Product Spotlight

Kahiki Naturals Vegetable Egg Rolls with Flaxseed Wrapper

As if all-natural ingredients weren’t motivation enough to pick up Kahiki Foods’ Asian entrees and appetizers, now the Gahanna, Ohio-based processor has come out with an all-natural frozen egg roll that’s low in calories and rich in ALA omega 3s. Kahiki launched its new Naturals Vegetable Egg Rolls with Flaxseed Wrapper at ExpoWest in March and has received positive feedback since, says Tim Tsao, vice president of sales and marketing.

“Consumers and trade buyers alike have voiced excitement at the nutrition and most importantly the taste of this product,” he says. “Women like it because it only had 90 calories in each egg roll.”

As part of the Kahiki Naturals line, the egg rolls are made with 100 percent natural ingredients, no artificial additives or colors, no preservatives, zero grams trans fat and GMO-free ingredients. In addition, the egg rolls come three to a 13.5-oz. box in 100 percent recycled cardboard packaging.

“We have put forth an unprecedented attention to deal with this line,” Tsao said. He notes that the egg rolls are not only high in ALA omega-3, but also are a good source of fiber.The egg rolls come in “easy crisp” microwave packaging that heats the product in two-and-a-half minutes using technology that keeps the wrapper crispy.

The product is aimed at “busy working professionals and suburban households with children,” says Tsao, who adds that the egg rolls make an excellent snack or appetizer.

Supplier Spotlight

Honeywell Analytics’ Electromechanical Ammonia Detector

To maximize uptime and reduce cost, more food processors are training line operators to troubleshoot and maintain processing equipment. Honeywell Analytics, Lincolnshire, Ill., says it has applied the same approach to monitoring technologies.

The company’s new Model EC-F9-NH3 electromechanical ammonia detector now includes a SensorCheck feature, a built-in system to monitor and predict the sensor’s electrical viability. The gas diffusion unit with linear output exhibits excellent zero and calibration stability. Simplified, in-place calibration and cell replacement help eliminate maintenance downtime.

The new Model EC-F9-NH3 comes with an optional LCD display, which indicates gas concentrations in parts per million during normal operation and shows sensor operation status for changes in operating mode, calibration procedures and troubleshooting. Two external pushbuttons are used to navigate test functions and operating modes. An internal pushbutton and group of LEDs also are installed on the PCB to be used in the absence of the LCD module. Officials note that the EC-F9-NH3 works in the harshest environments, including those with chemical wash-downs.

Consumer attitudes toward food, nutrition and health

Although “taste” and “price” continue to have a great impact on Americans’ food and beverage purchase decisions, the importance of “healthfulness” remains a strong unchanging factor. That was just one of many findings from the International Food Information Council Foundation’s (IFIC) 2008 Food & Health Survey,Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition & Health, conducted by Cognet Research, Cambridge, Mass., who surveyed 1,000 consumers (ages 18 and up) from February 21 to March 11, 2008.

With as many as 129 questions, the survey explored numerous areas, including:

Meal occasions– Similar to IFIC’s 2007 survey, breakfast was named by 92 percent of consumers as the “most important meal of the day,” followed by dinner (89 percent) and lunch (83 percent); however, less than half (46 percent) of consumers eat breakfast seven days a week. In the 2008 survey, consumers who believe that eating breakfast is most important - but do not eat it everyday - cite several “barriers.” These included, “not hungry right after I wake up” (59 percent) and “not enough time” (54 percent).

Snacks also are an important part of most Americans’ days, with nearly all those surveyed (94 percent) consuming at least one snack per day.

Food and beverages with added health and wellness benefits– When given a list of changes they are making to improve the healthfulness of their diets, Americans indicated they are increasing (37 percent) and decreasing (27 percent) their consumption of a specific food and/or beverage. Sixty percent or more of Americans either somewhat or strongly believe that certain foods and beverages can provide multiple benefits (for example, heart health). As in 2007, more than 80 percent of respondents say they are currently consuming - or would be interested in consuming - food and/or beverages for such benefits.

McDonald's new products emphasize chicken

With hometown giant McDonald’s Corp. (suburban Oak Brook) introducing two new chicken-based sandwiches - a “Southern Style” fried chicken breakfast biscuit and fried chicken sandwich - theChicago Tribuneexamined the chain’s recent new product history. Reporter Mike Hughlett learned that:

  • Chicken’s appeal lies, in part, in its tremendous versatility. McDonald’s and its competitors now offer chicken everywhere - from nuggets and chicken-based wraps to chicken-based salads and even battered chicken fries;

  • Chicken has perceived healthfulness, although fried, versions often are no less fattening their beef counterparts.

  • The company purchased 663 million pounds of chicken in the United States last year, up 59 percent from 2003. Its U.S. beef purchases, which totaled 795 million pounds in 2007, rose 10 percent during the same time;

  • McDonald’s last big national burger rollout was the Big N’Tasty in 2001. Meanwhile, the company has added a new chicken item to its menu every year since 2003, according to Wade Thomas, McDonald’s vice president of U.S. menu management;

  • Chicken is one of four key areas McDonald’s identified in 2005 as critical for long-term sales growth;

  • Thomas says McDonald’s plans “some kind of new chicken news” each year through at least 2011.

Tesco Fresh & Easy pushes new products

Citing “great customer response and encouraging sales,” Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, El Segundo, Calif., said it plans to add 250 more private label offerings including fresh prepared ready meals, new juices, soy and goat yogurt and ready-to-grill meats.

“We are delighted customers have responded so well to our own-brand foods,” said Tim Mason, Fresh & Easy chief executive officer. “We know our popular ready meals - such as our mango chicken and beef lasagna - give families a great value alternative to take-out and now there will be plenty more for customers to choose from.”

Consider soy for new health and wellness products

Soymilk and snack bars helped boost overall soy food and beverage sales to more than $2 billion last year, a 7 percent rise from 2006, according to a new report from Packaged Facts, New York. Already appreciated for its health benefits and versatility, soy also appeals as a less expensive ingredient, the researcher asserted.

“Consumer awareness of soy as a healthy food has dramatically increased during the past decade and companies like Solae and Silk have done a great job at educating consumers about the lower risk of heart disease and possible cancers through high-in-protein soy products,” said Packaged Facts Publisher Tatiana Meerman. “The growth potential in this market has enticed manufacturers to extend products globally; for example, Mexico is a focal point for Solae where it has identified an opportunity to replace larger quantities of dairy ingredients with soy.”

Packaged Facts said soy food and beverage sales grew by 29 percent between 2003 and 2005, and the market will continue to grow to approximately $3 billion through 2012.

Just the facts

Does eating only one large meal a day affect your health? Until now there was no definitive research on the matter, but scientists who studied a group of “one-mealers” and compared them to a group of “three-mealers” found: one-mealers showed increases inoverall cholesteroland LDL “bad” cholesterol, higher blood pressure - but they also lost weight.
Source: USDA Agricultural Research Service et. al.

Where do you do your grocery shopping? Not everyone frequents big boxes and chain stores. In 2007, independent grocers made up about18 percentof the nation’s 34,967 supermarkets and brought in $29.7 billion in revenues, about 5.5 percent of total supermarket sales.
Source: Progressive Grocer

Seventy one percent of consumers said they are eating at home more because of economic concerns, according to U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2008, a recent Food Marketing Institute report. In addition,67 percentsaid they are buying fewer luxury food products and 60 percent said they are buying more store brand products.