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Research and Development

IFT19 “Feed Your Future” Takeaways

July 2, 2019 | 3 min read

Several of Tree Top’s Product Development Team attended the IFT19 Annual Food Expo “Feed Your Future” in June. Annie Li, Cindy Conroy and Debbie Flores all agreed, it was a “must attend show.” From their perspective, this event is a great spot to trend watch and see what’s happening in food and beverage product development. The event delivered on IFT’s intention to inspire and share the industry’s collective knowledge and to demo innovative solutions to help advance our planet’s food safety, nutrition, and sustainability.

Noteworthy Mentions:

Food with Benefits

  • Continued focus on products to improve gut health – probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods
  • CBD infused food and beverage  
  • Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives
  • Healthier snacking options  
  • Sugar reductions
  • Hydration (value added water and teas) 

Food with Stories

  • GOOD for the planet through utilization of more sustainable packaging – “plastic free” top’s Mintel’s list 
  • Turning food waste streams into sustainable product offerings
  • Confidence in your ingredients from nature to table

With nearly 17,000 attendees and over 90 countries represented, there’s a tremendous amount of information shared. Annie Li remarked, “I always leave with a renewed sense of inspiration and greater knowledge of what’s happening globally in food technology.”

We asked each Tree Top R&D attendee to provide a trending formulation that they took away from show:

Formulation Pick by Cindy Conroy
The demand for value added water is still on the upswing.  Anything from boxed water to carbonating water and adding essences and flavors. But don’t forget that coffee and tea are just value-added water. This is where the addition of real fruit juice to tea or coffee would set a product apart from the competition.  Adding fruit juice provides natural color and flavor, and a touch of sweetness without adding sugar.  With the addition of innovative functional ingredients and/or herbs and spices along with some real fruit would enhance a tea or coffee beverage. The addition of fruit can be added as a juice, puree or even as a dried component. Consumers are looking for great ways to get their daily intake of 2 liters of water – let’s make it more interesting and healthier!

Formulation Pick by Annie Li
For beverages to stand out in an ever-competitive marketplace, they need to deliver convenience, health benefits, less sugar and most importantly, great taste. Fruit essences were on prominent display at IFT ’19. Fruit essences are great tools to improve flavor, reduce sugar and give your product a healthy image.

Fruit essence is created during the process of making juice or puree concentrates. The fruit and fruit solids are heated to high enough temperatures so that volatiles from the fruit can vaporize. The vapors are then condensed into essence.  Because essence contains a plethora of flavor compounds, it delivers a strong flavor impact when used in value-added beverages. Compared to natural flavors, essence is derived during fruit processing, so any flavor compounds come from the actual fruit. This can help give your product a better, true-to- nature profile and taste. The complete fruit profile can help deliver a clean fruit flavor without the need for a ton of added sugar.  Also, since essence can be labeled as from the named fruit, i.e. “apple essence”, consumers can better recognize the ingredient deck. This can further boost your products’ healthy image. 

Next time your beverage needs a competitive advantage, consider adding fruit essence into your development toolbox.

Formulation Pick by Debbie Flores
Snacks have always been something to grab between meals, and wow, are they changing. For most, a bag of chips, cookies or candy bars were the main go-to items, but now individuals are looking for convenient, healthy, and more substantial and nutritious snack options.

A main go to for healthy eating options is fruit, and fruit comes in many different forms, from fresh, puréed, dried particles to juice concentrates. For instance, bars, are a very popular snack item that are convenient, can be nutritious and are available for all ages. Some are eaten for energy, protein, general snacking and/or meal replacements. Dried fruits can be mixed with a variety of items to create such bars and can help to bind water, add sweetness and fiber (naturally) or for flavor. Fruits, in all forms, are great as stand-alone items, such all-natural air-dried pieces or they can be added to other snacks like trail mixes, yogurts, drinks, ice creams, and salads.

Tree Top’s R&D team develops hundreds of innovative concepts, visit our application section if you are looking for a starting point for your next project. We work on custom and proprietary applications as well. Our research and development team members are ready to help find the right ingredient for your product needs.  

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