Hot off the heels of exhibiting at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NY, the Aiya team flew out to beautiful Chicago to exhibit at another trade show- IFT (Institute of Food Technologists). Held at the McCormick Place in downtown Chicago, the IFT is one of the largest ingredient shows we attend each year.
Though a bit slower paced than some of our other shows, the IFT is different because it carries the potential for meeting businesses that may purchase in bigger bulk amounts. That’s because the majority of this show is attended by large food manufacturers looking for new and innovative ingredients for their new products. For example, we met a handful of manufacturers in the ice cream, confectionary, and RTD (ready to drink) beverage industries that were looking for unique ingredients to flavor their new ideas. Many of them were quite impressed with our Matcha latte and Matcha white chocolate samples, surprised at how well this powdered tea paired with other ingredients. It’s always great to showcase the versatility of Matcha with our samples to give the attendees a sense of what this tea is capable of.
Because ingredients are such a foundation of the food industry, the IFT is another great place to discover new and emerging trends of the year. As we expected, one of the main trends were – you guessed it – Matcha. Most of the attendees were either already using Matcha or were interested in working with it because of its popularity. Another trend we noticed at this show was fiber – tons of booths showcased their different types of fibers, while many others sampled out gummy candies made with extra fiber and less sugar.
There is one more thing that makes the IFT show so different from others. Not only is it a great place for industry professionals to network, but it is also a great place for students passionate in the field of food science to get some hands on experience with ingredients used today. The IFT raises money for food science majors, and even hosts a fun run event to raise scholarship funds for these ambitious students. We always love the idea of helping fuel the minds that may later fuel the food world.
And just like that, our exciting summer trade show season has officially come to a close. And what better way to end this season than with this exciting IFT show? Up next, we have our Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland—another completely different show than both our Fancy Food and IFT shows. With Matcha starting to slowly become more established in the food industry, we are excited for all of the opportunities that may be headed our way.