The firm gathered responses from 150 current and potential users of the ingredients in the US in a series of telephone interviews designed to help identify areas of improvement for the company's products and services. According to Donna Brooks, regional director for Danisco, the survey results "will assist us to make improvements on a number of fronts, including in our Applications Center, in the sales field and in our support functions." "It's important to keep track of what our customers think and to use that learning to continuously enhance our products and services," she said. Litesse polydextrose is 1kcal/gram speciality carbohydrate that the company claims offers food makers a wide range of physiological and functional benefits. For example, it replaces sugar and fat while improving flavor, texture and mouthfeel in a wide variety of applications. It is also low glycemic and is metabolized independently of insulin. It is therefore suitable for consumers seeking to control carbs, including diabetics. According to respondents to Danisco's recent survey, who were from the confectionery, bakery and dairy industries, the most important functional benefits of the ingredient are low calorie, sugar replacement, low glycemic and dietary fiber benefits. Awareness of prebiotic and satiety benefits was also mentioned. The company's Lactitol ingredient is a reduced calorie sweetener derived from milk sugar, which plays a versatile role in foods such as chocolate, ice cream and baked goods. Danisco says that its solubility and viscosity means that the ingredient closely resembles sucrose. Participants in the survey asked about Lacitol were primarily confectionery and chocolate producers, most of whom reported that they use the product for more than one function. Some 83 percent of respondents said they use it as a polyol/sweetener; 78 percent said they use it as a sugar replacement; 56 percent as a calorie reducer; and 42 percent for low glycemic applications. When asked about trends affecting the food industry, the safety of the food supply, weight loss and anti-obesity were cited as the most significant. Other important trends identified were the need to create products for an aging population, and for an increased number of people suffering from diabetes. Other more sustained trends that have been important to the industry in the past and that were again cited include convenience and hand-held foods, energy foods, organic products, use of whole grains, and foods that are quick and easy to prepare.