I have just spent the last two days in Anaheim, California, attending the world’s largest organic and natural food trade show. With over 60,000 attendees and 3,000 exhibitors, the last two days have both exhilarated and exhausted me. There was so much to see, so many people to talk to and network with and enough food samples to last me a lifetime. I don’t know how I am going to get all my organic bars, protein bars, healthy snacks, granola, organic sweets and chocolate on the plane back to New York!
Trade shows typically showcase new trends in the industry and display new and upcoming products. So what is big in the food industry this year?
Chia seeds are everywhere here and are enjoying continuing popularity. They come in almost every form – from the naked seeds themselves to granola, bars and cereals. Interestingly enough, Australia is one of few countries that grows abundant crops of Chia so many US and other international companies actually source their Chia seeds from Australia. Kudos to us Aussies!
For tips on incorporating Chia seeds into your diet, see my previous post on the benefits of Chia.
Kombucha has been around for a while in the US and its popularity continues to sore as new brands enter the market. Whilst this product originated in Japan, it has taken off in America and is now available in most retailers and specialty grocers.
Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that, in original form, is slightly alcoholic however it is known to be extremely high in probiotics. It is believed also to boost the immune system and some tests have shown it can protect against stress.
This product’s claim to fame is that it contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids and polyphenols produces by these microbes.
Stevia flavoured everything
I have written about stevia previously in the artificial sweeteners post. Stevia differs from traditional sweeteners in that it is all-natural and has a very low glycaemic index. It can be consumed safely by diabetics as it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels dramatically like ordinary sugar.
Popular at the Expo this year was chocolate sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. There were several companies offering this product, such as Lilly’s, a favourite of mine. I made sure to stock up on multiple bars!
Another hit in the US is stevia-flavoured soft drinks. These have hit the Australian market in small quantities but I would expect to see more in the near future. Offering a calorie-free soft drink option, these drinks are like traditional diet drinks without all the nasty chemicals. Stevia is still a very sweet taste and kind of still tastes artificial but is much more preferable to aspartame and other nasty sweeteners.
EPIC bars were perhaps my favourite thing at the Expo. Perfect for the Paleo dieter, EPIC offers 100% organic and grass-fed meat (beef, turkey and bison) in a bar form that, unlike conventional jerky and other meat snacks, isn’t sweetened with sugar and other processed junk. The taste of the beef bar is to die for and is almost a complete meal in bar-form. The bars are loaded with five times the levels of omega 3 fatty acids and contain anti-inflammatory products (as compared to grain-fed animals). They also have significantly higher values of vitamins A and E and are loaded with antioxidants.
The bars are favoured amongst athletes due to the high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which promotes the development of lean muscle tissue. While not currently available in Australia, yours truly is pursing export opportunities so watch this space!
High protein frozen yoghurt
Frozen yoghurt dessert bars are everywhere in the United States. While there are some currently open in Australia, the uptake has not been as large. Given their popularity in the US, what is the next progressive step? High protein frozen yoghurt of course! Pro Yo debuted its product at this year’s Expo and offers an alternative to a traditional protein bar by mixing the high protein qualities that are naturally occurring in yoghurt and boosting that with added protein. It is an athlete’s dream in a tasty, fro-yo treat. I will be interested to see whether this concept takes off and develops further.
Keep your eyes open for these products in the coming months. No doubt some concepts will take a while to reach Australia but they are well worth looking out for.