Karen Ensle Ed.D., RDN, FAND, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
Below is a list of new foods and trends from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The industry is moving from large companies like Coke and McDonald's to smaller companies that are focusing on the health aspects of their products. Whole food, organic foods and healthy sustainable foods are getting recognition and are being marketed to improve the health of those who consume these products. Here are some of the changes you will see in the marketplace:
- Sugar is important for the flavoring of many products. Instead of sugar, other substitutes are being incorporated into products more and more. Stevia is the top sweetener or zero calorie sugar substitute. Even Splenda is saying "all natural and made with Stevia". Chocolate products are often promoted as low in sugar. Reducing sugar seems to be a focus for many food companies and beverage makers.
- Protein is a popular ingredient. Nestle, for example, is adding it to breakfast drinks. There are all sorts of powders that are being produced to add to fruit drinks and smoothies to increase their protein content. In a different form, it is the base of pasta made from beans.
- Protein sources such as nuts and soy are also being added to items such as meal replacement bars and snack foods.
- Fiber is a major focus for many food companies. There is more use of grains such as oats and legumes to add "invisible fiber," along with the addition of insoluble fiber to many bread, cracker, and cookie products to make them "healthier" and more filling.
- Eating vegetarian and plant based diets is popular. Plant-based product lines are a huge theme with many small companies. Plant-based milk alternatives, meat alternatives, nut and bean products, vegetable smoothies, fruit and veggie snacks and more abound!
- Featuring vegetables, yogurt and whole food items like: cauliflower pizza crust, sweet potato crackers, avocado dips and crackers, healthy dried fruit and seed breakfast bars that are low in fat and sugar and high in protein along with Greek yogurt with no added sugar.
- Pastas made from whole wheat flour and colored vegetable pastas along with chickpea pasta that is high in protein and fiber will continue to be popular products.
- Cereal manufacturers are featuring digestion and fiber messaging on their boxes related to heart disease and obesity prevention.
- Frozen vegetable purees that can be made into smoothies are featuring the grams of protein and fiber they contain. Protein and fiber levels in products seems to be a "hot" combo in 2019.
- Gluten-free and allergy-free cookies along with vegetable based desserts continue to be more abundant on supermarket shelves.
- Low salt and no salt added products like canned tomatoes and tomato sauce give consumers lots of new products to choose from.
- New snack foods including beverages that are sugar-free flavored waters, bean and vegetable chips, plant-based dairy-free probiotic dips, and hummus in multiple flavors, fill many supermarket shelves.
There is some evidence of food products designed to lower stomach cancer risk factors; Businesses are learning to cut fat, salt and sugar out of their food products. More vegetable-based products and higher levels of protein will be emphasized in 2019. As food manufacturers take steps to improve their products, consider taking small steps to also improve your diet. Best wishes for a healthy 2019.