SupplySide East, held in mid-April in Secaucus, New Jersey, was bustling with activity. Attendance was up 25% from 2022, and that certainly showed during each of the educational sessions.
This year’s event kicked off with the first-ever, beverage-specific education session, “Build-A-Beverage: Factors to consider when developing new products,” which drew a standing-room only audience. Industry experts shared knowledge on the current state of the beverage market, popular ingredients being used in formulations and various packaging options available for brands.
Diane Ray, VP of strategic innovation at NMI, detailed how the beverage industry is faring, noting the increasing consumer demand for innovative and nutritious beverages like nondairy milks, kombucha and nonalcoholic drinks. Also, Candace Smith-Lee, senior beverage scientist at ofi, discussed trending colors and flavors, functional ingredients and the future of packaging. Finally, Sam Kressler, founder of Stir Innovation, touched on supply chain sustainability, as well as the pros and cons of packaging options.
“If you think about building a beverage, and I’m going to start with healthy beverages, you have to start with this foundation of where consumers are coming from,” Ray said during the hour-long educational session. “It’s kind of a blinding flash of the obvious, but consumers want to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle. You think that’s silly, but it really is the foundation for a lot of decisions we make … and how we choose to lead our lives. The desire to have this healthy, balanced lifestyle has gone up in the last 10 years. Not a lot, but three-quarters of the population is consciously aware of wanting to lead that kind of lifestyle, and that does make a difference.”
The session was moderated by Heather Carter, the associate editor of Food & Beverage Insider. Watch the video in its entirety right here.
SupplySide West is coming up next from Oct. 23 to 27 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. During the weeklong show, there will be a host of food- and beverage-focused sessions and seminars highlighting topics such as fermentation, plant-based innovations and upcycled ingredients.
Heather Carter is the associate editor of Food & Beverage Insider at Informa Markets. She has worked in B2B publishing for nearly a decade, covering a variety of topics, from tile to bedding to food & beverage products. Reach her at [email protected].