This is just the latest move made by the Danish company to meet customer demands for ways to offset the rising cost of raw materials without compromising on taste or passing on the cost to consumers. The cost of food and ingredients has shot up across the industry due to higher raw material prices resulting from poor weather damaging crops, an increasing demand for biofuels providing competition, and the rising cost of oil. According to the Confederation of European Food and Drink Industries (CIAA), wheat prices shot up 35 per cent in 2007. Similarly, the cost of sunflower oil increased 25 per cent. "We have worked proactively with cost optimisation for many years," said Hans Elbek Pedersen, vice president of global innovation. "Now that high raw material prices have become a bigger problem for our customers, the need for us to be creative has grown." The new guide brings together all the products the ingredients company has developed with the specific aim of helping manufacturers keep production and retail costs down. Cost solutions The guide covers ways to reduce costs in food sectors spanning bakery, ice cream and yoghurt, cheese and dairy drinks, confectionery, oils and fats and culinary and meat. The aim is to present relevant information that is easy to access on cost solutions with little or no effect on the quality of the final products. Elbek Pedersen added: "Many of our customers are under financial pressure, particularly because it is not always possible to pass on price increases to food retailers. We experience a growing demand for knowledge and ingredients that allow manufacturers to reformulate to cut costs while maintaining an appealing taste and texture." Throughout 2007, Danisco began developing a range of emulsifiers aimed at reducing the need to use commodity products such as wheat, gluten, and vegetable oils in food formulations, as manufacturers feel the pinch of soaring prices. One of these was Dimodan NH Distilled Monoglyceride, which is intended to help bakers to smooth over consumer concerns about hydrogenated fats at no expense to the quality of their bread products. To enable manufacturers offer up soya desserts as a viable alternative to dairy desserts by giving them an equally creamy texture, Danisco launched a line of ingredients known as Grindsted PF Creamline Stabiliser Systems. These make use of the hydrocolloids carrageenan and guar gum to heighten the creamy texture of soya desserts, even at low fat levels. One of the most recent products launched by the company was Cremodan 1200 MR IcePro aimed at countering the sharp upward price trend of skimmed milk powder, butter, vegetable oils, wheat and other grains. The company said it enables ice cream manufacturers to cut their skimmed milk powder costs by up to 70 per cent while maintaining quality. Last month, Danisco announced it is to acquire an ingredients division of Associated British Foods with hopes to increase its production of emulsifiers based on natural raw materials to counter increasing raw material costs. Danisco's guide can be found at http://www.danisco.com/ Protecting consumers Food companies are under increasing pressure to provide cost-cutting solutions or swallow the price increases themselves rather than pass on increased costs to consumers. While, some companies have pushed up their retail prices, regulators and retailers are opposed to the idea. Last November, German retailer Metro pulled all Kellogg products from its shelves, saying that the cereal manufacturer's price hikes were "absolutely not acceptable". Earlier this week, French prime minister Francois Fillon pledged to weed out food companies that are using current high commodity prices as an excuse to boost their own margins, even if they don't actually affect their products. The country's food prices rose by between 5 and 48 per cent between November 2007 and January 2008, according to consumer watchdog 60 Millions de Consommateurs.