Recapping the Top Trends from IFT18

Still catching up after the whirlwind of IFT18? As one of the biggest trade shows for our clients and the industry, IFT’s Food Expo is always a great opportunity to witness well-known food ingredient names in action and explore the excitement that surrounds the show. Plus, there are always plenty of delicious samples to try!

Here’s a quick recap of what made an impression on our team (and our taste buds) at the event this year:

Plant-based Proteins

With demand booming for tasty, plant-based proteins, we saw several exhibitors showcase innovative and delicious ideas for applications that pack a powerful protein punch. The Annex by Ardent Mills invited attendees to build their own breakfast bowls with grains processed using its new individually quick frozen (IQF) format and a variety of toppings, such as berries, raisins, nuts and brown sugar. Blue Diamond introduced a new almond protein powder and hosted a taste test that challenged attendees to guess which protein—soy, pea or almond—was featured.

Ardent Mills display at IFT18
Build-your-own breakfast bowls at The Annex by Ardent Mills

A Bevy of Beverages

There was also an increase in the number of beverage samples this year, as ingredient suppliers continue to find new ways to meet consumer demands for unique flavors without all the added sugar. Everything from cold brews—like the brown butter and hickory smoke caramel iced coffee served at Gold Coast Ingredients’ booth—to kombuchas to fruity mixes—like the ones being served at The GNT Group’s booth—could be found to quench your thirst.

Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing at IFT18
Deb Murray and Liz Bloyd enjoying fruity drinks by The GNT Group

Savory Snacking

I’m a sucker for savory snacks, and IFT always features an array of savory snack creations to help keep us fueled throughout the day. Kraft Heinz Ingredients sampled plantain chips seasoned with Monterey Jack and Mozzarella cheese. It’s also tradition to walk the show floor with a box of Carmi Flavors’ popcorn. I opted for the kettle corn again this year, and it was as delicious as I remembered. Similarly, I can’t go to a trade show without sampling Chesapeake Spice Company’s amazing crab cakes—and they did not disappoint!

Kraft Heinz Ingredients' booth at IFT18
Kraft Heinz Ingredients serving up savory snacks at IFT18

“Nu” Innovation

Among the many new products featured at IFT18 was NuBana™ Green Banana Flour from International Agriculture Group. Milled from green bananas that have been peeled and dried, NuBana doesn’t have the sweet taste or smell associated with ripe bananas. What it does have is a smoother texture and higher starch content compared to traditional wheat flour and other grain-based flours, giving it superior binding and adhesive capabilities.

NuBanana team at IFT18
The International Agriculture Group at IFT18

Of course, these were just a few of the many creative innovations shared at IFT18. What innovative solutions or trends caught your attention this year? Comment below to share your thoughts. (For tips on preparing for your next food industry trade show, download our Trade Show Best Practices report.)