Speaking with FoodNavigator-LATAM at the recent IFT show in Chicago, Kendra Hendrickson, digital project manager at Ingredion, explained that Idea Labs is a virtual lab environment that product developers can use to troubleshoot, scale-up, formulate, and get insights and ideas for their next big product. It is available to everyone online and is free to access.
Hendrickson demonstrated how the virtual labs could help people at the early stage of product development assess key trends, or if they’re further along in their product development process and encounter a specific technical challenge then the formulators can access ‘hints and help’ to learn how to prevent separation in a high protein beverage, for example.
The virtual Idea Labs allow customers to access the expertise developed in the company’s brick-and-mortar innovation centers, and is equipped with resources and content developed by the same experts.
The beverage lab, which is initially only available to the US and Canada beverage sectors at insideidealabs.com, showcases technical resources including sample formulations, an ingredient selector, how-to videos and responses to questions that customers frequently ask about topics such as sugar reduction, protein enrichment and stabilization, as well as beverage emulsification.
The beverage resource will expand this year to serve customers in Mexico and South America, as well as to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific.
Afrouz Naeini, senior marketing manager of sweetness and beverage in North America, said that it would be across all these regions by the end of 2018. This will be followed by the launch of dairy labs in all regions this year as well, and then bakery, said Naeini.
“Formulators in LATAM can shortly receive the beverage access, and then right after that dairy and then bakery,” she said.
The staggering of the launches across the regions is because the company is tailoring the labs to ensure that they fit the local trends and ingredients.