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Sometimes healthy food trends are a flash in the pan. Sometimes they’re downright ridiculous.
But sometimes they’re evidence of a really great idea that is just starting to catch on that has the potential to make healthy eating easier and more delicious. (Remember when kale was just a trend?!)
When we swung by Foundermade’s Consumer Discovery Show in New York City in June, those were the kinds of trends we were looking for.
Curious about what’s coming up? Here are five food trends we’ve been spotting elsewhere that were further confirmed by browsing the brands and products represented at the show. You can also browse more on your own at the LA show in October.
5 Healthy Food Trends to Watch For
1. Packaged Kitchen Hacks
We’re always telling you it’s healthier to make your own this and make your own that. But the reality is that most people are too busy to cook from scratch every night. So, companies are meeting you halfway. Creation Nation, for example, is making protein bar and energy bit mixes with super clean ingredients. Bou, meanwhile, is making nutritious bouillon cubes—which add flavor to sooo many things without you having to make your own broth—without artificial ingredients.
2. Super Spreads
Why eat plain tahini if you can eat chocolate tahini, right?! Soom’s is really pretty dreamy. And if you’re looking for nut butter, Georgia Grinders will sell you maple caramel almond or cinnamon vanilla pecan peanut. They’re both variations on a trend that’s been building for a while now, in which spreads are filled with superfoods and are super flavorful. Just be sure to read the nutrition labels so you can watch for sugar and control your portion size. (AKA just because they’re made with great ingredients doesn’t mean you should eat the whole jar.)
3. Indian Influence
Indian culture often influences health and wellness trends via ancient practices like yoga and Ayurveda. Now, new packaged foods are following suit. Bohana’s popped water lily seeds, which are a similar texture to cheese puffs, are a packaged version of “Makhana,” an Indian snack that has been around for thousands of years. (They’re really yummy!) And No. 3 Clive Road is giving matcha a run for its money with its high-quality, gorgeously packaged Indian tea blends. (Specialty teas, by the way, could their own trend, with other matcha competitors like yerba mate increasingly catching on.)
4. So Much Sparkle
La Croix set off a rush for sparkling water that has not slowed down a bit. There’s was lots of talk about how many seltzer brands were represented at the Fancy Foods Show (another brand showcase) at the end of June, and at Foundermade, we saw the founder of Spindrift talk about how the company is growing and differentiating itself by using real, fresh produce to flavor the beverages. Yup, we’ll take one of those over a soda any day.
5. Alt-Milking It
Plant-based milks have been exploding for several years, and now there are more companies getting really smart and creative with them. Elmhurst Milked is out in front with its beyond creamy texture and variety of offerings, from milked hazelnuts and pecans to milked rice and oats. Malk Organics was also promoting its short ingredient lists of certified organic ingredients (with no carrageenan in sight).
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)