NEW ORLEANS — The E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Ecolab Inc., Loders Croklaan North America and the Summit Resource Group all earned 2011 I.F.T. Food Expo Innovation Awards during the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and expo, taking place this week in New Orleans.

A panel of nine jurors representing industry and academia with expertise in research and product development, processing and packaging technology, and food safety selected the four companies from a pool of 53 qualified entries. Only companies exhibiting at the 2011 I.F.T. Food Expo were eligible for the competition. Judging criteria included degree of innovation, technical advancement, benefits to food manufacturers and consumers and scientific merit.

DuPont’s Teijin Films was honored for its Mylar Cook Ovenable Pouch, which provides a “no-touch” cooking solution for frozen or refrigerated raw proteins. The patented rollstock thermoforming film may be cooked in conventional, convection, or microwave ovens at temperatures up to 425° F. The packaging reduces cooking time by up to 30%, saving energy use in home, restaurant, or institutional kitchens, according to the company.

Ecolab was honored for its Zero Trans Fat Oil Cleaning Program, which interacts with the zero-trans-fat oil soils by breaking down the polymerized soil residues and then emulsifying the oil. The technology works at ambient temperature, reducing energy costs associated with heating hot water. It also is designed to cling to vertical surfaces and stay wet on the surfaces long enough to clean hard-to-reach areas, such as catwalks, fryer hood vents, walls and ceilings.

Loders Croklaan North America’s SansTrans VLS30 and VLS40 shortenings, which may reduce saturated fat content and calories in bakery and snack foods, garnered the company an innovation honor. Both shortenings contain a fat-sparing emulsifier package that allows a reduction in use of up to 15% fat in applications that currently use an all-purpose shortening. Saturated fat is reduced up to 30% and fat content plus calories from fat is reduced by 15%. The products’ modest fat reduction does not alter the taste and texture of finished products.

Summit Resource Group earned an award for its NC-518 Calcium for Bone Health. The ingredient is produced through a patented manufacturing technology to enhance the availability of trace minerals and zinc in the calcium. A patented laser micronization process electrostatically enhances the zinc delivery system, thus allowing the calcium to absorb in the bloodstream and support bone health. Human clinical studies have demonstrated increased bone density.

“Now in its fifth year, the Food Expo Innovation Awards are a showcase for the ongoing ingenuity in our profession and, in some cases, the results of collaborative work among, industry, academia, and government,” said John Ruff, I.F.T. president-elect, during the awards ceremony.