Observations from IFT15: Hungry from Inspiration

If you’re anything like us, you came home from IFT15 hungry and full at the same time. Full from all the unbelievable and creative applications sampled over the show’s three days and hungry with inspiration from the flavors, tastes and unique offerings. In between all the crunching and munching, we thought it would be worthwhile to highlight a few of the macro trends that we are bringing home to chew on.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS. The macro trend probably of the decade, health and wellness was seen in literally every booth and application.

  • Protein, protein and more protein… it was practically in every booth, in every application. Whether its whey, plant or even insect, you can bet that protein’s popularity is permanent and far reaching across applications and consumer groups.
  • I’ll Drink to That! A healthy beverage concept was in almost every booth because you need something to cap off a great bite or some hydration to keep the feet moving. Because consumers love nothing more than a liquid refreshment, we think they would love the Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Punch at Omega Ingredients and the caffeinated slushie that was a great pick me up from Doehler North America. And, inspired from tea, we loved the hibiscus sorbet and chai ice cream from Teawolf.
  • With the proliferation of Greek yogurt applications, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with what to do with all of that acid whey by product. Companies like Arla Food Ingredients are “leading the whey” and we expect to see more offerings utilizing this high protein ingredient.
  • Beneo sponsored ultra-marathon cyclist Stefan Schlegel to ride all day, non-stop for the first two days of the show promoting their unique sugar for low glycemic, sustained energy. We loved when we asked Stefan how many miles he went and he said “Zero!”

FINDING ALTERNATIVES. Whether it is a grain, sugar or protein, there were plenty of naturally derived alternatives for traditional ingredients throughout the showroom floor.

  • Grains – Didion Mills initiated Project Pierogi to showcase another trend, snacking, into their offerings. Profiling breakfast, lunch and dessert pierogis, our favorite was the corn based Blueberry cream cheese pierogi but we were sorry to miss the breakfast one that included potato, bacon, egg and red pepper. Newly established Ardent Mills wowed us with their Bacon, Green Chili and Cream Cheese Stuffed Bagel Bomb featuring their 55% Sprouted White Spring Whole Wheat Flour. Also celebrity Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s celebration of sorghum in the form of a Popcorn Shrimp with Popped Sorghum was something to savor.
  • Sugars – Alternative sweeteners were well…sweet. And with Mintel reporting that 70% of consumers are concerned about sugar’s impact on their health, natural alternatives are gaining awareness. One to watch is allulose with a handful of companies competing for share of this burgeoning market. We tried a 25% Reduced Sugar Soft Serve sweetened with allulose that was especially creamy and satisfying.
  • Proteins – Chickpeas in a Blondie? Oh yes! The Chickpea, Chocolate Chip Blondie from Edlong was rich, gluten-free and did we say rich? We didn’t miss the flour one bit and the almond butter brought extra protein.
  • Dairy /Eggs / Oil – The Crab Slider on Challah Bread was a treat from Algavia. Using whole algal flour as a replacement for eggs and oil, a creamy low fat mayonnaise surrounded luscious crab on the egg-free challah roll.

THE CONTINUING REIGN OF BACON. One brief nod to bacon because it seems to make its way into every other post but we thought the Maple Bacon Collagen Gummies were something quite special and made us happy on the inside and pretty on the outside.

ETHNIC FLAVORS. Ethnic flavors never seem to lose their cult status. Ingredion’s luscious Brazilian Brigadiero was a sultry surprise from South America as was Newly Wed’s Espresso Ancho Slider. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the tomato based Devil’s Morning Breath Bloody Mary from Bell Flavors and Fragrances. A great base for the hair of the dog….

CLEAN LABELING. You couldn’t walk down an aisle without the words “clean labeling” jumping out. With every manufacturer looking to limit their ingredient statements and making them as clean as possible, this was one area that can’t be ignored.


  • The “Where Science Feeds Innovation” symposium focused on the future of 3D food printing and it’s impact on the industry. Creating protoypes for consumer research, food for soldiers in combat, or menu items removing ingredients due to allergies are just a few of the ways 3D printing is expected to affect the industry.
  • Did you stop by the Welch’s photo booth to create your own pic in the sunny grape fields? Or IFT’s photo booth where you could take to social media with selfies holding humongous ice cream cones? One thing is for sure…food scientists aren’t camera shy!
  • You may have noticed IFT’s Be Fit program urging competition with FitBit wearers for most miles walked. Contests and drawings to win free fitness trackers and Apple Watch’s were abundant providing more evidence of the impact technology is having on our health and wellness.

PHO REPLACEMENT. The FDA’s removal of GRAS status for trans fats gives manufacturers three years to complete the removal from processed foods. Watch for the alternatives and some old ones like palm oil, butter and others to be on the ingredient list in new and familiar applications.

Before we close, a few last minute items to mention:

  • Mintel mentions kokumi enhancers as an option for reducing non- nutritional fat levels in salty snacks to create a tasty and healthy product. Have you tried our Komi™ ingredient that provides a kokumi enhancement effect? Request a sample here.
  • Mind blowing umami experienced at Stephanie Izzard’s Girl and the Goat: Sautéed Green Beans with a Fish Sauce Vinaigrette; Pan-fried Shishito Peppers with Parmesan Sesame and Miso; Goat leg with a Buffalo Kimchi sauce; and a Miso butterscotch Budino paired with Bacon Toffee Glazed Pineapple and Candied Cashews.

See you next year in Chicago!