The Food Additive Petition approval means that US manufacturers may now use the ingredient as a bulking agent, formulation aid, humectant, and texturizer in all foods with the exceptions of meat, poultry, baby foods and infant formula. Litesse polydextrose, which has been on the market for 25 years, is a 1kcal/gram specialty carbohydrate that Danisco claims offers food makers a wide range of physiological and functional benefits. For example, it replaces sugar and fat while improving flavor, texture and mouthfeel in a wide variety of applications. It is also low glycemic and is metabolized independently of insulin. It is therefore suitable for consumers seeking to control carbs, including diabetics, says the firm. "This approval allows for numerous new possibilities for low calorie, fiber-enriched, reduced sugar, low glycemic foods and beverages made with Danisco's Litesse polydextrose," said the company today. Applications where the ingredient could be used include yogurt, cereal, cookies, crackers, bread, cake, chocolate, candy, ice cream, soft drinks, juice, smoothies, flavored water, sauces, dressings, cheese and snack chips. Danisco recently carried out a survey of users of its Litesse ingredient, to help identify areas of improvement for its products and services. According to survey respondents, who were potential and existing customers from the confectionery, bakery and dairy industries, the most important functional benefits of the ingredient are low calorie, sugar replacement, low glycemic and dietary fiber benefits. Awareness of prebiotic and satiety benefits was also mentioned. The survey results "will assist us to make improvements on a number of fronts, including in our Applications Center, in the sales field and in our support functions," said Donna Brooks, regional director for Danisco, in April."It's important to keep track of what our customers think and to use that learning to continuously enhance our products and services," she said. When asked about trends affecting the food industry, the safety of the food supply, weight loss and anti-obesity were cited as the most significant. Other important trends identified were the need to create products for an aging population, and for an increased number of people suffering from diabetes. Other more sustained trends that have been important to the industry in the past and that were again cited include convenience and hand-held foods, energy foods, organic products, use of whole grains, and foods that are quick and easy to prepare.