Oaktown Crickets, Recycled Food, Mushroom Snacks, Biodiversity and other Food Trends

Fancy Food Show 2019
GameChanger visited the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco earlier this month to identify hot new food trends.  Here are the highlights:

1. Recycled Food – Over one-third of all food produced globally is wasted, while nearly 1 Billion people go hungry.  The solution?  Make better use of our food.  Three companies are working to do this by recycling unused food and food scraps into edible products.

Renew Mill is a start-up based in Oakland, CA that makes new food products out of industrial food byproducts.  Its first product is flour made from spent soybean pulp.  It also has products in the works using grape and olive skins, potato peels, pistachio shells and almond meal.

Soul Much collects unused food from restaurants (food that was never served and would be discarded) and “upcycles” it into processed food.  Their first products are cookies made from leftover grains and vegetables.

Imperfect Produce offers Farm-to-Home delivery boxes for produce that is physically unattractive (too small, misshaped – and not appealing to the grocery store consumer) but otherwise perfectly good.  Normally this produce would be discarded, but Imperfect Produce sells it at a discount to consumers who have signed up for its program.

2. Biodiversity  – Just 12 plants and 5 animals make up 75% of the world’s food supply. This consolidation puts our food supply at risk and limits micronutrients in our diets.  It also leads to boring meal choices.  Several companies are working to make new ingredients mainstream.  Some of these products include The Jackfruit Company which makes packaged jackfruit and jackfruit meal for addition to recipes; Yolene, which sells the African grain Fonio that is high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals; Believe in Bambara, which sells Bambara beans from Africa, which are high in protein, amino acids and other nutrients; Kaibee, which sells Baobeb fruit powder, which is high in antioxidants and vitamins; and Kuli-Kuli, which sell Moringa powder, which is high in protein, calcium, iron and other nutrients.

3. Butter and spread alternatives – Many companies are launching butter and spread alternatives that are healthier than butter and offer more interesting flavors.  The Seed Company – 88 Acres offers a line of butters made from pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds that come in a variety of flavors.  Kween Foods has launched a Granola Butter that is similar to peanut butter, but allergy friendly.  Manna Organics has a line of peanut butter alternatives made from figs, coconuts, cashews, pecans and other nuts and seeds.  There are also Elliott’s Adult Nut Butters, a line of decadent products that include Espresso Nib nut butter and Spicy Thai.

4. Low Calorie Desserts – Following on the success of Halo Top, low calorie and healthier desserts that don’t sacrifice taste are surging.  RED Chocolate is a new company from Switzerland that makes gourmet chocolate with 45% fewer calories by incorporating melon sugar.  Rethink Ice Cream offers great tasting ice cream with a variety of nutritional benefits and half the calories of Halo Top.  Unreal Candy, a start-up that failed 4 years ago, but has returned with a lineup of great-tasting lower-in-sugar candy.  And Good Pop makes decadent frozen popsicles that are low in calories.

5. Pickled Foods – Pickles are surging due to health benefits of fermented foods, and there are a variety of new pickle options.  The Yee Haw Pickle Company makes small batch pickles from hand-cut ingredients in a variety of flavors.  Sonoma Brinery makes fresh pickles sold in tubs in the refrigerated section.  The Pernicious Pickling Company makes a variety of pickled vegetables, including carrots, beets, cauliflower, peppers, onions, beans and okra.  Cleveland Kraut offers a variety of new fermented flavors, including Curry Kraut, Beet Red Kraut and Whiskey Dill Kraut.

6. Wellness Shots – Shots continue to grow as an easy way to get quick nutrition.  Vitaminseed’s  Seedshotz are 1 oz. shots packed with nutrients from 7 different seeds and 12 fruits and vegetables.  Tulua Wellness Shots combine ginger, turmeric and other herbs with healing properties into a line of 2.5 oz. shots.  Lumen Hemp Shots are 2 oz. shots of juice from hemp plants.

7. Better Cocktails – The craft cocktail trend is continuing to expand with a variety of new mixers.  Barcoop Bevy is a new line of mix and serve mixers with fresh, natural ingredients.  The Hudson Standard offers hand-crafted shrubs, bitters and syrups.  McClary Bros. offers mixing vinegars in a variety of unique flavors, including Michigan Apple Pie, Watermelon and Pineapple & Fennel Seed.  The Hella Cocktail Company offers spicy mixers with horseradish, peppers and Indian spices.

8. New Yogurt Forms – Yogurt continues to increase in popularity due to health benefits, and as it expands, new forms and occasions are being invented.  Yogurt drinks have been gaining popularity, and Harmless Harvest (the coconut water company) now offers a dairy-free coconut-based drinkable yogurt.  Rise Beverage makes a drinkable yogurt with granola topping included.  Clio Snack has introduced refrigerated Greek Yogurt Bars – Greek Yogurt enrobed in chocolate.

9. Natural Fruits as Sweeteners – Everyone is looking for a more natural way to add sweetener.  Dates may be the answer.  Date Lady makes a Maple Syrup alternative that is made 100% from dates.  They also make Date Sugar and Date Syrup to be used in place of cane sugar.  Just Date Syrup also makes date syrup as a sweetener, which is made from 100% Medjool Dates.  They also have a Just Pom Syrup, which is 100% Pomegranate.

10. Mushrooms Snacks – Mushrooms are getting more attention for their health benefits, and as a result, there are now new mushroom snacks to compete with chips.  Shrooms is a new line of crispy mushroom snacks.  They come in a variety of flavors, including mesquite barbecue, spicy jalapeno and pizza.  Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is a new vegan jerky made from mushrooms in flavors such as Zesty Thai, Applewood BBQ and Sea Salt & Pepper.

11. Clever desserts – Indulgent Desserts are becoming more fun, harkening us back to our childhoods.  Chocolate Storybook offers gourmet cotton candy in a jar in dozens of flavors including champagne, key lime and banana split flavors.  The Cookie Dough Café offers gourmet edible cookie dough in a wide range of flavors, including chocolate chip, confetti, Oreo and brownie batter.  Let Them Eat Candles offers edible birthday cake candles made of chocolate.  Light them, blow them out, then eat them.

12. Honorable mentions – Tender Belly makes pork products primarily from pork belly, including uncured, dry rub bacon.  Oaktown Crickets, an Oakland, CA company sells crunchy snack crickets – a high-protein treat.  This spring they will be available at all Oakland A’s home games.  Runamok makes bourbon-barrel-aged, smoke-infused maple syrup.