I was thrilled to attend Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Go with Purpose in Las Vegas from June 25 to 28 2017 with 15,000 other food professionals from around the world for the latest research, insights and innovations. In this Grow with Nutrition Blog, IFT 2017 Round-Up, I’m excited to share with you the top four top food trends that stood out for me at the show.

Consumer Driven Clean Label

Many consumers welcome ingredients they can see and pronounce on food packages. They value ingredient declarations that do not contain long lists of chemical sounding words.  Artificial preservatives, colours and flavours may be perceived as unnatural and unhealthy.  The industry has listened to consumer demands and has made significant efforts to create “clean label” products.

At IFT, I met with Lycored, an international company at the forefront of unearthing and combining nature’s nutrition potential with cutting edge science to develop natural ingredients and products. Established in 1995, Lycored is the global leader in natural carotenoids for food, beverage and dietary supplement products. Researchers assessed the stability of three Tomat-O-Red and four Lyc-O-Beta variants in sparkling water containing strawberry-flavored syrup over a 12-month shelf life. Each sample was checked at regular intervals. Both Tomat-O-Red(R) and Lyc-O-Beta (R) delivered excellent performance, demonstrating resistance to fading, ringing and lack of sedimentation. Also I was taught about the Tomato Dream Team and the product Sante a natural taste enhancer that provides a combination of umami and kokumi taste impacts plus can reduce the amount of sodium in the final product. Innovative options for clean label formulations.

ugly vegetables

Waste Not

I’ve been writing about Food Waste since early 2015. At IFT, Mintel identified the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world is propelling change across the industry. Food waste reduction continues to be part of a larger sustainability theme of how to decrease all environmental inputs across the entire food value chain. It’s important to consider the many pieces of that equation including water usage, farming practices, carbon footprint, packaging, and recycling.

As the Health Expert at SIAL Canada this past May, my panel discussion was covered by Karen Morrison of the Western Producer citing, if you reduce food waste, you can spend more money on food and it won’t affect your budget. People don’t realize the cost of food waste in the industry. This was the reoccurring theme at IFT. Consumers, particularly millennials, are attracted to mission-based companies committed to sustainability, high animal welfare standards and transparent business practices. An example is US brand Sir Kensington’s vegan mayonnaise is made with the liquid from draining chickpeas which is also known as aquafaba.

Power to the Plants

I wrote a book about how to make seeds an everyday food in your healthy diet and I’ve been practicing a plant forward dietary pattern for the past five years. Mintel predicts the preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will further drive the expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formations. According to Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD), the world has seen a 25% increase in vegetarian claims and a 257% rise in vegan claims in global food and drink, launches between 2012 – 2016.

I first wrote about Jackfruit in early 2016. And at IFT, The JackFruit Company was a first time exhibitor whose mission is to transform healthy eating, farmer’s livelihoods, and humanity’s eco-footprint, for the better. Using direct from farm supply chains, they are adding a reliable and substantial source of income to farmers and providing consumer with an ethically, sustainably sourced delicious meat alternative. I loved taste testing the recipes their chef whipped up for the show. The taste was delicious and the texture of the Jackfruit is wonderfully firm with stripping qualities similar to meat. Selling to retail and foodservice, the founder Annie Ryu is under 30 years and has a medical science background. I predict this is a company to keep your eye on!

What is Old is New Again

Consumers seek comfort from new twists and modernized updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats. For example, the chicken stock that your grandmother used to make is now called a nutritious cure all “bone broth”. Mintel suggests seeing more old-fashioned products being reinvented and restaged to be relevant to today’s consumer lifestyles. Mintel research reveals 39% of Canadian adults agree that fusion dishes that combine two or more different types of ethnic items or ingredients are authentic, which provide a basis to expand on familiar recipes.

At IFT, turmeric an age old spice turned up in supplement form. Fermentation, one of the oldest forms of food preservation was a hot trend in both foods and beverages at IFT. Traditional products in convenience grab and go packages demonstrate the need for nostalgia along with modern day conveniences. Evident from IFT, Mintel predicts more products will specifically link with the past in order to encourage trust among consumers.

Thank you for joining me for my IFT 2017 Round-Up!
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