This is especially true for the more than 300 food processing customers who can now enjoy the combined expertise and service capabilities of Welcome Dairy Holdings, Gamay Food Ingredients and North Star Processing under the newly formed Revela Foods, according to company marketing associate Angela Halverson.
She explained at IFT that Revela’s expanded in-house capabilities, including a fleet of food scientists from Gamay Food Ingredients in New Berlin with expertise in seasoning, sauces and flavors, a multi-generational passion for natural and functional cheeses coming out of Welcome in Colby, Wisc., and a state-of-the-art spray drying facility and toll manufacturing experience from North Star Processing in Litchfield, Minn.
“We all came together to have a whole house of capabilities instead of having people go to three different companies,” which should streamline the innovation process and save time and resources, she told FoodNavigator-USA at the conference.
“Now you can work with us through development to finished product in a single working session,” she said, adding that Revela’s goal is to “reveal what is possible” and deliver a “wow” factor.
Regional flavors rise
By tapping into the deep, combined expertise of all three companies, Revela can help food manufacturers identify and leverage emerging trends ranging from a maturing interest in plant-based to rising interest in regional flavors, said Ben Zirbel, innovation manager at Revela Foods.
He explained that as consumers stayed at home during the early days of the pandemic they began exploring multicultural cuisines – a trend that continues to deepen so that some of the lesser know flavors and ingredients of regional dishes are now in demand.
“You’re seeing more and more of the regional flavors come out and consumers are getting into some of the lesser known stuff. For example, interest in Asian cuisine is now expanding into Southwest and Southeast Asia,” giving rise to flavors like kefir lime and ginger, he said.
Likewise, more traditional but lesser-known Italian flavors, such as anchovy, are gaining traction, he said.
Because some of these flavors are unfamiliar to mainstream US consumers, Zirbel says many companies are pairing them with a familiar format or flavor that is more approachable.
For example, at IFT, Revela showcased how these trends are playing out by offering popcorn with tika masala and sugar cookie flavors.
It also demonstrated its deep knowledge of plant-based by sampling vegan cupcakes made with vegan butter flavor, which one enthusiastic company representative declared “is definitely a trend that is here to stay.” It also offered a grilled portobello mushroom sandwich gussied up with its ranch seasoning to show that vegetarian options are not restricted to mimicking animal proteins.
The company also showed off its dairy expertise, which ranges from powders, sauces and melting blocks in a cheesy corn chowder.