Posted on Jul 20, 2015
A tiny grain with a neutral flavor and a fresh bite won the stomachs of many during the Institute of Food Technologists Conference and Food Expo in Chicago, Illinois.
"This is the first year the Sorghum Checkoff hosted a booth at IFT," said Doug Bice, Sorghum Checkoff high value markets director, "and the interest in sorghum as an American grown ancient grain reached far and wide."
The newly displayed sorghum food booth featured educational material as well as an exhibit of products containing sorghum in its various forms. Further enhancing IFT-goers sorghum experience, the Sorghum Checkoff was joined by cobranders Wondergrain and Nu Life Market.
An entourage of people surrounded the booth, enjoying a taste of Wondergrain's whole grain and pearled sorghum dishes and Nu Life Market's popped sorghum samples.
A Cooking Up Science session with Iron Chef and Restaurateur Marc Forgione, winner of the Next Iron Chef and owner of Restaurant Forgione and American Cut, brought IFT-goers together for a unique sorghum cooking demonstration.
"Marc prepared a popcorn shrimp dish with popped sorghum," Bice said. "People were crowding the front of the room after the chef was done to get a taste of the dish. It tasted fantastic, and his cooking demo definitely created a lot of buzz for sorghum."
Creating more excitement, the first 50 people at the Cooking Up Science session were invited back to the Sorghum Checkoff booth for an exclusive apron signing and meet and greet with Chef Forgione.
Also featured at the booth was a drawing for a Taste Sorghum Basket to further engage with attendees interested in sorghum. Attendees were also encouraged to enter the Sorghum Recipe Showdown.
Excitement surrounding sorghum at IFT made evident the significance of the crop as a food product, and Bice said the future is promising.
"Sorghum is making a splash in the food industry, whether for its versatility, health qualities or the fact that it is naturally gluten-free and non-GMO," Bice said. "More and more sorghum is being used in food products in the mainstream market, and IFT showcased that consumers, product developers and other food industry professionals like and want it. I am excited to see the momentum carried forward."
"For anyone who hasn't tasted sorghum before, I would tell you to give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised."