Beans, Protein, Unsweetened Beverages and Surprising Sweets top my trendspotting list at Expo East 2016
Wanna know what’s coming to a store near you? Or maybe it’s already there and you haven’t noticed. Either way, I’m sharing what I spotted as the current and upcoming Food Trends at Expo East 2016. Twice a year I love attending Natural Products Expo in Baltimore (East) and Anaheim (West). They are jam packed with seemingly endless rows of “natural” goodies, including food, beverages, supplements and household products. Of course, my favorite is the food. I basically eat out of tiny sample cups for days and try not to take too much away with me. Those bags get super heavy and I end up wasting most of it. Thus, I’m pretty choosy about which products make it home.
This year I noticed a jump in the variety of offerings in certain product categories and I’ll share them with you below. At the time of posting, I have no affiliations or client relationships with any of the companies listed, though I did receive some sample products from the show to taste.
Trend #1: Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…..
Gluten-free foods still really hot and the result is a ton of offerings featuring beans instead of wheat flour, especially in the form of pasta. I also found some tasty and creative bean filled snacks.
Modern Table Meals– These gluten-free meal kits look delish and I found them at my local Target. The bean pasta and veggie meal kits up the protein and fiber content and taste great. Yay on both counts.
Tolerant Foods has an awesome lineup of legume-based pastas which are super high in protein and fiber, and perfect for most people with food allergies. Check out their organic pastas available in red lentil, green lentil and black bean in several different shapes. Tolerant products are organic, non-GMO project vertified, certified gluten-free and vegan. Score!
The Good Bean has been selling their yummy roasted chickpeas for years, but now they have a new line of chips made with “a power-protein blend of chickpeas, navy beans, red lentils, and pea protein, to which we’ve added superfood sweet potatoes and protein-rich red quinoa”. Look for Sea Salt, Jalapeno Cheddar, Cheesy Nacho, Sweet Chili, and BBQ Bacon flavors.
HIPPEAS organic chickpea puffs are a fun, light and crunchy snack with 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per single serve bag. I had the chance to try a few flavors and I’m digging the Sriracha Sunshine and Vegan White Cheddar. I actually came home and found them in my local Starbucks!
They are certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher and non-GMO. HIPPEAS has also partnered with Farm Africa, a charity working to end hunger and bring wealth to rural eastern Africa. Nice! #GivePeasACHance 🙂
Pure Genius have merged healthy and sweet with their bean based brownies and blondies that are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, soy-free and kosher, AND contain more than 40% chickpeas! They are safe for nut free schools and such a great option when kids are looking for a more nutritious treat.Beans, Protein, Unsweetened Beverages & Surprising Sweets top my trend list at #ExpoEast… Click To Tweet
Trend #2: Unsweetened beverages:
With the media touting sugar as “toxic” and the supposed cause of everything from diabetes to the obesity epidemic, many companies are offering unsweetened beverages and I’m fully taking advantage!
Tickle Water is “the first unsweetened sparkler in the market for kids. It’s a little bit fancy and a whole lot of fun!” With flavors like cola, green apple and watermelon, they are sure to be a hit with the kids who tire of plain water quickly. They contain only natural flavors with no sodium, sugar, artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Spindrift offers no sugar added sparkling waters that are triple filtered with an added splash of fresh fruit juice. I first found these in a multi pack at my local Costco! My favorite flavor is blackberry, you may like grapefruit, cucumber, lemon, raspberry lime or watermelon.
Sound sparkling tea is the maker of my favorite new beverage find: organic unsweetened Sparkling Yerba Mate with Citrus and Hibiscus. It’s so refreshing and unique- and while yerba mate can taste a bit like tree bark, this one hits the spot.
This Lakanto Matcha Latte is amazing! It’s sugar-free, dairy free, gluten free, and vegan with added probiotics and sweetened with monkfruit. Only 15 calories and no sugar per serving, it’s fantastic hot or cold mixed with milk, non-dairy milk or water. Matcha is a huge food trend in its own right-I love Japanese matcha for its nutritional power but any pre-made mix is usually filled with sugar. Not this one! Thanks, Lakanto!
Trend #3: Protein
While the Expo floor is filled with jerky galore, you won’t find any here. Protein is a HUGE trend, and sometimes we don’t consume enough while other times we consume way too much. I’m going with the fact that each person is different and their total dietary intake is definitely different. While I’m featuring a bunch of high protein products here, that doesn’t mean they are right for everyone but here are several options if you are looking to increase protein in your diet with some convenient packaged options.
Single-serve bags of Tangy Southern BBQ Protes protein chips contain 15 grams of protein for 120 calories, 7g carbs, 3g of fiber and 1g of sugar. They are pea protein based and definitely don’t have the aftertaste of some protein chips. They are also gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO.
Also primarly made from pea protein, iwon nutrition protein chips are gluten-free, and non-GMO as well as USDA organic certified. These are higher in calories with about 250 per bag with 20 grams of protein, 16g carbs and 6g fiber. The cinnamon French toast flavor is a bit of a sweet treat.
ProYo is a protein-powered frozen yogurt in a tube that’s quite delicious. With 140-150 calories and 20 grams of protein per serving, it’s a way to sneak extra protein into a tasty breakfast, snack or dessert. You can even defrost them and create overnight oats, smoothies or other treats as an alternative to protein powder if it fits into your dietary goals. They are gluten and soy free as well as non-GMO and a source of probiotics/prebiotics. Look for vanilla bean, banana vanilla, blueberry pomegranate and dutch chocolate.
Protein powders are abundant on the market today, but SoTru has taken them to a whole new level. SoTru organic, vegan protein shakes provide fermented whole food nutrition for ease of digestion, absorption and bio-availability. With 18g of plant-based protein per 100 calorie serving that’s a pretty good deal, along with fermented fruits and vegetables, digestive enzymes, probiotics and a medicinal mushroom blend, these powders are jam packed with nutrients. Check out their other fermented drink mixes as well including alkalizing greens, turmeric and ginger, and medicinal mushrooms. Wow!
Trend #4: Just for the fun of it- Mochi ice cream
On a recent business trip to San Diego, I fell in love with mochi- a Japanese ice cream treat. I found an actual mochi bar at a Whole Foods Market in San Diego and didn’t know what to try first. I then enjoyed some more for dessert at Nobu San Diego and I was officially hooked. THEN, I found a huge box of My/ Mo mochi in Costco. My sister recently traveled to Japan with her family and everyone became such huge fans of the tasty dessert that they actually named their new puppy Mochi! If you have never had the pleasure of tasting mochi, it’s a bite-sized premium ice cream wrapped in a sweet, soft rice dough. The flavor possibilities are endless and the best part is that it comes with built-in portion control, assuming you can stick to just one for about 110 calories. If you want to try multiple flavors, cut them into smaller pieces and have a dessert sharing moment with your family. Everyone gets a little variety and fun.
I hope you enjoyed my recap of food trends at Expo East 2016. All of these folks are so nice and I recommend you check out their websites if you are interested in finding out more about the products and where to purchase them. Let me know what you think!