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Highlights: CSA & SFC Midwest Meeting

Posted: October 3, 2008

The Society of Flavor Chemists' (SFC) social lunch hour kicked off the CSA/SFC meeting, which took place on Sept. 24 in Rosemont, Illinois. Following lunch, the Chemical Sources Association (CSA) began its education program. P&F magazine's Kelly Frederick took the stage first to introduce the audience to the revamped CSA Web site. With the help of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine, the CSA's Web site is now a place where members and industry professionals can read the latest industry news, find out when the next meeting is, discover what suppliers are carrying GRAS 23 materials, etc. Dinh Phan (SAFC) followed Frederick, presenting six new GRAS 23 items: FEMA #'s 4286, 4299, 4316, 4394, 4398 and 4428. The attendees were able to smell the synthetic materials as they learned the specification information for each.

The SFC education program began with a discussion on the role of spice extracts in commodity replacements by John Weaver (Kalsec). After covering the basics of spice oleoresins, Weaver discussed some of the sourcing challenges involved in the raw material acquisition. Additionally, he discussed the popularity and advantages of solvent-less extraction. Finally, Weaver covered the importance of application, and demonstrated this by providing the attendees with two samples of potato chips—one with black pepper extract and the other with ground black pepper.

Richard Yoo (McDonald's) brought the day's presentations to a close with a discussion on global consumer trends in food. In his role as senior directory of menu management, Yoo keeps on top of the trends in order to help deliver a pipeline of new products for the fast-food chain. Some of the top trends influencing consumers are:

  1. Health & wellness
  2. Variety extension: Many different flavor/taste options in a product line
  3. Convenience solutions: The desire for on-the-go meal options
  4. Authentic industrial food: The consumers' demand for authenticity and "real" food and the manufacturer's need for low cost production
  5. Slow food: People are looking for homemade and/or "made from scratch" items; this increases the authenticity of a product

Yoo also explored interesting trends in flavors for products in the global market. For example, meaty flavors are entering the snack food segment, with a cheeseburger flavor chip being released in Europe. In addition, traditional and ethnic flavors are being applied in new ways. An example of this, is Orville Redenbacher's jalapeno flavored microwave popcorn. Also, well-known and popular flavors are being used in unexpected ways. What flavor could be more popular than chocolate? Well, some companies, such as Chocoholics Divine Desserts, are taking advantage of chocolate's popularity by introducing chocolate pasta, which can eaten for dessert.