Among the products spotted at the recent Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, Wyman’s is making fruit an appealing snack or dessert.
New product innovations were in full force at the recent Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, which took place earlier this month in Denver. The expo was smaller compared with recent years, yet several new foods and beverages were introduced to the 8,000-plus registered dietitian nutritionists attending the conference.
Here are some of the trends I spotted:
1. Tinned fish jumps from the can to the pouch
While tinned fish was a viral trend on TikTok, it appears that pouches are the next evolution.
Chicken of the Sea showcased a variety of wild-caught light tuna and pink salmon in pouches, including Sweet & Spicy and Lemon Garlic tuna with partner McCormick & Co. The pink salmon featured the popular Everything Bagel seasoning. Similarly, Bumble Bee shared pouches of Spicy Thai Chili and Lemon & Pepper tuna. Promoted as on-the-go protein, the fish packets feature a range of serving ideas, from salads and sandwiches to Mediterranean-inspired pasta and Asian-style lettuce cups.
2. Fruit moves into new spaces and forms
Most Americans fail to eat enough fruit, so several new products are helping to make it a bit easier to up your fruit intake. PepsiCo introduced new Quaker Oats Fruit Fusion instant oatmeal. These packets of colorful whole grain oats feature real fruit pieces and come in such varieties as Raspberry Strawberry, Blueberry Blackberry and Strawberry Peach. Moving beyond breakfast, Wyman’s is making fruit an appealing snack or dessert. The family-owned Maine company sampled several varieties of Just Fruit, cups of frozen fruit and small bites of Greek yogurt, banana or coconut that you shake before eating – reminiscent of the beloved Dippin’ Dots brand from childhood. Additionally, The Wonderful Co. introduced new naturally seedless lemons.
3. Probiotics and prebiotics are pairing up for gut health
Gut health remains a macro trend, and multiple products at the show leveraged growing consumer interest in the microbiome. Increasingly, products are combining probiotics (the good bacteria that provides a health benefit) and prebiotics, or the fuel that nourishes the good bacteria in the gut. Danone exhibited several gut health-friendly products, including the new Activia Fiber yogurt that contains billions of live and active probiotics plus prebiotics from oat, wheat and bran. Other examples of this trend on the exhibit floor included Wildwonder (a 2023 Progressive Grocer Editors’ Pick), described as the world’s first sparking probiotic and prebiotic beverage for gut health, and Sunsweet Probiotic+ Prunes, which are infused with probiotics and naturally contain prebiotic fiber.
4. Ancient grains with a story
Olyra Breakfast Biscuits are made with four ancient Greek grains – oats, barley, spelt and lupine (or “olyra” in Greek) – that were staples of the diet in Greece 2,600 years ago. The founder and CEO of the company, whose family has been stone-grinding these grains for five generations – was at the booth helping to tell their story. The romance of an origin story was also leveraged by Nairn’s, which sampled breakfast oat biscuits and graham crackers that are made with Scottish oats.
5. Eggs made even easier
Although eggs are already convenient, several new frozen egg products are making breakfast even quicker, including Eggland’s Best omelet bites with bacon and cheese and breakfast bowls with sausage and cheese. Veggies Made Great sampled vegetable-studded mini frittatas and egg patties for easy breakfast sandwiches, while Egglife Foods showcased a range of tortilla-style wraps made with egg whites instead of flour for higher protein-lower carb sandwiches. Flavors included Garden Salsa, Everything Bagel and Southwest Style.
6. Brain health gains prominence
Several exhibitors and sponsors leveraged a link to brain health, including California Walnuts, wild blueberries, the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, Pompeian olive oil, and Mosh, the “brain fuel” nutrition bar. For its part, Ripple introduced a new unsweetened plant-based milk for kids with choline and DHA omega-3s for brain development.
7. Rescued produce to fight food waste
Food waste is increasingly recognized as a contributor to climate change. To help address the problem, companies are rescuing wasted ingredients like Danone’s Two Good “Good Save” Yogurt, which is made with 100% verified rescued Meyer lemons.
8. Elevated hydration and recovery
Several products claimed to have an edge on hydration, including Biolyte, the “IV in a Bottle.” This physician-formulated drink contains more electrolytes than leading sports drinks and was designed to help fight nausea, muscle cramps and fatigue. Con-cret, positioned as “clean hydration,” offered flavored electrolyte-and-creatine drink mix packets. A company called UP2U exhibited packets of protein powder and recovery drinks made with “native” whey protein, described as the first whey protein sourced from milk and not cheese, and that has a higher leucine content to trigger muscle recovery.