Bell Hosts Gala Event in Chicago Showcasing Food Industry Trends and Live Cooking Competition

Bell Flavors & Fragrances Hosts Gala Event in Chicago Showcasing Food Industry Trends and Live Cooking Competition


Annual Spark Ignites Event Debuts 2024 Edition of Bell’s Spark Trends Platform and Chef Fusion Challenge to 200+ VIP Guests During Inspired Food Industry Event at The Hatchery

NORTHBROOK, Illinois – May 23, 2024 – The most talked about food industry event of the year is a wrap! Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. (Bell) thanks more than 200+ invited guests from the food and beverage business for attending the 2024 edition of their Spark Ignites event on Friday, May 17, at The Hatchery in Chicago.

This year, the annual invite-only event not only showcased the latest consumer trends and flavor predictions from Bell’s Spark Trends platform, but also reinvigorated the company’s live, “Chopped-style” cooking competition, Chef Fusion Challenge, featuring four chef teams hailing from leading food industry brands.

“All the stars aligned for Spark Ignites 2024 with the Hatchery as the perfect location. We loved the opportunity to serve guests our unique flavor creations based on this year’s Spark Trends. And bringing back the Chef Fusion competition for the first time since 2019 in front of a live audience was the icing on the cake,” said Vice President of Marketing & Industry Affairs, Kelli Heinz.

Bringing Bell’s 2024 Spark Flavor Trends
to Life at The Hatchery


Known as the top incubator for startups in the Chicagoland food industry, The Hatchery provided the perfect backdrop for bringing trend predictions from Bell’s 2024 Spark Trends Program to life. The gala event greeted guests with a Spark showcase room, replete with opportunities to learn more about the current global Macro Trends identified by the trend platform as well as opportunities to experience (meaning taste) the company’s impactful flavor predictions.

“Every year, our Spark Trends Platforms identifies the food industry trends that are inspiring consumers across the globe. In the process, our Culinary Applications teams also explore regions and cuisines that will be having a strong impact on what’s coming to the table for years to come. With that said, it was a powerful experience to see these flavor explorations showcased as food and beverage demos right here at Spark Ignites 2024. At the end of the day, the proof is in the flavors, and our teams went above and beyond in giving our guests a taste to remember.” – David Banks, Senior Director of Marketing

For more information on Spark Ignites 2024, download the brochure here.

Attendees of Spark Ignites 2024 were given the opportunity to engage in tastings at five tables, each inspired by one of Bell’s five global consumer Macro Trends as part of their Spark–Ignites Creativity, Inspires Senses® Platform. Bell’s Culinary Applications teams across Savory, Sweet, and Beverage categories translated the company’s culinary trend predictions into inspired taste experiences, with highlights including:

Four Teams, One Winner –
The Chef Fusion Challenge Returns


Working in the Hatchery’s industry-size kitchen, in full view of Spark Ignites guests, the four chef teams were given one hour to whip up culinary creations based on Bell’s Spark Trends platform and using flavors as well as technologies from Bell’s Spark collection. Each team was tasked with creating three items; one beverage, one savory dish, and one sweet item while matching a common theme to win the grand prize.

“For the first time since 2019, Spark Ignites 2024 marked the return of Bell’s live cooking competition, the Chef Fusion Challenge. This year, the live event featured four chef teams representing the following top food industry brands: Blount Fine Foods, Reed Food Technology, Fuchs North America, and Griffith Foods. Attendees not only loved watching these culinary powerhouses heat up the kitchen, but also the opportunity to taste creative creations that brought our Spark Trends to life alongside those developed by our rockstar Bell team,” states Casey Schallert, Senior Corporate Chef.

Each of the four teams cooked up plenty of samples for all invited guests to taste and choose their favorites. An important step, because winners were chosen at the end of the cooking competition by all guests in live attendance via an online voting app. Aiding in the decision, a panel of seven hand-picked expert chefs – all certified members of The James Beard House and Research Chefs Association – provided color commentary and personal opinions as teams showcased their creations.

When the smoke cleared, the winner of the evening was Reed Food Technology. In a showcase that truly wowed all guests (and judges), the team brought to life a unique menu focused on Southern comforts with an unexpected twist. Dishes such as Donut Bread Pudding and Sweet Tea Brined Pulled Pork Wonton paired with Kool-Aid Pickle Margarita helped the team clinch first place. As a reward, each team member took home a premium KITCHENAID Pro 600 Stand Mixer.

In second place, the chef team from Fuchs North America cooked up three inspired menu items. Dishes such as The Deviled Egg and Matzo Ball Soup, paired with a Toasted Tea Spritzer helped the team clinch second place. As their prize, the chefs received an OONI Karu 12 Pizza Oven to ‘spark’ up their backyard cooking sessions.

Taking third place, the chef team from Griffith Foods brought their inspiration to the table via two versions of Windy City Ice Cream and Chi-takoyaki paired with “Not Malort.” This inspired showcase earned the team MARCATO Atlas 150 Pasta Machines for their Italian flavor explorations at home.

And last but not least, the team from Blount Fine Foods raised the bar by serving up Sweet Strawberry Entremet and Japanese Inspired Scallop Crudo, paired with a Sherbet Sunrise beverage. As a reward, each member took home a THERMOWORKS ONE Thermapen to keep their food temperature on point in the most heated kitchen moments.

Speaking of kitchen moments, Spark Ignites 2024 provided an unforgettable time for Bell’s guests to mingle and network with fellow food industry professionals.  The Bell team is taking home lots of inspiration from the night at The Hatchery and looks forward to serving its customers the flavors and technologies they need to delight consumers this year – and for years to come.

“This year’s event once again brought our Bell’s Spark Trends to life in a festive and inspiring atmosphere. Our Culinary Applications teams did a fantastic job in translating our Spark Macro Trends and Flavor Explorations into delicious dishes and beverages that really resonated with our guests. Plus, having the Chef Fusion Challenge back as a live event took this special evening over the top. A sincere thank you goes out to everyone who attended and made this event possible!” – Kelli Heinz, Vice President of Marketing & Industry Affairs

To learn more about our 2024 Spark Trends and connect with us to schedule a presentation that brings these trends to life, connect by sending an email to

About Bell Flavors & Fragrances:

Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. is a leading supplier of flavors, fragrances, botanical extracts and ingredient specialties to the food and beverage industry, as well as the household care and personal care industries, offering over 110 years of exceptional customer service and experience. Bell has 11 manufacturing plants worldwide including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, India, Singapore, and China, with sales offices in more than 90 countries. Bell’s global presence allows flexibility in the world marketplace while constantly responding to emerging industry trends with solutions that bring added value and business opportunities to our customers.

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