Last Wednesday, I attended a GastroIntellectual Property Law Symposium at Chicago-Kent College of Law. It was great listening to Nick Kokonas, Jackie Leimer, Brian Chaiken, and Charles C. Valauskas dicuss how new innovations in food and technology may or may not need to be protected by patents and copyrights. One food innovation that stood out that night was called Z Trim. Brian Chaiken is the Chief Legal Officer of Z Trim Holdings, Inc. and was a guest on the symposium panel that night.
Z Trim is a non-caloric functional food ingredient made from two different types of fiber called cellulose and hemicellulose. The product contains an 80:20 cellulose-to-hemicellulose ratio. These types of fiber just act as roughage in our bodies and are not absorbed. Z Trim ingredients can be made from both corn and oats.
The Z Trim product claims to:
- Replace fat
- Reduce calories from added fats
- Create the right textures
- Stabilize emulsions
- Controls moisture
- Reduce water migration
- Improve freeze-thaw
- Enhance heat stability
The product’s website states that, “Z Trim ingredients make them a perfect choice for standard products as well as more healthful products that are reduced in fat and calories.” On one hand, I get excited thinking about new products like this that could help a food maintain its texture, emulsion, moisture, etc., while still reducing overall fat grams and calories.
On the other hand, does this product really help Americans or just the food companies’ wallets? It would be great if Americans could enjoy the foods they love in moderation. However, most Americans think when a product is lower in calories or fat they can just eat more of it. So, does Z Trim just help re-enforce that bad habit? Sure, this ingredient is helping food companies and restaurants sell more air and water, but will it help Americans feel full or just lead to more overeating? It is also interesting that you would never see the word “Z Trim” on the food ingredient label it would read corn starch, corn fiber, oat starch, oat fiber etc…instead.
What do you think? When it comes to food innovation, do you think these products are helpful or harmful to Americans?