Food, healthfulness and sustainability

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Kirstie Canene-Adams, PhD, is a Senior Scientist with Tate & Lyle’s global nutrition team. She is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, US, and is responsible for our in vitro and clinical research for fibre, sweetener, and novel ingredients. Here are some insights from a month in the life of Kirstie, sharing Tate & Lyle expertise with customers and the wider industry...

“When travelling across the United States attending three very different types of conferences, exhibitions and events, I fielded wide-ranging enquiries from customers, food formulators, dietitians, and health care professionals and other experts.

“There was a common theme of conversation among these varied demographics, and it aligns with the trends that my colleagues in Global Market Research are tracking worldwide. Everyone is talking about how important it is to make sure that the food supply is improving health while doing so sustainably. Our customers and health care professionals are passionate in seeing that we provide sustainably sourced ingredients, and they’re also keen to see products that are sustainably transported and packaged too. I was pleased to share that corn is our main raw material and that we are proud to make a positive impact on the lives of US farmers by supporting sustainable agriculture for the equivalent of the entire 1.5 million acres of corn we buy globally each year.

Kirstie CA

“My first stop was at Supply Side West (SSW) in Las Vegas, NV, where I was assisting our sales team in presenting our DOLCIA PRIMA® Allulose and PROMITOR® Soluble Fibre ingredients from the exhibition floor. There’s a lot of buzz around allulose at the moment, particularly since the FDA recently approved its exemption from “Sugars” and “Added Sugars” listings on Nutrition Facts Panels in the US. This meant that we were seeing a lot of curiosity from visitors to our booth, on how allulose can be used in lower calorie and sugar products.

“Inevitably, where we talk sugar and calorie reduction, we also talk quality carbohydrates and fibre enrichment. Many SSW delegates were interested to learn that our PROMITOR® Soluble Fibre has twice the digestive tolerance of inulin, whilst sampling our fibre-enriched, low sugar protein peanut butter cups and peanut butter protein cookie prototypes.

“Onwards to Philadelphia for the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) 2019, where over 10,000 food and nutrition experts congregate each year. In contrast with SSW, where enquiries were focused more on the Keto trend, here we saw more interest in lowering sugar for improved glycaemic control and those with diabetes. As you may have seen from our recently published whitepaper, we have plenty of expertise to share on this subject!

Kirstie Canene-Adams and Kavita Karnik

“Here we hosted a breakfast event for health care professionals, mainly dieticians, who were interested in learning more about allulose. Each was keen to hear about which products to look out for on the market that they could recommend to their patients, and of course, we had some samples to share along with information on the lack of glycaemic response, tolerance, and non-cariogenic effects of allulose.

“Another common conversation topic from FNCE was the interest, not only in novel ingredients, but also in ensuring that the food and beverage ingredients don’t over-inflate product price for consumers. Formulators are keen to ensure that the health benefits on offer are available to the widest range of consumers possible, and so affordability is also a growing consideration.

“The final leg of my ‘tour’ took me to Washington D.C. for a special event held alongside the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). The event brought together public health officials, innovative food manufacturers, and medical experts, to discuss the use of rare sugars, like allulose, as healthy alternatives to full-calorie sugars. During the dinner, we showcased the scientific data behind our work in sugar replacement, in particular our work already underway with allulose.

“It’s been a busy month, with a great many conversations about the ways in which Tate & Lyle is Improving Lives for Generations. As I told a colleague recently, it has been both exhausting and wonderful! It’s great to speak to those in the industry about how these trends present in real-world challenges for manufacturers and consumers, particularly on the themes of quality of carbohydrates and sustainability. We’re now into a new month, but our role in making food extraordinary never stops!”