“Clean labels,” simple ingredients and gluten-free products topped the list of “hot topics” at the 2010 Research Chefs Association (RCA) conference. Culinary execs and corporate chefs met with ingredient companies to talk about these trends, as well as an array of new products.

Interest in clean-label products and ingredients dominated the RCA seminars and Food Expo. Food companies are challenged to provide labels with recognized and trusted ingredients—aiding the consumers’ ability to read the ingredient statement and understand it. Chris Kelly of Advanced Food Systems gave an on-site interview addressing clean-label demands. An audio file of this insightful interview is available from Food Navigator.

Alongside the clean-labeling trend were a wide range of simple-ingredient products that allow chefs and manufacturers to replace multiple processing ingredients with single-ingredient solutions. Z Trim featured multifunctional fiber ingredients for emulsion and fat replacement that offers improved performance as well as a cleaner simple-ingredient product label. National Starch offers a line of texturizing starch ingredients that also offer simple-ingredient clean-label benefits. Click here to learn more about National Starch’s natural and organic ingredient offerings.

Gluten-free products, in a variety of applications, dominated the new products introduced by RCA exhibitors. ConAgra Mills introduced a new line of gluten-free flours under its whole wheat brand Ultragrain®, as well as its Sustagrain® and Ancient Grains product platforms. The foodservice chefs at the RCA show seemed very interested in just about every gluten-free product sample that was being offered.

All in all, this year’s RCA conference gave a very interesting view of what has the attention of culinary, product development and marketing executives at some of the leading food manufacturing and foodservice companies.