The New Foods Show

You probably didn’t attend the food show this summer, held at McCormick place in Chicago. If you had you would have seen masses of ingredients for fast foods, with free samples at booth after booth. No surprise, still, it was surprising to see the Univ of CA at Davis food-science dept handing out packages of Jelly Belly candies. I realize they are made nearby, but do we need colleges to push candy? Read more at

The nice surprise was that a good number of exhibitors were touting products to make foods more fit or safer. There was even a section, with some 3 dozen booths, dedicated to organic food and ingredients, something that I think we will be seeing more and more of. And, yes, one company was even handing out granola! Not trail mix, granola!
A few examples of relatively new things:

. Salt reducers were everywhere: Soy sauce derivatives with their unique flavor that may be used in a selection of foods, calcium and potassium phosphates to replace sodium phosphates in baked products and processed meat and birds, and ammonium glutamate to replace some of the salt in soups, nibbles, and sauces.

. Sweeteners, of course: Naturally derived Stevia derivatives were the rage for replacing sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and man-made chemicals like aspartame and sucrose. Do not be surprised to see foods at the health-food store that are sweetened with the new mogroside-V. It’s made of Chinese monkberries.

. Even new colorings: Corporations from China as well as the USA were offering bright natural colorings made of red cabbage, purple sweet potatoes, grape skins, black carrots, beet roots, cochineal insects, and (not yet permitted in American foods) blue gardenias. I think this is good news except perhaps for the cochineal insects. I didn’t discover what color they are responsible for, unfortunately.

It was great to see food technologists and the processed-food industry tending to move towards nourishment. Not a big move, but, discernible. It was an interesting day.

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