IFT 2018

Three Takeaways from IFT 2018

We all know the challenge after any show is capturing and applying the key insights into action to propel our businesses.  Fresh off IFT, the Glanbia Nutritionals Market Insights team has created this brief recap of observations from the show floor and in education sessions. Overarching themes included protein in new applications such as waters and desserts as well as unique ways to engage with consumers to delight and create brand preference.

Here are three insights from the show:


If you can drink it, formulators at IFT can show you a way to add protein to it. We saw a Sparkling Protein Water with 20 grams of protein and several Still Protein Water prototypes with unique and on-trend flavors like Watermelon Mint and Strawberry Basil. Another company showcased their suite of sweeteners in an empty bottle with protein and their dry sweetener (just add water!). There were also many more plant protein waters and collagen protein waters than in the past.

Our Takeaway: If IFT prototypes are indicative of what’s about to happen in the market, we are about to see a tsunami of protein waters. From our perspective, there appeared to be more examples of protein waters than protein bars on the show floor, demonstrating their potential appeal. This underdeveloped sector might finally be ready to bust through now and flavor will be a key component to product success.



It’s evident that finding innovative ways to personalize products is connecting with consumers and helping companies develop products that stand out in a very crowded marketplace. At IFT this year, we saw examples of product personalization with interactive booths featuring custom drinks to new ingredients delivering unique experiences in products when it came to texture and functionality.

Our Takeaway: “The message of “each individual is important” was communicated by clever personalization. It can be in packaging which we saw or by use of ingredients to give people new experiences. For example, our gummies were a hit with product developers because our unique flavor technology delivered experiences such as tingling, warming and cooling.”



The popularity of protein isn’t waning as consumers seek more protein options than ever before. This is evident not only by the plethora of protein sources showcased at IFT this year but the diversity of end application. From whipped protein puddings to Tabasco flavored protein ice cream new formats are opening up new doors for product developers.  Plant protein sources continued to garner much attention, especially in positioning around what differentiates these sources from each other in consumers eyes (i.e. Almond protein vs. Pea protein.) Dairy protein continues to receive positive reviews from consumers, with one example being well known sensory analysis and flavor chemistry expert MaryAnne Drake sharing in a session that a recent 1,000 consumer research panel showed people still prefer the taste of dairy vs. other protein sources.

Our Takeaway: All proteins are different in terms of their nutritional profile, flavoring challenges and functionality. While that allows for product development opportunity in soups, ice cream and sauces it also comes with a new set of hurdles for product developers to avoid issues such as flavor,  grittiness and gelling.


These three insights are further evidence that properly formulating and positioning nutritional ingredients in products will be even more critical to the success of new product launches.  In addition to these takeaways, here’s the full prototype menu of what we showcased at IFT, including a range of on-trend beverage, powder, bar & healthy snack, and supplement prototypes featuring Glanbia Nutritionals ingredients. If you’d like to receive samples, please reach out to your Account Manager or email us at hello@glanbianutritionals.com

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