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Food manufacturers go 'old school'

June 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
You are what you eat, and that's why food manufacturers are trying out new products to help you stay healthy. The latest trend: marketing more "old fashioned" foods, as people tighten their belts and cook more at home."What we see is products with more added vitamins and minerals, with added Omega 3, added ingredients that consumers are talking about and that they know about now," said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel.

At a food technologists meeting in Anaheim, Lyn Dornblaser of data bank Mintel, says beauty is one hot trend -- by way of sugar alternatives, even beverages sold at makeup counters in department stores.

"The most important one that we've seen on the market in the U.S. is from Nestle, called Glowelle," said Dornblaser.

Targeting aging baby boomers, Glowelle contains vitamin hydration enhancers and antioxidants. Yet pretty has a price tag of $7 a bottle.

"It's about looking beautiful, preserving what you've got and improving what you've got," said Dornblaser.

And while Americans continue to fight hyper tension, there's little development in low sodium foods.

Although German company Jungbunzlauer featured their product sub4salt that reduces up to half the sodium in manufactured products or use as a replacement for table salt.

"It's a proprietary mixture that does still contain some sodium chloride, but it can reduce the sodium and still give a salty flavor to the finished product," said Grechen Toleson.

One of the most creative areas of the convention is the culinary competition. This is where students of Food Science and Technology compete to create products are innovative and nutritious.

North Carolina State University took top prize with Shiverrs probiotic beverage. A frozen yogurt mix that transforms into a smoothie when shaken for 30 seconds with milk.

Kansas State's team won the Disney Consumer Products competition with Peelables, a Mickey Mouse head of fruit and vegetable leather, while University of Minnesota graduate division won for their Mighty Mickies.

"They are vegetable fries. Not made out of potatoes, but out of peas and broccoli and squash and corn and yams and carrots," said Rebecca Skolmutch, Disney Consumer Products.

Down the road, these innovations could prove to be helpful for today's cash strapped health conscious consumer.

"Consumers are turning to more old fashioned, homey products. They are cooking at home a little bit more so what we are seeing are companies developing products that help consumers do that," said Dornblaser.

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