ingredient premixes.
- Eye Health – Lutein and zeaxanthin are among the ingredients being promoted by suppliers for beverages that support eye health.
- Heart Health – Ingredients like resveratrol and plant sterols were among the many being presented as ingredients for heart-healthy beverages.
Corn Refiners Association (CRA) sponsored BevNET’s coverage of the 2011 IFT Show. For information on the CRA’s position on the metabolic equivalency between sugar and HFCS, please visit: http://www.cornnaturally.com/.