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New product trends: Foods with benefits & more

May 4, 2018 | 1 min read

If you’re involved in food and beverage product development, and you’ve never attended Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., I suggest you go at least once. Recently a few of my colleagues attended this enormous trade-show and ranked it as a “must see.” From their perspective, this event is a great spot to trend watch and see what’s happening in the natural, organic, healthy, better-for-you food and beverage space. If you weren’t one of the 85,000 attendees this year, here’s some of what you missed:

Trends to watch

Food with benefits
– Probiotics (bars, beverages, etc.)
– Eating and drinking beauty aids
– Protein inclusion in all forms of food and beverage
– Turmeric in both CPGs and foodservice
– Natural energy additives

Food with stories
– Grass Fed label claims for food & beverage (milk, yogurt, jerky, proteins)
– Alternative eating pattern foods (Paleo & Keto)
– Grain Free as a low glycemic option
– GOOD – trending word, benefit, feature, etc.
– Exotic, functional & enhanced waters

Food standouts/ingredients
• Plant Based: food, beverage, bars, sauces (nut and other plant spreads)
• Hemp in everything from tablets, powders to juice, snacks and more
• Cauliflower – in snacks, pizza crusts, and beverage
• Meal kits
• On-the-go heathy snacks
• Spicy – still going strong
• Peanut and nut butter flavors
• Ice cream, snack bars, cookies (healthy indulgence)
• People-food dog food
• Avocados/avocado oil – sauces for cooking or dipping
• Increase in banana, watermelon & coconut

Beverage trends
• HPP juices
• Fermented (i.e., apple cider drinking vinegars, kombucha)
• Cold pressed juices in pouches
• Mixology
• Plant-based milks continue to proliferate (nuts, rice, pea, etc.)
• Carbonated waters and drinks
• innovative waters (fiber, pH-balanced, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, energy ingredients)

Label copy is brimming with ingredient claims and certifications. Most products fall into the clean label trend in one way or another, boasting organic, natural, healthy and simple ingredients, minimal processing, animal welfare and sustainability policies. Just as in mainstream product development, sugar reduction is a hot topic at Expo West. The difference is that natural sweeteners as alternatives to sugar have always been abundant in this niche.

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