The “welcome” banner, designed by the PHCP Creative Services team, stood in the lobby of the host hotel, Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

The FLAVORS Experience invites food and beverage industry experts each year from across the country to join in learning the latest and greatest trends to influence our beloved industry. This year was extra special because they were celebrating their 15th year anniversary.

During this all-encompassing experience, each daypart did not disappoint. The day began with an assortment of new and trending breakfast items. Celebrity Chef Jet Tila took us through what to expect throughout the day's activities and sessions. Our midday "Flavor Innovation Luncheon" was hosted in the Rose Garden each day with the temperatures being in the high 70's - a welcomed change from the 100-degree weather we have been experiencing in Houston. The event days concluded with an impressive spread of food and beverage, hosted by the conference sponsors.

Premier food and beverage partners showcased their winning offerings each evening at the pool and Rose Garden. Executive Chefs, Beverage Directors, and Industry Executives were just a few of the titles of the attendees walking around and sampling all the fabulous options. Below are some honorable mentions:

Beam Suntory showed off their innovative spin on a classic by offering a “French 46 Old Fashioned.” Garnished with edible gold flakes and smoked cinnamon, this take on the classic was served with Maker’s 46, coffee and orange-infused Courvoisier VS Cognac.

A nostalgic childhood drink, this “Prickly Dragon” cocktail by Beam Suntory was served in a cocktail bag – reminiscent of an “Adult Capri-Sun.”

Food sponsor, Texas Pete, was serving a mash-up of Moroccan and Mediterranean hummus in a “Push-Up Pop” – providing experience and interaction!

Impossible Foods Inc. had an impressive showcase of their plant-based substitute for meat products in an array of food options. Pictured are their takes on an ImpossibleTM Tartare and Lettuce cups.


Aside from enjoying the delicious food and drinks, some prominent trends were being discussed throughout the daily sessions. A hot topic that kept re-emerging was the phenomenon of Gen Z. Although, overall this generation is drinking less than previous generations, they are drinking a wide variety of LBW. When surveyed as to what drinks they have consumed in the last month, the reports were: 55% beer, 44% wine, and 56% mixed drinks/cocktails.

“Myth or Reality? Generation Z avoids personal interaction.” To much of the audience’s dismay, this was a myth! Unlike their millennial predecessors, Gen Z’s number 1 common interest is spending time with friends and family. They are utilizing digital platforms (e.g. smartphones) to connect in person. – SOURCE: Donna Hood Crecca, Technomic, “Connect with Gen Z”, Slides 6-7, The FLAVOR Experience

BEVERAGE TRENDS: All the heavy-hitters are still predominant within the beverage industry and will continue to be as we move into 2020:

  • Sustainable practices
  • Brand authenticity
  • Boozy wellness drinks: Kombucha, shrubs, switchels
  • Low-ABV and Fresh
  • Cans
  • Nostalgic Classics
  • Exotic Fruits
  • Lemonade/teas

If your newest LTO promotion hits on any of these marks, you probably have a hit on your hand!

Pictured above is the ‘Twizzlers Strawberry Cooler’ served at Tuesday’s Ultimate Flavor Festival. Provided by Sunny Sky Products, this cocktail plays on the nostalgic and eye-catching trends!

Delivery is creating challenges, it is creating opportunity, but more than anything it is creating CHANGE! Spoken by Kathy Casey of Food Studios – Liquid Kitchen, Cathy Holley of Flavor & The Menu, and Maeve Webster of Menu Matters, these ladies touched on the need for tamper-evident labels for food delivery, virtual kitchens, and restaurant reimagination. One of the most interesting items spoken on was the emergence of virtual kitchens, which are designed kitchen spaces and infrastructure for restaurants to launch delivery-only concepts. Playing into the growth in delivery food services like Uber Eats and Postmates, these virtual kitchens offer endless opportunities for Millennials and Gen Z’ers that are turning to delivery so frequently.

Co-founders of Kitchen United, Harry Tsao and John Miller, pose with two others in one of their virtual kitchens.

Overall, the conference was an immense success and the PHCP team left with a wealth of knowledge!

Author: admin
Created: 2019/10/05
Updated: 2019/10/10
Category: Behind the Scenes

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