NCIFT Student Industry Sponsor Night

The room was packed for the NCIFT Industry/Student sponsor night hosted at UC Davis! SPI Group has long supported this annual event, connecting Food Science students with industry members. As reported by the student representatives in the Food Tech Club and the Food Science Graduate Students Association, connecting with industry is one of their main goals, along with connecting to community and connecting with each other through fun events like culinary workshops, themed potluck nights, and tours of local breweries and food companies.

Dr. Lauren Shimek, Food Science innovator at IDEO, gave an inspiring talk entitled: Permission to play; design for food. After starting us off with a fun, interactive activity, she told us about IDEO, an international design and innovation company that works across many categories, one of which is food and beverage. Dr. Shimek encouraged us to think about how we might seek inspiration and illustrated how her company had worked to bring innovative food products to market.

It was great to see the scholarships awarded to the Food Science students, and we were happy to hear that the number of food science students in the department is over 200 now! We plan to stay in touch with the students we met tonight as they venture into their Food Science careers- and hoping that all students will continue to attend NCIFT events, including the upcoming Supplier’s Night in Pleasanton and the AMFE in Las Vegas.

Saving the Orangutans – Palm oil and sustainability

SPI Group participated in the Southern California IFT Section’s dinner meeting held at the Black Gold Golf Course clubhouse in Yerba Buena on Wednesday,February 15th. The venue was beautiful and it was nice to be in the company of so many familiar as well as new SCIFT members!
The event speaker was Mr. Maarten Goos, Market Development Manager, for the IOI Group of Loders Croklaan who talked convincingly about palm oil as being the most sustainable edible oil for the future. Maarten explained that over 80% of palm oil is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia and that once a young palm oil tree begins bearing fruit (the edible oil is in the fruit nut) at 6 or 7 years of age, that this tree will bear fruit year around for the next 25 years and that that its high yield up to 4.5 to 6 MT per hectare far outpaces other edible oil sources such as soybeans, rapeseed and canola at less than one MT per hectare (BTW, a hectare is 2.47 acres). In addition, since palm oil trees are so productive there remains enough arable land to provide cooking and processing oil for the foreseeable future without cutting down more rainforests if sustainable practices were enforced.
Maarten stressed that Loders Croklaan is heavily involved in RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) which is a joint effort by processors and ultimately consumers like Unilever to make one-half of the worldwide palm oil production from sustainable sources and practices by 2011. Though the message was definitely commercial, it felt good that companies were being thoughtful about their agricultural and edible oil processing practices for the living standards of both animals and humans.

February is American Heart Month

The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is chest pain or angina. Angina can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest. It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include: discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone; discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat, or arm; fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like heartburn); sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness; extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath; rapid or irregular heartbeats.
During a heart attack, symptoms typically last 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or oral medications (medications taken by mouth). Initial symptoms can start as a mild discomfort that progress to significant pain.
If you think you are having a heart attack, DO NOT DELAY – Call 911 or emergency help!
Visit the American Heart Association Website to take a risk assessment quiz, it’s quick and easy and provides a quick action plan report to improve areas of concern.
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There are lots of ways SPI Group can help you formulate foods for a healthy heart. The following are FDA approved health claims for products in our line:

Soy protein:
FDA has approved a label claim for soy protein: “25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce heart disease. One serving of (this food) contains (6.25 minimum) grams of soy protein per serving.”

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
“Contains (32 minimum) mg of Omega 3” “Omega-3 has been shown to maintain a healthy heart”
Or
“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

Dietary Fiber
“Along with eating a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, fiber may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk for developing heart disease.” (0.6 grams or more of dietary fiber)

What is Oyster Sauce??

Special thanks to Lee Kum Kee for a super authentic Chinese New Year celebration meal at the RCA Southwest Region event on Wednesday, February 1. Ms. Grace Chow and Chefs Fred and Jacki have the best spirit and customers rave about their products. Visit Lee Kum Kee’s website for recipes and a video by Martin Yan on how to make pot stickers (Martin Yan is a UC Davis grad, from the same class as our very own Russ!)

In ancient China, fermented fish paste was cooked and used as an umami ingredient. Because of its high levels of free glutamic acid, it is said to be the original flavor enhancer. Oyster sauce is credited to Hong Kong based Lee Kum Kee, invented when a chef fell asleep while boiling oysters. Today it is made in this traditional slow cook method to make premium oyster sauces. Vegetarian oyster sauce is made with the same methods from oyster mushrooms. Because of their meaty flavor and high glutamic acid content, the slow cooked oyster mushroom sauce mimics the shelfish version.

NCIFT Luncheon at California League of Food Processors

SPI Group attended the annual NCIFT luncheon at the California League of Food Processors Expo in Sacramento this week. The speaker was Dr. Hasler-Lewis, the Independent Director at Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and Executive Director-Robert Mondavi Institute at University of California, Davis.

Dr. Hassler-Lewis spoke about the Top Food and Nutrition Trends of 2012; stating that health is driving the food industry, and has been for 20 years. Key trends include:
• energy (currently an 8 billion dollar market!
• natural (consumers are asking for simplified ingredient listings and unprocessed, natural foods)
• digestion (probiotics and fiber are still an opportunity for digestive health)


She specified that there is opportunity for product development with Mediterranean diet; highlighting olive oil as the good fat. Healthy aging is another key trend, with awareness of Sarcopenia and muscle health increasing, creating a growing demand for high protein foods. Dr. Hassler-Lewis also mentioned the occurrence of sarcopenia (lean muscle mass loss) for Baby Boomers i.e. 5% every 10 years after 50 years of age and that one study shows that massive intakes(up to 40 grams taken two or three time daily) of protein from easily digested sources is recommended.
The latest statistics show that one person dies from diabetes every 7 seconds, and blood sugar management represents a fast accelerating
opportunity for functional food marketers. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for products featuring the newest super fruit: lignonberry, which is high in anti-oxidants, has anti-bacterial properties, and can reduce blood pressure. Another ingredient to watch is Maqui berry, which may replace Acai and goji berry.
Contact us to learn more about adding fiber, protein, and omega-3 to develop food products that are in line with these top trends!

NCIFT had an information booth telling about the networking,career and food development resources of this valuable professional organization. Ms. Stacey Hawley, Kathy Kennedy, Erin Evers, Pam Vaillancourt, Andy McSunas,Carol Cooper,and Scott MacAdams were in attendance on Tuesday; Scott and Stacey on Wednesday to answer questions and sign up new members. It was a fun and informative day to learn more about the great food agriculture industry in California!!

Stay tuned for the next NCIFT event, the UC Davis Students’ Industry Sponsor Night!