Functional ingredient takes top honor at F.I.E.

by Keith Nunes
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Large-grain salt in a wooden spoon
Two sodium reduction technologies were highlighted at the tradeshow in Paris.

At the Food Ingredient Europe Innovation Awards ceremony in Paris, Scelta Mushrooms’ Scelta Taste Accelerator was awarded two Fi Innovation Awards. The sodium reduction ingredient was announced as winner in the category Best Functional Innovation, but also took the overall title as Most Innovative Food Ingredient.

The awards are part of the Food Ingredients Europe 2015 tradeshow, which was held Dec. 1-3. The awards are given to companies that develop innovations that may advance the industry.

Scelta is headquartered in Venlo, The Netherlands, and the company manufactures and markets a variety of ingredients sourced from mushrooms. The Taste Accelerator focuses on sodium reduction. The ingredient features an umami flavor profile to reduce sodium without the loss of taste. It is a natural alternative to artificial flavor enhancers, but also a sodium reduction tool in a wide range of processed foods. Sodium reduction results of up to 50% have been achieved, according to the company.

The ingredient is available in three varieties, a liquid powder for sauces, soups and prepared foods; a powder for such grain-based foods as bread, crackers, tortillas, pitas and bagels; and a topical application for snacks.

The Fi Innovation Awards jury said it awarded Scelta Mushrooms the Fi Innovation Award for Most Innovative Food Ingredient because it combines an entrepreneurial approach with co-innovation and sustainability. The group praised Scelta for meeting societal and consumer demands, by creating a functional and health promoting ingredient from waste products.

In October, the Fi Innovation Awards jury released the finalists in eight product categories. Competing with Scelta Mushrooms in the functional innovation category were Salt of the Earth, Atlit, Israel, and Probi AB. Salt of the Earth was honored for its Umami Essence Sea Salt, Umamix, which is a sodium reduction ingredient that may be used in ground beef and processed meats. The ingredient system is a savory mix of sea salt and vegetable extracts, which include tomato, shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed that generates the umami flavor.

The ingredient system may enhance flavor while helping reduce sodium by up to 45%. It also may replace M.S.G., (monosodium glutamate).

Salt widely is used in meat processing as a flavor enhancer as well as a functional ingredient. Hamburgers or meatballs typically contain 1.2% to 2% salt. Umamix may help decrease sodium by 45% in hamburgers and meatballs, and by 33% in frankfurter sausages, without affecting the taste of the final product, according
to Salt of the Earth. It is heat stable, pH stable, kosher, halal and has no artificial ingredients.

“Consumers are concerned more than ever about sodium content in their foods, but refuse to compromise on taste and, of course, they also demand a clean label,” said Revital Ben Shachar, marketing manager for Salt of the Earth. “Our sodium reduction ingredient is designed to address these needs and keep the consumer-craved salty, savory flavor.”

Probi AB, Lund, Sweden, was honored for the introduction of its Probi FerroSorb Probiotic. The new ingredient has been shown through five clinical trials to increase iron absorption after a meal. It is a combination of the lactic acid bacteria LP299V, vitamin C, folic acid and iron. It is a supplement that will be marketed for use by women of childbearing age at risk of iron deficiency. The product is being introduced in Sweden in 2016 and will be available in additional international markets in 2017, according to the company.

“We are now very proud to launch the new probiotic platform Probi FerroSorb, targeting iron deficiency in a unique way,” said Linda Neckmar, director of marketing and sales for Probi. “This will create an opportunity for continuous growth for the probiotic category.”

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