Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Natural Food Expo East 2010 (Boston, MA)

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The show floor is open!

I do enjoy a good trade show and the Natural Expo was one of them (the All Candy and Snack Expo is another).   The Expo East was smaller than ExpoWest but there were a number of interesting things to see and try.

For Expo East, the three top trends that I noticed in the food category were:

1. Gluten-free

There has been a phenomenal rise in gluten-free offerings in recent years.    It would be interesting to compare it with the actual rate of people being diagnosed with gluten-related conditions.   Are gluten-free products healthier?     Alternative, more complex grains to wheat certainly are!   Quinoa, amaranth (or kiwicha) are high in protein and have a wonderful, nutty taste when roasted.     Other flours such as rice, mesquite, oats, tapioca and even coconut flour are great options too.    However, these types of flours are often combined with gums such as xanthan and even pectin to achieve that chewy, moist texture characteristic of wheat breads.

2. Agave Sweeteners

Stevia was the popular topic last year.  However, it is still not officially approved in Canada as an ingredient and it has an unplesant cloying sweetness that lingers even when you don’t want it to.    Should it be considered natural when it has already been bleached and refined?

Best agave packaging with an Agave Cookbook author

Enter Agave,  a by-product of tequila processing.

The taste of agave is more pleasant than stevia and it is also now available in a powder form (Brand Aga-Fit).   Agave is available in many different colours  (clear, dark brown, amber, golden), which can be confusing.     A number of companies claim that blue agave is superior over other types.  But controversy looms in the high content of fructose in the syrup.

3. Fruits everywhere!

Similar to the IFT in Chicago – fruits in many different forms were everywhere!

In the juice category, coconut water was very popular.    I tried each one and there were major differences in flavour.    Coconut water ( at least the coconut water I grew up with)  need to come from young coconuts to get that fresh, clean tasting juice or water as they call it.    If it matures beyond 6 months, that is when the flesh starts to mature and the water develops an unpleasant taste.   The “Zico” and “Taste Nirvana Real Coconut water” brand were the least favourite of mine.    They tasted like juice coming from mature coconuts – mature enough to grate or they could be from concentrate.

Both O.N.E. and Vita Coco were true to the natural source.     I added Naked coconut water in the comparison even if it was not at the show – it also gets top marks from me.     These brands are all unsweetened and unflavoured.

The best combination that I’ve tried of the flavour varieties was the coconut-lychee combination.    This combination was very nostalgic for me.  We use to eat this at  my grandmother’s house for the local fiesta, when they ordered this huge steel vat of sherbet made of young coconut water with the coconut meat, sugar and lychee fruits.  It was a wonderful treat in such hot weather.

Dried fruits have come a long way from the typical syrup infused and sun or air-dried form such as the prune or the raisin.    The drying process has evolved to try to retain colour vibrancy, taste and vitamins.   There come in several forms, shapes, textures and sizes.     Freeze-dried fruits are crispy but to the point where the texture almost feels artificial.   The cost of freeze-dried fruits are also very high.    Swell-dried fruits or “Puffed fruits” combines the air dried fruit with changes in atmospheric pressure to “puff up” the dried fruit.  The effect is a very crispy fruit chip that retains a lot of the flavour and colour without the “freeze-dried” texture or cost.   YogaVive featured their apple chips at the show, their fruits are processed in China.    Please refer to the Ingredient Hotline, Inc. website for the ABCAR-DIC process.  The technology has been applied to several different types of fruits and vegetables with much success.

More exotic fruits from South America and Asia are expected to turn up in the coming shows.  There are still a number of fruits not yet commercialized but are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients.

Penta Water - Patented water??

Patented water?   Hmm, not too sure of that.     It tastes the same as bottled water, wonder if it has the same freezing point.   It was explained to me that their filtration process alters the size of the water molecules, thus making it easier to absorb into the body.     I am still preplexed how a filtration process, which is suppose to be a physical process – how it can possibly cause changes at the atomic level?!

Boston Clam Chowder with Oyster Crackers

A fitting end to a great day of walking the show floor – a hot bowl of authentic Boston clam chowder soup with a side of oyster crackers.


Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-10-22

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

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Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-10-01

Friday, October 1st, 2010
  • Chia Seeds in Stock: Ingredient Hotline is pleased to announce that starting September 2010, we can supply Chia se… http://bit.ly/9FbXQB #
  • Chia Seeds: The Best Source for Food Manufacturers: It’s been a busy month of September here at Ingredient Hotline… http://bit.ly/a8KNVR #

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Chia Seeds: The Best Source for Food Manufacturers

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

It’s been a busy month of September here at Ingredient Hotline. One development of note on the business side of things is our ability, starting this Spetember, to provide chia seeds to food manufacturers from warehouses within North America.

Chia seeds are one of the hottest trends in food right now. These tiny seeds are absolutely packed with nutritional value and have definitely hit the mainstream. Chia seeds are being extolled on television and in popular literature. Consumer demand for chia is growing. Given it’s properties and characteristics, it can be the perfect component for food applications wishing to leverage the growing desire for natural, healthy and functional ingredients. Awareness of chia seeds has been trending up at a remarkable pace in the last three years:

chia seed search trend

We are happy to announce that Ingredient Hotline is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of North American food manufacturers sourcing chia seeds. For the quantities and prices required by food producers, chia seeds are typically imported directly from South America. However, Ingredient Hotline can provide chia seeds in bulk at wholesale prices from within North America. Compared with alternative sources, we can:

  • provide shorter delivery and lead times
  • handle smaller quantity orders
  • ensure you avoid the hassles of importing into North America

For more information, contact us today!

Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-09-03

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
  • Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-27: Quinoa For Breakfast: As we’ve discussed before, quinoa has excellent … http://bit.ly/a9NKu4 #

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Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-27

Friday, August 27th, 2010
  • Quinoa For Breakfast: As we’ve discussed before, quinoa has excellent nutritional value: its protein content is ve… http://bit.ly/b9D8JG #
  • Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-20: Good backgrounder on Fair Trade. No invisible hand here… http://bit.ly... http://bit.ly/9D3fGL #

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Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-20

Friday, August 20th, 2010

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Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-13

Friday, August 13th, 2010

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Quick Bites for the Week Ending 2010-08-06

Friday, August 6th, 2010

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Coo Coo for Coconuts

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Coconut water seems to be the big craze with celebrities these days, and it’s not without merit. It’s a natural isotonic beverage with a comparable level of electrolytes as our blood. In fact, during World War II, coconut water was administered intravenously as a replacement for dextrose on the battlefield. Think of it as nature’s Gatorade, but better: it’s got 2 to 3 times as much potassium as sports drinks while having less than half the amount of sodium and a fraction of the sugar (and these sugars are completely natural no less!).

According to ABC’s Good Morning America:

It’s low in calories, fat-free, natural and serves a purpose: hydration. Some consumers are likely to choose it over sugar-laden sports drinks, so it’s no wonder big name beverage companies are vying for their piece of the coconut pie.

Right now, coconut water represents a perhaps $50 million niche industry. Given the maturity of the sports beverage market and recent controversy surrounding energy drinks, could coconut water be the next big thing? Here’s the segment from GMA:

Cracking the Coconut Water Craze

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