SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Confectionery & Biscuit Processing

News > R&D

Read more breaking news

 

 

VIDEO: Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food: ‘All food is made of chemicals’

Post a comment

By Elaine Watson+

06-Jul-2017
Last updated on 06-Jul-2017 at 03:10 GMT2017-07-06T03:10:35Z

Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food, EverSweet, at IFT 2017

To many consumers, ‘processed food’ is just another term for ‘junk food.’ It’s hard to define, but we know it when we see it (Twinkies). But do we know a ‘highly processed’ ingredient when we see it, and how much processing is too much? Elaine Watson caught up with Cargill’s VP R&D Dr Chris Mallett at the IFT Show to get his take.

The Dietary Guidelines invite Americans to substitute refined grains for whole grains, eat more fibrous whole fruits over fruit juice, and watch our intakes of processed meats; but terms such as ‘refined’ and ‘processed’ are not very useful from a nutritional perspective, argued Dr Mallett.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after appearing on a panel debate discussing the pros and cons of ‘processed food,’ on the IFT stage, he said: “Whole grains have more fiber in them, so if the desire is to get more fiber in the diet, which is very beneficial, there are other ways to do it if you want to… in reality all food is chemicals, and chemicals are relatively unconcerned about the source.

“Our focus is on selling safe, sustainable, healthy and affordable ingredients… no individual ingredient is good or bad, it’s what it’s used for and the context it’s used in.”

Natural sweeteners

But what about consumer perceptions? If you are solely interested in the chemistry and functionality – rather than the story – of food, do you risk alienating consumers, or do we need to give them all a science lesson?

An interesting case in point is Cargill’s EverSweet sweetener, launching next year, in which a genetically engineered baker’s yeast converts sugars into the best-tasting steviol glycosides Reb D+M via a fermentation process. (Reb D+M are found naturally in the stevia leaf by in tiny percentages, making the economics of traditional leaf extraction challenging for these glycosides.)

While fermentation is not a new process, and producing sweeteners by feeding microbes is arguably more sustainable than growing acres of stevia plants just to extract components from their leaves, it is unclear how the market will respond to EverSweet, given that the reason food and beverage manufacturers started experimenting with stevia in the first place was precisely due to its ‘natural’ credentials (it’s from a leaf).

Stevia without stevia leaves, meat, milk, eggs without animals

In other words, if you take the stevia leaf out of the equation, aren’t you in something of a grey area in terms of food marketing, even if the final product is chemically identical to Reb D+M from a leaf? Can you even call it stevia? And does that matter?

It's a question that is likely to be thrown into sharp relief in the coming years as Silicon Valley start-ups create meat (Hampton Creek, Memphis Meats ), milk (Perfect Day ), gelatin (Geltor ) and eggs (Clara Foods ) without raising or harming animals, producing products that might be chemically identical to 'natural' or traditional foods, but are manufactured via fermentation or other methods on a 'greener, cleaner, kinder' platform.

In all food ingredients there’s a trade off

According to Dr Mallett: “In all food ingredients there’s a trade-off. What do people want? Do they want an excellent tasting sweetener that will help them reduce their calorie load that is produced in a sustainable way? Yes, it’s done by fermentation, yes, it’s fermenting a sugar… but look at wine, look at beer, they are fermented sugars, essentially…

“We’re giving [customers] an affordable, healthy, nutritious, and in particular a sustainable, ingredient.”  

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Cargill to launch new stevia sweetener for chocolate and candy

Cargill to launch new stevia sweetener for chocolate and candy

Alyssa Leyva

Global commercial manager of stevia, Cargill

Sugar Reduction: What’s next? At IFT, companies weigh in

How will added sugar labeling change the market? At IFT, companies weigh in

The controversial requirement to list added sugar on the nutrition facts panel has divided...

Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food, EverSweet, at IFT 2017

VIDEO: Cargill R&D VP talks ‘processed’ food: ‘All food is made of chemicals’

To many consumers, ‘processed food’ is just another term for ‘junk food.’ It’s hard...

Biscuits are capitalizing on the health trend among seniors: pladis

Biscuits are capitalizing on the health trend, especially among seniors, says pladis

The biscuit category changed in Britain in 2016 amid consumer demand for healthier indulgences,...

'We will react and respond to any discriminatory measures against Malaysian palm oil,' warns minister

'We will react and respond to any discriminatory measures against Malaysian palm oil,' warns minister

With a recent European resolution calling for tariffs and trade barriers against any palm...

Bosch Packaging Technology biscuits Interpack

Bosch: Biscuit makers face production challenges in portion control packs

Andreas Schildknecht,

global product manager, Bosch Packaging Technology

GEA Aquarius BunchWrapper wrapping machine

GEA sees rise in label-on-stick lollipops

Angelic van der Rijken,

product manager, , GEA Aquarius lollipop equipment,

GEA debuts Comas and Imaforni processing lines

GEA debuts Comas and Imaforni processing lines

Marco Gandini,

VP, head of bakery applications, , GEA

Treofanphthalate-free packaging and mineral oil barriers

Treofan turns to phthalate-free packaging films and mineral oil barriers

Jürgen Schischko

Technical service director, Treofan

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of war on sugar

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of the war on sugar

Despite significant headwinds generated by the escalating war on sugar and increasing consumer preferences...

Fairtrade to review cocoa premium against farmer income study

Fairtrade to review cocoa premium against farmer income study

Fairtrade International plans next year to review its minimum price and premium for certified...

FiE 2015: Our best bits

FiE 2015: Our best bits

Our teams of journalists were out in force at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) last...

KitKat white space opportunities in China, Vietnam and Pakistan

KitKat white space opportunities in China, Vietnam and Pakistan, says Nestlé countlines chief

Stewart Dryburgh

Global head of KitKat and chocolate countlines, Nestlé

Malaysia to double palm oil production by 2020

Malaysia hopes to double palm oil production by 2020

Kalanithi Nesaretnam

Minister, Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels

Sollich talks chocolate: Africa catch-up, Asia and South America boom

Sollich talks chocolate: Africa plays catch-up, Asia and South America boom

Africa’s chocolate market remains a little behind but Asia and South America are booming,...

Snacks and candy blur: NPD and retail fueling, says NCA

Is that a snack or a candy? ‘It’s so blurred now’, says NCA president

Snacks and confectionery have truly blurred from a product perspective and retail slant, says...

Candy innovation: Miniature, flavors but little on health, Euromonitor

Sweet innovation? Candy makers are sticking to what they know, says Euromonitor

For the most part, confectioners have continued to innovate in known areas like flavor,...

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...