This year’s Supply Side West Expo in Las Vegas was one for the books — and as the sole pea manufacturer on the floor, the PURIS team was able to get a good idea of what food and beverage makers are trending toward as they head into the new year.
After several days of productive conversations on the trade show floor, we came away with a good idea of what today's brands are looking for when it comes to plant-based proteins and ingredients. Here are some of our biggest takeaways informing our product development and sales strategies in 2024.
1. Hydration is top of mind
Hydration products are on everyone’s radar right now, and brands are especially interested in functional and protein-enriched options that stack nutritional and well-being benefits together.
Our HiLo pea protein prototype fits right into this buzz. With its ability to add high-quality, complete protein to drinks without compromising taste or texture (even in acidic beverages), HiLo protein was a unique offering in the protein field.
With this kind of versatility, manufacturers can now offer consumers a fruity grab-and-go option that’s smooth, tasty, and packed with protein. We’re excited to help more makers launch successful products in this emerging category soon.
2. SUPERCoffee is THE NEW THING TO MASTER
Fortifying coffee and tea with protein is rising in popularity, but many protein ingredients still struggle to produce an end product that tastes great and isn’t gritty.
Our protein ingredients sparked a lot of intrigue for their ability to create creamy, protein-packed coffee drinks. (That’s right — acidic coffee + tasty protein doesn’t have to equal a gritty or separated end product.) With the right protein, makers can nail a supercoffee recipe that keeps consumers coming back for more and show the rest of the industry what's possible.
3. Neutral and scalable ingredients are in high demand
Ingredient manufacturers are creating some really versatile products — but when it comes to plant-based options, a chalky, earthy taste continues to be present in many of the products hitting the shelves. PURIS’s next-generation Pea Protein 2.0 was a huge hit compared to other plant-based options due to its neutral taste, versatility, and scalability.
4. Fava protein could be a game changer in the market
Never heard of fava beans? You’re not alone. A lot of our time on the expo floor was spent showing customers the light color and clean flavor of our new PURFava Function+ Protein. This one-of-a-kind plant-based protein option opens up exciting possibilities with the help of a nutritionally sound legume protein.
Designed for superior solubility, water binding, emulsification, foam stability, viscosity, and mouthfeel, fava protein will offer variety to manufacturers creating anything from ready-to-mix protein powders to extruded plant-based meats.
5. Wellness continues to be an elevated focus
Ingredients for brain health, stress management, and overall well-being continue to lead the way for many ingredient suppliers. And these ingredients that provide a marketable function in the wellness space will continue to be attractive in the new year, providing customers with feel-good options that taste good and promote a healthier lifestyle.
When it comes to these qualities, plant-based proteins take the lead. And pea protein shines distinctively, providing a way to create foods and beverages without unnecessary maskers or sweeteners.
6. Upcycled ingredients are gaining steam
Upcycled ingredients — and the ability to utilize waste streams and repurpose byproducts — was a hot topic across the expo floor. We were excited to see so many customers striking conversations about how food and beverage manufacturing can take steps to be more sustainable in the future, and we foresee more brands embracing upcycled proteins and fibers as consumers seek responsible sourcing.
7. Gummies are making an entrance
Speaking of upcycled ingredients, gummies are becoming a trailblazer in the food and snacks scene. For PURIS partners, this could mean using both pea protein and upcycled pea starch to create protein-packed gummies that also boost sustainability practices for manufacturers.
Locking in plans for 2024?
As the leading ingredient sourcing trade show for the dietary supplement, beverage, functional food, personal care, and sports nutrition industries, we always walk away from SSW with new ideas, insights, and an eagerness to create more options for you to use in the food and beverage world.
As leaders in plant proteins, these events give us a chance to showcase our capabilities and stay on the cutting edge of food and beverage trends.
Curious about what’s on our horizon in the new year? Our new proteins might have landed before we turned our calendars to 2024, but it’s only a taste of what’s to come.