Disclosure: Influence Central received samples of products featured at FNCE 2016. All insights are our own.
From the rise of vegetable protein to savory flavors in on-the-go bars to new lactose-free product options, never have consumers had such diverse opportunities to eat healthily. At the recent Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston, ingredients took center stage as more than 300 brands shared their latest and best-tasting take on nutritious eating — no matter the meal.
I’ve included here the latest happenings in the food and nutrition industry, including how Americans’ awareness of health concerns — from obesity to lactose intolerance — is transforming what goes into our food and onto our tables.
Read more insights in our Influence Central Trend-Spotting Report focused on the Food and Nutrition industry.
PACKING IN THE VEGETABLE PROTEIN
How to ensure we eat enough protein? Try infusing it into the snacks we can’t help but eat! Today, pea protein has become a go-to ingredient and can be found everywhere. Moreover, beans have continued as a strong source of protein, and many food makers have begun frying varieties such as fava beans and coating them as a snack alternative to nuts. We saw a similar movement in the chips space, with the emergence of hummus tortilla chips.
LACTOSE-FREE MILK PRODUCTS DIVERSIFY
Even though more and more Americans now take a lactose-free approach to their diets, they also don’t want to sacrifice flavor or variety. Fortunately, Green Valley Organics offers up both great taste and a wide range of product choices with its lactose-free line of butter, cream cheese, and kefir.
“WE’LL MAKE YOUR DINNER FOR YOU” COMPANIES GROW
Last year, the “packaged meals” craze arrived, and families gravitated toward “dinner in a box” meals filled with ingredients they needed to prepare. Yet the realization soon hit that actually putting the meals together proved time-consuming.
Now the freezer aisle offers up another choice. Luvo features freezer boxes filled with pre-cooked meals – think Tandoori chicken – that can get busy families through the week – and only require heating and sprinkling with garnishes.
CONSUMERS INCREASINGLY SWITCH TO “GOOD” FATS
As we pay more attention to the ingredients that go into our meals, consumers have begun to broaden their thinking. Where we once thought of “fats” as something to be avoided, now we have a better understanding of what constitutes a “good” fat. Brands at FNCE 2016 showcased a variety of options – from soybean oil to vegetarian mayonnaise to avocados.
FISH-SOURCING CHANGES OFFER UP MORE CONSUMER OPTIONS
Consumers have long viewed fish as a healthy way to infuse protein into a meal – but can grow tired of the same available varieties. Now, more and more types of fish – from wild-caught salmon to a new form of Sea Bass from Thailand – will arrive on American dinner tables, whether they’re canned, flash frozen, or shipped.
With all these new options, there’s just one question: Can we get it?