MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent developments in the U.S. regulatory and policy environment – including the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, voluntary Front of Package (FOP) label initiatives and new federal menu labeling requirements – and growing consumer preferences for healthier food and beverage options, present new opportunities and challenges for food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and food service operators.
"Responding to high obesity rates and other diet-related public health concerns, the food industry is taking important steps that will help Americans reduce the amount of calories, saturated fat and sodium they consume, and increase their intake of dietary fiber and whole grains," said Pat Bowe, Cargill corporate vice president. "Cargill has, and continues to develop, the ingredients and product formulation capabilities required to help our customers overcome the technical challenges associated with making healthier products taste better."
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released on Jan. 31, focus on addressing obesity and advise Americans to lower caloric intake with a concentration on reducing sugar and solid fats; reducing sodium intake; limiting their saturated fatty intake; and limiting dietary cholesterol. The government report also recommends that Americans eat more vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, fiber, nuts, and seeds.
Other government and private sector efforts are focused on helping consumers make informed decisions about the foods they purchase or consume. Voluntary Front of Package (FOP) labeling initiatives and a new federal menu and vending machine label law requiring restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to publicly display calories on menu items are among the activities designed to help Americans aiming to consume a healthful diet.
The number of Americans who are obese has more than doubled in the past 30 years to 72 million, and today more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cargill's product formulation capabilities help manufacturers accelerate the commercialization of healthier products that don't compromise the consumer sensory experience. For example, prototypes showcased by Cargill at major industry events featured reduced sodium tortillas, gluten-free cupcakes, omega-3 enriched granola bars and reduced fat muffins.
Helping customers leverage regulatory requirements and shifting consumer preferences, Cargill has introduced a range of ingredients to help reduce calories, saturated fat and sodium, including:
- Zero-calorie sweeteners Truvia™ natural sweetener and Zerose® erythritol enable manufacturers to produce sugar-free and reduced sugar products.
- CitriTex® GSG 71 stabilizer blend replaces 50 percent of the oil in baked goods and enable products to be labeled as "reduced fat."
- The SaltWise® sodium reduction system helps maintain salty flavor in foods and beverages while reducing sodium by 25 to 50 percent.
- Premier™ potassium chloride and Premier™ light salt are effective in reducing sodium in food and beverages.
- Alberger® brand flake salt provides increased surface area and low-bulk density, with 33 percent less sodium per volume versus granulated salt.
- Clear Valley® omega-3 oil and Clear Valley™ omega-3 shortening enable manufacturers to reduce saturated fat levels and differentiate their products with omega-3 nutrient claims.
- Meat and poultry products like Honeysuckle White® oven browned turkey breast and Harvest Provisions™ beef pot roast, were developed and are commercialized as "low fat" or "reduced sodium" products.
Cargill also is helping Americans increase fiber intake and whole grain consumption and enabling customers to develop products that meet FDA labeling requirements for whole grain, heart health and good source of fiber. Specific ingredients include:
- CoroWise™ plant sterols are used in a wide variety of foods and beverages, have been shown clinically to reduce cholesterol when consumed as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, and are authorized for an FDA health claim.
- Oliggo-Fiber® inulin is a prebiotic fiber that is "invisible" in formulating so can be added to food to increase the fiber content without impacting taste or texture in most applications.
- Barliv™ barley betafiber has been clinically shown to reduce cholesterol when consumed as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet and is authorized for an FDA health claim.
- ActiStar® RT starch is a virtually invisible source of dietary fiber providing for high inclusion levels with few formulation changes while maintaining a desirable finished texture.
- GrainWise® wheat aleurone is an all-natural, concentrated source of the essential vitamins and minerals from whole wheat and contains 45 percent dietary fiber.
- WheatSelect® white spring whole wheat flour provides 100 percent whole wheat nutrition, premium baking performance and the sensory attributes consumers prefer – light color, soft texture and mild flavor.
- MaizeWise® whole grain corn products can directly replace existing ingredients, or blend with them, to deliver 100 percent whole grain nutrition in breads, batters, cereals and snacks.
- Sterling Silver® pork tenderloin and Our Certified ground beef 96/4 meet the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations for "healthy" and display the American Heart Association Heart Check Mark.
- The Sunny Fresh® brand contains no-fat and cholesterol-free egg products, including pasteurized mixes, precooked scrambled eggs, omelets and egg patties. Also, Sunny Fresh® offers reduced-sodium, precooked, scrambled eggs.
For more information about Cargill ingredients and application capabilities that address the recommendations found in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, visit www.cargill.com/food/guidelines.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.