In front of a packed house, Food & Beverage Insider Associate Editor Heather Carter led the first beverage-specific education session to occur at SupplySide East. Those in the crowd were given the great opportunity to hear from industry experts about beverage trends based on market data, flavor profiles that work best and what beverage start-ups need to know about packaging before jumping into the world.
During the session, we learned that with 2023 in full swing, consumers are maintaining the focus on health and immunity they cultivated during the Covid-19 pandemic and are seeking out beverages that provide these attributes without sacrificing flavor and enjoyment. Diane Ray from Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) provided excellent data points to support this. Candace Smith-Lee, senior beverage scientist at ofi, shared some of the best ways to flavor beverages, with popular choices coming from international flavors.
Sam Kressler of Stir Innovation ended the discussion by detailing the pros and cons of various packaging options beverage companies can use, as well as what manufacturers can do to take a more eco-friendly approach to production. His deep expertise in packaging was supported with market data showing that Millenials and Gen Z are often more interested in buying products with recyclable packaging.
Associate Editor, Food & Beverage Insider
Senior Beverage Scientist, ofi
Candace Smith-Lee is the senior beverage scientist at ofi with 15 years of beverage experience. At ofi, she provides technical expertise and drives innovative solutions. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Azusa Pacific University and Illinois Basset certification. She is a Southern California transplant now living in Chicago.
VP of Strategic Innovation, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)
With experience in over 25 countries, and a wide-ranging career in science, business development, research and innovation, Diane brings a competitive advantage to any business growth initiative. Experience includes start-ups, global multi-national companies as well as government entities and higher education.
Founder, Stir Innovation
Sam runs Stir Innovation, a culinary-driven, sustainability-centered CPG consulting firm focused on creating real, clean, delicious food products for its clients and their consumers. Stir works with natural products companies ranging from pre-revenue startups to brands with several hundred million in annual sales, guiding them through the entire innovation process, from ideation through scale-up to steady-state production.