Prop 37, Coca-Cola thinking like a lean start-up, sodium reduction, and natural sweeteners dominated this year’s discussions at SupplySide West. In this special focus, FoodNavigator-USA round-ups its exclusive coverage of the event.
Coca-Cola chief procurement officer Ron Lewis told attendees at the Las Vegas show that Coke is on a mission to double the size of its business by 2020 (vs 2009), which would require “disruptive innovation, by which I mean [innovation that’s] new to the world, not just new to Coca-Cola”.
Lewis also said that Coca-Cola has to "think and act like a lean start-up company" if it wants to stay ahead of the pack, using its Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) arm to make "more, earlier bets" to find the next big thing in beverages.
On the eve of show, California voted ‘no’ on Prop 37 – the initiative for GMO labeling on products.
Anne Brown, senior manager of the food ingredients marketing group at The Scoular Company, said that, while Prop 37 supporters lost the battle, they may ultimately win the war .
Justin Prochnow, an attorney in the Denver office of law firm Greenberg Traurig, told us that, on the subject of ‘natural’ all the FDA has said is that firms can use 'natural' on labels provided it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.
If an opportunistic plaintiff's attorney can argue persuasively that his client - and other reasonable consumers - might feel misled if a food containing GMOs or HFCS is marketed as 'natural', he has a case, adds Prochnow.
Tate & Lyle joined us to talk about two of their hot ingredients for sodium reduction and sweetening.
Sue Butler, Tate & Lyle research chemist, told us about Soda-Lo , an ingredient that can help firms slash sodium and retain their clean labels because it is still listed as ‘salt’ on pack.
The ingredient is produced using a patent-pending process that re-crystallizes standard table salt to create microscopic free-flowing hollow ‘microspheres’, which deliver a disproportionately salty taste for their size by maximizing surface area relative to volume.
T&L’s marketing communications manager Amy Lauer told us that the company’s 'Purefruit' monk fruit sweetener "in terms of ability to scale up, cost, ease of use and formulation and great taste, was one of the best products out there."
Another group of ingredients to watch is the Supergrain, said Datamonitor’s Tom Vierhile. The most popular are probably farro, spelt, quinoa, millet and chia, which are now being incorporated into everything from yogurts and crackers to beverages.
Last but not least, PL Thomas’ Seth Flowerman talked about the company’s stress-buster Zembrin ingredient , a patented, standardized and clinically studied extract of Sceletium tortuosum a succulent plant known by the San people of South Africa as ‘Kanna’.
And don’t forget to check our photo gallery from the show: Supply Side West 2012 in pictures