Trendspotting at IFT

BASF-logoMacro Trends

As covered in the most recent issue of BevNET Magazine and as seen by the plethora of meal replacement beverage releases, it’s becoming harder to distinguish the differences between beverages, snacks and meals. This trend can also be felt in the halls of IFT, where Eva C. Johnson, the regional marketing manager with BASF, explained the latest tendencies of the beverage industry.

“Not everybody has time for a full meal,” Johnson said, “so that line keeps blurring.”

This trend blends with another few — convenient sports nutrition/recovery and condition-specific food and beverage. To fall in line with both meal replacement and convenient sports nutrition/recovery, BASF has launched a prototype for a chocolate “recovery” milk with Tonalin CLA, an ingredient sourced from safflower oil that helps to reduce body fat and build and maintain lean muscle mass, according to a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And to comply with meal/snack replacement and condition-specific options, BASF has launched a prototype for a diabetic-friendly drinkable yogurt, which contains plant sterols that, with one to three grams, can lower cholesterol levels by up to 15 percent, according to a study by Food & Nutrition Research.

BASF was just one of a large number of companies to introduce condition-specific ingredients. BENEO launched ingredients that focus on blood sugar control, weight management and digestive health. Another supplier, MGP, showcased Optein, a wheat protein that can be applied to smoothies, sports drinks and energy drinks to aid muscle soreness, glutamine levels and blood glucose and lactate levels.

Flavors: the Familiar and the Obscure

Sensient Flavors notes that the U.S. Hispanic population is expected to reach 61.1 million by 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result, Sensient is doing more than developing flavors and pitching new ideas to massive CPG manufacturers. The company has also stood at the forefront of ingredient suppliers with an eye on industry directions and flavors of the future. To address the growth of the Hispanic population, Sensient has identified flavors that are already being deployed in the beverage industry and could continue to grow.

  • Strawberry Guava

  • Ginger Lime

  • Chili Mango

  • Hibiscus

  • Horchata

  • Lemon Cherimoya

  • Tangerine

  • Pineapple Tamarind

While most of these flavors don’t seem too outside-the-box to regular BevNET readers, Sensient marketing director Teresa Olah is working with ingredients that lean toward the more obscure side of flavoring.

As greening continues to threaten the future of citrus plants, Sensient is looking for alternatives. Burnt calamansi, originating in the Philippines, could serve as that alternative as citrus costs increase in time. She notes that beverage manufactures don’t need to market the calamansi name, only the complex flavor.

“Calamansi isn’t a scary flavor,” Olah said. “It’s something that consumers can relate to very easily. It’s a mandarin, it’s a lime.”

A few other obscure flavors of the future, according to Sensient, include balsamic fig, ginger plum, juniper berry and rhubarb, among others. Fernet and guasacaca, which is occasionally used in place of avocados, are already growing more and more in the food industry. Olah wonders how they could be applied to the non-alcoholic beverage industry.

And as ingredient suppliers so often say about the increasingly indulgent spirits industry, Olah believes that the savory trends of spirits will soon influence the non-alcoholic beverage industry.

“I think that next year is really going to be the year of savory flavors in beverage,” Olah said.