There maybe a pilchard casserole in your future
(Page 2 of 2)
But Doug Snyder of the marketing department of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company, a food ingredients manufacturer, says: "We're not trying to fool anybody. These products are really food in and of themselves."Skip to next paragraph
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He refers to soy protein products -- a gold mine of cheap protein that promises to play a large part in new foods. Textured soy protein, originally developed by ADM labs, runs "between 10 or 12 cents a pound on an equivalency with meat," he says.
"Soy," adds Howard Mattson, "comes as close to meat as any protein around." And food economist say that combined with other vegetable proteins, soy can provide most human needs for protein.
Monitor tasters tested an experimental line of 100 percent vegetable protein dinner entrees developed by ADM. Among five who watched the powdery chunks of herbs and soy cook into convincing versions of "sweet and sour pork," "chicken almondine" and "pepper steak," one taster observes that the original dry product unappetizingly resembled dog food. But after eating the entrees, all agreed that they tasted good enough to eat again. The price? About 40 to 75 cents a serving.
"Sometimes, though, people just don't want to buy a substitute that appears inferior to the real thing. So, why not make a whole new food?" suggests Judi Trujillo of the American Soybean Association. "After all, pizza and yogurt weren't foods [to Americans] once. Yogurt was at one time strange and now it's in the lunchboxes of America."
Tofu is a "new" product that until recently has been unfamiliar to Americans, except as an unidentified cheese-like substances they found in oriental food.
Tofu, a soy protein staple in the Orient for thousands of years, has been heralded as "the yogurt of the '80s" in the US. Although still just a cottage industry, tofu production increased by one-half last year, according to industry statistics. Consequently, says Ms. Trujillo, some big food manufacturers are eyeing the versatile product as a new food line.
Tofu, a soft, bland substance made from curdled soybean milk, picks up the flavor of whatever it's cooked with. It can be fried, baked, frozen, or eaten raw in main courses, side dishes, desserts, or as an extender.
One so-called new food that hasn't gone over well at the checkout counter is sunflower butter. When peanut crops were low last year, and peanut butter, when found, was as high as $3.50 for a 16-ounce jar, Star Market quickly introduced sunflower butter at $1.99 for 16 ounces.
Peanut butter connoiseurs testing sunflower butter in the Monitor's survey were unimpressed. Most said they would rather pay the price for the peanut product than the sunflower spread. But others who like the sunflower seed flavor said they wouldn't mind adding the spread to their menus.
Judi Adams of the North Dakota Sunflower Commission notes that consumers may learn to accept sunflower butter as a food in its own right and not as an imitation of peanut butter. The council is promoting sunflower spread with some of the most discriminating palates -- schoolchildren's. The council's selling points in a drive to get school food services to buy sunflower spread is that it is 15 percent cheaper and has less fat than peanut butter.
Efficiency is a part of the new food technology. Star Market says it has had much success with its extra-value-blend hamburger -- a mix of 70 percent lean ground beef and 30 percent soy protein extender. "You can stretch 30 pounds of meat to 40 pounds and it sells for 20 cents a pound less than regular ground beef," a spokesman says.