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Business Bites: Natural Products Expo West trends, SupplySide East beverage session, Almond Board of California and Drexel University student competition

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On this week’s plate: MarketPlace unveils Expo West projections; Education session at SupplySide East to focus on beverages; Almond Board of California and Drexel University partner to create first-ever product development competition; and much more.

Spring's right around the corner, and so are the highly anticipated Natural Products Expo West and SupplySide East shows. This week's Business Bites gives you a sneak preview of what to expect, plus there's so much more happening. As always, there's plenty of industry news to devour.

Trend predictions for Natural Products Expo West

Natural Products Expo West—the leading trade show in the natural, organic and health products industry—takes place from March 7 to 11 at California’s Anaheim Convention Center. Nutrition and wellness strategy and branding firm MarketPlace is offering trend predictions as a first-time exhibitor. Based on its 2022 consumer research, the company said it expects to see functional beverages shine, along with celebrity founded wellness and personal care brands, carbon footprint labeling, upcycled F&B products, plant-based seafood and cheese, and social media-influenced sauces and meal kits. MarketPlace President Tracy Landau also highlighted the anticipation for more innovative, zero-proof beverages made with a variety of flavors and spirits.

Beverage education takes centerstage at SupplySide East

SupplySide East is quickly approaching—and this year, Food & Beverage Insider associate editor Heather Carter will be moderating the event’s first-ever beverage-specific education session. “Build-A-Beverage: Factors to consider when developing new products,” which takes place April 18 from 9 to 10 a.m., will dive into what’s currently happening in the beverages category. From functional ingredients to the future of packaging, learn more about what is driving consumers to seek out better-for-you beverages that focus on health and immunity. The speakers consist of VP of strategic innovation at Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) Diane Ray, founder of Odyssey Elixir Scott Frohman, senior food scientist of beverages at ofi Candace Smith-Lee and founder of Stir Innovation Sam Kressler.

Almond Board of California and Drexel University create student product development competition

This spring, students majoring in culinary arts and culinary science & nutrition at Drexel University, as well as food entrepreneurship and innovation certificate students in Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions, will have the chance to participate in a one-of-a-kind competition created in collaboration with Almond Board of California. As part of the university’s first-ever student product development competition, students will be challenged to create better-for-you, almond-based packaged snacks with functional properties that appeal to Gen Z and Millennials. A panel of judges with experience in the food, culinary science and product marketing sectors will evaluate submissions based on creativity, innovation, almond usage, market appeal and sensory execution. Finalists will be recognized in March and the winning product will be sampled at the Almond Board of California’s booth during the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) FIRST Annual Meeting & Food Expo in July.

Westfalia Fruit unveils cutting-edge agricultural R&D at Fruit Logistica in Berlin

One of the world’s largest private investors in avocado research, Westfalia Fruit is shaping the future of food in multiple sustainable ways. The South Africa-based company highlighted its various R&D efforts—from in-house researchers, scientists and technicians—for the avocado industry at the recent Fruit Logistica expo in Berlin. The business’s research focuses on rootstocks, reducing inputs and continuous development and exploration, as well as reducing synthetic fungicides in the harvesting process and breeding plant genetics to be more tolerant to pests, diseases and plant-based treatments. Westfalia said irrigation, feeding and husbandry techniques are also areas of focus for the researchers to “determine the best practice for tree health, yield, quality and the environment.”

Brightseed preclinical data shows potential for bioactive compounds to support gut barrier

Studies have shown that gut health plays an important role in the body’s overall health (Int J Mol Sci. 2015;16[4]:7493-7519). Bioactives company and ingredient supplier BrightSeed highlighted a newly published study in the Journal of Food Bioactives, which showed two bioactive compounds found in hemp hulls have the potential to support gut barrier function (2022;20). The company’s artificial intelligence (AI) platform Forager identified the effect these two bioactive compounds—N-trans caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans feruloyltyramine (NFT)—may have on gut health. The platform also tagged hemp hulls as one of the richest sources of NCT and NFT, prompting the company to create an upcycled, hemp-based dietary fiber ingredient that contains both compounds to further support gut functionality.

Heather Carter is the associate editor of Food & Beverage Insider at Informa Markets. She has worked in trade publishing for nearly a decade, covering a variety of topics, from tile to bedding. Reach her at [email protected].

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