4 Tasty Takeaways from the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo

June 30, 2014
4 min read

Last week, Mintel was well represented at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo, taking place in New Orleans.  With over 15 presentations over the course of 3 days, our experts were a busy bunch, but we were able to get four of our experts to share their observations on what they saw at the show.

Stephanie Pauk

Stephanie Pauk, Global Food Science Analyst: 

GMO-free was definitely well represented at the conference, with companies like Ingredion highlighting capabilities of supplying both GMO and GMO-free products to their clients, as well as companies boasting testing capabilities to verify non-GMO labeling initiatives.  In addition, we saw vitamin E suppliers using sunflowers as source material rather than soy, such as Nutralliance, with GMO-free being an additional claim on those products.  This trend is also interesting, as we see Cargill was recently given approval for use of non-GMO sunflower lecithin in food.  In addition to all of the GMO talk, non-dairy milks were certainly represented on the showroom floor. We tasted a sunflower milk substitute, which was a new one for us.

Nirvana Chapman

Nirvana Chapman, Senior Consultant, Food Science:

Pulse flours and protein isolates were well represented.  We spoke with Canadian pulse flour suppliers from Alliance Grain Traders who said that they’ve seen the demand change gradually in the last 5 years from manufacturers looking for vegetable protein isolates into seeking more whole food flours from sources like legumes.  They are currently able to provide gluten-free products to suppliers, but stated that organic pulse flours would be harder to supply and that it requires agreement between farmers, buyers, and consumers but that the cost and complexity of organic pulses is worth it in order to start providing them.

Microalgae blends and various algae flours were interesting from a few suppliers. Sometimes the algae are positioned as a highly versatile fat replacer, and at other times a high protein flour from a vegetarian source.  Solazyme’s AlgaVia is available both as a flour for fat replacement and a protein source for food and beverage fortification.  Overall, there were more algae providers than we are used to seeing.

Pam Yates

Pam Yates, Research Manager – Platforms APAC:

We saw some interesting encapsulated monkfruit and stevia blends that used sugar and natural flavors to encapsulate these non-nutritive natural sweeteners. The samples we tasted from Nutraex, in chocolate milk variables, were extremely close to a sucrose sweetness profile and eliminated the aftertaste often associated with both stevia and monkfruit. Also, natural color options were certainly well represented throughout the show, in applications such as beverage and food color as well as confectionery coatings, sprinkles, and edible glitter.


Lynn Dornblaser, Director of Innovation and Insight: 

Although “clean label” is not a term we see used in consumer-facing communication, it appeared on the show floor at IFT. Ingredion promoted some of its ingredients as offering a “clean label” solution, as did Watson and a number of other companies. Although a relatively small number of companies used the term “clean label,” many others promoted their natural ingredients, which also can be a part of a clean label positioning.

To download your free copy of Mintel’s Ingredients & Innovation newspaper, click here.  

Stephanie Pauk is a Global Food Science Analyst at Mintel. Prior to Mintel, Stephanie worked as a Food Scientist in R&D for an ingredients company in Chicago, where she specialized in seasoning product development and provided technical expertise to customers in the food industry.

Nirvana Chapman is a Senior Consultant with a focus on food science, specifically ingredients.  She joined Mintel International as a Global Food Science Analyst. Prior to joining Mintel, she worked as a Product Development Scientist exploring new technologies and ingredients and as a pastry cook at a French restaurant.

Pam Yates is based in Shanghai as a Research Manager, specialising in the Food Science, analysing global and region trends in ingredients, emerging science and technology, nutrition, health and wellness, and food safety, regulation and labeling.

Lynn Dornblaser brings more than a quarter century of product trend knowledge to Mintel. She applies her unique perspective on the market and new product development to tailored client research and extensive public speaking.

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