PARIS and AMSTERDAM — Sustainability achievements and novel protein ingredients were common themes in the Fi Innovation Awards presented by Informa Markets, an exhibition organizer. A ceremony took place Dec. 3 during Food Ingredients Europe in Paris to honor companies who have responded to the trends and challenges of the ingredients industry. An eight-member jury consisting of food technologists, market analysts, management in the food and beverage industry, and trade journalists choose 10 winners.

Palsgaard, Juelsminde, Denmark, took home the sustainability champion award for achieving carbon dioxide neutral production. The emulsifier specialist in 2010 set a goal of carbon neutral production within 10 years and reached the goal about two years ahead of schedule. Strategies such as solar panels, hydro power and biogas allowed Palsgaard to reach its goal.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world right now, and sustainability is not only hugely important to us but to our customers, too,” said Jakob Thøisen, chief executive officer of Palsgaard. “The production of emulsifiers is highly energy-intensive because it requires very high temperatures and high pressure, but we’ve shown that it’s possible to go carbon-neutral. It’s fantastic for everyone working at Palsgaard that our efforts have been recognized.”

Aligning with sustainability issues, Vietnam Food Joint Stock Co., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, won the future of nutrition award for its efforts in upcycling shrimp byproducts.

Chr. Hansen, Hoersholm, Denmark, received two awards. Its Sweety cultures for sugar reduction in fermented dairy products won the reformulation innovation award. The Sweety Y-1 culture enhances sweetness, maintains the sweet taste during shelf life with low post acidification and avoids the use of artificial sweeteners. The Hansen Sweet Potato, a red colorant from sweet potato, won the clean label and natural innovation award.

Several other awards involved plant-based ingredients.

Fiberstar Inc., River Falls, Wis., won the plant-based innovation award for its Citri-Fi citrus fiber that works as a texturizer and fat replacement in plant-based meat alternatives. The ingredient holds high amounts of water and oil, and it may help replace methylcellulose when used in combination with other natural ingredients.

“This fast-paced category needs innovative companies like Fiberstar to introduce new ingredient technologies into the marketplace,” said John Haen, president and c.e.o. “Our developments in meat alternatives complements our successes in plant-based milk and other non-dairy foods.

St. Louis-based ICL Food Specialties won the protein innovation award for its Rovitaris FBX 360, a texturized protein from the faba bean.

“With our product, we achieve best flavor and texture results,” said Jane Whittinghill, Ph.D., a scientist with ICL Food Specialties. “It’s recognition that ICL has a place in this area.”

Griffith Foods, Alsip, Ill., received the food and beverage categories innovation award for “Never Fry,” a plant-based coating system for meat and meat alternative products.

The food tech innovation award went to Corbion nv, Amsterdam, for its Verdad Opti Powder N350, an antibacterial system for clean label formulations.

The functional innovation award went to Bunge Loders Croklaan, the edible oil business of St. Louis-based Bunge Ltd., for its Betapol Plus oleic-palmitic-oleic (OPO) lipids for infant formula. OPO is naturally present in mother’s milk. The new Betapol Plus blend for infant formula offers a 60% OPO level, which is the highest level available on the market, according to Bunge Loders Croklaan. Benefits of Betapol Plus for babies include improved energy intake, increased bone mineral density, reduced constipation, healthy gut bacteria, less crying and better sleep, according to the company.

“There is a strong need in the infant milk formula industry to get as close as possible to the composition and benefits of mother’s milk, ensuring parents have the best alternative available when breastfeeding is not possible,” said Emiliano Rial Verde, Ph.D., vice-president of nutrition at Bunge Loders Croklaan. “With Betapol Plus, we are providing an option that is closest to nature. It adds significant value to infant formula brands where premium choices are in high demand and to the growing specialty infant formula market addressing diverse dietary needs.”

CP Kelco, Atlanta, took the diversity and inclusion award for its “I belong” initiative. The award recognizes a company for creating a work environment that offers equal opportunities for all employees irrespective of gender, race, religious background, sexual orientation and physical or mental ability.

“We are truly thrilled and honored to receive this prestigious award and recognition for our achievements and ongoing work to embrace diversity and inclusion across our global organization,” said Didier Viala, president of CP Kelco. “As part of the J.M. Huber Corp., a family-owned company, we operate each day with diversity and inclusion at the heart of our CP Kelco brand. It’s core to how we engage our employees, and it’s critical to how we serve our customers.”