Philadelphia-based David Michael & Co. announced that it is up to host its 12th Innovation Roadshow, which kicks off Sept. 20, at the Hilton at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

For the past two years the Innovation Roadshow has been touring the continent, taking its flavor innovations, inspirations and insights on the road while allowing David Michael to gather new ideas for predicting up-and-coming trends, the company says. These trends, as well as the latest and most promising solutions, technologies, marketplace strategies and more, will be showcased at the 2016 Innovation Roadshow, which focuses on bringing participants into the Tastebud Revolution, it adds.

“We are thrilled for the return of the Innovation Roadshow, and even more excited for how the experiences and opportunities will be elevated thanks to insights we’ve acquired while on the road the last two years,” said Skip Rosskam, president and chief operations officer at David Michael & Co., in a statement. “Through our touring, as well as research and development in our labs, we’ve completely immersed ourselves in the business of our customers, the mindset of the American consumer and the resources available to our food technologists. Now we’re presenting all that we’ve learned and discovered ... from taste preferences to product innovations ... in the Tastebud Revolution.”

The company expects a full house for the 2016 Innovation Roadshow, which is a free event only available by invitation. Participants will come from across the country and globe to collect ideas to help fuel product portfolios, gather insights into emerging consumer and marketplace trends, experience provocative flavors and learn about novel technologies that can help differentiate products and manage costs, the company says. The Innovation Roadshow also is known for its lineup of speakers, it adds.

The Tastebud Revolution

For years, David Michael has had its finger on the pulse of what the company is calling the Tastebud Revolution. At this year’s Innovation Roadshow, it is observing and studying in-depth the growing voice of the consumer in regards to what food should taste like, look like and contain, it says.

“There's no question that we're in a Tastebud Revolution,” Rosskam said. “Never before have people been as vocal as they are today about taste, appearance and what ingredients can and cannot be in their food ... and that voice is only going to get stronger. The connectivity of consumers is undeniable and while the shift in consumers’ demands can be exciting, it can also be downright concerning. It demands both the ability to listen and react, as well as to predict and be proactive.”

The 2016 Innovation Roadshow will help members of the food and beverage industry — ranging from research and development directors, food scientists and chefs, to marketing and brand managers, to purchasing agents — formulate strategies to balance consumer demands with viable options for their companies, the company says. In addition, the Innovation Roadshow will introduce its guests to flavor innovations, revealing what's on the horizon in the food industry and allowing people to taste unique products with influences from across the country and around the world, it adds. The following will be some of the highlights of the event:

  • Keynote address, “The Tastebud Revolution
  • “The Roadmap to the Roadshow” presentation: An outline of how companies can best translate today’s inspirations into a product portfolio.  
  • Technical sessions: Sessions cover topics related to the clean-label trend. 
  • The Innovation Showcase: More than 70 food scientists, flavor chemists, chefs, marketers and technicians will be on hand offering demonstrations.
  • Flavors of the Future: David Michael has a history of being on the forefront of trends in the food and beverage industry, and its Innovation Roadshow has become widely anticipated for this reason, it says. The first Innovation Roadshow was presented in 2003, and every year has been held in Philadelphia. Although the David Michael team will not unveil some of their spotlight innovations for the 2016 show until September, attendees can see what’s in store for them by reviewing a hall-of-fame list of past creations that were presented as up-and-coming trends and received strong reception in the industry. The following are some past innovations:
    • Croitzels: a solution for the hybrid food craze combining the attributes of a pretzel and croissant. Presented at the 2014 Innovation RoadshowCroitzels have been well received by both food service and consumer packaged goods clients. 
    • Varietal Honey Flavored Craft Sodas: showcasing varietal honeys as an on-trend ingredient. Presented at the 2014 Innovation Roadshow, the sodas anticipated the huge growth of craft sodas. 
    • Soup Cubes: an innovation offering creamy, succulent tomato soup-on-the-go packaged in its own batter-and-breading jacket. Presented at the 2014 Innovation Roadshow, the product proved to be a solution to meet the consumer's desire for convenience, comfort and novelty. 
    • Sherbato: creating a new category of ice cream with its sherbet-gelato hybrid formula. Presented at the 2013 Innovation Roadshow, Sherbato provides a novel technical solution to impact citrus flavors within an ice cream product
    • Jackfruit: enjoying continuous growth in popularity especially with rising consumer interest in vegetarian alternatives. This was presented at the 2013 Innovation Roadshow in a number of uses, including smoothies and a black bean tomatilla salsa verde, to showcase jackfruit’s versatility. 

“Yes, David Michael has always had a reputation for being an innovator... innovation is in our DNA, it’s a core attribute in which we take great pride,” Rosskam added. “But our proudest achievements come from the achievements of our customers, and of the food and beverage industry as a whole. It comes from being able to turn our innovations into progress across the board — and we look forward to continuing that progress at this year’s Innovation Roadshow.”