By Emily Parent, MFCS, RD, LD, Supermarket RD, Coborn’s Inc.
As retail dietitians, I think we can all agree that our jobs rock! We not only get to share our passion for food and nutrition daily, but we are also surrounded by food all day, every day. What’s even more fun is getting the exciting (and sometimes super-secret) scoop on the newest products and trends.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to walk the Sweets and Snacks Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. Amongst all the fabulous products, I noticed an underlying trend that I was ALL about—fruits and veggies! Boy do these products make our jobs a whole lot easier when convincing consumers that fruits and veggies can taste good! Here are some of my favorite trends that I saw (and tried!).
While I’ve been on the bean bandwagon for years now, consumers have been slow to jump on. However, the wave of new products containing beans just may sway opinions. Brands are now using a variety of beans to create snacks that are not only tasty, but also nutrient-dense. Even better yet, these new items are kid-friendly! Check out a few of my favorites Bada Bean Bada Boom roasted fava beans, Beanfield’s chips, Hippeas and Biena chickpea puffs.
While the Blenditarian movement is gaining popularity, so are mushrooms themselves! One of my favorites at the expo was Pan’s Mushroom Jerky. Dehydrated shiitake mushrooms provide a savory snack that is rich in fiber and vitamin D! Don’t like mushrooms? No worries! With tasty flavors like Zesty Thai, Applewood BBQ, Teriyaki, Curry, and Salt and Pepper, you’re bound to find a flavor you like! However, do be mindful that because this product is termed ‘jerky,’ consumers may assume it contains protein. This product contains minimal protein and is not considered a protein-rich snack.
Fruit Snacks Reimagined
If you know me, you know I’m all about limiting added sugar in my life. However, I do admit that I have a massive sweet tooth and will choose sweet over salty any day of the week. Fruit snacks have always been a favorite of mine, but rarely do you find options that are 100% fruit. Bear Nibbles Yoyos not only are 100% fruit, they also contain veggies! At the Sweets and Snacks Expo, they also sampled their new Sour Yoyos. Lemon juice adds the perfect sourness to a product that is perfect for kids (and adults)!
Now, I wouldn’t be doing the ‘sweets’ part of the expo justice if I didn’t mention Tru Fru snacks. These snacks are frozen raspberries and cherries that are dipped in white and dark chocolate. They actually won the 2019 Most Innovative New Product Award!