in hot pursuit of high-tech food the health craze, the growth of two-career households, and increasingly sophisticated palates have technologists scrambling to concoct new edibles. they're supposed to be nutritious, non-fattening, and convenient. and, by
Fortune magazine)– BIG FOOD-
Processing companies protect their technical secrets with the enthusiasm of defense contractors.
Last year, after Kibbler, nabesk, and Frito
P & G lawyers went to court accusing them of infringing P & G's patents.
Competitors deny fees;
The proceedings are under trial and the trial date has not yet been set.
But one thing is clear: both P & G and its competitors want to get a little legitimate benefit by using new industrial research results to make people think they are eating the old stuff
As good as mom used to do.
Because of the high commercial risk, many of the 22,000 professionals belonging to the Institute of Food Technology work in a quiet environment --
Quiet conditions worthy of Star Wars research.
The science of preparing, preserving and reinventing packaged foods is more important today than ever: Food
Last year, companies and governments allocated about $1 billion to the R & D department.
General Foods, the largest private consumer group, earned $0. 115 billion.
Food technology is largely due to the growing health boom and the growing number of two people
Career and single
Adult families with high demand
Excellent food that can be prepared simply and quickly.
In addition, the processors want food that will not deteriorate quickly;
It takes so long to distribute a product nationwide that any packaged food is produced in one place and sold across the USS.
There must be a long shelf life.
It will take at least 4 to 8 weeks for meat products;
Frozen food for six months
The work of food technicians is to coordinate the conflicting needs of nutritious, delicious, fresh, convenient and non-perishable foods.
An example of trade-
Off problem: Canned orange juice is easy to use with at least six
David Eriksson of Illinois technical consultant says the one-month shelf life
Companies that work with the food industry.
But he said the juice was bland because it was either cooked in cans or poured in close proximity --
Boiling temperature to disinfect them.
"Over-treatment has become routine," said Harry C . "
Mussman, executive vice president, National Food Processors Association, a trade group in Washington, D. C. C.
"But as tastes get more educated, everyone in the industry is trying to bring food to the public, just like the food you get from the garden or cook from scratch.
Products and processes designed to meet these needs include convenience foods that can be quickly prepared in a toaster or microwave oven;
Alternatives to salt, fat and sugar; cold-
Sterilization techniques such as irradiation;
Save beef with carbon monoxide without discoloration;
The "restructuring" of irregular beef slices makes them look more like pork than hamburgers;
A technique that almost eliminates the need for chocolate and other fats to be refrigerated --based foods.
While most of the research and development funds in the food industry are used to improve the efficiency of large and complex production lines, they are committed to developing new products and adapting them to household kitchen appliances ---
Toaster, refrigerator, especially microwave oven.
The technology consumers take for granted is often more complex than they seem.
For example, there are several problems with frozen foods.
Prevent the separation of ingredients in ordinary foods
O pudding Pops requires a patented method of using an emulsion to control the formation of ice crystals and maintain the texture of the cream.
And the food that is not frozen is really completely frozen.
Dissolved sugar, starch, salt and fat reduce the freezing point of water in some foods below the temperature in most freezer rooms.
Although it moves at the speed of the glacier, the water is still liquid-
The taste gradually moves and the texture changes slowly.
That's why six days after freezing the unfrozen stuff tastes better than six months later.
When Pillsbury started investing $120 in 1980, it had to deal with a staggering number of technical challenges. million-a-
New Year's toaster pastry market, frozen strudel that can be cooked in the toaster.
Pillsbury found nothing to use in a regular toaster.
For the convenience of the consumer, pre-cooked strudel must be heated directly from the refrigerator to the toaster.
The solid filling must be heated quickly, something the toaster is not going to do.
If the product is too heavy, the toaster will not pop up after it is finished.
After testing 2,000 different bakers, pearsbury's scientists decided on a 1-pound bakers. 8 ounces.
The next step is the complex task of the out installation factory.
The Toaster Strudel production line at the Pillsbury plant in Murfreesboro, Tennessee is 1/2 miles long, including eight processing stages, taking a total of one hour.
It can produce 2,000 strudels per minute, which makes it possible for Pillsbury to reduce the retail price to $1.
A pack of six 49.
John Dixon, vice president of R & D at pearlesbury, said: "If you have a strudel that costs three times, you will have a non-product . ".
The result of all these technical fuss and tricks?
Strudel, launched nationwide this year, is one of the company's most successful new products and is expected to raise more than $35 million in total in the first monthyear sales.
Adapting products to microwave ovens is a more popular research field.
At present, at least half of the 86 million households in the United States have microwave ovens, which will reach 70% by 1990.
Unlike conventional heating, microwaves can heat from inside to outside, release moisture and turn the oven into a mini ovensteambath.
As a result, many foods developed for microwave are as wet as lasagna.
People want more texture, especially crispness.
It's hard to cook food in the microwave.
Exotic things like microwave tempura are likely to be impossible.
Still, the food company is trying, if not tempura, chicken. Clorox Co. , the laundry-
Bleach manufacturers have obtained a patent for a coating mixture that says it is "attractive" to microwave energy ".
This mixture, including components such as potassium acetate, potassium chloride, and potassium bicarbonate, is less likely to sound, hotter and brittle than the food it covers.
Clorox has not yet introduced the products that use this mixture, and will not say why.
Dow Chemical has developed food glue to form a gel barrier between the batter and the food they cover.
The gel is designed to keep moisture and dehydrate the batter.
When the food cools, the gel barrier becomes softer and more delicious.
Richard lacowski, president of Princeton Technology
A consulting firm based in Glenrock, New Jersey, believes that most of these products do not really solve the crunch.
"They are ersatz crispy," he said . "
"They're not soft, no doubt, but they missed the critical moment.
One exception is the innovative packaging approach that has been adopted to solve the problem for Pillsbury microwave pizza, which is already on the market.
Pillsbury adds creaking by pre-frying the shell and attaching a clever hot plate called "susceptor" to the bottom of the pizza box, which is made of metal polyester film.
The consumer takes out the pizza from the box and puts it in the oven at the top of the flip box;
The film below pizza heats the shell to 435 degrees Fahrenheit through traditional conduction.
Technical experts are also trying to find ingredients alternatives that taste good but may have unhealthy consequences.
Sodium in common salt causes high blood pressure.
The most common choice is suffering.
Taste potassium chloride in a chemical family similar to ordinary salt (Sodium chloride).
The problem with salt substitutes is that nothing has been found to taste like salt except salt.
In contrast, it is believed that the wider substance is sweet, noted Michael omachoni, a food scientist at the University of California, Davis;
Sugar substitutes include powdered sugar, sweet ASBA, and mirrors
Image form of sugar that is not fattening because digestive enzymes cannot break down sugar (
Fortune, December 9).
Researchers at Hiroshima University, led by fermentation technology professor oko Okai, claim that two natural amino acids exist.
Bird oil and butter salt taste salty when mixed together.
But scientists have yet to test the safety of the compound, which in slightly acidic solutions such as fruit juices may lose its taste after a day or so. (
They refused to provide samples to fortune. )
Many food companies are doing it.
Study on terms of salt substitutes-
Among them are Jinbao soup, which uses a lot of salt. A high-
Quality natural salt alternatives, says James R.
Kirk, Campbell's vice president in charge of research and development, will become "mother and apple pie products ".
Another product that seems irresistible is
Fat that can be used in butter, salad oil, mayonnaise and edible oil substitutes.
It will eliminate weight gain caused by eating fat and reduce the consumption of cholesterol, which is deposited as a fat plaque in the circulation system and leads to hardening of the arteries.
P & G has been working on a fat replacement called sucrose polyester for more than ten years.
Spech is known to contain eight fatty acids, not three of the common fat;
This makes spech too difficult to break down for digestive enzymes, so it seems to be discharged from the body without being metabolized.
In a paper published this year, researchers at the University of Cincinnati reported that 13 obese patients with high cholesterol levels received extraction in the form of margarine --
Like slices of bread and mayonnaise.
Like salad sauce
They lost weight and reduced blood cholesterol by 15%, more than twice as much as the other two groups did not take spech but also followed low cholesterolcalorie, low-saturated-fat, low-
So far, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of special requirements for general use.
Food technology experts are not looking for fat alternatives for health reasons alone.
Since most of the fat starts melting at room temperature, it must be refrigerated.
A 35%-fat chocolate bar turns sticky in hot summer.
Technical expert Gilbert Finkel has developed a way to modify fat so that it does not need to be refrigerated and will not melt even at high temperatures ---
But the mouth is still liquefied.
The use of this modified fat in chocolate produces candy, keeping its shape at 400 degrees F, about at the point where sugar is caramelized, rather than 91 degrees F where normal chocolate melts.
Finkel, founder of Food Technology
A contract research laboratory in East Hanover, New Jersey, invented the process.
It uses two or five additives in different applications, but he doesn't fully understand how it works.
He speculated that his improved FAT structure was like a hive that kept its shape at high temperatures;
Inside the honeycomb, however, fat is liquid.
In the mouth, chewing and saliva breaks down the hive.
In addition to eliminating cold storage, additives also delay "blooming", namely whitening that occurs as chocolate age and fat migrate to the surface and harden.
Finkel's additives may also be useful in the cosmetics industry to produce non-applied cosmetics.
Finkel is applying for a patent;
He does not need FDA approval because the FDA has approved the additives he uses.
Some major food companies have expressed interest in licensing the technology, he said.
Finkel estimates that the potential market will easily exceed hundreds of millions of dollars.
Solving one problem can create other problems.
Because ASBA is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it takes only 1/200 to produce the same sweetness.
In food baked goods, it is necessary to replace the lost volume with leavening agent;
Polyglucose, a low
Calorie agents made from corn sugar produced by Pfizer, approved by the FDA in 1981, are now present in many dietary products.
Sweet victory, a New York City company that plans to go to the country as it decreases
Heat dessert, using polyglucose in 75 frozen dairy products, popcorn, cakes and cookies.
Another chore for food technology experts-
Preserve food by slowing down or stopping the growth of microorganisms-
Great commercial importance.
Many processed foods become bland due to boiling point heating to kill dangerous microorganisms. A cold-
Pasteurized technology can make the taste of pickled food better. So-
Known as sterile packaging, the packaging is disinfected using hydrogen peroxide and heated more in less time than traditional cans, and is now widely used for fruit drinks in squat cartons.
Some food technology experts argue that low-dose gamma rays should be used to kill microorganisms.
Food has almost no heat, so the taste remains the same, and this process can significantly extend the shelf life.
So far, the FDA has only approved limited uses, mainly spices.
Because the technology uses radiation, even some who support the technology have called for the use of labels that indicate radiation has been used.
A similar preservation method, pulse power, is in the early stages of the study.
A San Diego company specializing in pulse-Maxwell Laboratory
Power applications, are trying to kill bacteria that shorten the shelf life of various foods at tens of thousands of volts per second for a few parts per second.
The company is also working on how to do the same with a pulse magnetic field.
How to keep beef without changing the color of beef has been bothering the food industry.
Beef and other foods deteriorate during prolonged contact with oxygen in the air, which encourages the growth of some microorganisms.
When transporting meat with refrigerated trucks, a common technique is to replace some air with carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide will stop the growth of microorganisms, but it will make the beef gray, so it must be trimmed to make it look appetizing.
A controlled company in Salinas, California.
Atmospheric Transport of beef, vegetables and other perishable foods has been patented for the addition of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide.
Carbon monoxide does not change the color of the beef, TransFresh says trace substances used-
Never more than 5,000 parts per million-are harmless.
The company has applied for FDA approval but has not yet.
The beef market is huge: supermarket sales last year were $21. 4 billion.
Food processors will certainly welcome any innovations that will allow them to charge more for products that have already been sold.
Glenn Schmidt, a meat scientist at Colorado State University, found a way to assemble beef so that they remain intact at normal temperatures, unlike others
Known as recombinant beef, it will not remain for a long time unless frozen.
Therefore, Schmidt's beef can be sold as fresh beef in supermarket meat boxes.
Lactic acid (Found in muscles)
Sodium algae (from kelp)
And calcium carbonate (from limestone)
Irregular meat pieces as Binder-
For example, from the shoulder of beef-
Otherwise it will become ground beef and can be re-shaped into ribs. steak-like slab.
The result is a more profitable product.
To be sure, all of these technical magic has its limitations, as common foods have discovered. In the mid-
1970, now a large food company in a division of Philip Morris, introduced lean strips at a time when the price of bacon soared-
The same is true of concerns about its fat content.
Lean Bars are a cheap technology journey, no.
A cholesterol bacon replacement made mainly of soy protein and natural and artificial spices.
"It's difficult to make plant proteins work like animal proteins," recalls Al claussi, senior vice president of general food research.
It is more difficult to convince consumers that it tastes like bacon.
GM estimates that lean strips have lost millions of dollars.
A few years ago, Pierce Bury was also burned down by the space food stick.
A protein meal originally designed for astronauts.
Jay Morgan, a research and development official at pearlesbury, said sales were declining because the bottom line was that it was not real food.
But in the age of non-sugar sweeteners, non-butter smearing and non-dairy, what exactly is "real" food?