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The Ingredient Panel

Food & Cooking Podcasts

A food scientist, a chef, and a food product developer discuss what's in your food, why it's in your food, and why that matters


United States


A food scientist, a chef, and a food product developer discuss what's in your food, why it's in your food, and why that matters




SE2 E08 Where do new product ideas come from?

An introduction to how companies (often) come up with new products to launch. The crew discusses the innovation pipeline, a bunch of boring processes, and some more fun ways new products come to market. This week's guest is Imaide Steverango, the R&D Manager for NutureLife, a meal delivery company for kids.


S2 E07 Undeclared! The hidden ingredients not on the label

Food processing aids do not need to be declared on a label according to the FDA. In this episode we talk about what they are, how they are used, and why they don't need to be declared. It's not as boring as it sounds! Plus we talk about insects! The actual language on processing aids from the CFR Don't read this link until after you've eaten


S2 E06 MSG for you, UMAMI!

We crave "umami", the fifth taste. Every global cuisine has a source of umami, yet MSG, monosodium glutamate, is seen as a villain in packaged food. Join as as we discuss MSG, the flavor of Umami, and glutamic acid, which as glutamate is responsible for the delicious flavor that makes everything taste better! References: This American Life Episode about the letter that gave birth to Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Colgate Magazine's Overview of the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome Letter/Possible Hoax Redefining Chinese Restaurant Syndrome in the NY Times Umami Map of World Cuisine Fermented Locust Beans


S2 E05 Gums: the low percentage ingredient with outsized impact

Why do packaged foods need added gums when the food you make at home never does? Join us as we talk about how gums (also known as hydrocolloids) end up in your food and for what purpose. Links: Guest Lela Squire Gum Primer FDA Regulations on Gums Recent Carageenan Study


S2 E04 Upcycling: A grandma-approved approach to the food waste crisis

Have you heard about Upcycling? Join us for a crash course in all things food waste. In this episode we talk with Caroline Cotto, the cofounder and COO of Renewal Mill, an ingredient, mix, and cookie company that is taking a new approach to the circular food economy. Caroline goes deep into the issues of food waste and how Renewal Mill, and the new Upcycled Food Association, are bringing attention and money into the food renewal space. Renewal Mill Upcycled Food Association RePurpose Global, for plastic offsets


S2 E03 The less processed side of plant-based meats

In this episode we chat with Kristine Sanschagrin, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing & Sales at Atlast , a company making minimally processed meat analogues with mycelium from mushrooms. We get deep into plant-based meat substitutes that don't try too hard to be exactly like meat.


SE2 E2 Spices and Natural Flavors

Finally Jill gets to teach us all about the difference between spices and herbs! We talk about spices, seasonings, herbs and how natural flavors are made - and what their purpose in packaged food is. This episode the panel is joined by Swapna Mony, a technical sales specialist and account manager for ADM, specializing in their natural portfolio, including flavors.


S2E1 How the Pandemic Changed Our Relationship to Food

The Ingredient Panel is back with a 40 minute episode with guests! Join panelists Linsey Herman, Jill Houk, and Karen Watson, along with the Editor of Baking & Snack Magazine Charlotte Atchley, for a discussion of all the ways the pandemic impacted the food we were buying, eating, cooking, and developing. The Ingredient Panel is a podcast about the ingredients in packaged food. Each episode unpacks a category of ingredients and examines how it ends up on your plate and why it is there. We welcome suggestions for future episodes! References for this episode: Baking and Snack Magazine: Nulife Market: Olam Food Ingredients: Factory LLC:


S1E1 What is the Ingredient Panel?

Have you ever wondered why certain ingredients are included or excluded from products you buy at the supermarket? Product Developer Linsey Herman, Food Scientist Karen Watson, and Chef Jill Houk discuss what's behind all the words on product labels in the food you buy. In this overview, the panel discusses why companies make the ingredient and nutrition choices they do when launching new products. It's a lot less boring than it sounds!


S1E2 Why You Can't Have It All

Food companies promise the world and rarely deliver on it in their new products. The panel discusses why that is, and how making products that truly have it all would never reach mainstream success.


S1E3 Sugar

Sugar. Why can something so delicious be so problematic? The panel looks at sugar and why it seems to be everywhere in processed food.


S1E4 Fat

Different fats have gone in and out of favor over the years as dietary trends and fads ebb and flow. The panel delves into fat and why companies choose one fat over another and how those choices impact the label.


S1E5 Fiber

Fiber Fiber Fiber Fiber. For a long time, it was something only retirees wanted in their diet, but now it is everywhere. The panel looks at why product developers use it and its functional purpose in food.


S1E6 Protein

Companies seem to be obsessed with protein, and packing it into every single product possible. But do we really need that much protein? And what are the trade-offs of using so much protein in a product?


S1E7 Season Finale - Grains or Grain-Free

In this final episode, the panel talks about their favorite topic, grains, and the challenges of creating products that may only appeal to people on certain special diets.