A peek at the latest ingredients, flavors and foods in the natural and organic marketplace.
New natural and organic products are positioned on offering convenience in the kitchen.
“People are understanding that cooking is better and usually healthy for you,” said Jenna Blumenfeld, food editor for New Hope Natural Media, which produces Expo East. “But consumers aren’t getting more time, so products are rising to meet this demand.”
Simmer sauces and soup mixes simplify meal preparation for time-strapped consumers.
“You can kind of feel like you’re cooking, but it’s much faster,” Ms. Blumenfeld said.
Cooksimple, Red Lodge, Mt., offers a line of boxed meal starters made with organic ingredients. Varieties include cowboy chili, New Orleans jambalaya, skillet lasagna, stroganoff and more.
Tasty Bite, Stamford, Conn., makes heat-and-eat Asian noodles, Indian entrees and rice dishes. Products are packaged in BPA-free pouches and contain no artificial flavors, additives or preservatives.
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Chamomile, hibiscus, elderflower and other floral flavors are budding in beverages.
“Part of that is the health aspect; hibiscus is linked to reduced blood pressure (for example),” Ms. Blumenfeld said. “But I also think it’s something unique for consumers to grab, a way of differentiating in that crowded beverage space. I’m seeing this in sodas, energy beverages, definitely a lot in tea.”
Blossom Water L.L.C., Westwood, Mass., produces water featuring fruit and flower essences in such varieties as grapefruit lilac, plum jasmine, pomegranate geranium and lemon rose. Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Brooklyn, offers a craft soda flavored with pomegranate and hibiscus.
New from Temple Turmeric, New York, is a line of 40-calorie functional beverages including a hibiscus berry flavor. And the latest launch from Suja Juice, San Diego, is Lavenade, a lemonade with red cabbage, maqui berry and lavender flower.
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Recycled plastic and compostable materials are gaining traction in product development.
Justin’s, L.L.C., Boulder, Colo., recently launched snack packs featuring gluten-free pretzels with chocolate hazelnut or almond butter packed in 100% recycled plastic. The company partnered with Placon, a packaging developer, to create the container with post-consumer PET plastics that would otherwise be tossed in the trash.
Quinn Popcorn, Boulder, manufactures microwave popcorn in compostable bags, and OneCoffee, Burnaby, B.C., offers single-serve coffee pods that are compostable, organic and fair trade.
Some companies are even formulating food products with the materials typically discarded during manufacturing processes. Coffee fruit, the previously tossed portion of the coffee plant, is an ingredient in several new products, Ms. Blumenfeld said. Splash Beverage Group, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for one, distributes the KonaRed line of bottled juices and teas made with extracts and powders from Hawaiian coffee fruit, which is touted for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
“Coffee fruit is the fruit of coffee beans, and when it’s produced, it’s often wasted,” Ms. Blumenfeld said. “I’m seeing the use of that in coffee fruit flour in addition to beverages.”
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Make way for avocado oil, the hot new heart-healthy fat on the block.
“Avocado oil is cropping up in place of other oils,” Ms. Blumenfeld said. “We’re seeing popcorn popped in avocado oil (as well as) brands come out with bottled avocado oil.”
Recent launches from Expo East exhibitors include bottled avocado oil from Dipasa USA, Inc., Brownsville, Texas; Earth Balance avocado oil spread from Boulder Brands, Boulder, Colo.; and avocado cooking spray from Chosen Foods, L.L.C., San Diego.
In the snack aisle, LesserEvil Healthy Brands, Danbury, Conn., makes popcorn popped in extra virgin avocado oil and seasoned with Himalayan pink salt. The company said it uses the oil of more than 1.25 avocados per bag.
“I think the trend is tied to people not being afraid of fats anymore,” Ms. Blumenfeld said. “More research is showing if you eat good fats like avocado, then it’s not going to make you fat.”
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Combining principles of the paleo and vegan diets, “pegan” is an eating plan that emphasizes organic produce, healthy grains, lentils and high-quality fats, and eschews dairy, soy, refined sugar and legumes. Unlike vegans, pegans may eat a small portion of sustainably raised, grass-fed meat.
Eating Evolved Inc., Setauket, N.Y., bills its chocolate bars and coconut butter cups as both vegan and paleo friendly. The products are free of gluten, dairy and soy and lightly sweetened with organic, unrefined maple sugar. Hu Chocolate from Hu Kitchen L.L.C., New York, is a line of pegan-friendly chocolate bars in such varieties as almond butter and puffed quinoa, crunchy banana and crunchy fig. The products are free of refined sugar, soy lecithin, gluten, dairy, emulsifiers, stabilizers and bioengineered ingredients.
Paleo and vegan snacks from Expo East exhibitors include a pecan pie energy bar from Paleo Simplified, Tarcon Springs, Fla., and a curry cashew granola from Laughing Giraffe Organics, Lafayette, Calif.
“I think it just ties back into the clean label thing, that every ingredient on that label is going to be good for you, and there are no ingredients that are apparently bad for you, like refined sugars,” Ms. Blumenfeld said.
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Gluten free remains a top claim among products showcased at Expo East, but recent innovation touts additional attributes.
“I think (gluten-free) is still going strong, but gluten-free isn’t enough,” Ms. Blumenfeld said. “It has to be delicious, and if you can combine that with another specialty diet, that product is going to sell even better.”
New from FlapJacked, Westminster, Colo., is a line of single-serve muffins featuring probiotics. The products are packaged in microwavable cups; consumers add water and heat for 35 seconds to bake. In double chocolate and cinnamon apple flavors, the products are certified gluten-free with 20 grams of protein per serving.
Another exhibitor, Redlands, Calif.-based Freedom Foods, has unveiled three new completely allergen-friendly cereals made without soy, gluten, wheat, dairy, nuts, sesame or bioengineered ingredients.
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Boasting better absorption of nutrients, sprouted grains, beans and seeds star in new snacks and grocery staples.
Organic sprouted wheat bread, bagels, buns, tortillas and pizza bread are offered by Alvarado Street Bakery, Petaluma, Calif. One Degree Organic Foods, Abbotsford, B.C., makes a line of cereal in such varieties as sprouted brown rice cacao crisps, sprouted maize flakes, and sprouted red fife raisin bran.
Living Intentions, Richmond, Calif., sells cereals, snack mixes and flour made with sprouted ingredients. Way Better Snacks, Minneapolis, makes tortilla chips, pita chips and crackers with sprouted ingredients.
Sol Cuisine, Mississauga, Ont., has debuted a new vegetarian sprouted quinoa chia burger. Lundberg Family Farms, Richvale, Calif., is launching a line of organic sprouted risotto made with whole grain brown Arborio rice in sweet corn and bell pepper, cheddar and peppers, and butter and chive varieties.
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Several brands are slipping such ingredients as broccoli, butternut squash and beets into packaged foods for a stealthy boost of nutrition. Hidden Garden Foods Ltd., Burnaby, B.C., formulates gluten-free cookies with a devious dose of vegetables. Flavors include red velvet made with beets, gingersnaps featuring butternut squash, and chocolate chip with pumpkin. The brand’s newest variety is cocoa cherry cookies made with spinach.
Veggie Fries, Wellesley, Mass., are frozen french fries with added nutrition from carrots, broccoli, red pepper or kale.
True Made Foods, Delmar, N.Y., manufactures ketchup, barbecue sauce and hot sauce infused with spinach, carrots and butternut squash. Says the company: “We take empty calorie foods and give them a nutrient dense punch.”
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Product developers are tapping the African superfruit baobab for its tangy flavor and nutritional benefits.
Coco Polo, New Brunswick, N.J., is introducing a sugar-free 70% dark chocolate bar with baobab sweetened with stevia. MySuperFoods, Summit, N.J., makes organic whole grain cookies with chia, quinoa, acerola and baobab.
Vita-V Energy Co., Carol Stream, Ill., is marketing the first organic energy shot with baobab. The product contains baobab pulp and five other organic superfruits, according to the company.
Aduna, London, offers baobab powder that consumers may stir into soup or yogurt, bake into breads and cakes, or blend into sauces and smoothies.
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The demand for plant-based nutrition has given rise to creative new alternatives to animal protein, such as the jackfruit, an emerging “it” ingredient in the natural and organic marketplace. High in fiber and low in calories, this large Southeast Asian tree fruit has a texture likened to that of pulled pork, and at least two companies at Natural Product Expo East are offering it in packaged, ready-to-eat formats.
Chicago-based Upton’s Naturals produces barbecue and chili lime varieties of seasoned jackfruit. The Jackfruit Co., Cambridge, Mass., offers packaged young jackfruit in barbecue, Tex-Mex, curry and sesame ginger flavors. The latter company was founded on the mission to convert jackfruit waste into nutritious food and improve the livelihoods of farmers in India.
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