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The Institute of Food Technologists' 2008 Expo in New Orleans provided a range of technical presentations regarding flavor chemistry and sensory science, vanilla (including fair trade issues), umami, and nonbeverage alcohol product regulations. Other highlights included:
Derick Rousseau (Ryerson University) and Kees de Kruif's nanoscience presentations. Rousseau discussed food grade oil and water-soluble ingredients, particularly their increased stability in solid lipid nanoparticles. Meanwhile, de Kruif reviewed the potential of milk nanotubes for encapsulation applications.
The expo floor offered a number of compelling flavor profiles. Wixon chef Jud McLester presented New Orleans flavors in unique applications using the company's flavor modifiers to reduce sodium and sugar: Turkey breakfast sausage wrapped in a maple-flavored pancake with Cajun strawberries and cream employed a salt replacer, maple seasonings and strawberry flavor; a sugar cookie flavored to resemble a hurricane drink featured an orange-tangerine flavor, a sugar replacer and mouthfeel booster. David Michael played with sweet and savory combinations with its presentation of "Bayou Beignet Bread Pudding," paired with a mango-coconut sauce accented with garam masala. In addition, Tabasco featured its signature sauce in a carrot cake-flavored ice cream, balancing sweet and heat.
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Virginia Dare, which has been working with superfruit flavors lately (pomelo, nectarine, yumberry and jostaberry), presented a talk by consultant Kevin Kimbell who highlighted US consumers' on-the-go dining habits and needs. While "dashboard and desktop dining" are increasingly common and dominated by easy-to-eat choices such as bagels, muffins and frozen desserts, consumers are looking for healthier alternatives with high flavor impact and interesting tastes (such as increasingly adopted ethnic profiles). Simultaneously, these consumers are demanding lower calories, sodium, sugar, etc. The challenge is clear. Kimbell pointed to a number of possible innovations such as liquid nutrition bars, smoothielike beverages and pastry pillows filled with fruit or savory offerings.