The manufacturer of functional ingredient systems for food processing claims its new ranges can reduce fat by 50 to 80 per cent, depending on the application. The ReadiCream and Milk Plus range can be used in a variety of products such as soups, sauces and baked goods. There are different ReadiCream ingredients which can be used as in place of heavy cream, half & half, milk and other dairy and non-dairy ingredients. They can act as an alternative or can just replace some of the dairy ingredients. "Some companies do not like to put heavy cream on the label because it is seen as unhealthy, while for some products, the inclusion of some cream is important," senior food scientist Mark Purpura told FoodNavigator-USA. The dairy replacement systems contain ingredients such as cream powder, starches, skim milk powder and flavors, so they still contain dairy produce, but cut fat and costs. The dry, powder ingredients are less perishable than liquids, explained Purpura, and can be easily mixed with milk or water. This means there is no need for refrigeration, making storage easier and cheaper. The two ranges are also less affected by the rising dairy costs, which are at an all time high, and frozen desserts are no exception. The price hikes are blamed on poor weather, limited grain availability and an increase in biofuels. According to the University of Wisconsin's dairy marketing programme, the average price of wet condensed skim milk in Northwest USA was $2.15 per lb in October 2007 - more than double the price one year earlier. Finished products containing ReadiCream and Milk Plus offer the same flavor, mouthfeel, color and texture as those that contain full-fat dairy ingredients, said the company. The ingredients also provide functionalities such as acting as emulsifiers for soups and sauces, according to the company. Advanced Food Systems provides complete technical support and formulation assistance to customers using its systems. The company joins other food manufacturers developing dairy replacements to reduce fat content as the health and wellness trend continues, and to overcome the problem of dairy costs. Pectin, for example, can be used to replace of milk proteins. Soya is also a common alternative to dairy. Last October, ADM launched a new line of soya proteins for use in place of expensive dairy ingredients or to extend milk supply. FMC BioPolymer has developed technology that allows ice cream manufacturers to cut the fat content in their products by more than half, without altering the ice cream's taste and texture through butterfat or milk solid replacement. A staggering 92 percent of food companies who took part in the Grocery Manufacturers Association's poll said they are reformulating or introducing new products that have reduced fat or sugar, according to results released this week. This has meant more than 10,000 products with nutritional improvements in the last five years in attempts to combat obesity.