The Institute of Food Technologies expo, features the food industry’s largest collection of food ingredients, equipment, processing, and packaging suppliers. Food science and food trends are the center of the expo, and the show provides the opportunity to get a finger on the pulse of the industry. Mercer Foods went and gathered the most significant and important takeaways into five digestible focus points.

1. Clean labels are in

Many, if not most, of the major food companies are doing large-scale reformulations of their best-selling products to develop simpler, more natural ingredients. Consumers want natural flavors and colors instead of their artificial counterparts, simple sweeteners instead of high fructose corn syrup, and the elimination of trans fats.

2. GMO is out

Consumers are increasingly focused on foods produced without the use of genetically-modified organisms (“GMOs”). These products were stars of the show for many exhibitors. Mercer sources non-GMO produce exclusively, and the rest of the industry is catching on. For more on GMOs, read about the technical definition of a GMO and the standards for non-GMO certification.

3. Happy stomachs with probiotics

Consumers are interested in the importance of a healthy gut filled with helpful bacteria. The food industry responded at IFT 2016 with a strong representation of probiotics making their way into more popular brands’ offerings. Digestive health might not be glamorous, but it most certainly is making waves in the food industry.

4. Feeling the pulse

Pulses (beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas) have a rich history of inclusion in traditional cooking from around the world. Now, they are gaining popularity with food manufacturers, as they provide great sources of plant-based protein. The little superfoods are high in fiber and other vitamins and minerals while also being low in fat. Even better, pulses are good for the planet; farming produces a lower carbon footprint than other agriculture while enriching the soil.

5. Sustainability is king

Mercer is passionate about sustainability whether it is conserving water or powering our facilities with solar energy. The food industry as a whole is making a noticeable effort to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Exhibitors showcased products and ingredients that are good stewards of sustainability when they are incorporated into end consumer products from major food companies.

Overall, the show was a good look into the state of the food industry and its future. If you attended the show, or have any comments or questions, let us know on Twitter or Facebook. Mercer specializes in making freeze-dried ideas a reality. Contact us to find out what we can do for you.