IFT First wrapped up its annual trade show at Chicago’s McCormick Place from July 16-19. More than 16,000 food professionals attended the event, and more than 800 companies exhibited. 

On July 19, Immediate Past President Vickie Kloeris delivered final remarks as a member of IFT’s board of directors, as her six-year term comes to a close. 

“It has been an absolute privilege working with the scientific committee,” she noted. “I cannot thank the staff enough for all the help they have provided me during the past six years.”

Kloeris added crises like the COVID-19 pandemic require companies to think collaboratively to answer science’s biggest challenges. She pointed to an example from a different industry she served: NASA.

“The International Space Station is a great example of collaboration in action. …What started as a U.S.-only venture resulted in a collaborative effort between the United States, Japan, Canada, and nine European space agencies. In 1993, Russia was invited to join, and in 1998, 15 more countries joined. Twenty-three years later, we have the results of one of the most ambitious international collaborations ever exhibited. Astronauts from 18 different countries have visited the space station thus far. Smart collaboration leads to innovation.”

Following Kloeris, Christopher Daubert, incoming IFT chairperson and vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, echoed  Kloeris’ call to her action for collaboration. But he added collaboration comes in various shapes and sizes. 

“There is a reason an emphasis is placed on group projects, starting in kindergarten,” Daubert noted. “…Progress thrives on diversity of thought. Working together to achieve a common goal is essential for innovation in small ways each and every day.”

Daubert noted that today’s students are constantly looking to contribute new ideas to addressing big issues in the food system, certainly an excellent sign for the future. “Their enthusiasm will be a benefit to companies, but they cannot do it all,” Daubert said.

Along with several keynote speeches and education sessions at IFT, plenty of innovation could be found on the IFT First exhibit hall, with a plethora of ingredients and technologies featured at McCormick Place. 

Here is a look at some of these dairy-related ingredient showcases, presented in alphabetical order by company name. 

A&B Ingredients — Preserve freshness

One of the main challenges in the food industry is the spoilage of food and beverage products caused by yeast and molds. A&B Ingredients showcased CytoGUARD YM, a natural plant-based extract containing a range of naturally occurring organic acids that maintain fresh taste and flavor, the company states. It helps manufacturers maintain the fresh eating qualities of food and extend shelf life naturally. CytoGUARD YM can be used as an alternative to synthetic preservatives, such as potassium sorbate.

Almond Board of California — Master chef

The Almond Board of California worked on creating dairy alternative recipes with Chef Henry Hill that were featured at the IFT Expo. Together they came up with a Sippin’ Sunshine Drinking Yogurt that contains defatted almond flour offering an additional source of protein.

ASR Group — Tagatose, you’re it

ASR Group highlighted the benefits of tagatose, a rare sugar that is 90% as sweet as sugar but with 60% fewer calories, the company states. A rare sugar that occurs naturally in a variety of foods, tagatose can be applied to numerous formulations from frozen desserts and beverages to baked goods and ready-to-eat cereals. Its ability to sweeten dishes with fewer calories than traditional sugar without compromising taste, texture, or function makes it a valuable solution for many food and beverage companies, ASR adds.

Bioenergy Life Science — Sustained energy

Bioenergy Life Science (BLS) featured its flagship ingredient, Bioenergy Ribose, “the secret behind plant-based proteins’ mouthwatering flavor and aroma,” the company states. Specifically, BLS showcased RiaGev, the first commercially available patented and specialized formulation with Bioenergy Ribose and nicotinamide, the company claims.

Butter Buds — Sweet and savory treats

Butter Buds featured prototype dishes featuring its ingredients. This included Better Colby-Jack Mac & Cheese, featuring a rich cheesy flavor and savory butter base notes for a mild Colby-Jack flavor profile at a lower usage rate than standard cheese powders; Churros, complemented with either a blueberry buttermilk dip or a dulce de leche dip; Vegan Feta Dip, which was crafted with Butter Buds Non-Dairy Mozzarella to provide a mild cheese taste, milky base notes and a creamy mouthfeel; and Danish Cookie, offering a rich, fresh butter note, the company states.

Cargill — Get up and go

Cargill showcased Go!Drop, a smart fat solution developed by Barcelona, Spain-based Cubiq Foods. Created using specialized, patent-pending technology that creates a structured emulsion, stabilized with plant-based ingredients, this technology allows Go!Drop to more closely mimic animal-based fats. Cargill also unveiled a brand-new Gerkens Sweety cocoa powder range which enables up to 15-30% sugar reduction in a simple way, without compromising on chocolaty taste.

FlavorSum — Summertime classics

FlavorSum created a bar-like experience with four mocktail prototypes. Featured were Blackberry Mule with Ginger, Lime and Rooibos Tea, with no caffeine and “just the zing of sweet-tart taste,” Cucumber Basil Gin Rickey, a new take on a summertime cocktail; Oaked Yuzu Lemonade, a complex, but not bitter twist on a classic Lynchburg lemonade; and Island Rum Punch, a rum punch with the Caribbean flavors of Falernum

Florida Food Products (FFP) — Refreshments served

Florida Food Products (FFP) showcased a variety of food and beverage innovations including Cold Brew Soft Serve; a Watermelon Basil White Tea Mocktail; a Fermented Carrot Passion Fruit Chamomile Beverage with L-Theanine, which contains L-Theanine, a nootropic gaining popularity for its ability to increase mental focus without the negative effects of caffeine; Cascara and Apple Cinnamon Beverage: cascara, “the coffee cherry,” provides a bright and fruity flavor, and is high in flavonoids and fiber; Lavender Cold Brew; and Nitro Coffee.

Fruit d’Or — Berry good

Fruit d’Or, a harvester and processor of organic cranberries and wild blueberries, featured its entire better-for-you portfolio including unsweetened and soft gems (no sugar added, fiber-enriched, organic); Crunchy blueflakes and cranflakes (organic, clean label, no sugar added); Cranberry and wild blueberry 100% fruit powders (no added sugar, antioxidants, clean label, organic); and Cranberry seeds and dry seed extract (upcycled and sustainably sourced, clean label, organic).

IFPC — Packed with protein

IFPC provided samples of a plant-based vanilla protein shake, which incorporated its latest custom ingredient system, Legacy TEX Botana. The Legacy TEX Botana line of systems is designed to stabilize plant-based beverages that are leading new product launches; oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are versatile enough to be used in almost every plant beverage imaginable, the company states. The plant-based beverage system, with pea protein and rice protein, also contains a complete amino acid profile.

Kerr by Ingredion — Red hot chili pepper

Kerr by Ingredion offered a range of concepts, including Calabrian Chili Pepper & Provolone Crackers, featuring zesty flavors that complement each other in a gluten-free peppery snack; as well as Calm and Cool Mocktail, a refreshing reduced-sugar beverage “sure to calm and cool,” which featured the company’s lavender chamomile tea, the company states.

Pecan Deluxe — The magic of mochimallow

Mochimallow, Pecan Deluxe’s take on mochi, serves as an excellent addition to ice creams, yogurts, baked goods, and more. Mochimalllow is intended to be a sweet, chewy piece with an excellent mouthfeel. While the marshmallow flavor is a way to deliver a kosher option for marshmallow, Mochimallow can be made in any flavor one can dream up, including strawberry hibiscus or berry lavender.

Tate & Lyle — Fiber fortification

Tate & Lyle introduced EUOLIGO FOS, a soluble dietary fiber recognized as a prebiotic in the United States. EUOLIGO FOS complements Tate & Lyle’s soluble fiber portfolio with additional functionality and processing benefits, supporting fiber fortification or sugar reduction in a wide range of food and beverage applications, the company notes.