Top Food Ingredient Trends at IFT 2010

At this year’s IFT show in Chicago, I had the opportunity to talk to dozens of food ingredient companies and their customers. Generally speaking, the conversations were mostly upbeat about the economy and about recent signs of business rebounding. All of the ingredient marketers were excited about the new products and new applications they had to offer their customers. Based on these discussions, I saw three main ingredient trends emerging for 2010:
1. Low-sodium initiatives and salt-replacement ingredients
2. Gluten-free products and gluten-free ingredients
3. Clean-label products and simple-ingredient solutions
Each trend represents major marketing issues for food manufacturers and processors, as well as for customers in food service, bakery and beverage channels. As a result, ingredient marketers are aggressively pushing new offerings and new ingredient platforms to their customers that address one or more of these issues. These products dominated the marketing messages at IFT exhibitor booths and at a variety of customer-relations events.I posted these trends on LinkedIn recently and asked what major trends and issues had emerged for other IFT attendees. Jeff Gomper, president at OntheRise Bakery & Pizza Solutions in Milwaukee, wrote, “I would agree that low sodium is the #1 topic. Bryan Stevens of Kansas State University added, “I saw lots of encapsulated Omega 3s on the floor and in the poster presentations.”

Dean Lusting, vice president at Philadelphia Macaroni Company posted, “Agree with above. Although not trends, I saw multigrain, vegetable, fiber and other pro-nutrition inclusions into pasta and meals.” Peter Clark, who writes for Food Technology about processing innovations said, “…two trends I noted are concerns about sustainability and the emergence of competition in heat transfer devices.”

I am very interested in what other’s saw at this year’s IFT show, or at other food ingredient trade shows during the year. What do you see as the major food ingredient trends for 2010?