Archive | Research & Development

Unilever to Build a Global Foods Innovation Centre in the Netherlands

Unilever has announced its intention to build a new global Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The Foods R&D organizations, currently based in Vlaardingen (the Netherlands), Heilbronn (Germany) and Poznan (Poland) will be co-located in the new centre.

The announcement means that Unilever will move all roles in R&D Foods that are currently based in Vlaardingen, Heilbronn and Poznan, to the new global Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen. The new centre, which will house approximately 550 roles, is expected to be fully operational by April 2019.

By co-locating the R&D resources of its categories (Home Care, Personal Care, Foods & Refreshment) into its key R&D locations, Unilever will create critical mass in expertise areas to ensure that the technologies ultimately bring benefit-led, breakthrough innovations to the markets. In addition, Unilever aims to evolve its R&D sites into innovation ecosystems to leverage the knowledge and expertise of external partners.

Jan Zijderveld, President of Unilever Europe, says: “The Agri-Food Innovation climate in The Netherlands is very strong. The co-location of all elements of our Foods R&D organization within the Foods Innovation ecosystem in Wageningen will enable Unilever to strengthen its ability to develop cutting edge Foods innovations in close collaboration with the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and a broad variety of other science institutes and startups.”

Amanda Sourry, President of Unilever Foods.

Amanda Sourry, President of Unilever Foods.

Amanda Sourry, President of Unilever Foods, says: “The Foods Innovation ecosystem in Wageningen will bring together a strong combination of in-house R&D and external science and technology, talent and facilities, increasing the impact of Unilever’s own resources and capabilities, and ultimately creating the innovative power that we need to provide leadership in Foods.”

The R&D Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment organisations that are currently based in Vlaardingen will move to the Innovation ecosystems in Port Sunlight (Home & Personal Care) and to Colworth Science Park (Refreshment). These moves and the move of the Foods R&D organisation from Vlaardingen to Wageningen lead to the fact that the Vlaardingen site will close over time.

Unilever will now start the consultation process. The building of the Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen will only commence following the completion of this process. Unilever expects the total project to be finalised by the second quarter of 2019.

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Mondelez International to Invest $65 Million in Global Research & Development Hubs

Mondelēz International has confirmed a $65 million investment to build a global Research, Development & Quality (RDQ) network of the future. The investment will enable the company to better recruit, retain and develop talent across a range of science and technical disciplines while also creating a stronger presence in both emerging and developed markets. When complete, the redesigned network will consist of a combination of new and existing technical centers that will be more flexible and agile in responding to the company’s growth and innovation needs.

Over the next two years, the company will focus its RDQ network at nine advantaged technical centers, concentrating people and resources into better equipped hubs:

* Mexico City, Mexico

* East Hanover, N.J., United States

* Bournville, United Kingdom

* Reading, United Kingdom

* Wroclaw, Poland

* Thane, India

* Suzhou, China

* Jurong, Singapore

* Curitiba, Brazil.

“With these advantaged technical centers, we’re focusing our investment in research, equipment and capabilities to drive innovation to support our growth strategy and innovation, margin and quality platforms,” says Rob Hargrove, Executive Vice President, RDQ. “These hubs will enable improved efficiency, effectiveness and accelerated project delivery, while the increased scale across key markets will provide rapid access to changing consumer needs and trends.”

Three of the centers — East Hanover, Bournville and Reading — are already in full operation. The company will break ground on the Singapore facility in November 2016 and the Thane facility in December 2016 with the new Wroclaw building opening in 2017. The remainder of the redesigned network will open through 2018.

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EIB Supports FrieslandCampina’s Research and Development Activities

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €150 million loan with FrieslandCampina for R&D activities in Europe, its first ever loan to a company in the Dutch agricultural sector.

FrieslandCampina’s roots go back to 1871, when nine farmers took over a cheese factory in Wieringerwaard in the Netherlands. Through mergers it has become one of the world’s largest companies of its kind, active in over 100 countries. The company is owned by a co-operative with the same name. The operation with the EIB will sustain innovation at the company, allowing it to reinforce its leading position in a competitive market.

“The EIB is proud to support such a longstanding Dutch company,” says EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom. “Milk and its derivatives are central to most people’s diets and the importance of the research and development surrounding the products they consume should not be underestimated. Although we have already supported agriculture through SME credit facilities in the past, we see this operation as a clear example of what the EIB can do for this sector.”

FrieslandCampina will use the funding for research and development activities in facilities around Europe, with the lion’s share being carried out in its innovation centre in Wageningen in the Netherlands. The activities will focus on the areas of nutrition, food structuring, packaging and process technology, as well as on sensory and dietary demand aspects of dairy products.

Hein Schumacher, CFO of Royal FrieslandCampina, comments: “The EIB loan gives us the opportunity to finance our European research, development and innovation activities under favourable conditions. These activities are mainly carried out in our innovation centre in Wageningen where more than 300 R&D employees in various disciplines from all over the world are working together to unlock the nutritional potential of milk.”

CAPTION:

From left to right: EIB Vice President Pim van Ballekom with FrieslandCampina CFOHein Schumacher.

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Arla Foods Ingredients Opens €40 Million Hydrolysates Factory

Arla Foods Ingredients has strengthened its position of leadership in the global dairy protein hydrolysates sector with the opening of new, dedicated factory located in Nr. Vium, Denmark.

The €40 million facility can produce approximately 4,000 tonnes of high quality whey and casein hydrolysates a year, creating ingredient solutions for applications in the infant, clinical and sports nutrition categories. Existing production of hydrolysates by Arla Foods Ingredients elsewhere will now be transferred over to the new site at Nr. Vium.

The factory features state-of-the-art manufacturing technology as well as pilot plants, analytical laboratories and R&D facilities. It complies with the strictest quality and safety standards and includes a dedicated packing line for filtered products.

Anders Steen Jørgensen, Business Unit Director Pediatric at Arla Foods Ingredients, says: “Our new factory has been built from the ground up, with the single aim of producing the best dairy protein hydrolysate ingredients available anywhere in the world. Our solutions offer scientifically documented health benefits, excellent solubility, superb microbiology and uniform quality. Now we can also offer them in much greater volumes with complete security of supply.”

Milk protein hydrolysates are proteins that have been through a natural enzymatic process, during which the intact protein is cut into small peptide fragments. Compared with intact proteins, they offer reduced allergenic potential, easier digestion and faster absorption. These attributes mean they provide excellent functional health properties in clinical and infant nutrition, where they deliver the benefits of the protein more quickly and effectively to those who need it most.

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Mondelez International Investing $15 Million in New Research & Development Centre in Poland

Mondelēz International officially started construction of a new global Research, Development & Quality (RDQ) site in Bielany Wroclawskie. The state-of- the-art research and development facility is expected to open in the first quarter 2017 and will support new products and technologies for Power Brands like Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka, Barni and Oreo. The site will also be equipped with innovation labs, a new pilot plant and a ‘collaboration kitchen’, a creative space for new ideas and experimentation.

“This $15 million investment supports our growth strategy to offer innovative chocolate and biscuit products that meet the changing needs of consumers, while maintaining a competitive edge in the markets of tomorrow,” says Rob Hargrove, Executive Vice President, Research, Development & Quality for Mondelēz International. “Embedding one of our largest research hubs here clearly signals the importance of Poland and Europe within our global RDQ network.”

“Wroclaw is rapidly becoming the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Poland as well as an incredibly important and strategic location for our business,” says Zoltan Novak, Managing Director of Mondelez Poland and the Baltics.  “Given the vast number of locally renowned technical universities that educate top-notch professionals in the area, we are confident that this talent will help us to create a strong future for our global Power Brands and make the new center a successful hub for innovation.”

The investment will not only boost the company’s already innovative global chocolate and biscuit Power Brands, but it is also expected to host 250 scientists, engineers and other specialists recruited from all over the world, including Poland. The company’s long-standing presence in the country will grow, with 1,400 employees in the Wroclaw region as well as cooperation with local partners and suppliers.

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Belgian Researchers Check Quality of Chocolate With Ultrasound

The quality of Belgium’s famous chocolate largely depends on the crystals that form during the hardening of the chocolate. Researchers from KU Leuven, Belgium, have now developed a new and quicker way to check whether the cocoa butter is crystallising correctly during the hardening process. The method could save the chocolate industry a lot of time and money.

Belgian chocolate is a world-famous delight. But producing a delicious bar of chocolate that has a beautiful gloss, makes that wonderful sound when you break it, melts in your mouth, and maintains all these qualities throughout its entire shelf life, is not easy. The crystallisation of the cocoa butter – the fat in the chocolate – plays an important role in that process.

Professor Imogen Foubert from the KU Leuven Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems explains: “Cocoa butter crystallises as the liquid chocolate hardens. Five types of crystals can be formed during this process, but only one of these has the qualities we want. The number, size, shape, and the way in which the crystals stick together play an important role as well.” It is therefore crucial to monitor the crystallisation of the cocoa butter closely during the chocolate production process, because we don’t want inferior chocolate ending up on shop shelves.”

“We’ve discovered that we can detect differences in the crystallisation of cocoa butter with ultrasonic waves,” adds Professor Koen Van Den Abeele from the KU Leuven Department of Physics and Astronomy. The new technique involves sending transversal ultrasonic waves through the cocoa butter. The researchers then measure the reflection of these waves for information about the structure of the butter. The technique is similar to the ultrasound echography used to monitor the health and growth of foetuses in the womb.

Chocolate manufacturers currently check the quality of their chocolate ‘offline’. A sample is taken from the production line to be analysed in a lab. This method is very time-consuming, making it impossible to intervene quickly when something is wrong. As a result, a large amount of chocolate is destroyed or re-processed – a costly affair. The novel technique can be used ‘online’ to check the chocolate while it is still on the production line.

The researchers designed a lab prototype, which now needs to be turned into a prototype for use in real chocolate production lines. The current results were obtained with cocoa butter and need to be confirmed for actual chocolate.

The findings are the result of Annelien Rigolle’s interdisciplinary doctoral research, supervised by Professor Imogen Foubert , who specialises in fat crystallisation, and Professor Koen Van Den Abeele, who is an expert in the use of ultrasound for non-destructive testing of materials such as composites, metals, and concrete.

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Dairy Crest Innovation Centre at Harper Adams University Opens

The Dairy Crest Innovation Centre at the Harper Adams University campus, Newport, Shropshire has been opened. The new facility was opened by The Princess Royal, the Chancellor of Harper Adams University. Her Royal Highness was accompanied throughout her visit by Stephen Alexander (Chairman, Dairy Crest), Mark Allen (Chief Executive, Dairy Crest) and Dr David Llewellyn (Vice-Chancellor, Harper Adams University).

Her Royal Highness was particularly interested to hear about the knowledge sharing partnership between Dairy Crest and Harper Adams University – a unique development between a major food business and a University. The partnership means a number of students will spend time working within Dairy Crest on 12 month placements and one-off projects. It also gives Dairy Crest access to research, staff and students at the University.

The state of the art facilities at the Innovation Centre include development kitchens, a pilot plant and the laboratories.

Mark Allen, Chief Executive of Dairy Crest, says: “Building brands and adding value is fundamental to everything we do at Dairy Crest. Innovation is at the heart of our strategy. I am particularly excited that the Dairy Crest Innovation Centre, which is home to our research and development and technical teams, is built on the campus of Harper Adams University. The university is well known and respected for its leading role in food, farming and science education.”

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Leveraging Public R&D for the Benefit of Industry: The Case of Food – Tuesday, 24th November, 2015

Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, is holding a symposium on technology transfer on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 at the Round Room at the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland. The aim of this event is to highlight how important science-based innovation is to the growth of the food sector.

The symposium will explore international best practice in technology transfer, challenges and opportunities including organisational structures, processes, and policies related to technology transfer, and the application of these learnings to the food sector.

It will provide an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to engage with one another to ensure that technology transfer within Ireland is progressed and applied successfully for the development of innovation within the Irish Food Sector.

PROGRAMME

9.00 am – Registration and Tea/Coffee
10.00 am – Opening
RDI as a key driver for growth in the Irish food sector
Dr. Frank O’Mara, Director of Research, Teagasc, Ireland

Challenges in commercialising public sector research
Prof. James Cunningham, Professor of Strategic Management, Newcastle Business School, United Kingdom

11.00 am – International Examples of Best Practice: Lessons to be Learned for the Food Sector
Commercialising RPO research and innovation: A US university perspective
Lesley Millar-Nicholson, Director of the Office of Technology Management, University of Illinois, United States

European Key Enabling Technologies (KETs): Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP)
Dr. Lieve Hoflack, Project Manager, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plan, Belgium

Identifying opportunities and building cooperation between innovation leaders
Rhonda Smith, Strategist and Trainer External Relations & Media Communications, Minerva Communications UK Ltd., United Kingdom

12.30 pm – Lunch

1.15 pm – Enhancing Framework Conditions for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The framework conditions conducive to effective technology transfer
Dr. Mario Cervantes, Senior Economist and Head of Secretariat for the OECD’s Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy, OECD, France

Strengthening Ireland’s market insights-driven research capacity
Dr. Christian Stafford, Research & Innovation Division, Enterprise Ireland, Ireland

Combined innovation policy: Linking scientific and practical knowledge in innovation systems
Prof. Magnus Nilsson, Associate Professor at the Department of Business Administration and Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE), Lund University, Sweden

2.15 pm – Challenges, Appropriate Channels and Food Industry Innovation Needs
Knowledge transfer channels most appropriate for the food sector
Dr. Kerstin Lienemann, Head of the Brussels’ Office of the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL), Belgium

Building effective public and private collaborations
Dr. Ann Schmierer, Director for Industry Partnering, Oregon State University, United States

Technology transfer in the Irish food sector: The Teagasc story
Declan Troy, Director of Technology and Knowledge Transfer for the Food Programme, Teagasc, Ireland

Innovation needs of the food sector
Declan McDonnell, R&D Manager, ABP Food Group, Ireland

3.35 pm – Panel Discussion: Lessons for the Irish Food Sector
Panellists: Richard Howell (Head of Research & Codex Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine), Dr. Mary Shire (Vice President Research, University of Limerick), Colin Gordon, Chair of Food and Drink Industries Ireland and member of the Consumer Foods Board of Bord Bia
4.30pm – Conference Close

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Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute Established

As the global focus on nutrition and general wellness continues to take centre stage, Kerry Group has announced the launch of the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute. Supported by a Scientific Advisory Council, the Institute aims to provide expert insight into the science and policy of health, taste, nutrition and general wellness. To make the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute easily accessible to health and nutrition professionals, a website by the same name has been launched simultaneously.

The Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute has three guiding principles:

* To educate on health and wellness market trends and to provide knowledge on nutritional considerations across life stages and need states

* To connect with the global scientific community on regulatory and policy matters, and evolutions in scientific research

* To advance scientific knowledge to help deliver great tasting, nutritious food and beverages, and to advance Kerry’s nutrition research programme

Across the globe, public health challenges such obesity and diabetes are increasingly prevalent across all ages and in all corners of the globe. This has substantially increased the focus on improving the nutritional quality of food supply to enable more nutritious and healthier food and beverage choices, while maintaining convenience. Despite this taste remains the most important factor to 41% of consumers globally when choosing food or drink products (Datamonitor) meaning that manufacturers cannot afford to look at nutrition in isolation.

Scientific Advisory Council members (left to right): Dr Joanne Slavin, Dr Christine Loscher and Dr Sharon Donovan. Credit: Jason Clarke Photography.

Scientific Advisory Council members (left to right): Dr Joanne Slavin, Dr Christine Loscher and Dr Sharon Donovan. Credit: Jason Clarke Photography.

Satya Jonnalagadda, Ph D, MBA, RD, Director of Global Nutrition at Kerry, says: “The challenges we are facing in terms of public health are varied, complex and are at a global scale. Action is needed at industry, social and individual level to tackle crises, such as the obesity epidemic. As a taste and nutrition leader, we want to help guide the development of evidence based products that will have a significant impact on health and still taste great.”

Scientific Advisory Council

The Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute is supported by a Scientific Advisory Council, which is made up of recognised leaders in nutrition science and research:

* Sharon Donovan, Ph.D., RD, Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign;

* Christine Loscher, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Immunology at Dublin City University;

* Joanne Slavin, Ph.D., RD, Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota.

Council members augment the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute with their learnings on scientific advancements in the areas of general wellness and nutrition for future nutritional and technology innovation. The Institute is also supported by internal Kerry advisors, who bring a wealth of knowledge in taste and nutrition.

“These prominent experts hailing from exceptional institutions will help Kerry, through the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute, achieve its commitment to discovering new nutritional technologies and applications, and ultimately help consumers around the globe pursue healthier lifestyles with innovative and great tasting nutritional solutions”, said Albert McQuaid, PhD, Chief Technology Officer, Functional Ingredients & Actives.

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Nestlé Health Science to Invest in US Product Technology Centre

Nestlé Health Science, a Nestlé subsidiary dedicated to developing nutritional solutions for people with specific medical conditions, is investing SFr67 million (US$70 million, Eur61 million) in a new Product Technology Centre at Bridgewater, New Jersey, in the US. As part of Nestlé’s global R&D network, the facility will focus on developing innovative nutritional therapies that improve nutritional status and health outcomes for people in the US and other parts of the world. The Centre will open in 2016.

Nestlé Health Science, established four years ago, focuses on deepening the role of nutrition in healthcare, an area that is rich in innovation potential as we learn more about the roles of nutrients in addressing health needs.

Nestlé Health Science CEO Greg Behar says: “This investment reflects our commitment to leading the development of innovative nutritional therapies that change the course of health for people and patients in the US and globally. The new facility will house the latest technologies and people in the field, uniting our R&D and business teams in a region with strong life-science activity; it will enhance and accelerate the quality and speed to market of Nestlé Health Science’s innovations that improve nutritional status and health outcomes.”

The Bridgewater facility will be one of more than 30 Nestlé Product Technology Centres around the world, which have become key success factors in the continued growth and development of Nestlé as the world’s largest nutrition health and wellness company, with sales approaching $100 billion per year. These Centres provide a wide range of product-specific R&D, science and technical expertise; the Bridgewater Centre will deliver applied research, specialized technology, nutrition translation and innovative product development supporting Nestlé Health Science’s three main business areas: Consumer Care, Medical Nutrition and Novel Therapeutic Nutrition.

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Opening of Kerry Group’s €100 Million Global Technology & Innovation Centre in Ireland

Kerry Group, the global taste & nutrition and consumer foods group, has opened a new Global Technology & Innovation Centre to serve the group’s global and regional customers in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. The new Global Centre is strategically located on a 28 acre site, in the Millennium Business Park, Naas (adjacent to the M7 and M50 Dublin motorways).

Kerry Group has invested €100 million in the establishment of the new Technology & Innovation Centre which today accommodates 800 research, product commercialisation, business development and business support positions, and which will accommodate a further 100 positions by the end of 2016.

Stan McCarthy, chief executive of Kerry Group, comments: “Our new Global Technology & Innovation Centre will serve as a focal point for Kerry’s customer engagement activities providing key customers with access to the Group’s complete breadth and depth of technologies, scientific research, innovation and applications expertise, across food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. In addition it will serve as the Group’s Global Centre of Excellence for Nutrition and will optimise product differentiation in the marketplace while providing unrivalled speed to market.”

He adds: “Today’s consumer markets, and changing food and beverage consumption trends, call for renewed vigour in product innovation and development of nutritious product solutions and menu offerings. Kerry’s approach to innovation capitalises on our total Taste & Nutrition technology offering and unique end-use-market applications capability.”

The new world-class Technology & Innovation Centre received support from the Irish Government, State Agencies and Kildare County Council. The Centre will support functional and business leadership development and scalable sustainable growth in Kerry well into the future.

Kerry Group has become a world leader in Taste & Nutrition serving the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries and a leading consumer foods processing and marketing organisation in selected EU markets. From the commissioning of its first manufacturing plant in Listowel, Ireland in 1972, the Kerry organisation has grown to become a highly successful public company, having achieved sustained profitable growth with current annualised sales in excess of €5.8 billion. Launched as a public company in 1986, the market capitalisation of the group has grown to a current level of approximately €12 billion. Kerry Group now employs over 24,000 people throughout its worldwide activities and operations.

CAPTION:

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD (left), who officially opened the new Kerry Group Global Technology & Innovation Centre, with Stan McCarthy, chief executive of Kerry Group.

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Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences to Develop New Test For Early Alzheimer’s Disease

The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences SA (NIHS), a fundamental research institute of the global nutrition, health and wellness company Nestlé, has signed a research collaboration agreement with AC Immune SA – a leading Lausanne-based biopharmaceutical company focused on neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of the collaboration is to develop a sensitive, minimally invasive Tau diagnostic assay for early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by applying Nestlé’s proprietary multiplexed ultrasensitive antibody technology platform.

Tangles of Tau proteins are recognised as one of two major hallmarks of neurodegeneration, the other being beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques. Tangles and other abnormal forms of Tau protein accumulate inside the brain cells and spread between cells of people with Alzheimer’s disease over a long period of time. It is now well established that Tau correlates well with cognitive decline and disease progression. Furthermore, Tau may develop into a suitable biomarker for early diagnosis of the disease.

“This collaboration agreement opens up exciting new possibilities in the quest to better understand and combat this debilitating disease,” comments Ed Baetge, Head of NIHS. “By bringing together our ultrasensitive next-generation diagnostic platform and AC Immune’s expertise in the field, we hope to develop a minimally invasive Tau diagnostic using patients’ blood which can identify Alzheimer’s patients at a very early, and potentially pre-symptomatic, stage of the disease.”

Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune, comments: “The development of a minimally invasive diagnostic test to identify patients at very early stages is considered as one of the most pressing needs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ed Baetge adds: “Our overarching goal at NIHS is to develop nutritional approaches and technologies that help people maintain or improve their cognitive vigour especially for early diagnosis and targeted intervention to combat this global health problem.”

Nestlé’s technology is a patented diagnostic antibody-based platform capable of measuring soluble proteins with high sensitivity and specificity. The technology was developed by Prometheus Laboratories In., a Nestlé Health Science company. Since 2013, NIHS has applied it in Brain Health research, specifically in Alzheimer’s. The assay uses a triplex antibody microarray-based platform that measures the expression and activation of target proteins in tissues, blood or other fluids.

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INRA and TEAGASC to Strengthen Scientific Co-operation

INRA (France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research) and Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) have signed a joint declaration for the strengthening of scientific co-operation between the two organisations.

Together, these research institutes possess a high level of competence and expertise located in over 200 laboratories in France and 13 research and development centres in Ireland. The co-operation themes covered already encompass food processing, ecology, plant biology, human nutrition, microbiology, physiology, genetics and animal health, livestock breeding systems, environment, rural development and more.

Following on the Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs) signed in 2002 and 2009; a joint declaration has just been signed. This declaration will pursue existing partnerships and extend collaboration in various themes namely:

* Further encourage joint participation in European programmes such as Horizon 2020 or Interreg.

* Develop the co-supervision of postgraduates both French and Irish in France and Ireland.

* Support PhD students with their travel expenses while undertaking research in France and Ireland.

* Organise regular joint seminars in order to explore potential research projects of common interest.

* Publicise the results of joint projects, communicate on existing partnerships and ‘success stories’

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle says: “Researchers at Teagasc and INRA have a long tradition of working together for the betterment of agriculture in both countries. I am delighted to be signing this declaration this week which will deepen the collaboration between the two organisations.”

The strengthening of this co-operation will foster and encourage researchers in both organisations to actively explore synergistic and complementary research opportunities, which will result in an increase in France and Ireland’s European and global competitiveness. The combined expertise at INRA and Teagasc will enable the development of new technologies, products and services in the agri-food sector.

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Nestlé Health Science to Develop New Therapy to Treat Ulcerative Colitis

Nestlé Health Science has entered into a license agreement with Lipid Therapeutics for exclusive rights worldwide, except for Europe and Australia, to Lipid Therapeutics’ LT-02 compound (phosphatidylcholine), a novel barrier function therapy for patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. Under this agreement, Nestlé Health Science will further develop and commercialize LT-02 upon marketing approval by the relevant authorities in the licensed geographies. Nestlé Health Science plans to start phase III clinical trials in the US in 2016. The financial terms of the licensing partnership are not being disclosed.

Lipid Therapeutics’ European development partner, Dr Falk Pharma GmbH, a pharmaceutical company specialized in gastroenterology, announced the start of phase III trials for LT-02 in Europe in October 2014. As part of a strategic development approach, Nestlé Health Science, Dr Falk and Lipid Therapeutics will collaborate to generate the required clinical evidence in support of LT-02’s beneficial effects in the treatment of ulcerative colitis in order to obtain drug regulatory approvals.

More than one million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from ulcerative colitis, a chronic and debilitating inflammatory condition of the large intestine. The most common treatment is 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalazine), However it is estimated that 40% of patients receiving the recommended dose of 5-aminosalicylic acid continue to experience persistent disease activity flares. The NHSc development program will primarily assess LT-02 as an add-on therapy to 5-aminosalicylic acid. LT-02 has a novel mode of action that restores the colonic barrier function in the gut mucosa or ‘wall’ and through anti-inflammatory signalling and represents a first-in-class therapy for those patients still suffering flares while being treated with mesalazine.

Greg Behar CEO of Nestlé Health Science, says: “LT-02 has paradigm changing potential in the management of ulcerative colitis in terms of improving patient outcomes and reducing the need for biologics and corticosteroids. The growing number of patients that suffer from chronic gastrointestinal conditions worldwide increases our determination to make an impact, through innovative, integrated therapeutic approaches. This agreement enables us to further build our gastrointestinal pipeline, a key focus of our Novel Therapeutic Nutrition business area with the aim of developing nutritional therapies coupled with innovative drug and diagnostics solutions.”

Dr Gerhard Keilhauer, CEO of Lipid Therapeutics, says: “Based upon initial trials, we are convinced of the transformational potential of LT-02. With Dr Falk Pharma and now Nestlé Health Science as licensees in key geographies, the resources and capabilities are at work to translate potential into a breakthrough therapy.”

This licensing agreement is part of Nestlé Health Science’s strategy to develop its product portfolio for gastrointestinal diseases, a key focus of its Novel Therapeutic Nutrition business area.

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Nestlé and EpiGen to Study How Mother’s Diet Can Influence Baby’s Genes and Health

In what is thought to be the first clinical trial of its kind, the Nestlé Research Center will examine if a specific blend of nutrients and probiotics can improve the health of mothers and babies when taken by mothers before conception and throughout pregnancy. This study is the latest collaboration between the EpiGen Global Research Consortium and the Nestlé Research Center.

1,800 women in the United Kingdom, Singapore and New Zealand will take part in the trial. It will assess if the nutritional blend helps the mother maintain healthy blood sugar, vitamin and mineral levels, sustain a healthy pregnancy, and promote the healthy growth and development of her infant.

The study will also examine how this diet will influence babies’ genes.

If results show a significant impact in reducing pregnancy complications and metabolic disorders in infants, it may strengthen the argument for providing nutritional advice to women before conception.

It is part of Nestlé’s commitment to ‘Build knowledge leadership in children’s nutrition’ and ‘Lead the industry in nutrition and health research through collaboration’.

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Nestlé Opens Global R&D Centre For Frozen and Chilled Food Products

Nestlé has opened a SFr48 million (US$ 50 million) research and development centre in Solon, Ohio in the US that will focus on new product development for its frozen and chilled food businesses worldwide

The Solon R&D centre will also work on reformulating Nestlé’s frozen and chilled food products, exploring ways to reduce sodium and saturated fat, eliminate partially hydrogenated oils, incorporate more vegetables, and offer gluten free and high-protein alternatives for existing products in the market.

The R&D centre in Solon will be Nestlé’s ‘centre of excellence’ for frozen and chilled foods and is part of 12 ‘centres of excellence’ for the company around the world that are dedicated to product and process development.

While the centre’s mission is to sustain global needs, its location in Ohio reflects the growth in size and complexity of Nestlé’s frozen and chilled foods businesses in the United States, where well-known Nestlé brands lead in their various categories. That growth made an expanded and collaborative research and development effort necessary.

In addition to developing R&D strategy for Nestlé’s worldwide frozen and chilled foods businesses, the experts at Nestlé R&D Solon will focus on product innovation and renovation that both meet Nestlé’s Nutrition Foundation requirements and balance taste with nutrition, by exploring ways to reduce sodium and saturated fat, eliminate partially hydrogenated oils, incorporate more vegetables, and create gluten free and high-protein options. The team will also provide expert technical assistance to Nestlé production facilities around the world, as well as guidance in the important areas of nutrition, food processing, food quality, and food safety. Incorporated into the design is a pilot plant where the latest technology advancements and new recipes can be evaluated and refined for introduction into the marketplace.

“We’re experiencing one of the most profound shifts in how people eat right now. To address the ever-changing landscape, we’re striving to make our products healthier and tastier using unmatched R&D capability, nutrition science and passion for quality in everything we do,” says Paul Grimwood, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA. “I’m pleased that Nestlé R&D Solon will enable us to better anticipate and provide consumers with the food choices they deserve and the quality they have come to expect from Nestlé.”

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Nestlé Skin Health to Open R&D Centre in Shanghai For Ageing Skin

Nestlé Skin Health has announced that it will open an innovation hub in Shanghai to support healthy ageing. Operational in 2016, the hub – known as a SHIELD (Skin Health Investigation, Education and Longevity Development) centre – will combine different technologies, medications and bio-informatics to help address ageing skin health issues including intense dryness and skin cancer.

The hub will be the first for the company in Asia and its second worldwide.

“We are very enthusiastic about opening our first Asia-based SHIELD center in Shanghai. It will be a hub for developing solutions to meet China’s growing skin health needs and will serve as a platform for collaboration and innovation,” says Humberto Antunes, CEO of Nestlé Skin Health and Chairman of Galderma Pharma. “We will engage with scientists and healthcare professionals to create an environment where medicines and technologies can be combined with bio-informatics to develop preventative, diagnostic and treatment strategies to advance next generation of skin health regimens.”

In 2014, Nestlé Skin Health announced its plan to open a global network of SHIELD centers around the world to meet skin health challenges that result from our 21st century longevity. The first SHIELD center will open in New York City in the fourth quarter of 2015 followed by the Shanghai center in the first quarter of 2016 with other locations planned in the future.

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Nestlé Scientist Helps Establish Alzheimer’s Research Hub

Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) scientist Gene Bowman has played a key role in establishing the first research hub dedicated to ‘Nutrition, Metabolism and Dementia’ at the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART).

ISTAART is the Association’s professional society dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia science, and the hub, known as a ‘Professional Interest Area’ or PIA, will connect scientists with clinicians to make more informed decisions on how nutrition influences dementia risk, and co-ordinate future research.

Bowman, who is NIHS Head of Ageing and Cognitive Health, founded the PIA with two other scientists from academia, and will serve as its first industry chairman.

Based in Chicago, the Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organisation in Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Collaborative projects such as this demonstrate Nestlé’s commitment to industry leadership innutrition and health research.

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Nestlé Study Supports Potassium’s Heart Health Effects

A Nestlé study suggests that increasing dietary intake of potassium to the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended level of at least 3.51 grams per day could help to reduce blood pressure in people not taking medicine for hypertension, and may be a cost effective means of delaying its onset or mitigating its severity.

In the new study, published in the Journal of Hypertension, scientists at the Nestle Research Center (NRC) in Lausanne, Switzerland examined 15 existing studies on the effects of potassium supplementation on people with either normal or high blood pressure who were not taking medication for the condition.

The researchers believe their study is the first to systematically address whether people not taking drugs to treat hypertension could benefit from increased dietary potassium intake, and conclude that people with high blood pressure who also decrease their sodium (salt) intake may do so.

People can increase their potassium intake by eating more fruits, vegetables, pulses and nuts, the scientists add, while fortifying foods with potassium irrespective of sodium content could also be effective.

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Nestlé Fuels Solar Impulse For Longest Ever Non-stop Solar Flight

Solar Impulse, the world’s first attempt to fly around the globe in a solar-powered aircraft, has broken the record for the longest solo flight in such a machine. The plane piloted by André Borschberg covered the 7,212 kilometres from Nagoya, Japan to Honolulu in the US in five days and five nights, and will now cross the US mainland before completing its 35,000 kilometre journey in Abu Dhabi in September 2015.

Scientists and food experts at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, spent the last four years working with the two pilots, Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, to develop meals and snacks for the flight. While flying, the pilots eat 11 meals per day, all researched, developed and supplied by Nestlé – ranging from mushroom risotto and potato gratin to yogurts and breakfast cereals.

The food is designed to supply the pilots with optimal energy and protein during the various legs of the journey, and to help them cope with large variations in temperature and altitude. Customised packaging ensures that food stays fresh for up to three months, without artificial preservatives.

Stefan Catsicas, Chief Technology Officer, Nestlé, says: “Nestlé is excited to be at the forefront of scientific endeavour through our support for Solar Impulse. We share the team’s commitment to science, innovation and sustainability.”

After Solar Impulse completes its journey, Nestlé will consider how to apply the knowledge it has learned, which could be used to develop nutritional programmes for high-altitude sports and expeditions.

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The Movable Feast – Selecting the Right Portion Size and Feeling Full

We all know that pleasurable feeling of satiety, the satisfaction you experience when you’ve eaten a good meal and feel full. While satiety feels good, what is less clear is how much food we need to eat to reach this state, given that people still eat when they feel satisfied.

What is a ‘portion’ or a serving? It is an unspecified amount of food that someone decides you should eat. Who is this ‘someone’?

It’s you ultimately, but it’s also the restaurant owner, parent, or the food manufacturer who has packaged up the food for you to buy.

An overly large portion size may tempt you to overeat, and research consistently shows that when larger quantities of food are served, people eat larger portions. This is why portion sizes matter.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 600 million people worldwide are obese, and describes obesity as one of this century’s greatest public health challenges, given the higher risk it brings of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.

Weight gain can be caused by an increase in energy consumed and/or a decrease in energy burned, but what exactly are the factors that affect how much we eat?

The Neuroscience of ‘Dietary Restraint’

A new study from the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) in collaboration with the Vaudois University Hospital Centre, University of Lausanne (CHUV) in Switzerland provides further evidence that ‘dietary control’ based on motivational and attentional processes in the brain play a key role in portion size choice.

Study leader Dr Julie Hudry suggests that those who overeat or ‘emotional eaters’ (whose consumption is triggered by anxiety, sadness or loneliness) may lack such control, but that education could help these groups.

In the research, normal weight women were asked to look at photos of the same dish in varying sizes (from small to large) and select the ‘ideal’ portion size “to stop feeling hungry until an evening meal”.

Using neuroimaging, the scientists documented the greater excitement that the women experienced in the “visual, salience and reward” regions of the brain when they first saw pictures of portions they subsequently judged to be ‘too big’, versus the portions that they judged to be ‘too small’ or ‘ideal’.

Attention and Adaptive Brain Behaviour is Crucial

Dr Hudry says her team’s study is the first to provide evidence that activity in different parts of the brain, involved with attention and adaptive behavior, quickly succeeded these reward-related reactions.

NestlePortion-size1Brain activity was ultimately highest in the regions involved with attention and adaptive behaviour for the portions that the women decided were ideally sized, suggesting that they exercised dietary restraint when making their choices, balancing energetic needs against the desire to control intake.

“We found two mechanisms working in parallel,” Dr Hudry says. “One involved more in counting – how much food is present, how many calories and possibly how much reward. The second is this regulatory mechanism – judging what amount is appropriate for me to feel full until the next meal.”

“What we don’t know is if this second mechanism is disrupted somehow in people who tend to overeat,” she adds. “Communication around this regulatory mechanism is something that could help people to control their hunger.”

‘Mindless Eating’ and the Disappearing Peanuts

Research consistently shows that when larger portions of food are served, people eat more, so unconscious choices regarding portion size may be to blame.

Lisa Edelson, another NRC scientist who conducts research in this area, says that some people seem to be unaware that they are serving, let alone eating, unduly large portions.

She describes one NRC study where the amount of food parents estimated that they served their children was substantially different than what scientists later saw them serve in a lab. Portioning out ‘amorphous’ foods that are hard to count or quantify, apple sauce, for instance, may be particularly difficult.

Edelson also identifies ‘mindless eating’ as another contributor to over consumption. Many of us will have experienced this. You’re watching a gripping TV show and suddenly realise that the peanuts you were enjoying have all but disappeared.

Snacks can be treats we eat for pleasure, not to fill us up, but they still contribute to our overall calorie intake. In the long-term, this can lead to weight gain.

Lisa Edelson recommends encouraging people to serve only the amount they would like to eat in one sitting onto a plate, then to put the pack away. Even the small amount of effort required to fetch more food from the kitchen can make you consider whether you actually want it, she adds.

Portion Size Education is Vital

Research indicates the difference that education can make in choosing the correct portion size. It’s why Nestlé has made a voluntary commitment to provide portion guidance on all children’s and family products by the end of 2015 to support portion decisions at the point-of-sale and moment of use.

The company is also developing new tools and new types of packaging to help educate people about what constitutes an appropriate portion size, and to help them select it.

Dietician Lisa Young from New York University helped Nestlé USA develop the Nestlé Pizza Portion Guide to help people eat a healthier diet without necessarily making certain foods off limits.

The guide treats pizza as a ‘mixed dish’ that combines several food groups in one slice – grains in the crust, calcium-rich dairy, vegetables and protein. It advises filling half your plate with additional vegetables and fruits to eat alongside the pizza, and moderating how much of it you eat to ensure your daily sodium intake is consistent with dietary recommendations.

In Canada, Nestlé has partitioned a 45 gram box of Smarties into three parts, with 15 Smarties containing 70 calories in total in each portion. The aim is to cause a “physical disruption to your eating pattern, to make you think before you overdo it”, given evidence of confusion among some Canadian consumers over what constitutes an appropriate portion size.

Understanding Why We Eat

While education around portion sizes and a linked focus on packaging design is vital, cutting sugar, fat and salt levels in certain foods can make the same-sized portion more appropriate, and adopting both strategies will deliver healthier and more satisfying choices to the consumer.

Nestlé has made a series of commitments in this area on top of the work its researchers are doing to examine how smaller portion sizes can still satisfy consumers.

Ultimately, the goal is to feel well-nourished after eating just the right quantity of food, which requires education. Since William Cobbett’s contented diner is so difficult to annoy, it’s safe to ask them the following questions: “Are you comfortably full, or too full?” “If you’re too full, then why did you overeat?”

It’s only by better understanding the reasons why we eat that can we implement practical measures to reframe the portion sizes that have crept up over time, along with our waistlines.

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New Agri-Food Competence Centre For Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has announced the establishment of a £6.7 million Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre (AFQCC). Hosted at Queen’s University, Belfast, the new Competence Centre will draw upon the research capabilities of Ulster University (UU), Queen’s University, Belfast and the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). The centre’s primary focus will be on improving the international competitive position of the Northern Ireland Agri-food sector through innovation and co-operative research.

Financing for the centre is made up of £5 million of research and development assistance from Invest NI and a £1.7 million investment from industry partners.

Jonathan Bell says: “The Northern Ireland Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre is the fourth in an initial series of Competence Centres being funded by Invest NI and industry partners, which are designed to rapidly transform great research into commercial success. The Agri-food Sector ‘Going for Growth’ strategy sets out a vision for the agri-food industry and recognises that investment in research and development is a crucial component in the development of innovative products and in targeting export markets. This Competence Centre is vital to the success of that strategy.”

The new centre will provide a platform for companies which want to pursue research projects in areas such as packaging, shelf-life, waste minimisation and food security.

He adds: “I would encourage companies operating in the Agri-food sector to explore how this centre could benefit their business.”

“This development will improve the competitiveness of Northern Ireland’s biggest Industry,” says Prof Elliott of QUB. “The establishment of this industry-academia research partnership is essential to help local companies keep up with the fierce competition they face on the world’s global markets. The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University is very proud to host this centre and will work alongside our industry partners to drive innovation across the Agri-food sectors.’

CAPTION:

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell pictured with Prof Chris Elliot, Queen’s University Belfast; Michael Bell, NIFDA; and Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI.

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Glanbia Ingredients Ireland and Teagasc Embark on Dairy Ingredients and Processing Innovation Collaboration

A new collaboration agreement has been announced between the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) in the areas of dairy ingredients and processing. The arrangement focuses on the development of scientific capability to support the generation of value-add in the cheese and dairy ingredients space.

GII is Ireland’s leading dairy ingredients company, processing 2 billion litres of milk or 30% of Ireland’s milk pool into a range of dairy ingredients for export to more than 50 countries.

Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle says:” We are delighted to extend our existing excellent working relationship with GII to the food research area. With the abolition of milk quotas and an increasing milk pool, there is a need for rapid transfer of scientific know-how for development of dairy ingredients with new end uses in export markets. This collaboration combines Teagasc’s extensive capability in dairy chemistry and processing with GII’s knowledge and expertise in dairy and nutritional ingredients with the goal of bringing new innovative products to export markets.”

To support this initiative, a scientific programme has been agreed between the two parties which will support delivery of the latest developments in dairy science and technology at GII, the largest private shareholder in Moorepark Technology. At the heart of the new programme is collaboration between Glanbia and Teagasc research and technology staff, working together to capture the latest dairy chemistry and processing know-how from around the world.

Jim Bergin, CEO of GII, says: “This collaboration has the potential to deliver the next generation of dairy ingredients for a range of applications globally. As part of the collaboration, Glanbia have located research staff on-site at Moorepark and they will carry out the day to day activities on the programme working closely with key Teagasc staff. This endeavour will be one of the core contributors to GII’s extensive innovation platform over the next five years.”

The programme will benefit from access to state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation at Moorepark and the extensive pilot plant facilities of Moorepark Technology capable of fully replicating the commercial operations at Glanbia. The ability to scale up the science ensures the delivery of real commercial application within the programme and adds an important dimension to the existing Glanbia cheese and ingredients programme.

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Orafti®Synergy1 From BENEO Provides New Opportunities to Fight Obesity in Children

A new study conducted by the research team of Professor Raylene Reimer from the University of Calgary in Canada shows that the prebiotic chicory root fibre Orafti®Synergy1 from BENEO improves appetite regulation and decreases food intake in overweight and obese children, helping those children to eat less, naturally.[i] [ii]

These findings strengthen the results of previous studies addressing the topic of weight management support by chicory root fibres in adults and children. Keeping in mind that about one-third of Canadian and American children are overweight or obese, it is evident that methods and ingredients need to be developed to stop the obesity epidemic and to support healthy weight management.

For this study Professor Reimer and her research team aimed to evaluate the potential of Orafti®Synergy1 in overweight and obese children. 42 overweight and obese children between the ages of 7 to 12 years were included in the study and closely followed for 16 weeks. Results were presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s Scientific Sessions at Experimental Biology 2015 in Boston and illustrate that children with 8g daily of Orafti®Synergy1 supplementation had significantly higher ratings in their feeling of fullness and satisfaction and a lower prospective food consumption. Also satiety was significantly higher with the fibre supplementation.

At an ad libitum breakfast buffet, the children consumed about 100 calories less when they had been given Orafti®Synergy1 supplementation. At the end of the 16-week study, the lower food intake showed a definite impact on the children’s body weight.  BMI z-scores were significantly reduced in the prebiotic chicory fibre group, but not in the control group. These results confirmed that in the children studied, long-term intake of the prebiotic fibre Orafti®Synergy1 can lead to reductions in energy intake with positive impact on body weight, a reduction in body fat and fat mass index. Orafti®Synergy1 supplementation also contributes to higher satiety and fullness.

“We were very excited when we heard about these results presented at the Experimental Biology conference in Boston,” says Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at BENEO. “We know that chicory root fibres help people eat less. It is great to see that Orafti®Synergy1 has the potential to contribute to the obesity fight – for adults and in particular, for children. Because the taste of chicory fibre is pleasant and can be easily integrated into daily eating, we feel that it is a good option to support healthy weight management.”

The study was funded by a grant from the BMO Financial Group, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Earlier research in this series, including several human intervention studies with the prebiotic chicory root fibres Orafti®P95 and Orafti®Synergy1, also provided positive evidence for the parameters relevant to assessing the potential of an ingredient to contribute to weight management, including:

  • Subjective appetite rating
  • Satiety regulation on hormonal basis
  • Energy intake over the long-term covering potential compensation aspects
  • Body weight and body composition (fat mass, in particular trunk fat).

Apart from these studies, recently published information from several research groups have provided new insights into the mechanism link, revealing that the beneficial effects of chicory root fibres on food intake result from their specific prebiotic fermentation properties and the cross-talk with the brain via the gut-brain axis.[iii] [iv] Short chain fatty acids formed during fermentation positively influence satiety regulation in the brain, reducing appetite and subsequent food intake.

Corresponding observations from an earlier study in children illustrate that Orafti®Synergy1 supplementation might help avoid undesirable weight gain during pubertal growth. This one year study was conducted by the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston[v] and found that children between the ages of 9 to 13 years who received 8g daily of Orafti®Synergy1 supplementation showed a less excessive body weight development and less body fat, in comparison with children in the control group receiving maltodextrin (a sweet starch-type product).  Professor Reimer and her team concluded that prebiotic chicory root fibre is a potential tool for the prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity.

[i] Hume M, Nicolucci A, Reimer R (2015) Prebiotic fiber consumption decreases energy intake in overweight and obese children. The FASEB Journal Vol 29 No.1, Supplement, Abstract 597.3 and presentation handout.

[ii] Nicolucci A., Hume M., Reimer R. (2015) Effect of Prebiotic Fiber-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota on Adiposity in Obese and Overweight Children. The FASEB Journal Vo. 29, No. 1 Supplement 276.6 and presentation handout.

[iii] De Vadder et al (2014) Microbiota-Generated Metabolites Promote Metabolic Benefits via Gut-Brain Neural Circuits. Cell 156, 1-13.

[iv] Frost el al.(2013) The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nature Communications. DOI:10.1038/ncomms4611

[v] Abrams SA et al (2007) Effect of prebiotic supplementation and calcium intake on body mass index. J Pediatr 151, 293-8.

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A Risotto Five Years in the Making: How Nestlé Designed a Diet to Fuel Solar Impulse

Mushroom risotto, potato gratin and curry soup: the diet that is fuelling the Solar Impulse pilots attempting to become the first to fly a solar-powered plane around the world.

It might sound ordinary but getting such dishes right took a team of eight scientists at the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) in Lausanne, Switzerland five years and more than 6,000 hours to research and develop.

Led by Dr Amira Kassis, the Nestlé team developed tailored dietary plans and all the food now being consumed by the two pilots seeking to break the world record for solar flight, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

The challenge lies in feeding them and ensuring they get the nutrition they need at a cruising altitude of 27,000 feet in an unpressurised flight cabin. Both the food and its packaging are specially designed to survive extreme temperatures and varying climatic conditions. It has to be easy to consume, satisfy tight weight constraints and taste good too.

Testing New Packaging

“There was a lot of trial and error involved. From testing new packaging to testing the food itself to see how it stood up to the conditions,” Dr Kassis said. “Providing the required levels of nutritional quality is of the utmost importance to the pilots, and perfecting all of the various elements took time.”

High altitude often diminishes human appetite, so the pilots’ meals are divided into two main categories. A higher altitude version for consumption above 3,500 metres composed of high energy, high carbohydrate and fatty food items delivered in small portions, and a sub-3,500 metre version comprising higher protein foods in bigger portions.

During their record attempt the pilots are living in cramped, isolated conditions during flights lasting up to six days. Their sleep intervals last around 20 minutes and there is little opportunity for physical exercise.

Dr Kassis’ team of physiologists, nutritionists and food scientists began by assessing Piccard and Borschberg’s individual nutritional profiles, including their carbohydrate, fat and protein requirements, and estimating how these would change during the course of a 35,000 kilometre journey comprising 12 flights and 500 hours in the air.

Tests on the pilots conducted at NRC’s metabolic unit assessed, among other things, their energy expenditure. This is a measure of how many calories, including carbohydrates and fat, the human body burns on a daily basis.

Nestlé researchers measured each pilot’s muscle mass to work out how much protein to add to their diet. While developing the plans, they also considered the harsh physical conditions that the pilots would endure, including sharp changes in temperature and altitude.

Dr Kassis and her team used this data to help them create a menu of 11 different meals and snacks tailor-made for each pilot, which they then tested via flight simulations with Piccard and Borschberg in 2012 and 2013.

These tests measured factors including the pilots’ food intake, pre- and post-flight body weight and protein balance. The NRC team used the results to better tailor the meals to in-flight conditions, and ran taste tests with the pilots to get more information on their food preferences.

“Working with the pilots, we discovered, of course, that they have different preferences. For example, one prefers vegetarian options while the other dislikes chocolate,” Dr Kassis said.

“The aim of the tasting sessions and agreeing menus with the pilots was important to ensure that they would actually eat the food in an environment where their appetite might not be the same as usual,” she added.

Food Weight is Critical

Storing and serving the food was the other big challenge. Despite having a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747, the Solar Impulse plane is only about as heavy as a family car, which meant the Nestlé researchers had to carefully consider the weight of all food and drink taken on board, including the packaging.

The total amount of food per flight cannot exceed 2.4 kilograms, and the volume of liquid allowed cannot exceed 3.5 litres (2.5 litres of water and 1 litre of sports drink).

Ease of use is vital, so packaging includes pouches for soups and drinks that limit the risk of spillage, and ‘flexi cups’ that turn into cups once opened. A specially designed self-heating bag is used to heat up food contained in pouches.

Freshness Without Artificial Preservatives

To preserve the food effectively, the Nestlé team developed a process whereby uncooked food ingredients are put into special packaging and then heat treated. This process seals in the freshness of the food and helps maintain its texture, preserving it for up to three months without the need for artificial preservatives.

In addition to being easy to use and lightweight, packaging has been physically tested to cope with fluctuations in air pressure.

The Solar Impulse plane took off from Abu Dhabi in early March, and Dr Kassis says she has never been so excited, as her team monitors and manages the pilots’ diet and nutritional needs during the course of the five month flight.

Showcasing technological innovation

Through its partnership with Solar Impulse, Nestlé will also help to support educational activities relating to sustainability to help maximise the legacy and impact of the project.

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European Commission Launches Scientific Debate on How to Feed the Planet

The European Commission has launched an online consultation on how science and innovation can help the EU ensuring safe, nutritious, sufficient and sustainable food globally.

The discussion is linked to the theme of this year’s Universal Exhibition (Expo Milano 2015) “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, which aims to go beyond cultural activities and open a real political debate on global food security and sustainability.

The paper was presented in Brussels by Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and responsible for the Joint Research Centre, together with Franz Fischler, Chairman of the Expo 2015 EU Scientific Steering Committee.

Commissioner Navracsics said: “The European Union has a vital role to play in tackling the challenges associated with food and nutrition security and sustainability. Expo 2015 offers us a great opportunity to showcase what the EU is already doing in this field. I hope it will also breathe new life into our efforts and further foster international collaboration. I commend the work of the Joint Research Centre and look forward to working on these issues closely with my colleagues, in particular my fellow Commissioners in charge of agriculture, health, research, environment and development.”

Chairman Franz Fischler said: “I believe that science and innovation are crucial if we are to guarantee access to safe and nutritious food for all, produced in a sustainable way. We have worked hard to ensure that Expo 2015 has a strong scientific dimension. I hope that the consultation and the discussion paper will steer a global debate.”

The consultation will underpin the debate on a future research agenda to help tackle global food and nutrition security challenges. It will focus on the areas where the EU’s research efforts can have the strongest impact, such as how to improve public health through nutrition, increase food safety and quality, reduce food loss and waste, make rural development more sustainable, increase agricultural yields through sustainable intensification, as well as how to better understand food markets and increase access to food for people around the world.

The consultation is available online for input by all interested stakeholders until 1 September. The results of the consultation will be published on 15 October, ahead of World Food Day, and will contribute to shape the EU’s legacy for Expo 2015. They will complement the scientific programme taking place at the EU’s Expo Pavillion, which will bring together experts and decision makers from around the world.

Background

The 2015 World Expo will take place from 1 May to 31 October in Milan, Italy. More than 145 countries and international organisations will take part in this year’s exposition and around 20 million visitors are expected. The EU’s contribution to the event will draw on the expertise in many areas of the work of different EU institutions and services. Their participation is coordinated by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

The EU is a crucial player in different areas related to the Expo: It is the world’s largest food exporter and second largest importer, but also the biggest development and humanitarian donor. The Expo also coincides with the move from the “Millennium” to the “Sustainable” Development Goals, the European Year for Development, and the International Year of Soils, and this provides an opportunity for the EU to take an important step forward.

Agricultural research and development is one of the most effective tools for substantially increasing agricultural production in a sustainable manner. Horizon 2020, the EU’s €80 billion research funding programme for 2014-2020, will invest more than €3.8 billion in research and innovation actions addressing some of our society’s biggest challenges like food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy.

In the area of health and food safety, the EU’s policies set the highest food safety standards in the world and are underpinned by solid science and risk assessment. As nutrition is a major determinant of health, promoting a healthy diet is also a policy objective of the European Commission.

The Joint Research Centre, which is in charge of organising the EU’s participation at the Expo, is the European Commission’s in-house science service. It has a long standing track record in food safety and security research, including its environmental aspects.

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Nestlé Health Science to Launch Cow Milk Protein Allergy Assessment Tool

Nestlé Health Science is introducing an assessment tool to help healthcare professionals identify cases of Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) in infants.

Some infants develop an allergy to cow’s milk when their immune system mistakenly sees the milk protein as something the body should fight off. CMPA can cause an infant to be fussy and irritable due to an upset stomach and other symptoms.

CMPA is usually difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms are non-specific, which means its symptoms are common with other medical conditions seen in infants and children.

The new Cow’s Milk-related Symptom Score Tool (CoMiSS), developed by a panel of leading international experts and funded by an unrestricted grant by Nestlé Health Science, is designed to help healthcare professionals identify the allergy at an earlier stage.

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Mondelez International Names New Head of Research, Development & Quality

Mondelez International has announced that Robin Hargrove will become Executive Vice President, Research, Development and Quality, effective April 1. In this role, he will report to Chief Growth Officer Mark Clouse and be responsible for all product and packaging development, research, nutrition, quality, food safety and scientific affairs activities worldwide.

Robin Hargrove has served as Senior Vice President, RD&Q for Mondelez Europe since 2013. Prior to joining the company, he had worked at PepsiCo in various senior roles since 1994.

Robin Hargrove.

Robin Hargrove.

He led Frito-Lay’s R&D activities in emerging Asian markets and Australia (2000-2002), their North America health and wellness snacks portfolio (2002-2006) and PepsiCo Europe’s R&D portfolio, with a heavy emphasis on the developing Eastern European region, including Russia (2006-2013). He began his career with Procter & Gamble in the UK as a product developer in the laundry detergent category.

“Rob is an outstanding leader and business partner with passion, technical savvy and extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. He will bring the voice of our consumers into the successful development of global innovation platforms,” says Mark Clouse. “In addition, Rob is highly experienced in category-led operating models and in navigating through large global organizations. I’m confident he will have an immediate impact as we continue to innovate and drive productivity improvements in support of our growth journey.”

Robin Hargrove succeeds Jean Spence, who is retiring after nearly 35 years of exemplary service. “Jean is a renowned scientist and terrific business leader who constantly raised the bar on food safety, quality and innovation,” Mark Clouse says. “Jean leaves behind an impressive legacy of technical achievement, but more importantly, she’s always been a great role model and advocate for her people. We wish her the very best.”

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InVivo to Acquire 50% Stake in Irish R&D Company

InVivo, the largest agricultural co-operative group in France, and a leading player in the industry globally, has agreed to acquire a 50% stake in Life Scientific, an Irish R&D company which specialises in off-patent crop protection products. Life Scientific is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

InVivo, with revenues of €5.7 billion and employing 8,800 people in 28 countries, is a union of 223 farming co-operatives and has combined membership of over 300,000 farmers. The remit of InVivo, the largest buyer of agrochemicals in Europe, is to work together with its member co-operatives to develop sustainable and profitable solutions enabling farmers to secure their production and revenue.

As a result of this new partnership Life Scientific plans to create 20 new, predominantly research and development jobs, over the next 5-years, at its headquarters at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD).

Life Scientific, with an annual turnover of over €10 million, was established by Nicola Mitchell in 1995. The company, which has well established links with UCD and with Enterprise Ireland over many years, currently employs 20 people at NovaUCD who are predominantly scientists and educated to PhD level.

Laurent Martel, Director of InVivo Agriculture Division and Chairman of Life Scientific, says: ”Partnering with Life Scientific is consistent with the ten-year strategic plan “2025 by InVivo”, which sees InVivo investing in the key platforms of R&D and marketing.  The alliance with Life Scientific gives InVivo access to a unique capability in crop protection R&D, across a range of potential integrated pest management solutions.”

Nicola Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Life Scientific, comments: “This agreement concluded with InVivo will allow Life Scientific to scale our proven business model, both in France and globally. It will strengthen our engagement with our customers, the InVivo cooperative members, and is a major endorsement of Life Scientific’s continued capacity to innovate on a global scale.”

One of the main priorities in InVivo’s crop protection policy is the implementation of innovations from crop protection companies through on-the-ground support in the marketing of its specialty products. InVivo is also seeking to maintain on the market off-patent products essential to the development of crop protection programmes. This range of solutions will in the future be extended to include biocontrol products.

CAPTION:

Pictured are Nicola Mitchell, founder and CEO of Life Scientific, with Laurent Martel, Director of InVivo Agriculture Division and Chairman of Life Scientific. Image by Des Harris/The Picture Desk.

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Teagasc Appoints New Head of Food Research

Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland, has appointed Dr Mark Fenelon as Head of Food Research. Dr Fenelon will have responsibility for providing overall leadership for the Teagasc food research programme which is delivered at the two research centres – Moorepark in Cork and Ashtown in Dublin. The food research programme in Teagasc has 130 staff and 70 Walsh Fellows (PhD) students located at its two sites, and a budget of €17 million. It covers areas of food safety, food bioscience food chemistry and technology and food industry development. The programme is designed to meet the research and innovation needs of the Irish food industry.

Dr Mark Fenelon, Head of Food Research, Teagasc.

Dr Mark Fenelon, Head of Food Research, Teagasc.

Dr Fenelon will be based in Moorepark and will have responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Food Research Centre. He will lead Teagasc’s research input in the recently announced Dairy Processing Technology Centre, which involves numerous industry and academic partners. He will be involved in the development of Moorepark Technology Ltd, a joint venture pilot plant, which offers facilities and services to companies in the food industry to scale up research and new product testing. He will build on Teagasc’s Food Research Alliance with UCC, and close collaborations with other Irish and International Universities, Institutes of Technology and Research Institutions.

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, says: “We have ambitious plans to build on the existing successful Teagasc food programme. Mark’s strong connections with the food industry will ensure we work closely with food companies to generate new knowledge and apply it to develop the Irish processing sector.”

Dr Fenelon graduated with a degree in food science and technology from University College Cork. He completed a PhD in UCC in 2000 and went on to complete a Diploma in Processing and Chemical Engineering in UCC in 2007.

He worked for Wyeth Nutritionals as a food scientist in liquid and powered infant formula from 2000 to 2004. He joined Teagasc in 2005 as a senior research officer in Moorepark, before being promoted to principal research officer and Head of the Food Chemistry and Technology Department in Teagasc. Since joining Teagasc he has formed a number of large collaborative projects with the Irish dairy and infant formula sector.

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Nestlé Contributes to Study on Business Case to Protect Environment

Nestlé has contributed to a new report just released that aims to identify new opportunities for protecting natural resources such as water, soil and timber that underpin global supply chains and provide commercial value.

Doing business with nature, a collaboration between Nestlé, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and other entities, discusses the impact that deteriorating natural resources has on economies and the implications for businesses.

The report also discusses the different responses businesses are taking to manage natural capital, such as water, throughout their operations and supply chains.

In a Foreword for the report, José Lopez, Nestlé Executive Vice President and Head of Operations, writes: “In Nestlé, we need to be able to consistently assess where to prioritise our efforts on natural capital and this report provides the knowledge base that can inform our decisions.”

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Nestlé Research Finds Food Benefits in High-altitude Cooking

Nestlé scientists have discovered that cooking food at high altitude, where pressure is lower, can make it more intense in flavour, colour and aroma, as well as potentially improve the nutrient quality of food.

A group of scientists from the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, travelled to the world’s highest revolving restaurant – the ThreeSixty in Saas-Fee, Switzerland – for a day’s cooking at high altitude, some 3,600 metres above sea level.

Back in the lab, at 833 metres above sea level, they repeated the cooking process and scientifically compared the results. Their conclusion – food cooked at high altitude both looks and tastes better.

The research is part of Nestlé’s exploration of how it can provide healthier, more pleasurable foods using natural processes without using artificial additives and enhancers. The results of the research have just been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The scientists prepared three identical recipes for vegetable broths, one cooked high in the mountains, and two others in the lab – one at ordinary pressure and the other at high pressure – and discovered that the recipe prepared in the clouds had a very different flavour profile.

“Flavour is a key driver of food acceptance and consumer preference,” explains Dr Candice Smarrito, the NRC scientist who led the study.

“So we prepared vegetable broths consisting of exactly the same quantities of turnip, carrot, leek and celeriac cooked at high, low and ambient pressure. The results were then analysed both in the laboratory using a range of analytical processes, and by a panel of tasting experts to see how the different combinations of pressures and cooking times impacted on the culinary quality and molecular and sensory profile of the preparations,” she says.

The lower boiling point of water at high altitude and low pressure allows food to cook more gently, at a lower temperature. At 3,600m, for example, water boils at just 85 C.

Nestlé scientists have proved that this process maintains the food’s natural amino acids, carbohydrates and organic acids, as well as volatile compounds, such as aromas.

Having these elements preserved in the components of a finished dish makes the flavours, colours and aromas more intense, without the addition of a single flavour enhancer or additive, or even salt.

They found that low-pressure cooking reduces food weight loss and therefore increases the yield of vegetables.

It also leads to significantly richer broths in terms of amino acids, carbohydrates and organic acids, enhancing their non-volatile, volatile and sensory profiles.

In particular, the team noticed an enhancement of sulphur volatile compounds when boiling at lower pressure, which correlates with a greater leek aroma.

In this way, the researchers established that imitating the conditions of mountain cooking through low-pressure boiling might be used to enhance the flavour profile of culinary preparations, so increasing consumer preference.

This preservation might also extend to any thermally sensitive compounds, such as vitamins.

NRC scientists are currently carrying out additional research to identify the culinary preparations that might be enhanced, both in terms of the sensorial experience and the nutritional value, by this low-pressure cooking method.

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Queen’s University, Belfast to Develop £30 Million Food Security Research Centre

Queen’s University, Belfast is to develop a £30 million state-of-the-art research centre as part of its existing Institute for Global Food Security, which conducts pioneering work on food security systems. The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University is headed by Professor Chris Elliott (pictured), who recently completed the Government report on the UK’s food supply chain published by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The Institute is internationally recognised for its excellence in research and teaching. Indeed, the Institute for Global Food Security will be a key partner in national and global efforts to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable, safe and secure supply of high quality food.

“Our objectives are to make a real difference when it comes to addressing the challenge of feeding the extra two billion people that will make up the world’s population in just 30 years’ time,” says Professor Elliott. “There is also the challenge in delivering lifelong health benefits.”

In addition to working on projects with an international perspective, the institute also takes a proactive role in Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.

“The fundamental challenge facing agriculture in Northern Ireland is that of developing a sustainable future against a backdrop of markets that are becoming truly international,” he points out. “As a consequence, we must produce food of greater quality. In addition, the farming and food industries must become more consumer focused.”

Indeed, the institute is at the centre of Northern Ireland’s ‘Food Fortress’ strategy.

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Factors that Impact Key Infant Gut Bacteria

The  Nestlé Research Centre (NRC) has announced the results of a joint study that shows the role of external factors, such as mode of birth delivery, that impact the development of key gut bacteria in infants.

The gut bacteria is commonly referred to as the microbiome, which consists of around 100 trillion microorganisms that live in the body and perform a variety of important functions, including supporting the immune system.

The results of the study provide further insights that could eventually lead to the development of nutritional products for expecting mothers. The study appears in the journal, mBio, which is published by the American Society for Microbiology.

The NRC, the world’s largest private nutritional research centre, worked with researchers at the international EpiGen Consortium, which has made significant research discoveries in recent years in the areas of maternal and young child nutrition. The consortium consists of researchers based at five centres around the world, including the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, who led the current study.

Nestlé has been collaborating with the EpiGen Consortium since 2011, studying how the diet and lifestyles of pregnant women influence the activity of their baby’s genes and how these subtle epigenetic changes impact the future healthy growth and development of their children.

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€35 Million Innovation Investment in Irish Dairy Processing Industry

The Irish dairy processing sector continues to ramp up its preparations for the end of milk quotas with the announcement of an innovation investment of €35 million.

The investment by Government and industry will position Ireland as a world leader in dairy innovation, and help to maximise the long term growth opportunities created by anticipated increase of 50% in the Irish milk pool by 2020.

The investment is in the form of two initiatives: a €25 million Dairy Processing Technology Centre (DPTC) supported by the Department of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland and the dairy industry partners which will be hosted by University of Limerick; and a €10 million investment by Teagasc and the dairy industry shareholders in the expansion of the Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL) pilot plant facility in Fermoy, County Cork.

Of the ten major dairy companies involved, seven are investing in both initiatives – Arrabawn Co-op, Aurivo, Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry, and Tipperary Co-op. Lakeland Dairies is part of the DPTC consortium only. The Irish Dairy Board and North Cork Co-op are investing in MTL.

University of Limerick will lead nine other Research Performing Organisations (RPO’s) in the DPTC to deliver the research and technology required creating 52 new jobs for highly-skilled researchers over the five year term of the centre.

According to Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc “MTL now lists among its customers the most progressive companies in the food, food ingredients and nutritional sectors and it is obliged to meet the high expectation of these companies in all aspects of its services. The €10 million investment by its shareholders will future proof MTL and ensure its relevance to all its customers, national and international in the years ahead but most importantly will provide a platform to support the ambitions of the Irish dairy Industry to produce value added foods and ingredients for international markets.”

The recently appointed CEO of the DPTC, Padraig McPhillips explains that the DPTC is a collaborative model in which the best research talent in Ireland relevant to industry needs is brought together with the dairy sector to solve strategic research and innovation needs articulated by the sector. “The two key outputs of the DPTC will be knowledge and people – both will be absorbed by the industry and used to deliver more efficient processes and better products and ingredients. The DPTC is like adding a new software engine to the dairy sector,” adds Padraig McPhillips.

The two initiatives are complementary, particularly when it comes to testing the new technologies generated in the DPTC. The companies will need to trial the technologies at a pilot scale to test their potential robustness at commercial scale. The upgraded and expanded MTL pilot plant facility provide the right environment for some of the outputs of DPTC to be tested at a commercial scale and help the transfer of these innovations to industry.

Dan MacSweeney, chief executive of Carbery Group and chairman of the Irish Dairy Industries Association, comments: “The Dairy Processing Technology Centre will be a critical agent in realising the opportunity presented by the abolition of the milk quotas by providing a dedicated public-private partnership investment in a world class dairy processing research and capability centre. The Irish dairy industry recognises the importance of investing in sophisticated, collaborative research and innovation and this is reflected by the involvement of eight of our primary processors. Cumulatively, the companies who are partners in the DPTC process 85% of Ireland’s milk pool, produce €2.5 billion of Ireland’s annual dairy exports and provide over 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is also reflected in the significant industry contribution of €9 million to the total cost of the initiative – we are serious about making this technology centre work for the Irish dairy industry. We also welcome the complementary investment in MTL, almost €4 million of which is being provided by industry.”

CAPTION:

Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture Food; Gearóid Mooney, Head of Research & Innovation, Enterprise Ireland; and Professor Mary Shire, VP Research University of Limerick; pictured at a €35 million investment announcement to make the Irish dairy processing sector more innovative.

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Nestlé Extends Key Study into How Childhood Life Impacts Adult Health

The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) is to continue collaborating with Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry in the UK as part of a ground-breaking study into how the way we live in childhood may affect our health as adults.

Funded by a number of charities and companies, including Nestlé, the study, called EarlyBird, began in 2000 and it is now entering its third phase. Its aim – to follow a cohort of 300 children from an early age, better understand how their lifestyle, behaviours and diet influence their metabolic health as they grow, and identify relevant biomarkers for metabolic and nutritional health in childhood.

The study provides a unique set-up to explore the biology of growing children, how metabolic disorders develop in childhood and their health consequences in adulthood. Of special interest are lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes, which evidence suggests are becoming ever more prevalent in early childhood. Novel findings have been generated throughout the years which resulted in a number of peer-reviewed publications.

Funding for the research has now been extended, allowing EarlyBird3 to continue to follow many of the members from the original cohort as they enter adulthood (the volunteers are now aged around 19). The study will run from now to 2017. The research teams are planning to continue and complete analysis of their findings and publish them.

“This is a great opportunity to continue our research into better understanding how diet, lifestyle and environment interact with genes and metabolism in childhood, especially during puberty, to determine health in adulthood,” explains Ed Baetge, head of NIHS.

“We know a lot about what are the factors that impact on our health in infancy, adulthood and old age, but there’s a real gap in our knowledge when it comes to puberty and adolescence,” adds François-Pierre Martin from NIHS. “This research will go a long way towards bridging that gap. Having the opportunity to extend this work as the cohort now enters adulthood means we can further enhance our understanding of how lifestyle choices during our formative years affect us later in life.”

As well as part-funding the EarlyBird3 research with approximately half million Swiss francs, NIHS is primarily responsible for metabolically characterizing the individuals across childhood by taking accurate measurements of metabolites such as amino acids, sugars and antioxidants, whose abundance in body fluids accurately reflects an individual’s health status. This analysis has the aim of capturing the underlying molecular processes and gaining a comprehensive view on the body’s activity and response under different conditions.

By studying the factors which predispose an individual to conditions such as obesity and diabetes and better understanding the requirements for optimal growth, the researchers hope to develop novel approaches to prevent and manage health. As such, this work will provide a major contribution to NIHS’ mission of better defining and maintaining health through the development of science-based targeted nutritional solutions.

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New Research Shows Snacking On Almonds Instead of a High-carbohydrate Snack Reduced Abdominal Fat

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that a daily snack of 42 grams of almonds instead of a high-carbohydrate muffin with equivalent calories, consumed as part of an overall healthy diet, improved a number of heart disease risk factors in study participants1. In addition to significantly improving LDL and total cholesterol, snacking on almonds instead of muffins also reduced central adiposity (belly fat); all three are well-established heart disease risk factors.

Although heart disease remains the number one cause of death worldwide, it is estimated that at least 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease can be avoided if diet and lifestyle risk factors are controlled. While a large body of evidence has demonstrated that almond consumption is associated with improved heart health, this is the first and largest controlled feeding study using identical diets (with the exception of almonds vs. a calorie matched snack) to investigate and isolate the cardio-protective properties of almonds beyond their contributions to an overall heart-healthy diet. The findings are also the first of their kind to show benefits of eating almonds in terms of reducing regional body fat – specifically abdominal and leg fat. Reducing abdominal fat is of particular benefit given its connection to metabolic syndrome and increased risk for heart disease.

The twelve-week randomized, controlled clinical study, led by researchers at Penn State University (US), was conducted in 52 overweight, middle-aged adults who had high total and LDL cholesterol but were otherwise healthy. Participants ate identical cholesterol-lowering diets with the exception of a daily snack of either 42 grams of whole natural almonds or a banana muffin, which provided an equivalent number of calories. Participants were provided all meals and snacks in amounts based on their calorie needs to maintain body weight, and followed each diet for six weeks.

AlmondMeasurementThe diet containing the almond snack, compared to the muffin snack, decreased total cholesterol (-5.1 ± 2.4 mg/dL; P = 0.05), LDL-cholesterol (-5.3 ± 1.9 mg/dL; P=0.01), non-HDLcholesterol (-6.9 ± 2.4 mg/dL; P=0.01), and remnant lipoproteins (-2.8 ± 1.2 mg/dL; P=0.03). In addition, the diet with the muffin snack reduced HDL (good) cholesterol more than the almond diet.

Despite no differences in body weight or total fat mass, the almond diet significantly reduced abdominal fat mass (-0.07 ± 0.03 kg; P=0.02), waist circumference (-0.80 ± 0.30 cm; P = 0.03) and leg fat mass (-0.12 ± 0.05 kg; P=0.02), compared to the diet with the muffin snack.

“Our research found that substituting almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack improved numerous heart health risk factors, including the new finding that eating almonds reduced belly fat,” says Claire Berryman, PhD and lead researcher of the study. “Choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple way to help fight the onset of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.”

This study joins nearly two decades of research which shows that almonds can help maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels, and provides new evidence showing that regularly eating almonds instead of a high-carbohydrate snack may have benefits on body composition.

Previous studies showed that regular almond consumption did not lead to significant changes in body weight, indicating that nutrient-rich almonds can be incorporated in weight-maintenance and weight-loss diets.

A 30g serving of almonds provides 170 calories7, protein (6g), dietary fibre (4g), vitamins and minerals including vitamin E (8mg), magnesium (81mg) and potassium (220 mg), which makes them a satisfying snack choice and ideal fit for heart-healthy, weight-wise diets.

For further information, visit www.Almonds.co.uk/food-professionals.

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Can People Make Their Pets Happy?

Researchers from Nestlé Purina Petcare are conducting some of the first studies of their kind into how external stimuli can generate joyful emotions in dogs. While scientific evidence demonstrates that owning a pet can help lower people’s blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and depression, less is known about whether human contact has a similarly beneficial effect on animals’ emotional wellbeing.

Thermal imaging is just one of a number of non-invasive techniques Nestlé Purina researchers are using to better understand what makes a dog experience a positive change in mood.

When a dog undergoes a change in emotional state, the blood flow to specific regions of its body alters, and so does the temperature.

Researchers use a thermal camera to measure these temperature fluctuations in pets’ eyes, ears and paw pads.

“Scientists have known for years how to evaluate negative states such as stress and anxiety in animals,” says Ragen TS McGowan, Nestlé Purina Petcare behaviour scientist. “Less is known about how to measure positive states such as happiness or excitement. Thermal imaging has been widely used in animal welfare studies, to assess inflammation in racehorses, for example, or to see how certain conditions affect livestock’s stress levels.”

She adds: “This is one of the first times it being used to measure positive responses in pets.”

Ragen and her colleagues’ work is part of a broader research programme at Nestlé Purina examining the benefits of human-animal bond from the pet’s perspective.

In one study, the company sent a group of people to a dog shelter in the United States to sit with and pet a group of dogs for 15 minutes.

The people and the dogs had never met before, so there was no pre-existing bond between them.

The findings, likely to be published early next year, show that the dogs experienced an increase in positive emotions as direct result of this human contact.

“Animals don’t always portray physically what is going on internally,” says Ragen. “You could put a guide dog alone in an empty room and he might lie still looking calm and relaxed because he has been trained to do so, but actually he may be really stressed because he isn’t with his owner. On the other hand, you could put a pet dog alone in the same room and he might run around looking more agitated, but in fact he might just be enjoying himself and exploring. By identifying the internal indicators of what’s happening emotionally in dogs, we aim to enhance our knowledge of the most beneficial ways to interact with them.”

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EFSA Gives Positive Evaluation on 13.5 Health Claim For BENEO’s Inulin Improving Bowel Function

BENEO has announce that based on a 13.5 health claim application it has gained a positive EFSA evaluation for its prebiotic fibre inulin improving the effect on bowel function by increasing stool frequency. The application includes new and proprietary scientific research. EFSA’s positive evaluation allows the approval by the Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament within the health claim procedure and opens the way for new food and drink applications to benefit both the industry and consumers alike.

The recent positive evaluation proves that BENEO’s prebiotic fibre inulin maintains normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency without triggering diarrhoea. This is because inulin resists digestion in the small intestine and is fully fermented in the large intestine.

EFSA’s decision is based on six human intervention studies that have consistently proven that consumption of inulin increases stool frequency and thus supports digestive health. Significant results were demonstrated with a total intake of 12g per day. While the recommended daily intake of dietary fibre is 25g per day and actual intake is significantly lower, the positive evaluation shows that adding inulin to a formulation improves stool frequency and also helps to achieve the dietary goal of adequate fibre intake by the general population.

For many people, improved bowel function resulting from a more optimal fibre intake means a noticeable improvement of gastrointestinal health and general well-being. Thanks to this positive evaluation from EFSA, it will now be possible for BENEO’s customers to easily incorporate the company’s inulin into a wide range of applications to allow consumers to benefit from the positive effect it has on the bowel.

Anke Sentko, VP Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication, says: “The positive evaluation by EFSA shows once again that BENEO is on the right track to further invest in research and focus on sound scientific substantiation of its products’ benefits. Digestive health, including regularity, is an important element of feeling good, especially due to the fact we often have a “lazy” gut. Improved regularity in a natural way is a growing health target of consumers. The research shows that BENEO’s chicory fibres ‘function’ and contribute to digestive health, offering new diet related opportunities for the industry to respond to this consumer need.”

A division of the Südzucker Group, BENEO employs almost 900 people and has production units in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.

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Produce World Seeks Broccoli Perfection With New Role

Produce World Group, the UK’s largest grower and supplier of fresh vegetables, is on the look-out for a person that can help to nurture the perfect crop of broccoli through an innovative research project looking to grow more vegetables more efficiently. The role is part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project in collaboration with Cranfield University that aims to develop a forecasting model for broccoli to better match supply of the crop with customer demand, improve the consistency of supply of the product for the supermarkets and improve harvesting efficiencies of broccoli in the growing fields.

More accurate forecasting holds huge opportunity for broccoli cropping, with timing of the harvest and weather conditions being vital in producing a crop that matches the demands of the market, while also minimising waste on the fields. The model aims to help produce the optimum broccoli crop through informed planning and adaption to these variations.

Broccoli has experienced a surge in popularity in the past year, with an overall volume growth of 13.9% in 2014. Therefore it is important for the supply chain to have the growing cycles closely matched with consumer demand.

Andrew Burgess, Produce World Group’s agricultural director says: “Broccoli continues to grow in popularity and has become Britain’s favourite green vegetable due to its convenience and relevance as part of modern meals. However, it can be a difficult crop to grow due to its reliance on specific timings for harvest and the right weather conditions. This is why we’re involved in this innovative project to ensure that broccoli is grown as efficiently as possible and that the high consumer demand can be matched by the quality and quantity of the crop.”

The job will be based near Boston, Lincolnshire, with the chosen candidate working as part of the three year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) collaborative project between Cranfield University and Produce World Group.

Requirements for the role lend itself perfectly to a unique candidate that has a background in science, environment, food or farming, as well as having knowledge of spatial data and agri-informatics.

More information is available at https://jobs.cranfield.ac.uk/wd/plsql/wd_portal.show_job?p_web_site_id=4009&p_web_page_id=206579.

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Nestlé Boosts Research into Cutting-edge Maternal Nutrition and Epigenetics

Nestlé is to intensify its research in the field of epigenetics, the science of how eating behaviours and other environmental factors can affect your genes, health and that of your offspring, for future generations to come.

The company has announced it will contribute SFr22 million (Eur18 million) to a six-year research partnership with an international alliance of researchers at institutions in Southampton, Auckland and Singapore, who make up the EpiGen Consortium.

The jointly-funded public-private partnership will be one of the largest of its kind.

Nestlé has been collaborating with the Consortium since 2011, studying how the diet and lifestyles of pregnant women influence the activity of their baby’s genes and how these subtle epigenetic changes impact the future healthy growth and development of their children.

“This is an important collaboration for Nestlé as it will help to better develop our understanding of the influence of nutrition and genetics at the beginning of life and continue to build our knowledge in this important area,” says the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Stefan Catsicas.

“To be involved in such cutting-edge research in such a vital and exciting field will enable us to create products that have a proven, positive impact on the health of mothers and their children. Ultimately, being a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company is about improving the quality of peoples’ lives.”

The collaboration aims to improve nutrition and reduce risk factors of pregnancy-related conditions such as gestational diabetes, a growing problem affecting about 20% of pregnancies in the South-East Asia region. Gestational diabetes is known to negatively impact the growth and development of children as well as the mother’s future health.

“Science shows that the nutrition infants and young children receive in the first 1,000 days from conception has a long-lasting influence on their health, wellness and quality of life,” says Heiko Schipper, CEO of Nestlé Nutrition. “At Nestlé, we embrace this unique window of opportunity to nurture a healthier generation by providing them with science-based products.”

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First Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation Launched at Queen Margaret University

The first Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation has been launched at Queen Margaret University (QMU). The new Centre will enhance Scotland’s position as a leader in food and drink innovation in Europe and support access to the global market for healthy and functional food.

According to Bank of Scotland’s latest food and drink industry economic report, “Arguably , most critical of all for long term growth is innovation and improvement to food produce and the development of innovative new food sources or ‘frontier foods’.” More than half the companies interviewed in Bank of Scotland’s third annual survey of Scotland’s food and drink sector expect their business to grow by 5 and 25 per cent over the next five years.

Many firms cite new product development and investment in existing products being the top two ways to achieve this growth. It is estimated that a growth in sales of premium health products could be worth an additional £1 billion to the Scottish economy by 2017.

Commenting on the launch of QMU’s new Centre, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead, says: “Scotland’s food and drink sectors are internationally recognised for their quality, many of the most famous products having a long history and unique sense of identity. The work of the centre is helping those companies evolve to meet new demand, develop new products and diversify into new markets, particularly lucrative export opportunities.

In the past three years alone, QMU’s innovation based engagements with SMEs in the sector have generated an estimated extra £5.7 million for the businesses it has worked with.

QMU has established academic expertise in the translation and application of science to support commercially successful research and development within the industry, including research support for iQ Chocolate in Stirling, Gusto artisan dressings, marinades and oil and vinegars in Leith, Edinburgh; Black & Gold rapeseed oil in East Lothian; leaf tea experts, eteaket, in Edinburgh; Cuddybridge fruit juices in East Lothian, Belhaven Fruit Farm in East Lothian and The Chocolate Tree chocolatier in East Lothian.

Academic Lead for Food & Drink at QMU, Dr Jane McKenzie, says: “We’re really excited to have reached this significant milestone in the development of QMU’s Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation. Facilities like this are currently unavailable elsewhere in Scotland, so research work is often sent to England or Northern Ireland instead. The new facilities combined with QMU’s academic knowledge and expertise in food, nutrition and biological sciences is already offering companies in Scotland’s food and drink industry an unrivalled opportunity to innovate and develop new products which are underpinned by QMU’s scientific research.”

Through practical innovation support and creative business solutions, QMU is helping Scotland’s leading food and drink businesses with new and innovative product development and analysis; development of leading edge functional, health enhancing products and ingredients and formulation of existing products – for example healthier alternatives to fat, salt and sugar.

QMU’s team of food innovation experts are also identifying innovative sources of raw materials to produce novel ingredients and ensure sustainability; ingredients to improve product processing and preservation; nutritional analysis; shelf life testing; consumer focus groups and taste panels.

The £14 billion food and drink industry is one of the strongest performing sectors in Scotland’s economy.

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, adds: “The launch of the new centre at Queen Margaret University is another sign of the practical support that Scottish universities and research institutions are providing to food and drink businesses. By accessing the expertise, technologies and cutting edge facilities that academic institutions can offer food and drink companies will remain competitive and grow their markets both nationally and internationally.”

The Centre’s superb facilities include a dedicated microbiology laboratory; fully-equipped sensory suite; dedicated chemistry laboratory and a technology room for industry to test new technology.

For more information about the Scottish Centre for Food Development & Innovation and QMU’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Unit and how it can benefit your business, contact Miriam Smith, Business Development Manager at QMU on 0131 474 0000 or email MSmith3@qmu.ac.uk.

CAPTION:

Pictured (L-R): Mark Laing, Chairman, Nairn’s Oatcakes; James Withers, CEO of Food & Drink Scotland; Dr Jane McKenzie, Academic Lead for food and drink at QMU; Dr Siobhan Jordan, Director of Interface; Professor Petra Wend, Principal and Vice Chancellor of QMU.

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New study shows that athletes recover faster with HYDRO.365 whey protein hydrolysate

Endurance athletes consuming sports drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes plus Lacprodan® HYDRO.365 – Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey protein hydrolysate – outperform athletes using sports drinks alone, a new study reveals.

The study involved 18 top-class runners from Team Denmark taking part in a one-week training camp. The athletes were training twice a day, every day (apart from on one rest morning) equating to 13 training sessions during the week.

The athletes were divided into two groups of nine, with each receiving isocaloric diets (diets containing the same amount of calories). One group consumed a traditional sports drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes before and after each training session, while the other group consumed pure HYDRO.365 before each session and both a sports drink and HYDRO.365 afterwards.

The run-test was undertaken initially before the camp and then again following the conclusion of all 13 of the training sessions held over the course of the week, making it possible to compare the impact of the HYDRO.365 supplementation during the training camp. The results demonstrated that the athletes who consumed HYDRO.365 before and after training performed better in a final 4km run-test than the sports drink-only group, with a mean improvement of 17 seconds. The whey protein group also experienced less muscle damage compared with the sports drink-only group.

Troels Laursen, Head of Health & Performance Nutrition at Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “This study shows that HYDRO.365 doesn’t just improve muscle recovery, but that improvement leads to a performance benefit. The results demonstrate that, for athletes who need to train hard every day, there is no better sports nutrition ingredient to help them do this.”

Danish triathlon champion appointed brand ambassador

Allan Steen Olesen jpgMeanwhile, Arla Foods Ingredients has announced that leading triathlete Allan Steen Olesen is to act as brand ambassador for HYDRO.365. Allan, who is 31 years old and from Copenhagen, is the defending Danish champion in the short distance triathlon series and turned professional this year. He said: “Recovery is everything when you train hard every day and this protein really does the trick. My recovery times have been reduced dramatically, giving me a clear head start. I’ve experienced the benefits, which has made it easy to become an ambassador for HYDRO.365.”

Troels added: “Allan is the perfect ambassador because he’s exactly the kind of elite endurance athlete who will benefit from this exceptional protein. He commands the respect of the sports community and will be able demonstrate its benefits through his performances.”

HYDRO.365 can be used in a wide range of sports supplement product applications, including clear beverages, gels, bars, powders and tablets. It will take centre-stage for Arla Foods Ingredients at Health Ingredients Europe in Amsterdam from 2-4 December 2014. Arla Foods Ingredients is exhibiting on Stand E5.

 

For more information, please contact:

Kine Bjoralt, Ingredient Communications

Tel: +44 141 280 4141

Email: kine@ingredientcommunications.com

Twitter: @ingredientcomms

 

About Arla Foods Ingredientsaarla


Quality starts here: Arla Foods Ingredients is a global leader in natural whey ingredients for products in a range of categories – from sports nutrition, beverages, bakery, dairy and ice cream to clinical and infant nutrition.

The cornerstones of our business are innovative ingredients, world-class facilities and a staff of dedicated experts. Drawing on our portfolio of functional and nutritional whey proteins, milk minerals, lactose and permeate, our expert team delivers solutions that bring new food products quickly and efficiently to market. Our application centres run hundreds of customer product trials every week. All ingredients are produced using state-of-the-art processing technology at our plant in Denmark, or by one of our joint ventures in Argentina, Germany and the UK.

Arla Foods Ingredients Group P/S is a 100% owned subsidiary of Arla Foods, a global dairy company and cooperative owned by dairy farmers in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.

 

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Unlocking the Metabolic ‘Master Switch’ to Potentially Echo Exercise Effect

Research by Nestlé scientists suggests that future food and nutritional products could emulate the effects of exercise on the body’s metabolism.

These products would help maintain a healthy energy balance – achieved by balancing nutrients taken in with those consumed or stored – by using the same cellular mechanisms normally activated by exercise.

This would benefit those having difficulties remaining active due to lifestyle, old age, disease or disability.

Scientists at the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences examined how our metabolism is regulated by a ‘master molecule’ which controls the energy balance of the body.

The findings, published in the Journal Chemistry & Biology, could lead to the development of products to help those suffering from metabolic problems like obesity and chronic metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

These problems can become more prevalent in older people who are less active.

The next phase of the research is to identify natural substances that can influence this molecular mechanism.

Kei Sakamoto, the Head of Diabetes and Circadian Rhythms at the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences in Lausanne, explains that his group of researchers looked at how the master regulator of the body’s metabolism, an enzyme called AMPK, is controlled at the molecular level. “AMPK is a key protein in every single cell in your body and is naturally activated by exercise. It monitors your energy status, like a fuel gauge in a car, and tells you to fill up when your energy is low,” Prof Sakamoto says.

AMPK’s role is important as energy is needed for all the key physiological processes in the body, from secreting a hormone to moving a muscle and even brain function.

“Our research has revealed new knowledge about this master switch. In some conditions, such as diabetes, the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin and muscle cells reject the message about their need to take up glucose. However, even under such medical conditions, AMPK can find an alternative way and take up glucose in muscle,” adds Prof Sakamoto. “Ideally, we’ll be able to develop products that will help promote and augment the effects of exercise.

He cautions, however, that no product would ever simply replace exercise.

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Robotic Milking For Dairy Farms

With milk quotas due to be lifted in 2015, farmers will need all the help they can get and Teagasc (Irish agriculture and food development authority) is examining the viability of robotic milking systems for Irish farms. Robotic milking is a voluntary milking system, which allows cows to present themselves for milking as they wish, without the presence of the farmer. Each cow is fitted with a sensor so that when they enter for milking the robot can identify them and the focus of the research trial is to examine how robotic milking can be combined with pasture-based grazing.

Teagasc research is examining the viability of robotic milking systems integrated with grazing. This research endeavours to assess if this labour saving, knowledge-driven system of management is sustainable into the future. The successful integration of robotic milking systems with grazing has been achieved by implementing a three-way (or ABC) grazing system, maintaining high standards of grazing and herd management and adapting to assessing the information provided by robotic milking system.

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Clear Label Leads Top 10 Trends for 2015 10 Food Trends Worth Watching

Duiven, The Netherlands — “From Clean to Clear Label” and “Convenience for Foodies” lead the Innova Market Insights food & beverage Top 10 Trends list for 2015. Innova Market Insights will present these trends in a webinar on November 6 (4pm CET, 10am EST). Register here!10 Food Trends Worth Watching for 2015 by Innova Market Insights

The Top Ten Trends likely to impact the food industry in 2015 and beyond have been identified by Innova Market Insights from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drink launch activity worldwide. In previous years, the market researcher has consistently identified upcoming trends to watch, including “Sustainability” in 2008, “Free-From Rises” in 2010, “Return to Softer Claims” in 2011, and “Location, Location, Location” in 2012, all of which have developed further and continue to have a significant effect on the industry today.

The Top 10 Trends likely to impact the food industry in 2015 and beyond have been identified by Innova Market Insights from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drink launch activity worldwide.

“The move from ‘clean’ to ‘clear’ labeling is a key trend for 2015, reflecting a move to clearer and simpler claims and packaging for maximum transparency,” reports Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Meeting the needs of the Millennial consumer has also become a key focus, as has targeting the demands of the gourmet consumer at home, re-engineering the snacks market for today’s lifestyles and combating obesity with a focus on positive nutrition.”

Top food and beverage trends for 2015 are led by:

  1. From Clean to Clear Label. Clean label claims are tracked on nearly a quarter of all food and beverage launches, with manufacturers increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origin of their products. With growing concerns over the lack of a definition of “natural,” however, there is a need for more clarity and specific details. Consumers, retailers, industry and regulators are all driving more transparency in labeling.
  2. Convenience for Foodies. Continued interest in home cooking has been driven by cooking shows on TV and by blogging foodies. It is seen as fashionable, fun and social, as well as healthy and cost-effective. It has driven demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients for cooking from scratch and a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.
  3. Marketing to Millennials. The so-called Millennial generation, generally aged between 15 and 35, now accounts for about one-third of the global population and is tech savvy and socially engaged. They are well informed, want to try something different and are generally less brand loyal than older consumers. They want to connect with products and brands and know the story behind them.
  4. Snacks Rise to the Occasion. Formal mealtimes are continuing to decline in popularity and growing numbers of foods and drinks are now considered to be snacks. Quick healthy foods are tending to replace traditional meal occasions and more snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different times of day.
  5. Good Fats, Good Carbs. With concerns over obesity there is a growing emphasis on unsaturated and natural fats and oils that has seen rising interest in omega 3 fatty acid content as well as the return of butter to favor as a natural, tasty alternative to artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. In the same way, naturally-occurring sugar is being favored at the expense of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Innova Market Insights will present the Top 10 Trends at Hi Europe, Amsterdam, booth no. G40 (Ingredients in Action), December 2-4.

 

About Innova Market Insights:

Iclip_image001nnova Market Insights is a global provider of market intelligence and insights that drives innovation in the food and beverage industry. The Innova Database (www.innovadatabase.com) is the product of choice for the whole product development team. Track trends, competitors, ingredients and flavors.

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EU Research Turning Food Waste into Feed

Global demand for food is expected to increase by 70% by 2050, while a steep increase in biomass use will also put pressure on agriculture. Feeding the world without damaging the environment the goal of several EU-funded research projects.

The EU is investing over €4 billion in research and innovation for a European bioeconomy that makes the most of our renewable biological resources. Agriculture is a key component, securing food production, ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, and supporting development in rural areas.

The EU is the source of 18% of world food exports, worth €76 billion. But in the EU and elsewhere, agricultural waste is holding farmers back and costing taxpayers money – between €55 and €99 per tonne.

Turning agricultural waste into animal feed – the solution favoured by EU-funded research project NOSHAN – would open up new opportunities for farmers while cutting Europe’s dependence on feed imports. This would, in turn, create new green jobs in waste collection, treatment plants and feed manufacturing. The concept will be particularly welcome in rural areas, where growth is less intensive than in urban areas, and where the feed industry is a powerful economic engine.

“One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally – a total 1.3 billion tonnes a year – and food processing produces a large amount of this waste,” explains NOSHAN scientific coordinator Montse Jorba of the LEITAT Technological Center in Spain. “Fruit and vegetables have the highest wastage rates of any food. This amounts to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital.”

The NOSHAN project will turn food waste – in particular fruit, vegetables and dairy – into animal feed, at low cost and, while keeping energy consumption low.

The team – research centres, a university and companies from six EU countries plus Turkey – began in 2012 by assessing the value of various types of waste, building up a database of potential feed ingredients. By the time the project ends in 2016, the team will also know the best technologies for extracting and upgrading each waste type.

NOSHAN also presents Europe’s agricultural sector with an opportunity to achieve greater sustainability. Using bio-waste as a resource will help the sector to reduce its environmental impact.

The processes developed by the project will help agri-businesses to recover the calories contained in food thrown away, the energy that went into producing this food and also lead to a significant decrease in water use (food waste accounts for more than a quarter of total global freshwater consumption). By reducing the need for separate feed production, the NOSHAN approach could reduce increasing competition between food and feed production – both of which need land and water.

NOSHAN is also working on functional feed ingredients derived from food waste that target specific animal needs, such as health promotion or disease prevention. For example, researchers are currently identifying functional fibres and peptides (chemical compounds) within waste. These will be used to develop feed products tailored to pigs and poultry.

Safety is guaranteed through an intensive monitoring process, covering everything from raw waste to the final product. Safety, together with the technical and economic viability of each process studied, will ultimately decide which strategies and products the NOSHAN team commercialises.

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Researchers Pinpoint Mechanism For Aroma Formation in Wine

The majority of wines are produced from around 20 different types of grape, all of which have their own typical aroma. This is due to the terpenes, a diverse category of chemical substances including cholesterol and estrogen. Scientists from Technische Universität München (TUM), the Hochschule Geisenheim and the Universität Bonn have now identified two enzymes that determine the terpene content – and thus the aroma intensity – of grapes. The findings could play an important role in the future development of grape varieties.

From Chardonnay to Sauvignon, Dornfelder to Merlot, every grape variety has its own distinctive aromatic profile. The reason why a white wine has either fruity or flowery notes or a red has flavors of nutmeg or berries is all down to the composition of the terpenes. These compounds accumulate as the grape ripens, especially in the skin. The number of terpenes formed depends on external factors, for example the soil conditions or hours of sunshine.

But the terpenes only contribute to the aroma if they are in a free state, as Professor Wilfried Schwab from the Biotechnology of Natural Products program explains: “Terpenes are biochemically altered in the metabolism of plants – usually through the attachment of sugars, or glycosylation. In this attached form, however, the terpenes are no longer aroma-active.” In Riesling grapes, for example, only 20 percent of the terpenes occur in a free state.

The research team headed by Professor Schwab investigated the biochemical principles of terpene glycosylation. They identified two related enzymes that transfer the sugar groups to various terpenes. “What we have discovered here is a fundamental mechanism that could be relevant for the cultivation of new grape varieties or the improvement of existing ones,” claims Proessor Schwab.

Growers could then specifically select vines with a genetic profile that will likely have a high proportion of free terpenes – and which will therefore be particularly aromatic. “A key role is played here by the sugar-transferring enzymes,” he comments. “If the plant produces few enzymes, then the level of activity will be low. As a result, the aroma-active terpenes will accumulate in the grape.”

As soon as the genetic profiles of current grape varieties have been determined, the new findings can be transferred directly to practice. Since terpenes also play an important role in the cosmetics industry, it is possible that additional applications will be found here. One example is the creation of aroma activated at the touch of a button. Sugar-cleaving enzymes could then be used to control the release of aromas, which could for example prolong the effect of deodorants.

The current research project was project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

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Spread With Added Plant Sterols and Fish Oil Lowers Triglycerides and “Bad” Cholesterol

New research demonstrates that the consumption of a combination of low dose omega-3 and plant sterols can effectively reduce both LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels in men and women with high cholesterol levels. The research, recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, is the findings of a research group from Unilever Research and Development Vlaardingen (The Netherlands), Quadt Consultanc (The Netherlands), and Food Files (Sweden).

Plant sterols are known to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) whereas high intakes of the omega-3 fish fatty acids EPA and DHA are known to lower triglycerides. Consumption of a combination of plant sterols and EPA+DHA could therefore address these two blood lipid risk factors simultaneously.

High circulating levels of triglycerides and LDL-C – the so-called “bad” cholesterol – have both been linked with greater risk for heart disease and strokes. And although these associations do not necessarily indicate that these factors cause cardiovascular disease, people with elevated cholesterol should try to do what they can to reduce these blood lipids. They are advised to watch their weight, to exercise regularly and choose a diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and salt while increasing their consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, and fatty fish. Foods containing plant sterols are also promoted, as they can substantially lower LDL-cholesterol.

To test the theory that consumption of a low-fat spread enriched with plant sterols and EPA+DHA from fish oil lowers both LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, researchers conducted the “gold standard” of nutrition studies: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial in which 85 men and 247 women with high blood cholesterol levels consumed 1 of 5 low-fat experimental spreads. For 4 weeks, those assigned to the control group used 30 grams of margarine containing neither plant sterols nor fish oil daily. Volunteers assigned to the other groups consumed the same amount of spread fortified with plant sterols (2.5 g/d) and varying amounts of EPA+DHA (0, 0.9, 1.3, or 1.8 g/d). Blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of the study.

As hypothesized, the study concluded that consumption of a low-fat spread enriched with plant sterols and different low doses (<2 g/d) of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil decreases triglyceride concentrations in a dose-dependent manner while also decreasing LDL-C concentrations. The scientists concluded: “The use of low-fat spreads enriched with both plant sterols and fish oil may thus offer an interesting opportunity for a combined blood lipid benefit that would fit in diet and lifestyle changes for improving blood lipid profiles.”

Rouyanne Ras, first author of the article, notes: “The findings from this study indicate that the use of low-fat spreads enriched with both plant sterols and fish oil may offer an interesting opportunity for a combined blood lipid benefit that would fit in diet and lifestyle changes for improving blood lipid profiles.”

The study was designed as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study. After a 4-week run in period 332 subjects were randomized to receive either a control spread (no plant sterols, no EPA+DHA) or one out of four intervention spreads containing a fixed amount of plant sterols (2.5 g/d) and varying amounts of EPA+DHA (0.0, 0.9, 1.3 and 1.8 g/d) for 4 weeks. Results showed reductions in triglycerides ranging dose-dependently from 9.3% to 16.2% in the various EPA+DHA groups compared to control. LDL-C was significantly decreased in all groups consuming plant sterols (~13%) compared to control.

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Researchers Decode the DNA of the Robusta Coffee Bean

A team of researchers from around the world have sequenced the DNA of the Robusta coffee bean in an important step that could lead to future developments to improve the bean’s yield, quality and resistance to disease and drought, and to increase farmer incomes.

The study was led by the French Institute of Research for Development, the French National Sequencing Center and the University of Buffalo. Nestlé, through its scientists at the Nestlé Research and Development Center in Tours, France, was the only private sector organisation to contribute to the study.

The coffee genome work is part of Nestlé’s broader research programme in plant science that will help the company ensure a sustainable supply of high quality raw materials, including cocoa and coffee.

In their work, the researchers found that the sequences and positions of the genes in Coffea canephora, the coffee plant commonly referred to as Robusta, evolved independently from genes with similar functions in tea and cocoa, which also make caffeine.

By looking at the relationship between the genome structure of Robusta and other species like tea and cocoa, researchers were able to learn about coffee’s independent pathway in evolution.

Robusta has a stronger and harsher flavour profile compared with the smoother and richer one of the other major coffee bean, Arabica.

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Nestlé Purina Takes Key Step to Help Aging Pets Maintain Brain Health

Nestlé Purina, one of the world’s leading pet care producers, has developed a nutritional supplement consisting of fish oil and antioxidants that can help pets maintain their mental capacities into older age.

Nestlé Purina will begin adding the nutritional supplement, known as Brain Protection Blend, to select Purina products for cats and dogs in the next 12 to 18 months.

Studies have found that 28 percent of cats aged 11-14 years old show signs of cognitive decline, including memory loss and reduced social interaction, and this level increases to 50 percent when cats are older than 15 years. Among dogs, 28 percent of those aged 11-12 years old and 68 percent of those aged 15-16 years old have one or more signs of cognitive issues.

“By taking a more proactive approach, we may be able to slow the brain’s decline often experienced among pets as they get older,” says Dan Smith, Nestlé Purina’s Vice President of Research and Development.

A Nestlé Purina study on the effects of Brain Protection Blend on dogs is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

The Brain Protection Blend supplement targets risk factors linked to brain aging and is designed to be eaten when a pet is in middle age. Among the other key ingredients in the supplement is an essential amino acid known as arginine.

According to an April 2014 survey conducted by market research firm Penn Schoen Berland and issued by Purina, more than 37 percent of dog owners have a dog older than seven years of age. This means a large group of pet owners may soon face issues related to their pet’s health due to cognitive decline.

Pet owners often associate their pet’s mobility problems to physical issues that come with old age without realizing that many of those issues actually stem from cognitive decline. This can result in pets forgetting how to perform normal functions such as using a litter box or finding a food bowl.

The launch of the Brain Protection Blend is the second phase of Purina’s two-pronged approach to addressing cognitive decline in pets using research techniques that focus on adding nutritional enhancements to pet food.

The first phase centred on developing neuron-targeted nutrition with a blend of nutrients sourced from vegetable oils, such as coconut oil, and was focused on improving memory function in older dogs.

Purina is widening its research focus to finding nutritional options that will strengthen pets’ cognitive abilities at a younger age and promote long-term brain health.

Nestlé Purina scientists, veterinarians and nutritionists have been studying the effects of aging on pets since 1986, when Purina began the breakthrough ‘Lifespan Study’ to look at canine diets.

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Sensory Food Network Ireland

Sensory Food Network Ireland is a new national network of excellence, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, under the FIRM programme. The network is coordinated by Dr Eimear Gallagher and Dr Sinéad McCarthy from Teagasc, Ashtown, and also includes all leading institutions with expertise in sensory science from the island of Ireland. The network will work as a sustainable unit to address documented needs and gaps by the food industry in relation to sensory science. It will also ensure that good practice and the highest level of service will be assured to industry.

As well as a first-class service to industry, the network aspires to the highest level of scientific excellence in research in sensory food science. All members of the network are dedicated to developing and improving research into sensory and consumer testing methodologies, with the aim of launching Ireland on the international map in this field. The over-arching objective of the network is to promote integration, ensure sustainability and build a robust model for all sensory science activities on the island of Ireland. One aspect of this will be to accomplish excellence and international recognition in the discipline of sensory science service and research.

Declan Troy, Assistant Director of Research at Teagasc, welcomes this initiative: “This network of excellence is of immense strategic importance to the Irish food industry. We are now in a unique situation to develop a world-class capability in sensory food science across the island of Ireland.”

Recognising the importance of sensory science in the food industry has evolved from the increasing need for a scientifically sound and systematic approach to the sensory evaluation of foods. In the past number of years, the field has made substantial progress in developing new methods and approaches, and in advancing our understanding of consumer responses to foods. In food companies, sensory food science has considerable value for both tactical and strategic research goals.

Worldwide demand for food, decreasing trade barriers, changing lifestyles, expanding world markets and removal of EU quotas continue to accelerate the Irish food industry’s need for new products, quality improvements, extended shelf-life and more efficient ways of producing products. Success in this regard depends on the industry’s ability to satisfy consumer demand and expectations. In particular, it needs to develop precise knowledge about how these sensory expectations are implemented and measured.

Sensory Food Network Ireland will have a dual role to play in serving the Irish food industry: Firstly, as a specialist service to the marketing, development and manufacture of new and modified food products. Monitoring competition by evaluating new and current competitive products, measuring new product differences as a function of scale-up, measuring sensory differences as a consequence of lowering production costs or ingredient/packaging variables. Secondly, it has a research role in improving the methodology of testing, devising the most appropriate tests for real-time problems and improving the expertise in flavour chemistry and sensometric methodologies.

The network of excellence will strengthen existing scientific and technological excellence in sensory science by integrating at national level the critical mass of resources and expertise needed to provide leadership and to be a future international force in this area. This expertise will be networked around a joint programme of activities (both research and service provision) aimed principally at creating a progressive and durable integration of the research capacities of the network partners, while, at the same time, advancing knowledge on the topic.

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FDF Recognition for RSSL

Reading Scientific Services (RSSL) has been shortlisted for the Food & Drink Federation Awards in the category for Education Initiative. The award is made to companies that support education about the food and drink industry within schools and colleges, and help to facilitate employment opportunities for young people.

RSSL has been active in many such initiatives for a number of years, gaining praise from organisations such as Education Business Partnership in both West and Central Berkshire, Launchpad (a homeless charity) and EDT, the largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrichment activities for UK youth.

RSSL’s Commercial Operations Manager, Karen Masters, notes, “Science and innovation are at the heart of long term sustainable economic growth in the UK.  As an employer of scientists at all levels, we recognised the role we could play in motivating people to look at science as a potential career opportunity.  Our programme is a holistic science outreach programme aimed at all sections of the community promoting the excitement and satisfaction of science and learning. We work with a number of different organisations communicating and educating on the important role of science in our lives.”

RSSL has worked directly with Schools, Universities and Charities to maximise its effectiveness.  Scientists from across the whole company have been involved in a wide range of projects that have seen RSSL welcome many visitors to its Reading laboratories, and also taken RSSL out into its community. Projects have included working with EDT to bring Year 9 pupils to RSSL’s site to learn about the science behind chocolate; providing work experience programmes for school pupils; running an annual intern programme; giving school leavers a route to ongoing education without going to University; providing introduction-to-work sessions for clients of a homeless charity, and many other visits to schools and community events.

“Our science outreach initiative has had a huge impact on our organisation and staff,” notes Karen. “Colleagues have benefited in many ways both from a personal and professional perspective. Individuals have been able to grow and develop their leadership, communication, facilitation, management and planning skills. Our organisation benefits from the pride that people feel in giving something back and gives us a community/family feel resulting in more positive colleague interactions at all levels from senior management to more junior staff.  Many of our technical staff are passionate about communicating science and enthusing the next generation of scientists; our programme allows them to do this within their working arenas.”

The FDF award winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in London, on September 18th.

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Impact of Teagasc Research Highlighted

Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority, has launched ‘Teagasc Research Impact Highlights 2013’. The document features some of the research areas that have had a profound impact on the development of the agri-food industry in Ireland and further afield in the past year. Among the highlights featured in the document are a new cheese technology platform that allows the manufacture of cheeses from reassembled milks formulated from dairy ingredients. The Irish Dairy Board (IDB) has licenced the platform for the development of white cheeses. Based on this technology, IDB has recently invested €20 million in Saudi Arabia, mainly relating to development of fresh white cheese and other cheese products for the local market.

Teagasc has also developed expertise in gluten-free food products and throughout 2013 has collaborated closely with a number of bakeries to contribute to the development and launch of new ranges of high-quality products on the Irish, European and international marketplace. In particular, novel gluten-free breads, with good texture and flavour, and confectionery-type products, have been developed.

A reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was completed in 2013 and sets out EU policy and supports to the sector for the next seven years. Teagasc conducted research on the impact of the CAP reform agreement and its implementation on Irish agriculture and provided this to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine throughout the reform negotiations process. This analysis contributed to the successful completion of the CAP reform under the Irish EU presidency.

Sexed semen allows farmers to control the sex of calves born to their cows. In 2013, Teagasc used 15,000 straws in a field research trial, possibly the largest such trial ever conducted in the world. Greater usage of sexed semen has benefits for both the dairy industry (allowing faster expansion post quota), and the beef industry (fewer low value male dairy calves). This has the potential to be one of the most important technologies introduced on Irish farms in recent years.

Teagasc, in collaboration with the ICBF and Weatherbys, developed a new genotyping platform (SNP chip) in 2013 called the International Dairy and Beef (IDB) SNP chip for use in dairy and beef cattle breeding. The SNP chip allows more accurate national genetic evaluations through the exploitation of DNA information, but at a low cost.

Two new potato varieties, Bikini and Casino, were launched from the Teagasc potato breeding programme in 2013. Bikini is a main crop variety similar to Rooster while Casino is an excellent general potato, also suited for French fries.

Teagasc made a science-based submission to the review of Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) in 2013 which resulted in several changes to the NAP that were judged to be agronomically necessary and environmentally benign (significant increases in phosphorus allowances, a change in the definition of soiled water, controlled application of herbicides during the closed period for certain crops, and increased nitrogen allowance for winter barley).

“This document is a collection of some of the highlights of where Teagasc research has impacted positively on the agri-food industry in 2013,” says Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research in Teagasc. “While our researchers published over 400 A1 scientific papers in 2013, as an organisation that conducts mainly applied research, we work hard to ensure our research programmes will have impact and are relevant to the Irish agricultural and food sectors. These 20 highlights of some recent impacts of our research show that the investment in research in Teagasc does pay dividends.”

The impacts featured come from research funded through Teagasc Grant-in-Aid, Department of Agriculture FIRM and Stimulus programmes, Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, the EU, the Dairy Levy, and a number of agri-food companies. The research was conducted in collaboration with many Irish and international partners.

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