One of the most engaging sessions at NJ FoodTech 2024 was a panel discussion on innovations in ingredients, flavors, and extracts. Moderated by Juan Salinas, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Pnuff, the panel featured industry experts including Stephanie Calafat, R&D Manager at Givaudan; Carrie Griesser, Technical Director of Savory Flavors, North America at DSM-Firmenich; Debra Missel, NA Design and Creation Director at IFF; and Dillon Friday, Ph.D., Associate VP of Creation & Application at Symrise NA.


The panel delved into several emerging trends and industry challenges:

  • Spicy Maple: Following the popularity of hot honey, spicy maple is expected to be the next big flavor trend.
  • Peach Flavors: With the Fuzzy Peach Pantone color making waves, peach flavors are on the rise.
  • Supply Chain Challenges: The panel discussed the handling and planning difficulties posed by seasonal natural products, such as carrots being out of season.
  • AI and New Technologies: Major flavor companies are increasingly integrating AI technologies, such as Symvision AI and Protiscan®, to enhance their products and processes.
  • Incubators and Startups: The panel also touched on new product launch recommendations and support for startups within the industry.
  • Sustainability: There was a strong focus on the sustainability of flavors and chemicals used in food products.
  • Raw Material Challenges: The integration of new technologies with traditional practices, like the Chicken IDF backward integration, and the challenges faced with sourcing raw materials were discussed.


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Dr. Dillon Friday addressed common misconceptions about natural flavors not being clean label, reassuring the audience that flavors are highly regulated and essential for maintaining brand equity. "One challenge that we have had in the flavor industry is the notion that natural flavors are not clean label. Some consumers think that flavors are chemical cocktails shrouded in mystery. I can assure you that this is not the case. Flavors are highly regulated and very important signatures in the brands that we all love. In most cases, flavors are important in maintaining the brand equity of our favorite products. We keep our flavor formulas confidential as this is our IP. This not only protects us, but it protects our customers as well. Our flavors are created by highly skilled chemists, and their formulas and IP are the lifeblood of the industry," said Dr. Friday, emphasizing the importance of intellectual property protection in flavor creation.


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