The IFT overview first

As agri-food professionals are once again brought together in the same space at IFT’s first annual event and exhibition in Chicago, an overarching message from the hybrid event was the importance of being on the same page. Several speakers highlighted the need for mutual and aligned efforts, whether to achieve goals of sustainability, supply chain efficiency, food safety, or market-successful products. Similar sentiments were heard on the show floor, as ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and brands showcased products developed in an increasingly integrated and often holistic way.

Returning to Chicago after a COVID-related hiatus, IFT First was held at McCormick Place July 10-13 and virtually on line. Here are some key takeaways from the event presented by the Chicago-based company Institute of Food Technologists:

Integrated systems approach enables true sustainability

As panelists in a session on sustainable packaging have often pointed out, sustainability is more holistic than in the past. “We cannot isolate food waste and packaging waste. To establish a circular economy, we need to ensure that the three systems of product, process and infrastructure are aligned,” said Martin Gooch, co-founder and CEO of the consulting firm. International value chain management. In this same discussion, fragmented collection and sorting flows across the country were cited as an example of barriers to effective recycling, while efforts to focus on the total flow were presented as a way to think and act in a holistic end-to-end manner.

Similarly, experts in another session on the future of clean label food and beverages noted that product development should not exist in silos. “What we want to do is take a holistic approach to minimizing the carbon footprint while maintaining the performance of food and packaging throughout the value chain. From design to shelf life to transportation, we have to think about that,” said Leslie Cook, global sustainability manager at Sealed Air/Cryovac, adding that consumers are also thinking more holistically. “Going back to clean label is about personal health, but they also want environmental health and planetary health.”

His fellow panelist, Gregory Stucky, Director of Research at Insights Now, Inc., agreed. “The idea of ​​cyclical product life (is important) – it’s not enough for product developers to wonder whether or not they’re using the right ingredients. They have to think about the whole experience for the consumer. How sustainable is it? Is it better for me and sustainable? »

Taking it to the next level – and reflecting the ambitious and far-reaching ESG programs of retailers and CPGs – other sessions and speakers focused on an even broader perspective, focusing on the intersection of climate change, food security and food systems.

Every bit counts – and can be used in food and beverage applications

The philosophies on integrated approaches to sustainability and ESG principles were evident in the R&D efforts highlighted at the event, including ingredients and finished products.

Lisa Berger, one of the panelists in a presentation on food waste, co-founded a company in Germany called Zero Bullsh*t that created a best cracker made with 30% recycled ingredients from the side stream of production, including sunflower protein, pumpkin seed flour and apple fiber. “Instead of using something that could be used as animal feed, we thought it might be more efficient to directly use valuable plant proteins for human nutrition,” she explained, adding: “We can actively reduce food waste because we recycle raw materials and we can also save or protect other resources like water.

Another example of forward-thinking R&D is a line of cranberry seeds from ocean spray which can be used in a variety of applications to improve color, immunity, cutting-edge formulations and production transparency. Ocean Spray also launched cranberry seed meal made with partner Beyond Equator at IFT, another way to diversify and maximize cranberries as a crop.

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