IFT16 enjoyed its usual healthy run July 16-19 in the Institute of Food Technologists' hometown Chicago. 23,571 people attended the expo, which has a heavy emphasis on ingredients and the chemistry of developing new food products. There were 1,222 exhibitors and 420 speakers.
The biggest trend on the show floor, from our perspective, was the number of ingredient suppliers displaying the Non-GMO Project Verified label on specific ingredients or their whole booths. It’s a callout that previously was relegated to branded, consumer-ready food products.
"Market research suggests 40 percent of consumers are actively managing consumption of GMO foods in their daily diets," says Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing for Bunge North America. "Our expanded non-GMO offerings will create business opportunities for our customers."
With a national, mandatory GMO labeling law just passed (and going into effect Aug. 1, 2017), such sourcing help should be much appreciated by branded food and beverage processors.
The numerous suppliers of fiber were reacting to the two-month-old redefinition of dietary fiber by the FDA. The agency used beneficial physiological effects, rather than a chemical definition, in its new directive. "The U.S. went from one of the most liberal definitions of fiber in the world to one of the most restrictive," says Raj Mehta, senior director of specialty ingredients at Grain Millers. His company, like others, will need to prove the physiological effects of its products – but there's no great rush. Ingredient suppliers have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the final requirements.
Other trends apparent on the show floor and in the technical sessions included:
- Vegetarianism: Not necessarily in the strictest (or vegan) sense, but many ingredient suppliers were showing plant-based substitutes for meat or generally promoting plant-based foods – especially pulses, since this is the United Nations' Year of the Pulse.
- Clean and clear labels: Many exhibitors had developed consumer-friendly substitutes for onerous-sounding essential chemicals.
- Free-from: Gluten-free products especially were still there, although in lower visibility than they've been in previous years.
- A little indulgence: Despite all the talk of good-for-you products, many exhibitors created decadent but small prototypes to show off ingredients.
- No sugar added: Several suppliers addressed this issue, which will be called out in new Nutrition Facts panels starting in 2018.
By the way, IFT17 will be held in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo Center June 25-28, 2017.
Following are some of the booths we visited at the show, accompanied by their website urls.
With a new emphasis on convenient wellness, plant-based proteins and free-from ingredients, ADM demonstrated an innovative breakfast hybrid, the Wo-Nut, a yeast-raised, glazed Belgian-style waffle eaten like a donut. Beanoa chips were crunchy bites of ancient grains. A natural-sourced and colored, sugar-free gummy incorporated a variety of ingredients to manage hunger and sweet cravings. Also for sampling were plant-based protein snacks; vegan triple berry yogurt alternative drinks with chia seeds, an artisan roasted red pepper soup featuring maltodextrins, xanthan gum and almonds that doubles as a beverage; and spicy Asian dressings and sauces. Archer Daniels Midland; www.adm.com
Recent research conducted by independent firm CuliNex shows the superior function and flavor of eggs compared with replacement ingredients in baked goods. Part of a larger effort to win back manufacturers that reformulated recipes with fewer eggs during last year's Avian flu crisis, the research showed no single (one-to-one) substitution can supply some 20-plus functional properties of egg ingredients without sacrificing product flavor, form, texture and color. Real eggs also can help create clean labels and contribute viscosity, aeration, rise, color and appearance in food formulations. American Egg Board; www.aeb.org
As mentioned up front, Bunge is one of the suppliers offering certified non-GMO ingredients; in particular, corn products on a scale that makes them accessible to major brands. Those certified products include grits, meals, flour and whole grains. In addition to milled corn ingredients, non-GMO canola and soybean oils are available under the Whole Harvest brand. Bunge North America; bungenorthamerica.com
Sweet potato ingredients can replace artificial sweeteners and other ingredients in clean-label applications. Carolina Original cloudy sweet potato juice, which is nutrient-dense, adds a nutritional boost as well as flavor, color and functional properties to baked goods, sauces and more. Carolina Clear clarified sweet potato juice provides an option to high-fructose corn syrup and sugar for health-focused applications that require vegetable servings and a health halo. Carolina Sweet clean-label sweetener is a vegetable-based nutritional replacement for HFCS and other sweeteners. And Carolina Craft dehydrated sweet potato flour and granules support gluten-free and non-GMO products with added flavor, texture and nutrients such as fiber. Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients; cifiingredients.com
Ingredients such as Maltrin maltodextrins and corn syrup solids are available in quick-dispersing versions. Specialty starches such as Pure-Cote coating/film-forming starches, Inscosity instant starches and Pure-Gel B994 stabilized starches were featured in appetizers such as coconut curry chicken rice soup, Bloody Mary, Pina Colada and Peach Bellini mocktails. A chick pea fry recipe featured Pure-Cote film-forming starch and Maltrin as a binding agent. All of the appetizer concepts were created by Iowa State University students as part of an Ingredient Application Challenge development program collaboration. Grain Processing Corp.; www.grainprocessing.com