Coconut water is coming to single-serve brewers.

CHICAGO — Coconut water, cocktail mixers and cotton candy hot cocoa are coming to pod-based coffee brewers. Several exhibitors at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2015 Private Label Trade Show, held Nov. 15-17 in Chicago, showcased innovation that stretches the boundaries of the single-serve beverage category.

Trilliant Food, Beverage and Nutrition, Little Chute, Wis., unveiled single-serve cocktail mixers in such varieties as hot buttered rum, hot toddy, peppermint patty and appletini. The mixes are brewed with water and combined with alcohol to create convenient and customizable libations.

Trilliant's single-serve cocktail mixers are combined with alcohol to create convenient and customizable libations.

A new collection of globally inspired beverage mixes from Trilliant includes horchata cappuccino, dulce de leche cappuccino, Mexican hot cocoa and spicy black raspberry hot cocoa with a hint of habanero. Trilliant also featured single-serve coconut water mixes in original and pineapple varieties. The pour-over-ice products are shelf-stable and more cost-effective than ready-to-drink formats, said Peter Sawin, vice-president of marketing and innovation for Trilliant.

From TreeHouse Foods, Oak Brook, Ill., a line of single-serve hot cocoa mixes features such whimsically decadent flavors as peanut butter cup, birthday cake, s’mores and cotton candy. The company also displayed ice cream float mixes in dark chocolate, orange creamsicle, chocolate mint and root beer varieties. Each single-serve pod brews a flavored syrup topping for ice cream.

Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee makes a range of premium loose leaf teas in recyclable capsules.

Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee, Northbrook, Ill., featured a range of premium loose leaf teas in recyclable capsules with a patented filter and cup. The company was among several highlighting sustainable solutions for single-serve pods, including compostable and bio-degradable options.

Other new offerings in the single-serve segment at the show included seasonal varieties, organic blends and indulgent dessert flavors. The latter is particularly popular among younger generations, said Colleen Roberts, director of sales for Flavor Dynamics, Inc. At the private label show, the South Plainfield, N.J., flavor house highlighted a line of sweet and salty flavors for beverage applications, with such examples as salty Hawaiian hazelnut, salty Kona macadamia nut, and salty honey caramel. Savory and spicy flavors are set to gain steam in single-serve coffee, Ms. Roberts said.

Beyond pod-based beverages, several other product development trends emerged at the show. Here are five more.

|||READ MORE: Organics everywhere|||

Jel Sert Co. featured two varieties of organic instant pudding with chia.

Organics everywhere

Many exhibitors at the private label trade show touted new U.S.D.A. organic certified products, including such unexpected items as organic breadcrumbs, organic ketchup, organic almond milk and organic instant pudding. Organic peanut butter cups were introduced from SunRidge Farms, Royal Oaks, Calif., which bills the miniature confections as the first and only of its kind available for bulk. The company also manufactures organic nuts and snack mixes.

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A new ready-to-eat cereal from Attune Food Group capitalizes on the coconut craze.

Superfoods to the rescue

Quinoa, coconut and chia star in a number of new snacks, cereals, side dishes and baked foods available for private label.

A new ready-to-eat cereal from Attune Food Group, Eugene, Ore., capitalizes on the coconut craze by combining whole grain oat clusters with coconut sugar, coconut oil, toasted coconut and coconut flakes. Chia pops up in two instant pudding varieties from Jel Sert Co., West Chicago, Ill.

Natural Sourcing International, L.L.C., Santa Monica, Calif., specializes in supplying seeds, ancient grains, freeze-dried fruits, superfood powders, premium trail mixes and more to retailers.

|||READ MORE: Breakfast is hot|||

AdvancePierre Foods showcased a new line of frozen breakfast sandwiches at the private label show.


Breakfast is hot

Microwavable morning meals are gaining momentum in the private label segment, with several players introducing new convenient breakfast items at the show. Simplot Retail, a division of the J.R. Simplot Co., Boise, Idaho, offers a range of breakfast sandwiches, entrees, bowls and hash browns, plus substitutions and reduced-sodium options for health-conscious customers. Frozen breakfast handhelds are expected to grow 7.4% in 2016 to $1.2 billion, and 94% of U.S. adults buy store brand foods, according to market data cited by Simplot Retail.

AdvancePierre Foods, Cincinnati, showed a new line of frozen breakfast sandwiches, including sausage, egg and cheese biscuits, muffins and croissants.

J&J Snack Foods Corp., Pennsauken, N.J., announced its entry into the frozen breakfast category with new biscuit melts in bacon, egg and cheese, and sausage, egg and cheese varieties. The stuffed sandwiches feature handmade buttermilk biscuit dough, real cheese, whole eggs and premium meats.

|||READ MORE: A taste of authenticity|||

Prince Waffles imports an assortment of authentic waffles from Belgium.


A taste of authenticity

Global flavors are flourishing in store brand offerings, from imported Italian pastas and gelatos to Belgian chocolates and waffles. Prince Waffles, Irvine, Calif., imports an assortment of traditional Liege, filled and breakfast waffles from Belgium. A recently added variety features a light butter waffle filled with creamy custard.

Nuestro Queso, L.L.C., Rosemont, Ill., specializes in Hispanic dairy products, including queso fresco, quesadilla, cojita, cremas and more. The company showcased a shredded Oaxaca cheese that offers convenience to consumers craving an internationally inspired homemade dish.

Hellenic Quality Foods S.A., Athens, Greece, presented frozen Greek appetizers and desserts, such as spanakopita and baklava. Topan, Treviso, Italy, launched a line of frozen chef-inspired Italian dishes featuring such varieties as butter and sage sweet potato gnocchi, Neapolitan ancient grain and quinoa salad, and saffron Milanese risotto.

|||READ MORE: Free and friendly|||

Free and friendly

Gluten-free, dairy-free, allergen-friendly and vegan foods abounded on the trade show floor, providing plenty of options for retailers catering to consumers with special diets.

Nutrafood makes a line of dairy-free wellness drinks made with almond milk and fruit purees.


Nutrafood, Basiliano, Italy, featured a line of wellness drinks made with almond milk and fruit purees or juices in such varieties as banana, blood orange, strawberry and apricot. Packaged in single-serving aseptic cartons, the beverages are free of dairy, gluten, lactose, soy, peanuts, casein, eggs and genetically modified ingredients. Ducoco Food & Beverages S.A., Sao Paulo, Brazil, introduced a line of coconut milk beverages in six flavors, including original, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate, extra coconut and café latte.

Gluvana Gluten-Free Foods, Atlanta, unveiled self-rising gluten-free all-purpose flour and self-rising gluten-free pound cake blend at the show. Homefree, Windham, N.H., launched mini cookies in chocolate mint and lemon burst flavors. The treats are gluten-free, vegan and Non-GMO Project verified.

Wixon, St. Francis, Wis., rolled out gluten-free soup mixes, including classic chicken noodle, creamy potato, hearty minestrone and supreme chili varieties. New gluten-free bakery items from Wixon include vanilla cake mix, chocolate brownie mix, honey butter corn bread mix and herb pizza crust mix.

Gluten-free options abounded on the trade show floor.


Toufayan Bakery, Plant City, Fla., displayed gluten-free scoopable pita chips in salted caramel, chili lime and sea salt flavors.

Vegan options highlighted at the show included vegan jerky from MW Polar Foods, Norwalk, Calif., and a variety of meatless burgers and entrees from Sol Cuisine Inc., Mississauga, Ont.