I went to my first in 1992 (Chicago) Back then..  My eyes were bigger than my suitcase and I made it a point to speak to each and every vendor on the entire expo floor. I didn’t want to miss a single thing! I left that show with about 100 lbs worth of show shwag (there were no luggage limits back then) all stuffed into a Mane canvas bag and wowed all my non food science friends back home with mini packs of citric acid, xanthan gum and fat free Watson vitamin fruit bars.

Flash forward to 2009-Not much has changed! I come to the show with an empty suitcase so I can stuff it with all that expo stuff and impress my non food science friends back home. I did a bit better this year then the college years because now I get invited to sophisticated events like the Wixon www.wixon.com boat cruise and the Virginia Dare Press conference dinner. From those events I got exciting take-aways like a book on tea by James Norwood Pratt and some ultra high quality Virginia Dare vanilla and a mini bottle of Skol vodka (from Wixon-Thanks Chuck!). But not everyone gets to go to these functions, so for those who only did the expo floor, here are a few of the exciting items that I saw on the floor in Anaheim this

year-awarded by category!

The 2009 Intpreid Culinologist’s IFT expo floor awards go to….

Not really necessary for our survival in life, but fun: the vitamin infused pop-rocks (AKA carbonated crystals ) . Runner up for this award is the Candurin Pearl Effects Colors for food applications.

Best Non Edible Floor Items –The White chocolate fountain machine that stated clearly “Not For Consumption” and the Brookfield colored globule decorative thing . 

 All The Rage-What’s the big deal with Stevia?!! I have been growing it for years in my recession balcony garden! The plant extract sweetener was recently approved for use by the FDA and everyone is jumping on the Stevia bandwagon. Some of the companies that were exhibiting Stevia or Stevia combined with other sweeteners include Univar  Sweet Green Fields and The Ingredient house and to help with that bitter aftertaste caused by Stevia, try Wixon’s Mag-nifique at 0.1% to 0.2% -It synergizes with Stevia allowing you to use less Stevia and save money!

Stevia-This is what it looks like…

Best Spice blend application-I am biased because I love popcorn, but I must give an honorable mention to Foran spice company  they broke away from the standard boring BBQ flavored popcorn and highlighted their coconut curry instead.

Best Come Back-I was absolutely thrilled to see Carmi Flavors  bringing back the popcorn. It’s the Carmi IFT popcorn (not Snapple!) that’s the best stuff on earth. I was about to boycott the booth when I saw the familiar popcorn machine being warmed up. The lines were long but it was worth it. Carmi, please don’t ever deny us that popcorn again!

Having just returned from the RCA a few months ago, I am finding myself struggling with which side of the biz I like the best. The artisan side or the sciency side!?. I have to admit, I was excited to walk through the graduate student poster presentations that were covering exciting topics like Distribution of mercury in whitefish muscle and methods to reduce the contaminant level” That’s the stuff I was brought up on and IFT is a regular reminder that there are serious scientists out there doing serious research. They all need funding by the way, so I encourage all food companies to give more money to the universities to help fund their research. Without them there doing the work… the food industry could come to a screeching halt!

Stay tune for my next posting on all of the “special” events I was invited too-including the Wixon Cruise, the Pacific Coast Ingredients Poolside Cocktail hour, the Bell Customer Appreciation party (what happens at Bell stays at Bell, but I can share a few tidbits!), the RCA Regional event, the RCA reception and the Virginia Darewww.virginiadare.com Tea lecture. All exciting stuff that I only get to go to now –since I am practically an emeritus IFT member! Although how the U.C. Davis food science undergrad students got into some of the same functions I did- is just sheer genius! Wish I knew those guys when I was young! Back in those days, I only was invited to the National Starch Hospitality Suite and the Kelco Wine and Cheese (both which are sadly is no longer-but I have hope they will come both be back someday!)





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