Chicagoland F&B Network Innovation Series: Experts Discuss the Ever-Evolving Industry

 In Blog, Food & Beverage Trends, food beverage news
Last week, Jeremy Anderson (Fifty Gazelles), guided a panel discussion of industry veterans (with a combined experience of over 65 years in the industry) and touched on the ever-evolving consumer values, regulatory landscape, new ingredients, and other industry innovations. Here’s a brief recap from the panel ICYMI:
Imbibe lab 1

Insights are intertwined and from Edlong, FONA and Imbibe:

  • Consumers want to feel a sense of authenticity not just from the brands they’re supporting, but also from the flavor.
  • There’s a paradox many of us are confronted with when innovating – consumers look for both indulgence and nutrition (affordable nutrition, specifically). During the pandemic especially, many consumers stopped looking for something new, and instead went with what they knew (while also, of course, seeking out elderberry).
  • Taste modulation is the next generation of taste optimization. The need for taste modulation is largely being driven by functional and novel ingredients. Pea protein (which isn’t novel, but still produces more off-notes than whey) is often presented in a base [at Imbibe] and the task is to remove the off-notes or make something taste like nothing before building on top of it.
  • Formulators are often asked to improve a product profile and remove sugar, so the technology in masking and muting off notes and amplifying the characterizing flavor is experiencing significant growth.
  • Innovation is defined differently by brands (and consumers) – to some, it may mean the hot mushrooms (chaga, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, and lion’s mane) or a new source of energy in a product, whereas others may be striving for the newest indulgent flavor for a sandwich cookie.
  • It is incumbent on developers and brand owners to address the fluid needs of consumers and give them the benefits that will help positively impact public health, though, for many consumers, the nutrient or benefit doesn’t always have to be the critical focus.
  • Artificial Intelligence is changing the food and beverage innovation landscape and is shrinking the pathway to innovation. NotCo is leveraging AI technology exceptionally well.

If you’re interested in expanding your industry knowledge and network, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network is having several more events in the coming weeks (both virtual and in-person). If you’re looking for your next innovation partner, Imbibe is here to support your benchtop development and scale up, applications projects and flavor and ingredient samples.