What’s the Newest Trend in Healthy Plant-Based Eating?
If you’ve ever wondered where food trends come from, we have the answer: Every year there are a few major trade shows that we can trace back to as the genesis of cool product trends and fun, tasty or innovative foods. Think of it as the fashion week of supermarket products. This past week in Philadelphia, the entire industry swooped in and tasted, tested and got excited about the latest products that will soon be debuting at supermarkets near you.
Called the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) and sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, more than 10,000 Registered Dietitians, nutrition researchers, policymakers and other health industry leaders. Here is what it means for you:
The trends start with the new messaging “Have a plant,” created by the non-profit organization Produce For Better Health, which is dedicated to transforming how people feel about fruits and veggies. (We feel that.) Below are some of the most interesting foods you can expect to see more of in 2020 and beyond.
This cruciferous veggie isn’t new to the food scene, but it’s definitely taking the nutrition world by storm. CAULIPOWER was one of the most popular booths, as they distributed samples of cauliflower pizza crust. Shows we love anything with the word pizza attached.
Other snack companies, like Rhythm Foods, picked up on this trend and created a new crunchy low-heat crispy Cauliflower Bites. If you like the taste of cauliflower in a salty little bite, you’ve got to try this new snack as a chip alternative.
Cauliflower is also being utilized as an ingredient in pastas and crackers. If I had to put my money on a vegetable for continued growth, I’d put all my chips on cauliflower.
Gluten-Free For Everyone, Not Just the Gluten Avoiders
Everyone is starting to avoid gluten, not just people with allergies or Celiac Disease. The reason is that more of our grains are processed and grown to have more of the harmful protein. For those who want to avoid gluten but still want the taste of grain, there are plenty of new products making waves. “I've noticed an increasing amount of grain-free and gluten-free products on the market, from grain-free tortillas to muffins,” says Alena Kharlamenko, RD.
Siete Family Foods showcased grain-free tortillas, made from ingredients like cassava, almond, chickpea and cashew flour. Kharlamenko also likes Soozy’s Grain-Free Muffins, which makes products from nontraditional flours like almond, arrowroot and coconut flour.
Another favorite among Dietitians is Simple Mills, known for its products that utilize nut flours in everything from baking mixes to crackers to cookies. Be on the lookout for more gluten-free alternatives coming to store shelves.
Seeds are the New Nuts
Nuts are a crucial part of any plant-based diet, but seeds are often overlooked as a good source of protein and healthy fats. Expect to see seeds as ingredients, stand-alone snacks and even protein powders.
Super Seedz showed off their 1-ounce pumpkin seed snack packs, which come in yummy flavors like Cinnamon & Sugar and Somewhat Spicy. With 8 grams of protein in just 1-ounce, they have an impressive amount of plant-based protein.
Seeds are also making their debut in the protein supplement aisle. Tera’s introduced an organic protein powder made from pumpkin seeds, with 23 grams of plant-based protein per serving. If you’re tired of the taste of pea or rice protein, this alternative is an exciting new development.
Gut Health is Bigger than Ever
While the term “gut health” has become totally mainstream, nutrition professionals are upping the ante with even more products targeted towards gut health. From probiotics to prebiotics to low-FODMAP foods, there was plenty of gut-healthy foods at FNCE 2019. Cleveland Kraut gave out their fresh-tasting probiotic-rich kraut, which comes in traditional flavors and more obscure Gnar Gnar and Curry Kraut.
Prebiotics--a fiber that nourishes the live bacteria in your gut-- were also trending. Uplift Food, an RD-created company, sampled their new Gut Happy Cookies, which are made with different prebiotic-rich plant-based ingredients.
Lastly, Epicured displayed their low-FODMAP and gluten-free subscription meal delivery service, intended to help those who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods Are Hot: Turmeric takes a Star Turn
Just when you were getting used to lentil and bean-based pasta, Ronzoni upped the game by adding turmeric to their pasta blend. “There was turmeric pasta, drinks, and more at the conference,” says Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, the Food + Movement Dietitian. “Anti-inflammatory is a hot buzzword these days, and turmeric is definitely up there when it comes to anti-inflammatory foods,” Enright adds.