Thousand of samples handed to passersby, hundreds of conversations and just as many (or more) questions about the current supply of egg products. All this and more characterized our recent experience exhibiting at the Institute of Food Technologists 2015 Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago this July.
It’s energizing to work the booth at the show and this year was no exception. Particularly encouraging was the response from many formulators who expressed a keen interest in the use of egg products as ingredients. The functional properties of REAL eggs continue to be appreciated and valued for product applications of all types. The Buyers’ Guide was quick to disappear.
We did field quite a few questions about the current situation regarding avian influenza. A lot is happening behind the scenes with government, researchers, processors and farmers working together to prevent new incidences of avian influenza. Every possible avenue is being explored to restore the supply of egg products to its former levels.
In case you happened to walk the show floor, we had a corner booth with great visibility and lots of traffic. We noticed extra traffic the first day of the show, on Sunday, when we were sampling Dulce de Leche Pudding with Pumpkin Seed Crunch. We were filling sample cups as quickly as possible and still weren’t able to keep up with demand. Those who tasted it kept returning for more and bringing their colleague with them. I kept hearing, “My coworker told me I had to stop and try some,” or “I’ve never had a Dulce de Leche dessert that tasted this good.”
This rich custard flavored with caramel and vanilla bean incorporated egg yolks to supply creaminess and flavor and to capitalize on their emulsifying and thickening properties for proper texture. The sweet and spicy cinnamon-glazed pumpkin seed crunch lent a contrasting texture to the creamy pudding base and this textural balance received multiple compliments. The crunchy topping relied on egg whites for crisping and browning and to help the spices adhere
While the pudding was admittedly the star of the show, we also sampled two types of savory cookies that were well received; Rosemary and Asiago with Heirloom Tomato Curd and a Bacon & Caramelized Onion Cookie with Raspberry Balsamic Curd. Eggs supply crispness, structure and tenderness to the cookies, and emulsification, thickening, richness and creaminess to the accompanying curd.
This is our second year sampling product at IFT to highlight the incredible functionality, flavor and appearance of products that use REAL eggs and I think it's a winning concept. Anyone interested in following up after the show, or discussing methods to scale up these ideas, please contact me.