Products displayed at Expo East reflect demand for functional benefits, clean labels and transparency.
Make way for innovative new sources of protein, from chickpea-based pasta to baked crisps made with pea protein, and snack bars with protein derived from crickets. Also on the rise are products with protein blends, such as Fit Patties from Pulmuone Foods USA, which combines chicken and vegetable protein in a fully cooked frozen patty in honey barbecue, tangy chipotle, and island teriyaki flavors.
Caveman-inspired diets are gaining mammoth momentum, thanks in part to new paleo certifications and packaged foods free of grains, processed sugars, dairy and legumes. Developed for the lifestyle’s strict standards, Yawp! bars contain organic almonds, dates and seeds and are available in such varieties as mocha and coconut chai.
Social cause is a common ingredient for many natural food companies, connecting consumers to a philanthropic mission through product offerings. Sales of Coexist Coffee, for example, support education for children in communities in conflict. Bill’s Best, a maker of organic barbecue sauces, gives a portion of profits to research a cure for degenerative brain disease.
Apple cider vinegar, turmeric and other traditional ingredients with functional benefits are emerging in new ways. Fire Cider, billed as a holistic health tonic, contains organic raw honey, produce and vinegar.
A longtime darling of the natural food segment, trendy coconut is being tapped in creative new ways, particularly as a substitute for less healthy ingredients. Pure Wraps from Improveat, for example, are gluten-free, raw tortillas made with coconut meat, coconut water and Himalayan salt.
New products with digestive health benefits extend well beyond yogurt. Probiotics are popping up in fresh-pressed juices, snacks and chocolate. Ohso Belgian chocolate bars include live bacteria cultures and contain 72 calories or fewer per serving.
Many vegan brands are adopting a more mainstream-friendly focus on quality ingredients and taste rather than aligning products with the lifestyle. Hampton Creek Foods, maker of Just Mayo, bills the egg-free product as healthy, affordable and environmentally friendly with non-bioengineered ingredients.
Beauty products with such edible ingredients as acai, coconut and ancient grains were exhibited at Expo East. Shoosha, a line of organic skin care products, uses certified organic green tea, hazelnut crème coffee and coconut cream.
The number of products with short and simple ingredient lists is growing across categories. An example is Neat, a meat substitute that contains only pecans, garbanzo beans, oats, organic cornmeal and seasonings.
Bowing to a growing demand for transparency, more products are packaged with stories of how ingredients were sourced. Examples include First Field Jersey Ketchup, created with tomatoes grown in New Jersey, and Omena Organics, which manufactures canned, dried and frozen fruit with a farm-to-table positioning.