Food-manufacturing and food-processing companies are pushing to rid their products of genetically modified organisms due to increased demand from customers. As consumers seek healthier lifestyles and diets focused on natural ingredients, companies have had to adapt to keep their sales up.

For example, The Hershey Company announced in early 2015 they would be removing GMO ingredients from almost all its products. Most notably, Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars are no longer made with genetically modified beet sugar. Rather, they are being made with cane sugar.

Hershey’s isn’t the only company ridding their products of GMOs, but they are the most notable. While they haven’t yet committed to shedding GMOs from all their products, that point appears to be coming. Consumers are demanding it, and consumers usually win.

Where Can U.S. Producers Source Non-GMO Sugar?

Currently, most of the sugar grown in the United States is beet sugar, which can be genetically modified. In order to acquire non-GMO sugars, companies need to source internationally, with Brazil becoming a more and more enticing market.

Brazil is the largest cane-sugar producer in the world, although a lot of their natural cane sugar goes to create sugarcane ethanol (fuel), so they aren’t necessarily the largest producer of edible cane sugar. That could change, however, as more and more companies in the United States and elsewhere look to Brazil for the pure, non-GMO cane sugar.

What it Means for the Sugar Industry

Brazil has the perfect climate for cane sugar, which used to be the only type of sugar anyone wanted. Will their high level of production increase as more U.S. producers seek natural ingredients?

Or, will the beet-sugar producers in the United States start to remove their GMO crops and produce natural beet sugars?

The costs are generally higher with non-GMO ingredients, which means the price of cane sugar could climb significantly if companies look to source their cane sugars from Brazil and other foreign countries. Of course, there are costs to beet-sugar producers switching their business models as well.

With consumers demanding more natural ingredients, will they also bear the brunt of these price increases? In general, natural ingredients cost more, so it will be very interesting to follow these trends to see how the sugar industry handles these consumer demands.

We are committed to assisting you with your needs no matter the shifts in consumer demands. At Bremer, we carry both GMO beet sugar, and Non-GMO can sugar. Let us know what your consumers are demanding and how we can help.

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There is one attribute to food and beverages on which consumers never want to compromise. No matter the latest trends, popular diets, or your personal habits, flavor is always of the utmost importance. This is where flavor extracts and emulsions come in – their ability to create custom flavors helps provide the savory tastes you crave, whether you’re seeking bubblegum, caramel, vanilla, or almond. Extracts and emulsions are a valuable component of your food, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two, when they should be used, and why.

The Importance of Flavor Extracts & Emulsions

Taste is one of the primary deciding factors for the product you choose. The flavor of a given brand’s product is what distinguishes it from its competition. Producers know this, which is why when marketing a healthy snack, for example, brands always mention that it still tastes as good or better than its competitors. Consumers want to eat healthy, but they also want to enjoy the taste of what they’re eating and drinking. If they’re going to be talked into trading one food for another, they need to be assured they’re not missing out on taste. The proper flavoring extracts and emulsions can help with this.

Flavor Extracts vs. Flavor Emulsions

We know flavor extracts and emulsions are the two main types of flavoring ingredients, but what makes the two different? Why might you use one instead of the other? Emulsions and extracts are not the same thing, so knowing when and how to use them is key.

The main difference lies in where the flavor compounds are suspended. A flavor extract uses a 35% (approximate) alcohol solution to suspend the flavor compounds. A flavor emulsion suspends the flavor compounds in water and vegetable gum.

One of the most common flavor extracts in a household is vanilla extract. Suspending the vanilla flavor compounds in alcohol is a smart choice for the end user because it is rare anyone would use that much vanilla extract at once. Because alcohol is a tremendous flavor solvent and preservative, many households benefit from the long-lasting and flavorful vanilla extract. A downside to extracts is the volatility of alcohol. Because it’s volatile, it evaporates fast, but as the alcohol evaporates, it takes some of the flavor and smells with it.

By comparison, flavor emulsions use the gooey mix of water and vegetable gum, which don’t evaporate nearly as quickly as alcohol and thus better retain essential oils during baking. Some people prefer emulsions and the more robust flavor, whereas others believe it can be overwhelming.

Whether an extract or an emulsion is the right choice for you depends on the type of flavor you’re looking for and the size of what you’re producing. Contact us to discuss the flavor options we always have in stock or to develop a custom flavor specifically for your needs.

You Can Taste (and Smell) the Holidays

Nothing tells you it’s the holiday season better than your own sense of smell. Even in the middle of July, if you get a whiff of peppermint, you—even if only for a moment—think it’s November or December.

And now, as we’re at the height of holiday season, those familiar scents will be permeating the air anywhere you can find an oven.

We’ve compiled a few ingredients, based on consumer trends, to give you an idea of what consumers are looking for. What types of recipes are you manufacturing and baking to cater to your customers at this time of year?

Classic Holiday Ingredients

Ginger will forever be associated with the holidays, taking the lead in gingerbread cookies, ginger crisps and any number of creative twists on the old standbys.

Peppermint plays the starring role in bars, cookies and other desserts to adorn the holiday season (after all, this was the chosen flavor for candy canes).

Two more classic holiday ingredients, vanilla and nutmeg, find their ways into dishes throughout the year, but are especially noticeable during the holidays. While essential on their own, become more powerful when combined, along with rum, to create the classic holiday drink, egg nog. As Clark W. Griswold would say, “It’s good.”

Lesser-Known Holiday Ingredients

Many ingredients are extremely popular in certain parts of the world or in certain families, but are unknown or even disliked in others. Still, we looked at what consumers want this year, and found an increasing demand for versatile (and polarizing) allspice, cardamom, saffron and star anise.

What are you seeing from your customers? Is there a particular spice to which they tend to gravitate?

Gluten-Free Labels Now Have Meaning

With the FDA finalizing what exactly constitutes the meaning of “gluten-free,” consumers (especially those with celiac disease) will now be able to reliably select gluten-free foods without having to wonder what they’re actually getting.

What does that mean for you? If you have been or will be marketing gluten-free foods, you’ll need to follow these new FDA guidelines.

The term “gluten-free” now refers to foods that are either inherently gluten-free or foods that do not contain any ingredient that is:

  • A gluten-containing grain (e.g. spelt wheat)
  • Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat flour)
  • Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food

Help for Celiac Disease

Because celiac disease has no cure, and the only treatment is dietary, this label standardization is long overdue in the minds of many. Because sufferers of celiac disease risk extreme medical problems if they were to ingest gluten, standardized labels are going to be a huge help.

Most people with celiac disease (there are approximately 3 million in the United States) can tolerate small amounts of gluten, and the 20 ppm level is the lowest that can be consistently detected, which is why the FDA instituted this threshold.

Gluten-Free Timeline

The regulation went into effect on August 5, 2013. Manufacturers will have one year to comply, meaning all foods will be subject to regulatory action if they are not in compliance by August 5, 2014.

Anyone looking for a workaround would be better advised to put that energy into complying. For the purposes of this regulation, “gluten-free,” “free of gluten,” “without gluten” and “no gluten” will be treated the same. A label making a gluten-free claim of any sort must be in compliance.

If you are looking to make the shift to gluten-free product offerings, please let us know how we can help with your ingredient needs. Click Here to Connect With Us Today.