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Carolina Ingredients Blog

Flavor Showdown Q&A With VP of Sales Mike Cantore at SNAXPO 2023

Posted on Apr 11, 2023

This year, at SNAXPO 2023, Carolina Ingredients had the honor of participating in the Flavor Showdown Competition. David Walsh, vice president of membership and communications at SNAC International described the Flavor Showdown as, “an opportunity for SNAXPO’s leading flavor/seasoning suppliers to showcase their most inventive, on-trend flavors to a broader industry.” This year, Carolina Ingredients introduced 4 new flavors, which you can read more about in our SNAXPO2023 blog.

To gain more insights about this year's event and its competitors, Jenni Spinner, chief editor of Snack Food and Wholesale Bakery, spoke with this year's participants in a Q&A where they discussed flavor trends, what sets each company apart, consumer behavior, and more!

Continue reading to hear from Carolina Ingredients' very own Mike Cantore, VP of Sales, as he discusses all there is to know about the snacking industry and CI.

Jenni Spinner: Could you please tell us a bit about your company—who you are, what you do, areas of specialty, and what sets you apart?

Mike Cantore: Carolina Ingredients is in its 33rd year of business. We are a seasoning blend manufacturer located in Rock Hill, SC. We specialize in all types of snack seasonings and functional blends for food processors. We have an on-site R&D Lab staffed with five food scientists that are creating innovative seasoning blends daily. We have unique blending technology that allows us to use NIR (near-infrared technology) to guarantee our seasonings are 100% blended properly. This technology allows us to add micro ingredients i.e. probiotics to our seasonings and guarantee the inclusion rate into the blend. We are backed by the Mitsubishi family of food ingredient companies and source our ingredients from all over the globe.


JS: Please share your thoughts on what consumer preferences and behaviors have been impacting sweet and savory snack flavors.

MC: We have seen a strong trend in sweeter flavors. Regional preferences and international flavors have had an impact on our innovative blends. We have not seen as many organic requests as we feel more customers have been reacting to the economy and trending to more “all-natural” or non-GMO offerings.


JS: What have been some of the most notable trends in sweet snack flavors in recent years?

MC: We have received a lot of sweet requests that add something else to it like heat. For example Chili Pineapple. We are launching a few sweet innovation items with some familiarity to consumers like a Biscoff Cookie Butter type flavor or a doughnut seasoning reminiscent of a familiar yeast doughnut company in the market.


JS: Please tell us what you think have been the significant consumer trends in savory snack flavors.

MC: We have seen a strong trend in regional cuisine savory requests. We have done plenty of umami-type seasonings this past year, such as Japanese Thai Curry, Miso, or Elote (Spicy Elote).


JS: Then, could you please share what you think consumers might be looking for in sweet snack flavors in the coming months/years?

MC: I think the familiarity trend will continue. Flavors that they can enjoy on snacks that they can correlate back to another item. For example Chocolate Chip Cookie Seasoning, Fruit Loop type, etc.


JS: Other than what’s going on in your booth, what are you most looking forward to at SNAXPO23?

MC: I really enjoy the networking aspect of SNAXPO. We have been involved with SNAC International for over 15 years and there is no better trade show for networking than SNAXPO. I’m looking forward to meeting up with existing customers and making connections with new potential business partners.





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