2020 Trend Report: Discover What’s Possible with Tropical

By: iTi Innovation

iTi Tropicals’ Innovation Team had an exciting and innovative year.  This year, we focused on finding creative applications and concepts for our products. Let’s take a look at some the concepts we really focused on throughout the year. 

Tropicals in Unexpected Applications 

iTi Tropicals’ Innovation Team is always searching to bring a touch of the tropics into unexpected culinary applications. Keep reading to learn how we use coconut water concentrate, coconut milk powder, guava, and banana in exciting new ways! 

Coconut Water Concentrate is a great addition to stocks, soups, and broths. Combine coconut water concentrate and water with meaty vegetables such as mushrooms, fennel or garlic, to bring out a rich, umami flavor with a hint of sweetness. The flavor of coconut water is subtle enough that it does not overpower other ingredients in soups, it merely enhances them.  Coconut water is naturally high in electrolytes, so feel free to limit or omit the addition of salt! 

iTi Tropicals began offering 100% Coconut Milk Powder this year.  This product works very well as a fat source in granola, breakfast, and nutritional bars.  This product works so well because it doesn’t increase the moisture content in the bar, but it does provide a plant-based fat source and a subtle coconut flavor. 

We have also found that banana puree and guava puree are great egg replacement options.  With their thick viscosity, they provide a similar structure that an egg would provide.  Banana and guava puree also have enough moisture to serve as a binding ingredient, another important property of an egg.   


The year of the flexitarian lifestyle; a concept that allows consumption of both animal and plant-based products.  Flexitarian lifestyles are not restrictive like vegan and vegetarian diets, making it more sustainable for consumers. Consumers are not limited to strictly plants or animals; they can enjoy animal products and meat from time to time. This lifestyle is centered with a higher focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains,  with a limited intake of sugars, processed carbohydrates, and animal products.  

iTi Tropicals’ developed a concept that has a focus on plant-based fats and animal-based proteins. We combined our coconut cream with skim milk to create a product that has 1% saturated fat from coconut cream and 8 grams of protein from dairy milk per 8 ounces.  

Clean and Functional Fruit Purees, Juices, and Juice Concentrates  

Consumers are more health-conscious than ever before, especially with the ongoing pandemic.  Not only are consumers looking for nutrient-dense/functional products, but they are also looking for clean-label or familiar ingredients. iTi Tropicals offers 100% fruit products that are as clean label as they come! We offer functional and clean products that meet the needs of consumers. Our products are free from artificial colors and flavors. We offer a wide variety of clean, functional products including coconut milk powder, coconut cream, coconut water concentrate, acerola, acai, passion fruit, banana, and more!

Coconut water can be used to make cold brew coffee, a beverage that is both hydrating and energizing.  Acerola naturally contains high levels of ascorbic acid, perfect for immunity and health shots. Acai is an Amazonian superfruit full of anthocyanins and antioxidants that can be blended in a smoothie bowl, used as a dessert base, or used in health shots. Banana is naturally sweet, high in vitamins/minerals, and viscous in texture. These properties in bananas can be used as a natural sweetener, an egg replacer in baked goods, or as a base for frozen novelties. Try using dragon fruit to add a hint of natural red and pink color to your product! 

We anticipate most trends from 2020 will continue into 2021 due to consumers increasing their demands for a healthier lifestyle. 

Check out our website to learn more about our products and what we offer! See something you’re interested in? Request a free sample here

Tags:  food innovation 2020 trends