Gelita innovation meets health and convenience demand

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Percent, Nutrition

International gelatin specialist Gelita has launched two new
products that incorporate the themes driving its innovation
strategy - health and wellness, and convenience.

Gelita RTE-Ice is aimed at the frozen dessert and snacks market, allowing for no fat and low caloric jelly texture coatings to provide a mix of textures to ice creams. The company's Gelita Gel-Slice is aimed at the convenience foods market, allowing the inclusion of sauces in frozen products such as ready made hamburgers and sandwiches. The two products were launched at the Food Ingredients South America (FISA) trade fair earlier this month, where RTE-Ice won an award for 'most innovative product'. Gelita has an innovation center in Brazil and is able to provide technical assistance for the application of the products in South America. The ingredients will be introduced onto the North American market next year. Additionally, it has extended its Instant Gel Schoko ingredient, originally designed to replace up to a quarter of the fat in chocolate without affecting the product's sensory and physical characteristics, to be used in dark chocolate. The company has another innovation center in Germany. It invests €3.5m ($5.4m) into its R&D. This amounts to between 4 and 5 percent of its overall spending. As it is a private company, its full financial results are not available. "The company uses an ideas generation system to define trends and decide new areas for product development,"​ Claudia Yamana, vice president for marketing and sales, told FoodNavigator-USA.com. "We also work with our customers to provide custom-made solutions." Health and wellness ​The increasing demand for healthy, low-fat products has provided new innovation opportunities as food manufacturers invest in solutions for healthy products that still taste good. According to a recent report by market researcher Information Resources Inc, all-round innovation, particularly in healthy products, remains key to keeping the American snack market vibrant. The group found that 78 percent of American consumers are trying to eat healthier; 63 percent are trying to replace high-calorie snacks with healthier options; 66 percent said they want to purchase nutritional products; and 57 percent said they were generally trying to snack less. Gelita RTE-Ice is a specially developed for the production of jelly texture coatings in snack bars, ice cream and fruits. It maintains a high degree of consistency dusting temperature fluctuation and mechanical stress, having a huge advantage for sales and storage, according to the company. It freezes in less than a minute at ambient temperature, providing a top with smooth surface for ice cream on stick. ​The company said: "For the final consumer, the topping offers the advantages of not having fat and being low caloric, causing a unique feeling in the mouth, because it combines the softness of the jelly top with the ice-cream texture." ​The company's Instant Gel Schoko, recently adapted for dark chocolate applications, contains a special protein generated in an enzymatic process, allowing for fat reduction without affecting texture or taste, said Gelita. It is able to replace cocoa butter up to 39 percent resulting in 25 percent lower overall fat content in the chocolate, claimed Gelita. Furthermore saturated fat can be reduced by 28 percent, cholesterol by 15 percent and calories by 8 percent, while the protein content is increased by 75 percent. It was first launched in South America and is already included in five brands. It is now being presented to companies in North America, but has not yet been added to brands. Convenience ​Busier lifestyles and demographic changes such as greater numbers of single-person households and older consumers have supported the demand for more convenient prepared foods. Gel-Slice allows for liquid to become the right consistency sauce when included in frozen ready-made goods. "Including sauces into frozen products has been difficult in the past, and there have been many technical barriers to overcome,"​ said Yamana. "Gelita gel-slice is something entirely new in the ingredient market, especially developed for application in sauces, combining the orosensory characteristics of a traditional sauce with the commodity of being sliceable."

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