July 2023 Newsletter 

Trends, News, and Updates from IFT FIRST 2023

16,321 attendees. 800 exhibiting companies. 100+ scientific sessions. 500 poster sessions. 100 startups.

The largest B2B food and beverage show did not disappoint in 2023! IFT FIRST 2023 was another massive gathering of CPG brands, ingredient suppliers, packaging vendors, machinery manufacturers, and students eager to contribute to the industry. The show featured delicious prototypes, exciting innovations, and insightful science and business sessions. Join us as we explore key themes and share a bit about the FlavorSum experience at the show! 

Prototype Recap

Non-Alc Beverages

The delicious and daring food and beverage prototypes at IFT FIRST are always an exciting driver of attendance to the show. This year, IFT FIRST attendees visiting the FlavorSum booth sipped on refreshing, insights-driven mocktail demos. 

Discover the non-alc prototypes we sampled at the show and click to learn more about each from our recent blog post.  

Press Release

FlavorSum Shares Expanded Capabilities at IFT FIRST 2023

FlavorSum is revolutionizing flavor solutions for mid-sized and emerging food and beverage brands. In 2023, we introduced several key initiatives to streamline the NPD process and ease sourcing complexities:  

  • With category-specific Centers of Excellence across North America, brands can collaborate with our experts virtually or on-site.  
  • The FlavorSum Access portal provides easy, real-time access to technical and corporate documentation across all FlavorSum sites.  
  • Our recent expansion project in Kalamazoo adds 35,000 sq. ft. of increased manufacturing capacity and added support for customers.  
  • Our upcoming chat feature will offer seamless support for existing and new customers during business hours.  

Stay in the know on all things FlavorSum by subscribing to our blog and newsletter! 

Image Credit: IFT, Duncan Wardle 


Overarching Themes from IFT FIRST 2023

The theme for IFT FIRST 2023 was “Innovation in a Time of Crisis: Can We Future-Proof the Food System?” IFT FIRST 2023 brought together leading experts to discuss a range of topics under the theme with five key topics explored throughout the three-day event: 

1. Novel Technology and Innovation: 

Former Disney innovator, Duncan Wardle, opened the show with a keynote on “Embedding Innovation into Everyone’s DNA,” encouraging creative problem-solving to inspire innovation in the food and beverage industry. 

2. Sustainability & Climate: 

Charlie Arnot, CEO at The Center for Food Integrity, discussed sustainable priorities and trade-offs in his session “Are You Sustainable Enough?” During the session, he discussed the importance of aligning company values with your sustainability approach for authenticity.  

3. Health and Nutrition: 

A health-focused session examined “The Role of Food Science in Public Health and Nutrition Policy,” focusing on how food science can shape policies to promote innovation amid stifling regulations. 

4. Food Safety: 

Industry experts delved into “New Challenges in Food Safety and Their Impact on Consumer Trust” by exploring ways manufacturers can regain consumer confidence in the wake of contamination outbreaks and resulting recalls. 

5. Consumer Insights and Education: 

The session “Strategies for Communicating to Non-Technical Audiences” emphasized the importance of informed consumers and shared strategies for educating people on the complexities of food formulation.

Image credit: IFT 

Supply Chain Corner

How to Manage a Supply Chain Failure

In the face of continued global challenges, supply chain professionals are developing creative and agile solutions. In the IFT FIRST Business Session titled “How to Navigate a Supply Chain Failure,” procurement, R&D, and food safety experts gathered to discuss remedies for supply chain disruptions.  

Panelist Tracy Joshua of the Kellogg Company pointed out the impacts of COVID-19 on the supply chain system: ‘“I think one of the faulty things in supply chain is that we don’t look at it holistically.’” Joshua goes on to say that supply chain professionals need to think about their work from end to end, including R&D, innovation, engineering, procurement, and quality. They also need to be able to predict gaps and create workarounds.  

Additional recommendations from the group of experts include: 

  • Maintaining a robust vendor ecosystem to ensure back up supply when needed 
  • Using cloud-based systems so everyone has a real-time single source of truth  
  • Being flexible and ready to pivot at a moment’s notice 

Photo Credit: Supermarket Perimeter  

Regulatory Corner

Food Safety in the Age of Cyber Attacks

Every industry, including the food and beverage sector, feels the impacts from technology. And while technology is mostly beneficial, interconnecting some frameworks can have pitfalls. Most people wouldn’t immediately find a correlation between food safety and cyber security, but one IFT session connected the dots. In a featured session at the show, “Expect the Unexpected: Failure to Anticipate Threats is a Critical Food Safety Risk,” industry experts discussed how cyber safety equals food safety.  

Supermarket Perimeter recaps the session, focusing on the importance of virtual vigilance and a strong crisis management plan. Panelists across the industry with expertise in safety and quality offered a few essential steps to ensure companies successfully combat attacks:  

  • Have a plan in place that’s well-communicated in the event of an attack that compromises food integrity and safety 
  • Know your “supply web” well and establish strong relationships of transparency with suppliers  
  • Treat virtual safety as you do food safety ensure individual employees are well-trained on cyber best practices  

Ronaldo Gonzalez, PhD, chief science officer at the Acheson Group, shares, “Assessing risk is important, but you can have the best food safety program, but if you don’t educate and train your employees your program won’t work.” 

Stay Informed with FlavorSum Discover 

Are you looking for new ways to spark inspiration in your specific food or beverage category? Gain access to trends, consumer behavior and attitude shifts, and flavor news by signing up for FlavorSum Discover. You’ll receive insights from our experts, including our weekly blog, monthly newsletter, on-demand webinars, and more.  

FlavorSum Team News

Celebrating our Growing Team

FlavorSum continues to bring in the talent and expertise to help you achieve your food and beverage development goals.  Your success is a top priority at FlavorSum, and our team commits to doing what’s right for your brand every day.

We welcomed the following people to FlavorSum in June:

    • Blaine J. – Production

    • Brandon F. – Production

    • Maranda T. – Production  

Visit our Careers page to learn about new opportunities on the FlavorSum team

How would you rate our insights?

In the August issue of FlavorSum Insights:

The Latest Cool Trends in Functional Beverage 

Let’s Connect and Share Daily Flavor News!

Past Issues

June 2023

What’s Happening with Bakery, Beverage, Confection, and Dairy Product Innovation?

MAY 2023

The Snack Bar Evolution – Meeting Expectations for Flavor, Function, and Format

April 2023

News from Spring Food and Beverage Trade Shows