ANAHEIM, CALIF. — The next frontier for food manufacturers is not subtracting gluten or artificial ingredients but adding nutrition, said Christine Day, chief executive officer of Luvo, a maker of frozen meals.
“While we eat enough calories, we don’t necessarily get enough nutrition in what we eat,” Ms. Day said during a presentation at Natural Products Expo West, held March 5-8 in Anaheim. “So, I think this is the next thing that we as manufacturers have a responsibility to really look at. We have made so many great strides in organic and natural and gluten-free, but… we’ve got to tackle the whole sugar, sodium, and actual nutrition with full servings of fruits and vegetables in our food.
“And I think when we manage to complete that circle, then we will truly be leading the industry.”
Attracting more than 71,000 attendees this year, the annual natural and organic trade show serves as a stage for groundbreaking innovation from hundreds of companies. More than 2,700 exhibitors, 634 of them first-timers, showcased tens of thousands of new products.
“The innovation rate is phenomenal in this industry,” said Carlotta Mast, executive director of content and insights at New Hope Natural Media, which produces Expo West. “More and more companies are coming on board with truly innovative products that are helping to grow our industry, and we’re seeing a lot of that innovation in food and beverage.”
At the event, the Hain Celestial Group, Lake Success, N.Y., debuted 100 products set to hit shelves this year. New snacks include Garden of Eatin’ Cantina Style Corn Tortilla Chips in white corn with lime and blue corn with sea salt varieties, Sensible Portions Puffs made with organic corn in such flavors as cheddar and tomato basil, and Terra Wasabi potato chips.
For children, the company is introducing Ella’s Kitchen organic multigrain snacks made with quinoa and brown rice and Earth’s Best Organic Freeze Dried Snacks, which are small freeze dried fruits and vegetables with a soft texture in corn and edamame and banana and apple varieties.
Arugula Kale and Chard Basil join Hain Celestial's BluePrint line of cold-pressed juices. From Celestial Seasonings comes several new innovative product lines, including shelf-stable, ready-to-drink lattes and loose-leaf blending kits.
The Dream brand of plant-based products expands with a new platform of coconut-based yogurts and frozen dessert bites coated in chocolate. Rolling out this fall is a new refrigerated line of Imagine Culinary Soup in such flavors as potato and kale and lemon chicken quinoa.
And fresh from Hain Celestial’s newly acquired Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery business are heat-and-serve garlic toast and cheese toast, with 5 grams of fiber per slice.
“This is a banner year for Hain Celestial’s innovation pipeline,” said Irwin Simon, president and chief executive officer of Hain Celestial. “We are proud of our brands and our new product innovation that demonstrates our continued leadership in the organic and natural space. Our ability to globally source distinctive ingredients, coupled with our nimble, innovation-focused culture, has resulted in product uniqueness with quality and speed-to-market that rival the rest.”
Food Business News scoured the floor at Expo West for the latest innovations from leaders in the natural and organic category.