From July 13-16, over 23,500 of the world’s top food professionals attended the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, Ill. At this year’s Food Expo, there were over 1,100 exhibitors showcasing their products through a variety of samples and product literature. I had the opportunity to walk the Expo floor all three days. While I wasn’t able to visit all the booths, I did get to visit quite a few that allowed me to sample their products in unique and flavorful applications. In the list of booths I was able to visit, there were a few exhibitors that really stood out:
- ConAgra Mills—the go-to-source for innovative grain ingredients and Next-thing thinkingSM—had a team of experts available to guide attendees through four focus areas around their sampling counter: Fiber & Nutrition, School Foodservice and Kids’ Menus, New Ingredient Innovations, Food Safety & Cost Savings. With an impressive online culinary menu that was displayed on monitors around the booth and accessible by scanning a QR code, attendees had the opportunity to sample a variety of applications, such as Southern-style Biscuits and Sausage Gravy made with 51% Ultragrain® Whole Wheat Flour and Sustagrain® Flour; Puebla Macaroni & Cheese featuring Ultragrain Pasta PlusTM Elbows; and Chocolate Chip Cookies featuring SafeGuardTM Ready-to-Eat Flour.
- Nu-Tek Food Science—the world leader in sodium reduction—invited attendees to taste the technology that’s winning over the experts. At the top of every hour during the Expo, reduced-sodium mini Chicago-style hotdogs, with a 35% reduced-sodium bun, 50% reduced-sodium hotdog and a Chicago-style giardiniera made with their new retail and foodservice product Salt for LifeTM Sea Salt Blend, were available for sampling. Through patented, single-crystal technology, Nu-Tek Food Science offers food manufacturers, foodservice operators and the food industry a cost-effective, clean-label solution to help meet the growing demand of sodium reduction.
- Bioenergy Life Science brought the sweet taste of innovation to IFT with their all-natural functional ingredient, Bioenergy Ribose. Visitors at the booth were able to sample a variety of energizing applications containing Bioenergy Ribose such as fruit chews, granola bars and dark chocolate truffles. Perfect for formulation in a variety of food and beverage applications, Bioenergy Ribose helps accelerate energy recovery, reduce muscle stiffness and provides greater endurance.
- Land O’Lakes—the trusted name in dairy ingredients—brings food manufacturers the resources and dairy solutions that provide a real competitive advantage to the marketplace. During my visit with the Land O’Lakes team, they had me sample what I consider my favorite tasting of the entire Expo—hot buttery, cinnamon-flavored puffs. The hot buttery cinnamon flavor was fantastic and left my taste buds wanting more.
In our next blog post, we’ll share with you what we thought were the trends that dominated the Food Expo. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on which exhibitors you think are bringing innovative ingredients and solutions to the food industry.