It’s been a whirlwind of a few months of food conferences and expositions and it will all come to a head in one month when food and beverage formulators convene at Chicago’s McCormick Place for IFT FIRST (Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology). This is the place where food professionals discover the latest global trends, newest ingredient innovations and cutting-edge solutions to develop next-generation food and beverage innovations to be showcased at those food conferences and expositions. It’s a continuous circle of the needs of people and the planet fueling technologies to inspire product innovation to meet the needs of people and the planet.
I will be at IFT FIRST representing the many titles of Sosland Publishing, including Baking & Snack, Dairy Processing, Food Business News, Meat + Poultry and Pet Food Processing. Have something amazing to share? Link HERE to schedule a meeting.
In addition to ingredient suppliers showcasing their toolbox of technologies to help food and beverage manufacturers reduce costs, here’s what to expect at this year’s IFT FIRST.
1. Putting the planet first. Sustainability messaging will dominate the conversation. It will be a way one supplier tries to differentiate from another. And surprisingly, it may be less about plant-based ingredients and more about reducing food waste. Many suppliers will address the topic of doing more with less food by reducing waste, extending shelf life and improving processing efficiencies.
Here’s a milk example that uses processing technology to do more with less.
Müller Milk & Ingredients in the U.K. is helping shoppers reduce their food waste through the relaunch of its branded filtered milk range. Formerly called Müller Milk Fresh.Longer.Why?Filtered, the rebranded Müller Good Stuff Fresher for Longer lasts up to seven days when opened, or for up to three weeks unopened.
It’s estimated that around 490 million pints of milk are wasted in the home in the U.K. each year, with one of the main causes of wastage listed as the milk not being used in time and going out of date. To read more about the study, link HERE.
2. Improving energy and focus. Natural caffeine from coffee, tea and cocoa ingredients, along with nootropics, will be a big buzz at IFT FIRST. After all, 40% of respondents to the 2023 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council said they seek out foods that provide energy/reduce fatigue. One out of four (25%) said they look for foods associated with brain function, such as improved memory, focus and cognition. Such product development efforts are not about reinventing the wheel. It’s taking familiar foods and adding functional nutrients…again, doing more with less. Just don’t forget about making them taste great!
3. Putting the gut first. Consumers have learned during the past few years that there is a direct correlation between the microorganisms that take up residence in their gut and their overall health and wellness. Interest in gut microbiome-supporting solutions are on the rise. Advancements in physiology and gastroenterology suggest that other dietary compounds beyond probiotic cultures and prebiotic fibers may assist with gut health. Certain polyphenols, for example, have been shown to function like prebiotics. And then there’s the emerging category of postbiotics, the compounds that probiotics produce in the gut that can be added directly into a food formulation for the same purported benefit.
Building on gut health is the emerging study of the gut-brain axis. If you have not heard this phrase, it’s time to learn about it. It’s a collective term for all the channels of direct and indirect communication that exist between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract. The microbiome influences production of the substances involved in those communication channels.
Learning from Kraft Heinz