Check out popular trends seen at the Natural Products West Expo, held in Anaheim, March 10-12.
- Powerful Probiotics
With 42 percent of consumers seeking more probiotics in their diet (Natural Marketing Institute), it’s no wonder that digestive aids are being added to everything from juices, smoothies and cold-brew coffee to vegan butter and granola.
Also boasting probiotic benefits were fermented food and beverage brands (fermented foods naturally have probiotics whereas probiotics must be added to the products mentioned above). Kombuchas, sauerkraut and kefir were popular at the show, but new, unique products, such as sauces made with fermented onions, also were on display. Many fermented products are less sweet, with some even providing a savory flavor — something of growing interest with consumers.
- Fat Is Where It’s At
Coconut milk, butter, whole-milk and cream-on-top yogurts, and ghee were scattered throughout the expo floor, as well as lesser-known cooking oils, such as algae oil. Interestingly, avocado oil is showing up in products such as avocado oil mayonnaise and potato chips. While this is a clever way to make products Paleo-friendly, it is not a sustainable option. According to Good Fats 101™ blogger, Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FADA, it takes 15-20 avocadoes to make 8 ounces of avocado oil, and growing this number of avocados requires 500-700 gallons of water.
- Innovations in the Meat Market
Grass-fed meat and dairy products remain popular, with brands displaying new products that included 100 percent grass-fed whole-milk drinkable yogurt, grass-fed beef and pork jerky, and grass-fed beef bone broth. Sustainably sourced specialty meats, including boar, bison and buffalo, also made an appearance at the show.
Healthier jerky was a popular item, with companies showing off varieties made with bison, wild boar, elk and other wild game, with “nitrate-free” and “phosphate-free” claims commonly seen on packaging. Meat is getting even further involved in the snack trend. Trail mixes combining buffalo meat, fruits, nuts and seeds were seen, along with meat-based protein bars. These products typically feature lean cuts of meat or poultry, ancient grains, fruit and seasonings.
- Snack Products Continue to Go Strong
With the increase in demand for healthy, convenient foods comes a rise in grab-and-go products. In addition to cereal cups and organic mac and cheese, innovative products, such as frozen egg cups, baking mixes, protein muffin cups and plant-based protein meals, also were present. Pouches of fruit snacks, hummus and nut butter also could be found on the expo floor.
Popular snack bars are set to launch new lines later this year to include more organic, non-GMO and gluten-free options, as well as bars that offer savory flavors, such as chickpea curry and chili, supply two servings of fruit and have simple ingredients lists.
- Plant-Based Protein and Pulses Remain Popular
As consumers become more selective about protein sources, sustainability and health, food manufactures are looking to pulses as a means to meeting their desires. Product developers are using peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas to create protein-rich and gluten-free snacks, such as white cheddar baked pea snacks, baked black and white bean-based chips and plant-based protein bites. Pulses are also being used in bean pastas to create products higher in fiber and protein and more gluten-free options.
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