Why food trends? Even if you’re not into “trendy” food per se, it’s interesting to learn what the up-and-coming food manufacturers are offering, and where the big food manufacturers are headed. And why ExpoWest? It’s the single biggest trade show in the natural, organic, and healthy products industry, with a new record of over 3,500 vendors and 85,000 visitors. Of course, there’s no way to talk about every single great product, but we’ve whittled it down to a few highlights. And for an extra “truth filter,” we brought a teenager with us to give us his honest opinion of every sample. Here are a few worth noting:
Wine RayZyns: This item wrapped up quite a few trends – superfoods, eco-consciousness, and social responsibility. This crunchy raisin snack is made from Napa, California wine raisins that are harvested and dried with seeds intact, keeping the nutrition locked in (it’s off-the-charts high in antioxidants). We tried them plan and coated in dark chocolate, and they’re tasty and wholesome. They contain no alcohol, plus they are gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan. Special note: the Wine RayZyns company has a new side effort called “Rescue RayZyns” that rescued unharvested wine grapes from the Northern California wildfires and turned them into raisins – with a portion of the proceeds going to relief funds for victims of both the Northern California wildfires and the Puerto Rico hurricane. You can find Wine RayZyns at select gourmet grocery stores or online at Amazon.
Pipcorn: Here’s another trend – high nutrition that’s easy on the teeth and stomach. Pipcorn is basically mini popcorn – but it’s a special, non-GMO variety that does not get stuck in teeth or gums, and is said to be easier to digest. It’s gluten-free and vegan (except for the organic ghee flavor). You can find them at Whole Foods and online at Amazon.
Mini Pupusas from Tres Latin Foods: Speaking of trends, we saw a lot of Latin-themed foods and flavors, including a range of tasty foods from Tres Latin Foods. Everything they make is with 100% organic, non-GMO corn masa, plus no hormones or antibiotics in the ethically sourced chicken and pork. Since our kids love pupusas, these mini versions seemed like an easy afternoon pick-me-up for hungry kids and teens. You can find their products at Whole Foods, Walmart, and other local grocery chains.
Olyra Breakfast Biscuits: Another trend we noticed is lots of alternative grains. We loved these “breakfast biscuits” from the Greek company Olyra (Fun fact: “Olyra” was the ancient Greek word for spelt, and it appears in Homer’s Iliad to describe ancient grains). These biscuits – which are kind of like not-so-sweet cookies – feature the four grains barley, lupine, oat, and spelt. The flavors include cinnamon tahini, hazelnut carob, and fig anise. Per four-biscuit serving, you get 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and only 10 grams of sugar – better than most cereals you’ll find. You can find Olyra products on Amazon.
Larabar Fruits & Greens: One thing we picked up on was that greens are everywhere. They’re even in your favorite “bar.” We’re a big fan of Larabar to begin with, so this wasn’t new to us, but if you haven’t checked out Larabars in a while, make sure you don’t miss these. There are three varieties: mango spinach cashew, strawberry spinach cashew, and pineapple kale cashew – each with 1/4 cup of greens. They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, kosher, vegan, and no sugar added. We’d describe the taste as similar to a dense fruity cake or brownie – they make a nice sweet treat when you don’t want to load up on sugary snacks. The good news – you can find Larabars just about anywhere.
Let us know if you’ve looked into any of these products or if you’ve seen these trends at your local grocery store.
Blogger disclosure: I paid for my own admission to ExpoWest and did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.