IFT and Process Expo: One Time, Two Shows

For the first and only time, IFT Food Expo and FPSA Process Expo shared Chicago's McCormick Place.

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Consider it a one-time event. Or two food-related trade shows that just happened to be in adjoining halls of Chicago's McCormick Place.

Whichever scenario, there is no future for a combined Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo with the Food Processing Suppliers' Assn. (FPSA) Process Expo. But this past one appeared to do reasonably well.

The combination that was billed as a dream team a year ago unraveled even before the dual show opened its doors this July 18. FPSA already said it would hold its own show, a biennial event, starting in November 2011, also in Chicago's McCormick Place. IFT next year will return solo to New Orleans in June.

IFT, which was responsible for most of the logistics of the joint event, reported a healthy crowd this year: 21,500 attendees. There apparently was no practical way to figure how many came for the ingredients show versus how many showed up for the equipment. For IFT alone, that's close to previous Chicago events (IFT seems to always draw better than 20,000 in the Windy City) and far above the 15,000 who attended the 2008 New Orleans event and the 2009 Anaheim, Calif., show.

IFT reported for its hall more than 1,000 companies exhibiting in some 2,100 booths and taking up 230,000 net sq. ft.

FPSA had 333 exhibitors taking up 100,080 sq. ft. The association also conducted onsite sales for its 2011 show, and said it already had signed up 200 exhibitors requesting 156,400 sq ft.

Here are some of the developments we found interesting at the twin shows:

Barry Callebaut AG introduced Acticoa, a high-flavanol chocolate to meet increasing consumer demand for functional foods. Available in milk and dark chocolate, Acticoa has guaranteed levels of flavanols, linked to health benefits such as skin nourishment, protection against cell damage from free radicals, and maintenance of cardiovascular health. And the manufacturing process preserves up to 80 percent of flavanols found naturally in raw cocoa beans.

BungeBunge Oils won an IFT Innovation Award for its PhytoBake shortening. This vegetable-based plastic shortening includes phytosterols, which not only add structure to the shortening but have been proved to help lower blood cholesterol. PhytoBake adds zero trans fats and can lower saturated fats by 46 percent in some formulations. Parked outside McCormick Place was Bunge's M.O.E. (mobile oil experts) truck, which fried treats with Bunge oils, then used some of the spent cooking oil as a biodiesel fuel. It follows upon the food truck craze in some areas of the country.

Butter Buds Food Ingredients debuted Butter Buds-Bacon, a natural flavor concentrate made without animal products. Ideal for vegetarian products, seasonings, snacks, soups, salad dressings, cheese and prepared foods, it was developed using enzyme modification of sunflower oil to create the Kosher Parve-certified ingredient, which is heat stable and has an 18-month shelf life.

The price of cocoa has been steadily rising, while its supply is frequently in question. Issues surrounding insecure cocoa sourcing range from political instability and industry underinvestment, to drought, insect damage and plant disease. It all adds up to major worries about price pressures and supply shortages for consumer product manufacturers whose products rely on cocoa as a key ingredient. Comax Flavors developed a range of cocoa extenders and replacers, available in both powdered and liquid form, which can replace anywhere from 10 parts to 75 parts dutched cocoa in the finished product with one part Comax flavor. The results range from a rich chocolate taste with deep, complex notes to a light caramelic-type cocoa flavor.

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