I was lucky to attend Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim again this year. It is the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products event. This is the place to be if you are interested in learning what the future of natural and organic industry looks like, discovering the newest ingredients and products and understanding the food trends. Expo West also has amazing educational classes from the top leaders and pioneers on topics of climate, business, contemporary animal agriculture, supplements and so much more!
There are some interesting food trends this year, so while it's still fresh in my memory, here are few of the highlights.
1. Fats Are Here to Stay
High fat diets have been gaining so much popularity lately and there were a lot of new products at the Expo tailored to this way of eating. At the core of such diets is the concept of eating meals high in fats, moderate in proteins, and very low in carbs. Some of you might be familiar with the idea of “fatty coffee”(a.k.a. Bulletproof Coffee) or Ketogenic Diet that is huge trend among health and fitness community.
Here are a few interesting products from this category:
FATwater from Bulletproof.
This products is pure deionized water mixed with Brain Octane oil, B vitamins and natural sweeteners that gives you an energy boost without causing a “crash” or sugar cravings.
Ready To Drink Cold Brew Coffee Beverages (from REBBL and Califia Farms).
These are cold brew coffee drinks offer easy way to get your morning coffee. They are mixed with fatty coconut or almond milk.
Know Brainer Coffee Creamers.
These are portion-controlled, ready-to-go sachets with MCT oil, organic grass-fed clarified butter and no added sugar. It is perfect for supporting ketosis in the body, busy mornings or traveling.
2. Mushroom Craze
Ok, I am not talking about magic mushrooms here. These are medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tails and Lion’s Mane among many others. These types of mushrooms have been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to improve longevity and health.
These mushrooms have already been popular in supplements, but now they are slowly making their way into food category. New products ranged from variety of mushroom teas, hot chocolate mixes, coffee substitutes and granola bars such as Purely Elizabeth bars with mushroom powder blends.
3. Probiotics for Gut Health
Here is another trend for moving from supplement category into the food. People are continuing to look for products to improve gut health as million of Americans suffer from a host of different digestive issues.
You can now find probiotics in the most unexpected places such as popcorn, candies, juices, chips, chocolates and peanut butter.
One of the new products featured this year was portable probiotic-rich cashew hummus with gluten-free crackers from JUS by Julie.
4. Veggies Everywhere
Low in calories, high in fiber, veggies continue to show up in assortment of products.
Vegetables like purple carrots, pumpkins, beets, and sweet potatoes can be founds in grass-fed yogurts, protein bars, Paleo meat snacks, and variety of crispy treats. Primizie Snacks introduced a crisp breads from organic sprouted amaranth, quinoa and sorghum. Some of the verieties include ancient grains, green harvest, rustic beets and smoked cheddar.
Good news: if you don’t like to eat vegetables, you can now sneak them in through pastas, hummus, desserts or instant smoothie packs.
Companies are simplifying their products with shorter and more straightforward ingredient lists. Many of them provide tracking codes on products so the ingredients can be traced back the producer as consumers demand more and more transparency.
Consumers are now more conscious about food waste and voting with their dollars to support companies who care about the environment and sustainable agriculture rather than purchasing based on taste or price alone.
The problems of contemporary animal agriculture and its realities were discussed at this year’s show by amazing panel of leading animal advocates: David Bronner (CEO of Dr. Bronner's, Cosmic Engagement Officer), Leah Garces (Director of Compassion in World Farming USA), Aaron Gross, PhD (CEO of Farm Forward) and Michele Simon (Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association). They debated many alternatives and the adoption of regenerative organic agricultural practices in order to end unnecessary pain, cruelty, stress and suffering for farmed animals.
Many companies featured meatless burger patties, egg substitutes, milk alternatives, plant-based bacon, and many more products. The exciting part is that plant-based cuisine is becoming more mainstream; people are now buying "alternative" products not only based on their diet, but also based on flavor which has come a long way and becoming comparable to animal products.
Regardless of people's dietary preferences (Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, or any other), it's great to finally see people agree on the common goal: to end unnecessary animal cruelty, suffering, and pain and move towards more just and sustainable food systems.