I have just returned from Expo West in California, the world’s largest natural and organic food trade show. After an exhausting three days, I have seen some pretty interesting things going on in the food industry. Here are my top picks for the up and coming food trends:
1. Crickets as protein
There has been a bit of press around about Exo, the company that has become infamous for creating protein bars with cricket flour. I caught up with the founders at Expo West and fired a few questions their way.
Exo crickets are farmed in the US then frozen, upon which they are ground into a fine flour. The cricket flour then goes in to making a protein bar, along with other yummy ingredients, such as cashews and dates. According the founders, the bars contain only around 7% cricket flour. These bars are surprisingly tasty, and are definitely an interesting take on plain old, factory-made protein powder.
For more information about Exo Bars, you can check them out here.
2. Cactus water
Move over coconut water – there’s a new kid in town. Drink Cali Cactus Water has an interesting flavour. It doesn’t taste as sweet as coconut water, and provides similar health benefits – naturally occurring electrolytes, minerals and flavonoids, as well as antioxidants.
Cactus water extracted from the Prickly Pear Cactus, and is recommended for when “you need a cleanse and detox for your body”. For more information about Drink Cali Cactus Water, visit their site here.
With the rise in popularity of Kombucha (a fermented tea high in probiotics) comes a tide of other products with similar nutritional qualities. From kefir drinks to sparkling beverages to supplements, it seems that many natural food manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon of this hot new trend.
4. Freeze dried fruit
Freeze dried fruit was introduced to the natural food channel in a big way in 2013, however it has returned with force this year. Manufacturers are spruiking the convenience factor when it comes to this product. Basically the fruit is taken in its natural form, then dehydrated, or freeze dried. What is left over is a dry, crunch version of the original, which is very different from normal dried fruit.
Like dried fruit however, the sugar content in freeze dried fruit is significantly higher than the real thing, so best to stick with that. Still, it is an interesting alternative to traditional candy.
Other staples such as quinoa, chia and coconut products continue to grow in popularity, as more and more consumers are introduced to these super foods. Whether or not cricket protein and the other new concepts take off on a mass-market level remains to be seen, but they certainly made a splash this year.
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