When American-based colourant company Sphere Foods concentrated and dried its natural colour about six years ago, it "opened up the world for us,” says Jerry Judkins-Smith, principal at the company, noting the global push towards natural, low calorie, and vegetarian foods.
Sphere’s natural red has no flavour, no odour, and a five-year shelf life. It provides more depth of colour, so a little goes a long way. Derived from the hybrid, all-natural Rubired grape, the natural red finds use in such applications as bringing uniform colour to fruit and helping wineries with discolouration (browning).
Largely a beverage-driven business (red wine and juice), Sphere and its colourings are now making their way into foods as well.
Pasquale Piscopo, general manager for food at IMCD Australia.
Flavour and fragrance manufacturer Ungerer Australia was demonstrating some unique flavour combinations, with ice-cream varieties such as white chocolate and apple, and blood orange and musk, and juices such as quince-flavoured apple juice.
The company also notes an increase in demand for native Australian flavours, and among Ungerer’s native options are lemon myrtle, quandong, and wattleseed.
It was breakfast with Brenntag, as the supplier of tailor-made ingredients offerings was also highlighting the salt-reduced trend with sodium-reduced waffles with maple syrup. The waffle mix, featuring Kudos Blends potassium bicarbonate, swaps this in for sodium bicarbonate for a 68 per cent sodium reduction without compromising on quality or taste.
To wash down the waffle, dairy protein shakes (20g per serve) with natural salted caramel and natural chocolate malt flavours were also on hand.
On the Provyda stand, there were two main focuses: chocolate and freeze-dried products.
The chocolate comes with a twist: unique flavour combinations such as beetroot chocolate, chipotle chocolate, and lychee chocolate. The aim, says Alex McDonald, professional services manager at Provyda, is to give customers combinations they may not have thought of and provide them with a memorable sensory experience. Additionally, the fruit-and-veg chocolate combos also hold appeal for the health confectionery market and boast a strong ratio of fruit and veg to chocolate.
Freeze-dried and powdered products ran the gamut, from beetroot powder, kale powder, and freeze-dried kimchi to freeze-dried marshmallows and cheese from Forager Foods. Because these products have no moisture, they are shelf-stable and require no refrigeration.
Newly Wed Foods’ stand was noticeably booming, with lots of food samplings on offer. There was a clear emphasis on the company’s coatings. This is not surprising, considering that, according to Laurie Redfern, national sales and marketing manager of Newly Weds Foods, coatings and crumbs make up 45 per cent of the company’s volume. Southern Dill Pickle Chicken Bites and Chicken Bites with Ancient Grain & Teff were among the day’s highlights.
Likewise, another 45 per cent of the company’s volume is in functional meat ingredients, such as sausage and burger premixes, brines, cures, marinades, emulsifiers, glazes and sauces in both dry and liquid form. Many of these, too, were available for tasting.
Over at food ingredients specialist Hawkins Watts, protein-fortified products were all the rage, with bone broth boasting 20g of protein per serve there for the tasting. This represents quite a protein boost when you consider that the daily recommendation for protein is 8g. With its bovine collagen content, it may not be vegetarian, but it is Paleo Diet-friendly.
Another megatrend the company is seeing is sugar reduction.
“In sugar-reduced products, such as ginger ale, we aim to rebuild mouthfeel and sweetness with natural ingredients to give people the same sensory experience with 25 per cent less sugar,” says Hayden Lomax, business development manager for Hawkins Watts.
This is a win-win for ginger ale, as ginger also continues to be on trend, according to Lomax.
Collagen product manufacturer Gelita had a healthy gym/ video game system set up to help promote its collagen protein products – natural, pure, and allergen-free clean-label ingredients.
This year, Gelita was highlighting the launch of its body-toning BodyBalance bioactive collagen peptides in Australia, which help increase lean body mass and decrease body fat.
CBS Foodtech, which specialises in products for red meat, smallgoods, poultry, convenience foods, and ready meals, said it is seeing a drive for authenticity and more regional flavours. In Australia, the three most popular sauces for a long time were honey mustard, barbecue, and satay, but now Aussies want regional, more derivative, authentic, regional flavours,” says Bojan Grndanovic of CBS Foodtech.
“They want more complexity. They want more flavour, pound for pound.”
What’s more, people are cooking at home more and want the ingredients and tools to be the chef at home.
"That’s where the food trend is going,” Grndanovic says.
The Australiana theme was alive at Carmi Flavors, which was showcasing a new range of native Australian all-natural flavours, including natural wattleseed, natural lilly pilly, natural quandong, and natural finger lime. Business development manager Nastasha Winneczuk sees the native trend continuing, given that more and more companies are working with Aboriginal communities to promote native products.