Food industry insights from IFT FIRST 2022

Scoular Food & Nutrition Team at IFT FIRST 2022
Members of Scoular's Food & Nutrition Team attended IFT FIRST, sharing our ingredient portfolio and observing industry trends.

July 27, 2022

This month I, along with various Scoular team members, attended the Institute of Food Technologists FIRST Annual Event and Expo in Chicago. It was the first time in three years our community was back together in person—and you could feel the energy.

With Scoular’s booth space, we had the opportunity to reconnect with key customers and engage with new industry friends. It also provided the platform to review key trends and see what’s ticking across the food ingredient marketplace.

Read on as I dive into these food ingredient trends and the influence they have on product development.

The power of plants

Plant-based products have been top-of-mind for years, and at the show you could see the shift from an on-trend focus to a functional, solution-driven mindset. New product development requires wholesome, nutrient-packed, plant-based ingredientsbut the innovation lies within the functionality.

Sustainability

Amplified by booth graphics, sustainability is visibly ingrained within the industry. Green, nature-inspired imagery were key visuals, and “responsibility sourced”, “sustainable” and “good for the planet” were common messages across the show floor. At their poster exhibits, Innova specified Shared Planet is a top ten trend for 2022, sharing 44 percent of US consumers indicate that “sustainability is extremely/very important when it comes to my diet.”

Ingredient suppliers need to lead with transparent, traceable solutions. Finding the balance between story and supply assurance will be imperative—ensuring a safe, reliable food ingredient supply while meeting food manufacturers’ demand for planet-conscience products. Non-GMO and organic ingredient demand will only continue to grow.

Ingredient replacement solutions

With all the supply chain volatility, we consistently hear concern from our customers, and those conversations continued at our booth. It’s important to strategize about how to proactively combat these supply chain challenges. Being a global supply chain leader, our team can provide reassurance with key strategies to enhance our customers’ toolbox for ingredient replacement during these dynamic times.

Sugar reduction

Sugar continues to be a strong focus for brands in the ‘Better
for You’ category. The next evolution of sugar reduction considers consumers’ growing preferences for clean labels and more natural sounding ingredients. Taste is still king, so to achieve the goal of clean labels and great taste with sugar reduction, new processing technologies with familiar, low- or zero-calorie sweeteners have emerged.

For example, a few companies showcased sugar reduction tools including combinations of prebiotic fibers, high intensity sweeteners and sugar alcohols to create easy-to-use and good-tasting solutions. The result of these new technologies is better taste and ease of use for formulators.

Taste and texture matter most

Ultimately, consumers want deliciousness. IFT FIRST reinforced the desire to be on-trend yet deliver on the textures, tastes and overall
food experience that consumers demand. They want plant-based and gluten-free products that deliver on textures and mouthfeel reminiscent of their traditional counterparts. Or a clean label snack with big flavor. During the product development cycle, it’s essential to partner with ingredient suppliers to test a variety of unique solutions.

Interested to discover new food ingredient solutions for your product development needs? Reach out to us. 

Learn more about our food ingredient portfolio.

Lisa Young

Lisa Young

R&D Manager, Food & Nutrition