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Five Key Ingredients at Center of Multicultural Wellness Menus


Are you a retail dietitian looking to catch the latest culinary wave for your in-store promotions? A good resource for the latest trend, multicultural wellness, combines health-promoting ingredients with delicious ethnic flavors, according to a new report from Packaged Facts, Multicultural Wellness Ingredients: Culinary Trend Tracking Series.

The report profiles five multicultural wellness ingredients that are gaining popularity on supermarket shelves. Consider showcasing them in your next cooking class or supermarket tour.

  1. Tiny but Mighty Teff. The whole grain teff has ancient roots in African countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea, and is the star ingredient in injera, the region's traditional spongy flatbread. Really a teeny-tiny seed, teff is packed with nutrition. One cup cooked contains 123 mg of calcium, the most of all grains, according to the Whole Grains Council (WGC). It also contains about 255 calories, 10 grams of protein and 7 grains of fiber. The WGC says teff is high in resistant starch, which is linked with health benefits such as blood sugar management, weight control and colon health and is gluten free. In addition to plain, packaged teff, look for it as an ingredient in cereal bars and chips, says the Packaged Facts report. 
  2. Sweet Takes on Avocado. Guacamole is great, but it’s time to treat avocado as the fruit it actually is by using it in desserts and sweet drinks, says the report.  Avocado’s mild flavor and creamy texture make it a remarkably adaptable ingredient in shakes, smoothies, cookies, cakes, puddings and more. All that and a good dose of healthy fats—smooth!
  3. Matcha Benefits are Brewing. Matcha, a fine-ground green tea powder at the heart of the Japanese tea ceremony, is said to brim with more antioxidants than regular green tea because you ingest the entire leaf, not just the brewed water. Bringing tradition, special nutrition, and brilliant color under the umbrella of beverage craftsmanship makes matcha the new un-soda, says the Packaged Facts report.
  4. Pepitas - Pretty in Green. Pepitas, hulled pumpkin seed kernels, are gaining culinary popularity. These nutritious green seeds perfectly suit America’s appetite for authentic Mexican foods. Pepitas are versatile, too. Use them whole, ground up into foods or as a great-looking green garnish.
  5. Lentils Break Out of the Bowl. This nutritious soup staple is appearing on supermarket shelves in pastas, cereals, crackers, chips and flour. According to Packaged Facts, commercial kitchens are exploring the use of lentils—in whole, dissolved, and flour form—in salads, veggie-based burgers, sauces and gravies, breads and pasta, chips and other savory snacks, and even sweet baked goods and desserts.  

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