In a review published in recent issue of Food Hydrocolloids Ghorani and Tucker describe electrospinning as a novel way to micro-encapsulate bioactive food ingredients. They explain its advantages over other encapsulating techniques such as spray drying, freeze drying, emulsification, coacervation, nano-precipitation, and liposome preparation which often take place in harsh conditions such as high temperatures and use of organic solvents. Electrospinning work in aqueous solution, at room temperature and without coagulation chemistry, hence protecting compounds from damage. Spray drying for example may reduce the viability of incorporated bacteria or damage the structure of the target molecule. 
Electrospinning uses electrostatic forces to draw a droplet of polymer solution into a fine fiber and other forces to deposit it onto a grounded collector. The polymer droplet is pushed out from the syringe at constant pressure and exposed to an electric field causing it to stretch and elongate. It is then exposed to other forces (electrostatic forces, gravity, columbic repulsion force and others) and the thin polymer fibers finally fall onto the collector. Electrospinning allows control of the formation and size of encapsulation material by modifying a number of parameters for example viscosity of the polymer solution, applied voltage, distance from a droplet dispenser to collector, flow rate of the droplet or temperature. Materials used in encapsulation by electrospinning need to be easy to electrospin, be biocompatible, biodegradable and have high potential to be modified. They are often protein or carbohydrate based. Common proteins used are whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, egg albumen, collagen, gelatin, zein and casein. Recently, amaranth protein isolate was also studied as an encapsulating material with promising results. Examples of carbohydrate based materials are starch, cellulose, pectin, guar gum, chitosan, alginate, xanthan or dextran. 
One aim of encapsulation is to protect ingredients from harsh conditions in the upper gastro-intestinal system and deliver it at particular sites within the body. Apart from the protective function encapsulating material may also introduce a different texture and mouth feel to the food or mask unwanted odors or tastes. Electrospinning offers controlled and target release of compounds which improves the effectiveness of micronutrients, ensures optimal dosage and broadens the application range of food ingredients. The particle size generated by electrospinning is less than 1 µm which enables more efficient absorption of nutrients. 
The authors suggest closer collaboration between academia and industry to stimulate further developments of electrospinning as a technique to be used for preparation of functional foods.

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Published in Applied Research
The supply of speciality ingredients to the international food and drinks market presents varied opportunities and challenges. This report from Euromonitor International starts with an overview of the global market then assesses key consumer demands and supply issues and looks at the ways in which the ingredients industry is responding to these, using case studies to highlight specific strategies. It also summarises key trends in innovation and identifies future opportunities for ingredients R&D.

Speciality ingredients market grows to over 27 million tonnes in 2014
Global demand was up over 2% on the previous year and an average of over 3% between 2008 and 2013. Forecasts are for more than 2.5% to 2018, when volume demand will exceed 30 million tonnes.
Speciality ingredients accounted for almost 5% of the food and drink industry’s overall ingredient use. However, percentage growth rather than total volume provides a more accurate assessment of the market as many such products, need only be used in very small quantities in order to make a significant impact on the finished product. e.g. enzymes or high-intensity sweeteners.

Soft drinks is the largest single market for speciality ingredients
Of the 27+ million tonnes of speciality ingredients used in packaged food and beverages in 2014, 77% was used in food and 23% in beverages. The largest broad categories were soft drinks, which used just under 5 million tonnes.

Fastest growth in natural and healthy ingredients
Natural and healthy ingredients will outperform some of the more chemical stalwarts. Botanicals and bio-actives with natural extracts, should see strong growth over the forecast period, in an increasingly “clean label” industry.
Cultures, saccharides and proteins should all see over 3% growth, benefiting from rising demand for higher-quality processed foods and healthy probiotic, high-fibre and high-protein foods. Similarly, vitamins and minerals are cashing in on the ongoing drive towards healthier formulations.

Fast-growing ingredients categories are driven by emerging markets
For botanicals and bioactives, five countries are forecast CAGRs of more than 10% over 2013-2018, including Vietnam and Turkey. Just behind these are countries such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Iran, Israel, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. North America and Western Europe are forecast CAGRs of just under 2% and just over 1%, respectively.
RTD tea is a particularly important end-use market in terms of overall botanical volumes and it is already fairly established in the larger Asian markets meaning that this region is less dynamic than might be expected.

Middle East emerging as an important target
While Asia Pacific has long been both the largest and fastest growing market for food and beverage ingredients (accounting for 39% of global volume) it is set to be outpaced by the Middle East and Africa, which has a forecast CAGR of over 5% (compared to Asia Pacific’s 4%). Both regions will remain firmly on the radar of the major ingredients suppliers.
The markets of the developed world are far more static at 18% of total volume for Western Europe and 17% for North America. However, these regions remain the most innovative and are invariably the first to take on newer, more high-value ingredients as they emerge.

China drives growth in end-use markets but…
China continues to show best growth in both packaged food and alcoholic/soft drinks. However, it is clear that there are also significant opportunities in other Asian markets, e.g. India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Algeria all feature in packaged food in package food and ingredients growth, while Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and South Africa show strong positive growth in drinks.

Demand: Beyond simple nutrition or hydration
Adding value is the key to growth in the global food and drinks industry. Products providing more in terms of taste and quality, health and wellness, naturalness, convenience and ethical positioning than simple nutrition or hydration, also highlight the most important trends and influences for ingredient manufacturers.

The ingredient source of the future?
Dwindling global resources mean, ingredients innovators have a vital role to play in helping to feed the populations, driving into new areas and exploiting untapped potential.
One such area is insects; entomological research is attracting more investment and is widely believed to be an important area for the future of both animal and human nutrition. While direct food use is unlikely for now, more highly-processed, value-added ingredients derived from insect proteins could soon find a place in processed food and drinks.
Published in Marketing
Multicultural wellness ingredients, at the intersection of healthier eating trends and our increasingly international palate, are fueling some of the most compelling trends in the culinary landscape. This edition of CuTTS, produced by Packaged Facts companyprofiles five such ingredients that are gaining traction on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves – either foreign fare being introduced to a widening range of American consumers, or as more integrated ingredients being reintroduced in tempting new dishes and guises:

Teff Stretches Out
Familiar to some Americans through injera, the spongy Ethiopian flat bread, teff is the smallest grain in the world, but carries a hefty dose of nutrients. Teff also is high in fiber, low in fat and sodium, and ideal for wheat- and gluten-avoiding consumers. Upscale gluten-free bakeries use teff to create breads and pastries with an artisanal flair, and this diminutive grain has started popping up in grocery aisles in the form of cereal bars and chips, joining the “ancient grains” wave of novel but nutritious ingredients.

Avocado in Desserts and Drinks
While avocados are most often associated in the U.S. with savory foods such as guacamole or sandwiches, in many other cultures, from Brazil to Sri Lanka, the avocado is treated as the fruit it actually is, most often incorporated into desserts and sweet drinks. The nutritional benefits of avocados are substantial, and avocado’s mild flavor and creamy texture of make it a remarkably adaptable culinary ingredient. Bringing avocado into desserts and drinks is therefore a prime opportunity to combine tradition, innovation, nutrition, and good taste.

The Matcha Difference
Painstakingly cultivated in Japan’s Shimoyama region, matcha is identified by its vibrant color and a rich grassy flavor, and is at the heart of the Japanese tea ceremony, a tradition dating back nearly a millennium. While green tea generally is regarded as a superfood, matcha is a special case because of the extra dose of antioxidants generated by its distinctive growing method, which are then retained because the tea leaves are pulverized and blended into water rather than being steeped. Bringing tradition, special nutrition, and brilliant color under the umbrella beverage craftsmanship, matcha is the new un-soda.

Pepitas Power
Pumpkin seeds, particularly their hulled kernels, are gaining in culinary presence. Pumpkin seeds are especially associated with Mexico, and pepitas is the Spanish term. Several drivers account for pepitas power. One is nutrition: pepitas are high in various minerals and moderately high in protein and fiber. Another is their authentic Mexican food appeal and invitation to taste adventure. Finally, pepitas are versatile in that they can be used whole, ground up into foods, or as a garnish — and as garnishes, their green hues give them a visual leg up over most of their nut and seed rivals.

Lentils as Souped-Up Nutrition
The tiny seed known as a lentil was possibly the world’s first cultivated crop. Lentils now span dozens of cultures; this versatile food crop features in Indian, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, European, and South American traditional recipes. As a pulse crop, lentils contribute to soil conditioning by fixing nitrogen into the soil, thereby mitigating the need for chemical fertilizers and providing an environmental benefit to boot. Associated in the U.S. with the health food movement of the 1960s and 70s, lentils are most commonly used in soup or paired with rice. However, commercial kitchens are now exploring the use of lentils — in whole, dissolved, and flour form — in salads, veggie-based burgers, sauces and gravies, breads and pasta, chips and other savory snacks, and even sweet baked goods and desserts. 

Culinary Trend Tracking Series (CuTTS) is the essential source for tracking culinary trends and opportunities in the restaurant, foodservice, retail prepared foods, and packaged food and beverage sectors. This new bimonthly report series empowers the menu and food manufacturing innovation of executives, strategists, chefs, and food research professionals in R&D/product development, market and consumer insights, brand management, and trade and consumer marketing. 
CuTTs provides authoritative culinary trend and opportunity analysis within the framework of today’s key sales growth drivers: health and wellness, including ingredient spotlights and ingredient avoidance trends; bold flavors and flavor adventure; food integrity and authenticity, including natural, organic, local, and food freshness; craft and artisanal; purposeful eating and sustainability.
Published in Marketing

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