Stay on Track: Take a Trend Tour
by Mary Ellen Kuhn
Are you the kind of person who tackles every big project with a well-organized plan? Looking for a way to simplify the sometimes complicated process of navigating the sprawling Food Expo floor? Or maybe you’d just like to get a jump start on identifying some of the important trends that will be showcased at this year’s event?
If you’re nodding your head in agreement to any or all of the preceding questions, then taking a Trend & Solution tour may be just the ticket for you. These self-guided tours of the Food Expo floor made their debut two years ago, and they’re back this year with a healthy representation of exhibitors taking part. A total of 92 products from 49 companies will be showcased.
This year’s tours will address key trends and issues identified by the editors of Food Technology magazine. Here’s a preview of what’s on tap.
• Ingredients for Functional Foods. Take a look at what’s new in the world of functional/nutraceutical ingredients, which are used in foods and beverages designed to deliver health and wellness benefits beyond those found in traditionally formulated products.
• New Directions for Carbs. The Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to limit consumption of refined carbohydrates, and ingredient companies are responding with options including whole grains, dietary fibers, and resistant starches. In addition, companies are exploring their functionality in areas such as texture, mouthfeel, color, and taste.
• Next-Generation Fats and Oils. Not all fats are created equal. Their nutritional and functionality benefits can vary depending on their type. The perception of fat continues to evolve as companies work to further improve the health and functionality properties of this important ingredient category.
• Taste Modification. Reducing salt, sugar, or fat—or adding vitamins, minerals, or other nutraceutical ingredients—can significantly affect the overall taste of a finished product. Tools to address such formulation changes and enhance a product’s taste profile can take many forms.
• Weight Management and Diabetes. Conditions such as obesity and diabetes are public health priorities, and eating to maintain or achieve a healthy weight is a key recommendation of the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In this environment, it’s no surprise that formulations to help consumers win the battle of the bulge have never been more in demand.
You can find printed guides for the tours outside the entrances to the Food Expo, in the Networking Lounge, and in the new Knowledge Center across from the registration area. This year for the first time, scientific sessions related to each trend will also be listed in the tour brochures.
An added incentive for participation in the Trend & Solution Tours is the opportunity to win a prize. Here’s how it works. Just visit each booth listed in the guide, have a representative of the company initial your “Passport to Prizes” on the back of the guide, and bring the completed form to IFT Central, booth 5035 on the show floor. A drawing for the winners will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 14. The prizes include two $250 VISA® gift cards and five full, free registrations to the 2012 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Las Vegas.