Tastepoint by IFF hosted its inaugural FirsTaste event on September 27 in Philadelphia with the theme “A Fresh Take on Taste.” The event included presentations from industry leaders, a Trend Trek through the city, and an Innovation Showcase featuring more than 20 new product designs, flavors and technologies.

The purpose of this event was to provide insights, inspiration and information to help attendees walk away with actionable concepts and strategies for their businesses.

In order to learn more about this event, we reached out to Eduardo Villagómez, director, business development & Marketing at Tastepoint by IFF.


Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: How was the FirsTaste Innovation Showcase structured?

Eduardo Villagómez: Set across multiple rooms, the Innovation Showcase featured 24 stations of innovative concepts, flavors and technologies. Each station was manned by two Tastepoint experts, and these flavor chemists, food scientists and technologists spoke with attendees about the innovations they had spent months preparing.


DJP: What were the product concepts that teams developed for the event?

EV: Product concepts spanned the globe and included overall trends like waste reduction, alternative proteins, relaxation, and plant-based expertise. More specific food industry trends like pickling, functional mushrooms, and pan de queso were featured along with flavors like ginger and fennel, smoky vanilla/roasted chocolate, cascara and an overall culinary crafted collection. Other concepts focused on modulation innovations for sweet applications and beyond, masking technologies, and showing two distinct vanilla extraction processes. Brand new concepts like flavor-infused eggs, portable poutine, yogurt hummus, creamer melts, and savory soup creamers showed the depth of what can be done.


DJP: What did “Donut Chips and Dip” entail? 

EV: Inspired by the movement to reduce food industry waste, these donut chips come from stale donuts and are cross-section sliced, grilled and then paired with a Caramelized Pineapple Flavored Aquafaba dip. The chip is inspired by Picarones, a beloved Peruvian dessert, and originated as a sweet potato donut with a chancaca flavored glaze. The flavors of picarones and chancaca - a sweet syrupy sauce made from raw, unrefined brown sugar and flavored with orange, clove and cinnamon - would translate well in cookies, icing, dessert fillings, sweet sauces and ice cream.


DJP: What about the Spent Grain Bar?

EV: Taking advantage of the sustainable movement along with the explosion of craft beer, Tastepoint found an innovative way to upcycle spent grains rather than letting them go to waste. The shift toward using spent grain is growing and was featured as a grain bar with stout and IPA-flavored jelly fillings.


DJP: What was involved with the Philly Cheesesteak Jerky Trail Mix?

EV: With regional fare crossing city and state boundaries, the Philly Cheesesteak can be found on menus and retail shelves countrywide, so Tastepoint transformed this popular sandwich into the rising jerky trend in a portable jerky trail mix. The house-made beef brisket jerky is marinated using natural beef flavor with grilled steak notes and IFF TRU2RICH™ technology, providing a rich mouthfeel, meaty character and umami, without using yeast extract.


DJP: How does “Portable Poutine” become a convenient, bite-sized snack?

EV: This Canadian treat has been transformed into a frozen appetizer that features chopped potato, cheese curds and gravy stuffed inside a deep-fried potato bite. IFF TRU2RICH™ technology is embedded to add the body, mouthfeel and richness you’d expect in a traditional poutine.


DJP: Will Tastepoint by IFF host this event again next year?

EV: Tastepoint by IFF plans to host this event again in 2020.