Successful research and technology transfer by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have produced three new food products for consumers.
One product, fresh apple slices, is now available at McDonald's, grocery stores such as Trader Joe's, and in the school lunch program. ARS and Westport, Conn.-based Mantrose-Haeuser Co., Inc. developed a calcium- and ascorbate (vitamin C)-based coating that prevents apples from browning.
The coating increases the shelf life of peeled apples up to four weeks without changing the texture or flavor, allowing them to become a practical retail offering, and providing a convenient healthy food option for consumers
McDonald's is featuring the treated, fresh apples two ways: Apple Dippers, which pairs a package of apple slices with a 0.75 ounce low-fat caramel dip for a 100- calorie snack, and in its Fruit & Walnut salad. McDonald's expects to buy more than 54 million pounds of apples this year.
Another product is a zero-calorie fat replacer called Z-Trim that consumers can use to decrease fat and increase fiber in recipes as diverse as salad dressing, brownies and omelets without affecting taste or mouth feel. ARS developed Z-Trim from low-cost, high-fiber agricultural products such as corn hulls. In addition to cutting fat and calories, Z-Trim can delay glucose absorption and lower insulin resistance, improving blood sugar management.
ARS's newest improved catfish, called NWAC103, first began hitting the market in late 2002. Today, about 15 percent of the catfish being raised are probably NWAC103. Consumers wont notice anything different, but NWAC103 catfish eat 10 percent more feed and grow 10 percent faster than other commercially farmed channel catfish--a great benefit to fish farmers.
The new catfish line was released jointly by ARS and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.