Food and Wine Science Made Simple

A very special thank you to SCIFTS and RCA for hosting an awesome joint meeting about wine and food pairing. Presented on the beautiful Orange Coast College campus by Joe Poshek, Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, the meeting was a fantastic event. Joe holds a WSET Diploma in wine and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust of London.
So maybe you are wondering about the trick to pairing food and wine without all that chemistry of the enigmatic wine pairing wheel?
Think of it this way:
Would you put smoke chips or chocolate on top of a green salad?
No, you’d put fruit or flowers on a salad.
Would you put a scoop of blackberry jam on top of your 20oz rib eye?
No, you’d put burnt pan drippings on your steak.
Do you want sugar on top of your chocolate bar?
No, you want nuts and salt.
So consider the science of the pallet and how you like to pair what’s on your plate. This can dictate what’s in the cup.

Join us to learn about “Healthy Aging”

Are you a member of the Healthy Aging segment? Maybe your customers are?

The aging American, considered 65+ years old, is the fastest growing population segment. Soy protein has been proven to reduce and slow sarcopenia, muscle loss due to aging. Soy protein is proven, in population, to improve heart health, the #1 killer of men and women in the US over 65. Isolflavones in soy protein isolate have been shown to reduce certain cancer risks, the #2 killer of men and women in the US over 65.

Join Solae’s nutrition science and marketing experts for a webinar on Healthy Aging. Contact your SPI Group sales manager for more information.

Reducing Sodium in Bakery Products

Most people don’t realize that bread and rolls are the number 1 source of sodium in the American diet. Accounting for twice as much sodium as snacks like potato chips and pretzels! Of the top 10 sources of sodium, salty snacks actually come in at the bottom of the list.
Breads and rolls aren’t any saltier than many other foods. The problem with sodium arises because people tend to eat more of them.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention were amazed to find out that just 10 foods were responsible for 44 % of the sodium consumed in the US.
Breads and rolls accounted for 7% of their sodium intake and then came cured meat and cold cuts. Third on the list is pizza then processed poultry followed by soups, hamburgers and then sandwiches with cheese. Rounding out the top 10 list at 3% of sodium contributing to the American diet are pasta dishes, then other meat dishes like meatloaf and finally salty snacks like potato chips.
Health officials say we shouldn’t eat more than 2,300 mgs of sodium a day. But average sodium consumption in the US is around 3,300 mgs. They found that only 10% of Americans meet this guide line.
Salt reduction has become a primary focus of public health campaigns, and school lunch programs nationwide. School feeding programs are going to need to reduce sodium in their breakfast and lunches by 25% to 50% to meet the new USDA nutritional standards.
Most major food manufactures and processors are looking at or already taken steps to gradually reduce sodium in their products. The American Bakers Association is aware of this trend for reducing sodium in bakery products.
For their part the A.B.A.is trying to get their members to reduce the sodium content of their breads from a baseline of 485 mg per 100 grams to 440 mgs this year and to 360 mgs by 2014.
Reduction of sodium in breads is a complicated, technical task that must be handled carefully so that customers will embrace any formulation changes.
Most bread dough’s contain between 1.5% and 2% salt by flour weight and is needed to control the rate of fermentation as well as prevent the dough from getting too sticky and thus less machineable. In terms of bread quality the role of salt is very important in a breads palatability and contributes in enhancing crust color, crust structure as well as preventing excessive yeast action and inhibition of acid producing bacteria in the dough.
The reduction of sodium in bakery products is going to take time and much effort on the industries part to reformulate their products, and the consumer may have to eat breads that have reduced palatability. This especially holds true in the new whole grain breads that are currently being marketed and coming to market.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention would like to see all of us eat more fruits and vegetables and have stopped short of advising people not to eat bread. They are encouraging consumers to read the label and purchase breads that have lower sodium levels. The other alternative is to “eat smaller portions”.

NCIFT New Professionals Event: St. George Spirits

There was a fabulous turn out at the new professionals event at St. George Spirits last night! I was so impressed with the staff at St. George, they really know their stuff in addition to being fun and friendly. They taught us all about their artisanal approach to making spirits and how they make their spirits in small batches. The copper pot stills almost look Willy Wonka-ish!

We learned the proper way taste spirits: no swishing, no swirling! Sip, immediately swallow, then exhale. (completely different from wine and beer tasting!) The tasting menu was very broad, including Hangar 1 vodka, Eau de vie, gin, bourbon, and we even tasted Absinthe! Yes, the Absinthe that was formerly not legal in the United States.

My favorite was the Firelit Coffee Liqueur….made with coffee beans from local roasters including Blue Bottle Coffee!

A great bonus of the evening was the view of San Francisco – especially at sunset – we were all outside taking photos! I highly recommend a visit to St. George Spirits, and please stay tuned for the next New Professionals event.

Nothing but the Flax

At the recent Supply Side West show, it seemed like there were omega-3 ingredients on every aisle! Omega-3 oils can be found in different sources, such as fish oil, algal oil, and flax. So many consumers are realizing the health benefits of omega-3, as studies show a diet high in ALA reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and by preventing the buildup of harmful deposits in arteries. In other studies, where scientists studied large groups of people to find disease trends, increasing the ALA content of the diet corresponded to a decrease in risk of stroke and heart disease.

In addition to being a sustainable crop, Flax seed is also an excellent source of ALA Omega 3 fatty acid, as well as Omega 6 & 9. If you develop food products, you will appreciate that Flax seed is easy to incorporate into a wide range of foods and contains dietary fiber and protein! Possible applications for flax include baked goods, beverages/smoothies, bread, waffles, wraps, pizza, pasta, chips, crackers, and cookies – just to name a few!

Our partners Heartland Flax are located in North Dakota, in the heart of flax country! Most of their flax is grown there, and their “Real Cold Milled” ( RCM Flax®) process is unique, allowing it to have a non-refrigerated shelf life of at least 24 months! Flax is available in whole seed, and several different mesh sizes. Call your favorite SPI Group sales person for details and to discuss how Flax may fit into your next project!

Supply Side West 2012

SPI Group just returned from Las Vegas, where we joined some of our supplier partners including Grande Custom Ingredients, Solae, Heartland Flax, Cosucra, and Ocean Nutrition at the annual Supply Side West show. The expo floor was filled with suppliers representing a mixture of dietary supplement, functional and nutritional ingredients. From standard vitamins, minerals and proteins to probiotics and Omega-3 ingredients, there are plenty of ingredients to inspire new product ideas! We also saw many unique botanicals and other extracts; Kathy is still wondering what snail extract is…..
We loved sampling the TasteFULL Bar at the Solae (DuPont Health and Nutrition) booth, a dark chocolate pomegranate bar with a powerful protein/fiber combination in a convenient, on-the-go format – a great healthy snack to have at the show! Grande Custom Ingredients showed a refreshing smoothie featuring Grade A Yogurt Powder. The opening reception was the place to be as attendees packed into the Tao nightclub at the Venetian!
With so many speakers and education sessions, Supply Side West is always an interesting and educational experience – not to mention the place where we always run into old friends and long-time industry experts! See you there next year!