In January, just as COVID-19 was establishing a beachhead, dietitians gathered at an expo in New York to find out what new products to expect to see on store shelves this year. Trendspotting was part of the fun for attendees, and we are just now starting to see them in the stores:
Probiotics are helpful bacterial “guests” in the intestinal tract, that need constant replenishment. These living microorganisms provide digestive balance and immune health benefits, that can be thrown off by diet and stress. They are usually found in foods like yogurt and kefir, but this year you will increasingly find them in everything from sparkling tonic and supplements to cookies, granola, and dried fruit.
Vegetables are working harder than ever; new varieties of tomato sauce, ketchup, and BBQ sauce contain eight or more hidden vegetables, along with the introduction of new kinds of veggie wraps and veggie crackers, veggie chips, cookies, and even superfood powders.
Allergen-free and allergy awareness are becoming more prevalent, especially in school snacks for children. Allergen-free and allergy-aware usually means foods that are free from the most common allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, and soybeans.
Chips are being replaced with puffs that are promoted as a smarter way to snack that provide more protein and lower carbs than typical potato chips. Look for baked peanut puffs, veggie puffs, paleo puffs, and honey puffs.
Indulgent mashups compete in the healthy snack category and they often include snacks made with dark chocolate and some other sort of wholesome ingredient. Portable and single-serve is another category for those of us on the go, including yogurt and nut butter pouches, packets of flavored fiber, and matcha green to add to bottled water, and single-serve packs of honey “to boost energy.”
Cauliflower is everywhere, from pizza crusts to coating on chicken nuggets. There are new “non-crouton” croutons made from crispy puffed quinoa. Protein-packed products are on the rise and can be found in unexpected places like protein coffee and protein pasta made with lentils, black beans, edamame, and chickpeas, not to mention portable breakfast hummus kits including crispy whole-grain toast, and everything bagel seasoning!
In addition to dozens of new non-dairy products, frozen dairy treats are getting fancy. One ice cream brand was created by a young woman who is lactose-intolerant but didn’t want to give up the real stuff. There are new caffeinated dairy drinks containing dairy and caffeine, while cottage cheese is giving yogurt a run with new pasture-raised, certified organic offerings, some in fruit flavors, and others that are high fat and creamy.
We love our coconut, and it can be found in new kinds of bars and yogurts although we need to be aware that some brands of plant-based yogurt contain very little calcium and 50% of the daily recommended dose of saturated fat. We must continue reading labels because sometimes the newest trends are not necessarily the best choice for our health.
So, there you have it, foodies … lots of interesting new products that are already on our grocery store shelves, or on their way. We may not be able to find our favorite brand of toilet paper, but for sure we probably will be able to find some new, interesting things to eat.
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