Consumer voices are revolutionizing the food industry! While individually our impact is negligible, when we join forces and collectively raise our voices, change is possible. I am thrilled to share with you about some of the most exciting nutrient-dense, organic and GMO-free innovations that are now finding their way to the marketplace.
Recently I attended the CHFA-West– the biggest natural health and organic products event in Canada. This trade show is terrific –showcasing over 650 exhibitors who unveil their most impressive new innovations. The energy at this year’s event was nothing less than electric.
Conscious Products Offer The New Competitive Edge
In my focused search for the best-of-the-best of the newest products, I was literally blown away by some of the innovation trends that are changing the face of the food industry.
Seven Product Trends
- More Nutritious, Whole Food, Raw, Plant-Based, and Less Processed Ingredients: One of the first things that captured my attention was the increased use of ingredients that inherently have more nutrients and also are prepared in a way that preserves the vitamin and enzyme content.
- Creative Healthier “Snack” Alternatives: Alternatives to chips can meet the common craving, without the loss of flavour and satisfaction.
- More Plant-Based Protein Content in Food Products: There is a slight shift away from dairy and other animal-based protein sources, with more appreciation of the nutrient-dense plant-based sources of protein.
- More Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly and Vegan Options: My heart was warmed by the increase in awareness of the importance of offering inclusive food options.
- Less Cane Sugar & other unhealthy ingredients: Previously, many “health foods” that were free of problematic ingredients such as those containing gluten have been sullied by the addition of cane sugar and excess salt. Fortunately, more producers are no longer adding cane sugar, but are instead using healthier sweetening alternatives.
- Commitment To Ethical Sourcing and Manufacturing Practices: I was delighted to discover how many more companies are stepping up to ensure their products are not on the backs of unfortunate others or at the cost of the environment.
- Better Taste: While I wish I could say that all of the products tasted fantastic, I cannot. As a stickler for flavour-balancing and mouth feel, I know that many of the products have a long way to go to make their products more desirable in terms of taste and texture. That said, it is exciting to see that some of the companies have hit home runs with their products.
At the expo, I felt a bit like Nancy Drew in search of the most extraordinary products and companies. Because some of these products are so new, you may not yet be able to even find them on their websites.
EcoIdeas is leading the pack with several of their products. Either entirely unprocessed, such as their Wildcrafted Himalayan Garlic, or just minimally-processed food options, like their Fruit & Veggie Crunch, the Marinoe TALI Chips D’Algues, and iChoc Feel Free Expedition vegan, gluten-free chocolates, EcoIdeas really stood out for me. They take pride in offering products that are entirely gluten-free, fair-trade and certified organic, as well as now also being certified as Fair For Life. I love supporting companies with such a high level of social conscience.
Another of my favourites from the event was the Canadian company Healthy Crunch with probably the best raw kale chips on the market I have ever tried. Like EcoIdeas, this women-owned company founded by Julie Bednarski goes head-and-shoulders beyond the normal expectations around taste and nutrition. Like many of the other noteworthy producers, their delectable artisanal kale chips are entirely organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and paleo-friendly. In addition, they take pride in also being locally-sourced, raw, peanut and tree-nut-free and even school-approved! The movement for such beautiful inclusive cooking efforts offering safe and inclusive food options everyone can enjoy is huge and has the potential to even save lives.
If you are a parent (or are soon to be), you will want to know about Vancouver-based Tiny Tummies, a company that is committed to offering fresh handcrafted nutritious and delicious food for babies. Co-founded by Cheryl and Christa Giampa, this new company oozes with heart.
While of course it is always preferable to prepare our own food from scratch in our own kitchens, it is sure wonderful that there are now more nutritious, clean and green prepared food products that are being made available in the retail sector. There is always room for improvement to continue to offer more organic, whole-food, allergy-friendly and ethical food options. It is terrific to know that our voices as consumers are making a difference and that the trajectory of change is heading in a terrific direction.