From June 21-24, I was in New Orleans at the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo with more than 16,400 food professionals from all over the globe, to learn about the latest product and ingredient innovations, as well as identify trends that will shape the industry. This year’s show featured 1,120 exhibitors and more than 100 educational sessions and 1,000+ poster sessions.
This year’s IFT showcased a variety of trends in the food ingredient industry. Ingredion was one of several food ingredient companies talking about authenticity, better-for-you snacking and global variety as trends that are driving ingredient research and product development around the world. Similar to previous IFT shows, sugar reduction, salt reduction and fat reduction were still hot topics. According to Innova Market Insights, a rise in home cooking, emerging superfood ingredients and clean-label concerns are also leading trends in food and beverage innovation.
In addition to top trends at IFT, many food ingredient companies were showcasing new products.
Cargill unveiled their new soybean oil made from identity-preserved, conventionally bred soybeans for customers interested in exploring a non-GMO claim on their product label. Land O’Lakes Ingredients demonstrated their expertise in dairy-based ingredients by showcasing their Sea-Salted Caramel dairy seasoning that they launched earlier this year.
One of the biggest, and most talked about, unveilings at this year’s IFT Food Expo was Ardent Mills—the newly formed company that combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling. As part of their debut, they used a state-of-the-art vehicle for their introduction—the Mobile Innovation Center (MIC). The trailer truck-sized MIC served IFT attendees an array of New Orleans-style food applications that incorporated the Ardent Mills portfolio of all-natural traditional and specialty flours and whole grain products like fried alligator po’boys and dirty rice to whole grain beignets and muffuletta.
In our next blog post, we’ll share more insight about the Ardent Mills Mobile Innovation Center and how it plans to help drive grain innovation for its customers. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts and insights on what trends and new product launches you saw at the Food Expo that you think will shape the industry moving forward.