The firm demonstrated products containing its Zerose organic erythritol and its organic glucose syrup at the recent All Things Organic (ATO) show in Chicago. "Organic products have become one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry and consumer demand has increased the need for product innovation," said Marcelo Montero, president of Cargill Sweetness Solutions. "Cargill has the ingredients, product formulation expertise, market insights and global supply chain to help our customers efficiently develop great-tasting, USDA-certified organic food and beverages." Zerose, which is the new brand name for Cargill's erythritol, is marketed as having "zero sugar, zero calories, zero aftertaste and zero artificial ingredients." A sugar alcohol, erythritol is an odourless white crystalline powder that has a sweet taste similar to sucrose. It is approximately 70 percent as sweet as sucrose and has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram. Cargill claims its organic version, made from organic sugars, can allow beverage manufacturers to achieve full-taste products without the calories. The ingredient is also suitable for products targeting diabetics, as it can be used in non-glycemic, non-insulinemic products, said Cargill. "Zerose organic erythritol meets consumers' growing demand for no-calorie, natural, organic sugar-free products. Consumers can manage their sugar intake without sacrificing taste," said Kathy Fortmann, polyols and dextrose global business director, Cargill Sweetness Solutions. The ingredient, which was featured at ATO in mandarin-flavored water, is suitable for a variety of applications, including bakery, dairy, beverage and confectionery, said the firm. Cargill also featured its organic glucose syrup sweetener in a cranberry almond granola bar. According to the firm, the ingredient is "a versatile sweetener that provides an excellent balance between sweetness and other functional properties." The ingredient, which is derived from organically grown wheat and hydrolyzed with natural enzymes, claims to allow developers to manage viscosity, body, mouthfeel, freezing point, texture and sweetness. It is also marketed as having a non-masking flavor and transparent appearance. "Cargill understands that developing organic products can be challenging for our customers. To make it easy for them to 'go organic,' we've expanded our portfolio of sweeteners to include USDA-certified organic glucose syrups. These syrups enable food manufacturers to expand their organic product offerings into a wide range of applications," said Jim Sayers, Cargill Corn Milling North America's regional sales manager Applications for the ingredient include bars and snacks, hard and chewy candies, baked goods, ice cream and frozen desserts, jams, condiments, sauces, dressings and fruit preparations. Also released at the ATO show were the preliminary findings from the Organic Trade Association's 2007 Manufacturer Survey. These revealed that US sales of organic foods totaled nearly $17bn in 2006, exceeding last year's forecasts of $16bn. This marks a 22 percent increase compared to sales of $14bn in 2005. Organic foods' 3 percent share of total food sales is up from 1.9 percent in 2003 to approximately 2.5 percent in 2005. "These preliminary findings verify organic product sales to be a shining star in the marketplace, and we expect strong growth in 2007 as well. Both farmers and consumers will have more choices as organic grows," said Caren Wilcox, OTA's executive director.