The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Chicago, said it honored three companies with the 2019 IFT Food Expo Innovation Award at an awards ceremony on June 2 during the IFT19: Feed Your Future event in New Orleans. IFT President-Elect Designate Noel Anderson announced and presented Bavaria Corp., Chr. Hansen and Comet Bio with the award. The winning entries offer solutions to today’s food trends of plant-based and upcycled ingredients.

“Now in its 13th year, the Food Expo Innovation awards program is a showcase for amazing advancements in our profession,” Anderson said. “Exclusive to companies exhibiting at the IFT19 Food Expo here in New Orleans, these awards honor outstanding innovation in products, ingredients, technologies, instrumentation, equipment and services that were commercially introduced since Jan. 1 of 2018.”

A panel of 10 jurors from academia, government and industry with broad expertise in research and product development, processing and packaging technology, and food safety selected the three companies and their innovations from 30 qualified entries. Judging criteria included degree of innovation, technical advancement, benefits to food manufacturers and consumers, and scientific merit, IFT said.

Bavaria Corp. garnered the 2019 IFT Food Expo Innovation Award for its Bafos MP natural flavor, which contains natural preserving agents that have strong antimicrobial properties against yeast, mold and gram-positive bacteria. Derived from a food-grade aqueous extract of an edible fungus, the water-soluble ingredient offers an alternative to sorbate and benzoate and is well-suited for preserving low pH foods and beverages, IFT said.

Chr. Hansen was honored for its minimally processed FruitMax Reds from its Hansen sweet potato. The vibrant red colorings provide a plant-based alternative to carmine and synthetic reds. Available as a water-soluble powder or liquid, the red colorings are heat- and light-stable with no off-tastes, IFT noted, and are less pH sensitive than other fruit and vegetable concentrates. Applications include confectionery, fruit preparations, bakery and fermented dairy products.

Comet Bio captured the 2019 IFT Food Expo Innovation Award for its Sweeterra syrup blends, which have up to 35% fewer calories, less sugar and a higher dietary fiber content than traditional corn syrup. Made from upcycled food and farm leftovers such as wheat straw and corn stalks, the sweetener blends are functionally equivalent to corn syrup and can be used in confectionery, gummies, fruit preparations, energy drinks, nutrition bars and bakery products, IFT said.