Startups Mix It Up
Like the company behind Better Cracker, dozens of new companies shared their products and concepts at a special startup pavilion at IFT First. Those booths were busy, as expo attendees sought out new ideas and potential partners for a range of products and processes, from algae, ancient grains and lettuce wraps to the recycling of food and beverage waste for renewable energy. After a pandemic-related hiatus, this year’s event and expo brought several new ideas and voices that lend a new dynamic to food and beverage and retail industries undergoing a host of changes.
Plants Crowd the Landscape
As with other trade shows that have resumed in person and/or presented online this year, the expo floor and breakout rooms at IFT First reflected the spate of new products aimed at people consuming more plant-based foods. In addition to suppliers specializing in plant-based ingredients and technologies, companies with traditional animal-based portfolios also took the opportunity to highlight their plant-based applications, such as Cargill’s plant-based non-dairy cheddar cheese and plant-based chicken-style alfredo meal kit. Flavor company Edlong shared its innovations in dairy categories like butter, cheese and cream as well as non-dairy items like vegan edam-style cheese and vegan cashew dips.
Given the fact that ingredient technology is crucial in plant-based products that appeal to consumers from taste, mouthfeel, texture and appearance standpoints, exhibitors and presenters put forth a plethora of ingredients that offer functional and flavor benefits in plant-based products ranging from shakes to desserts. Many of the participants highlighting plant-based offerings also touted natural, organic and free-from properties of their products.
The next IFT First Annual Event and Expo is set for July 16-19, 2023 in Chicago.