I had total foodie envy of everyone who attended this years' Natural Products Expo West! Scouring the expo floor for the hottest trends, meeting with exhibitors, and *especially* tasting the new foods...my past Expo West trips were amazing! You literally walk the floor and feel like Willy Wonka. But way healthier. Oh, and there's wine.
This year I "virtually" attended by exploring the online exhibitor floor map, following and joining in the conversation with the hashtag #ExpoWest, and keeping my eyes open for press releases. In other words, I had a severe case of FOMO so stalked those who were able to join the fun until I, too, felt like I was there.
When I attended in 2011, cold-pressed juices, chia, and coconut were just hitting the scene. At the same time, ancient "grains" like quinoa, teff, oats, and amaranth were prepping to becoming camera ready. Now, these items that were once "trending" are becoming mainstays...and this RD couldn't be happier!
So this year, I was on the look out for the next big thing, because what's not to love about a trendy food or ingredient that gets people jazzed up about eating healthy?
Here are the top four food trends I'm saying YES! to from Expo West 2015.
the next kale: Broccoli
Cruciferous greens are SO having their moment...finally! I mean - come on - broccoli is like the epitome of healthy food. And alllllllllll of its pieces and parts are being used, not just the florets! I'm loving the BroccoLeaf, and am freaking out that I can find it in exciting new products launched at Expo West like Lumi Juice Fully Loaded shot (pictured are 3 of their new shots!) and Organic Gemini's Green Tigernut Horchata.
Broccoli is a super-source of cancer-fighting and detoxifying antioxidants, namely glucoraphanin, which is why I love broccoli raw - and now love that I can enjoy it dehydrated thanks to Rhythm Superfood's new Broccoli Bites in flavors Garden Ranch, Asian Citrus, and Zesty Nacho. Sounds pretty fabulous, right?
Squeeze the day with portable, squeezable meals and snacks. It's just as easy - but way healthier - to throw a Munk Pack into your or your child's backpack instead of a refined flour/sugar breakfast bar. These packs are made with oats, flax, and fruit. They're certified gluten-free and also non-GMO, and since they're in a pouch, they can be easily stored in a purse, backpack, or lunchbox. Since they're primarily carbohydrate, they'd be great to pair with another squeezable that offers protein and healthy fat: YumButterGo. These squeezable almond, peanut, or sunflower seed butters are made with chia seed, hemp seed, and goji berry superfoods...what a power pack!
Jerky gets a makeover
I love plants and all they offer, but realize that some people (including myself) enjoy animal-proteins every now and then. This year's Expo saw a resurgence of jerky - from grass-fed beef to turkey jerky - as a more "natural" snack time option. Thanks to New Primal and Field Trip, meat eaters will be happy to learn of newer, healthier options when it comes to smoked snacks - i.e. jerky without synthetic nitrates/nitrites, MSG, and artificial flavorings.
The next Greek yogurt: Savory Dairy
Riding along on the protein train are newer, savory options for you in the dairy aisle. If you love cottage cheese, you're going to love these new grab-and-go options from Good Culture. These cottage cheeses ingredients you'd expect when you read the label (i.e Sundried tomato = milk + tomato + spices; Kalamata olive = milk + olives + olive oil + spices) and all include live and active cultures to support a healthy digestive system.
At the same time, I'm excited about Blue Hill's savory yogurts - in flavors like carrot, parsnip, and tomato - which would be great as a topping for a baked potato or soup (instead of sour cream) or as a base for a salad dressing.
Which of these trends are you most excited for? Leave your comment below or tweet me on Twitter @ToriHolthaus!