Dispatches from Fi South America

The top 5 trends from Fi South America 2018

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / filipefrazao
© Getty Images / filipefrazao
From clean label to sugar and sodium reduction, a few trends resonated throughout the 2018 Fi South America expo in Sao Paulo. Here’s our take on what’s hot…

We walked the floor and sampled the food and beverages, talked to our contacts, and it was clear that there are five main trends that are a focus for the exhibitors:

1. Sugar reduction

With obesity levels on the rise across the region, reducing the sugar in food and beverages has become a key issue for many Latin American companies, and there were multiple solutions on offer at the show, including stevia.  According to Mintel, Latin America accounted for 17% of global food and beverage product launches featuring stevia in 2017.

Different stevia forms have achieved regulatory approval across the region, most recently Reb M, which is being offered in different Latin American countries by companies such as SweeGen-Ingredion​ and DSM​.

Layn​’s platform includes a range of rebaudioside from A to M, explained Mary Joe Fernandez, the company’s VP of sales for the Americas, and the vertically integrated company is working on achieving regulatory approval for monk fruit as a sweetener.

2. Sodium reduction

According to a recent paper in Nutrients​ (2017, 9​(7): 742), over 25% of Brazilian adults are currently hypertensive, and the population is consuming twice the level of international recommendations. A national voluntary strategy for sodium reduction led to an 8 to 34% reduction in the average sodium content in many food categories, and options for continued reduction were on display in Sao Paulo, with Corbion​ and Angel among the companies showcasing solutions.

Corbion showcased PuraQ Arome N4 for sodium reduction, described as “a building block for a savory flavor profile”​.

3. Clean Label

“Consumers not only understand clean label but they look for it,” ​said Rafael Contador, business development manager, Corbion​. “If it’s something they can’t find in the kitchen then they are not interested. They cannot find benzoate in the kitchen, but vinegar – they can.”

In line with that, Corbion presented Verdad Powder N6 labeled as vinegar. These ingredients are produced by the fermentation of corn or cane sugar with specifically selected food cultures, and is approved by the USDA to be used in meat carrying a ‘natural’ label. Verdad Powder N6 inhibit a wide range of spoilage organisms, increasing shelf life in processed meat products, said the company.

Beneo​, via its distributor SweetMix​, unveiled a new clean label rice starch called Remypure S52. “Beneo developed an advanced thermal inhibition process technology, which strengthens native rice starch granules, to improve their functional properties. The result is a comparable or superior ingredient to chemically modified food starches, without the use of chemicals,”​ explained the company.

4. Protein

As with other markets and regions, protein is hot! – Arla Foods Ingredients​ unveiled Nutrilac YO-5088, which is describes as a solution for making high-protein drinking yoghurt with great texture and mouthfeel throughout its shelf life. According to internal tests, 7.5% protein drinking yoghurt made with the ingredient had significantly more desirable viscosity than a similar product made with a standard milk protein concentrate.

The company also showcased Nutrilac YO-4575, a low-pH, heat-stable protein ingredient for creating delicious, fresh-tasting, healthy long-life yoghurts for children’s snacking occasions and lunchboxes.

While the majority of the protein on display at the show was dairy-based, plant-based protein was evident. It was also the subject of a presentation by Marilia Landgraf Gonçalves, an applications specialist from DuPont​. Gonçalves told attendees FiSA's Seminar Sessions that plant protein also offered sustainability benefits, compared to dairy, including greater energy efficiency and lower water consumption per planted area. “To get an idea, if we reduce the milk protein to 50%, replacing it with vegetable, the CO2 emission index falls by half,”​ she said.

5. Natural

From flavors to colors, there was a lot of ‘natural’ ingredients being offered, and not just in the natural products section of the show floor. For example, Roha​ was showcasing its extensive range of natural colors, while Givaudan-SweetMix was showcasing a range of natural flavors.

French botanical experts Naturex​ also showcased natural solutions to the show’s attendees, including its new ingredient called XtraBlend RN, which the company describes as a “natural synergistic blend that offers effective oxidation management in food emulsions. The product provides a powerful synergistic action between chelating agents and free radical scavengers, which do not impart flavor and are the perfect replacement for EDTA.”

Based on rosemary and spinach, the ingredient is the result of a major research program conducted by Naturex that explored the chelating and free radical scavenging properties of more than 400 botanicals.

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