The Institute of Food Technologists annual show is always a good place to grab a glimpse inside the mainstream, processed, unhealthy food world—you know, the one that helped raise generations of post-WWII obese, diabetic, atherosclerotic Americans.
But these days, amid the booths that bring you back to your high school chemistry class, are companies offering natural, functional ingredients that are disrupting the food world so that even those in food deserts can benefit from healthier food options. Here are 10 companies worth a booth visit at the show (which goes on through Wednesday) or a call in case you missed the show.
PLT Health Solutions: Booth #1857
The energy play is moving markets, thanks to pioneers like 5-Hour Energy and Red Bull. For a change, PLT has zumXR, a targeted-release caffeine. This liquid-stable, extended-release caffeine is aimed straight at the shot market. Pharma-developed delivery techniques have given it a more predictable, consistent performance of the energy profile. Extended-release caffeine tends to fail all too often—either it releases all at once or not at all. This ingredient is designed so that no more than 25 percent is released in one hour and 80 percent released in four hours. Which sounds like it’s a perfect solution for a 5-Hour Energy knock-off.
International Agriculture Group: Booth #V323
Two functional flours from IAG are derived from green bananas. These functional ingredients are fantastic as thickeners, stabilizers and sugar replacers. While these functional flours are not nutritional per se but better than starch, which has negative values, they represent a clean-label solution for enhancing viscosity and stabilizing fruit systems for things like baby foods. It can be labeled as an all-fruit label.
Axiom: Booth #4645
Just months after some of the world’s largest processors have stepped up efforts to shun meat production in favor of investing in and producing allergen-friendly plant-based protein products, Axiom Foods will launch its pea protein meat analogue. The largest maker of plant protein ingredients in the U.S., Axiom has a non-GMO pea protein, branded as Vegotein MA, that beefs up protein content for labeling purposes, and also provides the end consumer with the bonus of adding veggies in their burgers.
Arla Food Ingredients: Booth #4447
Protein bars continue to satiate everyone from cyclists (the original PowerBar gained fame among cyclists who would wrap the extruded bars around their handlebars) to those watching their weight. Arla has cracked the problem of hard protein bars with a new whey protein solution that stays soft for at least a year. Arla Foods Ingredients has developed Nutrilac PB-8420, a whey protein that ensures protein bars retain an indulgent cohesive (chewy) texture for 12 months or more in ambient storage conditions.
AIDP: Booth #4452
Probiotics lead the way in the gut-health revolution. AIDP has expanded beyond its prebiotic XOS ingredient PreticX to offer a line of probiotic cultures from Belgian company THT. It also is distributing innovative kiwi-based digestive health ingredients Actazin and Livaux from New Zealand-based Anagenix, as well as prebiotics from dairy-based GOS and plant-based Alpha GOS, which is a probiome booster from French supplier Olygose.
Beneo: Booth #4023
Snacks are a fact of life. That’s because we love us some comfort food! And people are learning that smaller bites to eat throughout the day can support energy and blood-sugar health. And now they’re being made healthier, thanks to natural, clean-label solutions from Beneo. By replacing high-glycemic sugars, Beneo’s all-natural prebiotic chicory fiber and the slow-release carb Palatinose (isomaltulose) help support a healthier metabolism, which effectively supports weight management.
PURIS: Booth #1347
The entire pea plant is now being utilized for great tasting food creations from raw and pre-gelled pulse powders to pea protein and pea starch. They are helping formulators to simplify labels while increasing protein and taste in food products. These field-to-finish pulse ingredients also enable farmers to reduce their nitrogen footprint. From waffles made from pea protein to gluten-free cookie mixes made with pea starch, pea protein, pea fiber and whole chickpea powder, the future is pulsing right along.
Glanbia Nutritionals: Booth #2240
Innovative supplement delivery formats continue to offer cool stuff for the pill weary. Remember Pop Rocks? Glanbia’s Crystal Bursts technology offers new delivery opportunities in supplementation for consumers, without the need for pills or capsules. Crystal Bursts are carbonated crystals, designed to deliver vitamins, minerals and a wide range of bioactives in a fun and convenient way, as they tingle and pop in the mouth. #Candyceuticals
Blue Diamond Growers: Booth #3830
The world's largest almond processing company (founded in 1910) is owned by half of California’s almond growers. Did you know that California produces over 80 percent of the world’s almond supply? Almonds are healthy, tasty and innovative product developers are including them in all manner of product formats. Creative applications for almonds include ideas in confectionery, cereals, bakery, dairy and more.
Parry Nutraceuticals: Booth #4444
Natural colors have completely taken over in Europe, thanks to concerns with children’s health around synthetics. In America, it’s happening only voluntarily—but it’s happening. The trickiest color of all to get from natural sources is blue. Parry has forged a partnership with Synthite Industries to apply proprietary patented technologies for extraction of phycocyanin, a natural blue pigment found in spirulina.