We’re always on the lookout for delicious, better-for-you foods to inspire our community. That’s why we make a point of frequenting trade shows that showcase and unveil the latest culinary trends and products. From the Sweets and Snacks Show to the International Dairy, Deli, and Bakery Association Show, to Fancy Foods and the National Restaurant Association Show, we recently had the opportunity to taste the top new items coming to market.
Despite the diverse nature of these shows, some common themes emerged. Here are six trends to watch:
1. Plant-Based Foods
With non-dairy milk and meat alternatives leading the way, the plant-based market is exploding. Category sales grew at 20% in just the past year alone.
Classic brands like BOCA, owned by Kraft Heinz, are reformulating and re-branding to appeal to a new audience of “Millennial balancers.” New players continue to emerge into the U.S. market, like Canadian-based Happy Planet, making a splash with beverages made with ingredients such as pea protein, oats, and almonds.
2. On-the-Go Convenience
As families scramble to keep up with today’s fast-paced modern lifestyle, the concept of three square meals a day is disappearing. Healthy grab-and-go options are a great way to feed your busy family the nutrition they need.
Look for The Laughing Cow Cheese Dippers, which combine creamy, dippable cheese with the perfect portion of savory breadsticks in a portable snack for kids and Moms alike. Or, try school-safe snack MadeGood Granola Bars. Made in a facility free from the top eight allergens, each delicious bar contains a full serving of veggies.
3. Protein-Centered Snacks
In your quest to maintain a balanced diet on the run, protein snacks are a great option to fuel you through your long day. From popcorn to cookies and crisps, manufacturers are fortifying foods with protein.
4. Health Food that Prioritizes Taste
Just because it’s better-for-you doesn’t mean it shouldn’t taste good. Curious and adventurous Millennial palates are driving flavor profiles with savory, sweet, and spicy flavors in demand.
Endangered Species pairs Fair Trade, non-GMO dark chocolate with the sweet smell of cinnamon, tingling heat of cayenne, and delicious taste of dark cherries. Wicked Crisps brings the flavor and nutrition with varieties like Roasted Garlic and Asiago Cheese Broccoli Crisps and Red Curry Hummus Crisps.
5. Clean Label Ingredients
When it comes to ingredients, we know you value transparency. If you want your products to be free of artificial flavors, colors, and hormones, mainstream companies, as well as niche brands, are responding.
Applegate (owned by Hormel Foods) and Butterball are actively expanding their lines of all-natural products touting no nitrates or nitrites, no hormones, and no artificial ingredients. Elmhurst Milked, whose makers made the switch to plant-based milk after a long history of producing dairy milk, uses only six ingredients or less in each of their flavors. All varieties are Non-GMO Project Verified and free from artificial ingredients.
6. Better-For-You Indulgence
From chocolate to cheese, these guilt-free, indulgent treats will satisfy cravings. Companies are stepping up their game to fill the space between healthy and indulgent.
A new brand from Pladis, Chua Energy Snack Bites, features fruits, nuts, and seeds dipped in dark chocolate. Michel et Augustin offers preservative-free sweets with their French-style Cookie squares.