At the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City June 28-30, the veggie showed up as crunchy dehydrated treats, crispy chips and even as an ingredient in trendy juices as a superfood.
“People are much more conscious of what they are eating,” and they are seeking out better-for you foods that are nutrient dense, but also fun to eat, said Lindsay Hancock, who works with Creative Snacks Co.
In response, the company launched a line of Super Veggie Chips that are baked, not fried, and made with real, dehydrated vegetables, Hancock said. The line includes Tomato Chips with Mediterranean Herbs, Sweet Potato with Maple Honey, Mixed Flavor Veggie Chips with Sea Salt and Broccoli Chips with White Cheddar – which is the most popular of the four types, Hancock said.
“Vegetables are growing in popularity and this is a great alternative to regular potato chips. It allows you to get that crunch, but also feel good about what you are eating at the same time,” she said.
She acknowledged that the broccoli chips likely will not appeal to the hardcore Doritos eater, but it will appeal to parents “who are looking for something they can put in school lunches that they can feel good about feeding their kids.”
The chips also will appeal to health enthusiasts who are looking for something different, and who want variety, she added.
Rhythm SuperFoods and Brad’s Raw Foods also latched on to the idea of broccoli as a trendy snack, but rather than mold it into a familiar chip format, they leave the florets in their natural “pop-able” form.
Brad’s Raw Foods began shipping in mid-June its Broccoli Poppers, which are “air crisped under low heat to preserve the bio availability” of broccoli’s nutrients and antioxidants, according to the firm.
The bite-sized bites of broccoli come in three flavors: Pop’n Hot, Cheeze Louise and Garlic-ity Split.
So far, all three flavors have been garnering rave reviews from consumers at in-store demonstrations and trade shows, said Ashley Hower, accounting Supervisor for the company.
“People love the broccoli. They say it is like a healthier popcorn. It is a crunchy snack and people love it because it is one of the top five superfoods,” she added.
Even though the format is not as familiar as chips, children still like the dehydrated broccoli florets because they are “super pop-able,” added Janice Greenwald, vice president of brand marketing at Rhythm SuperFoods.
“It is easy to eat, easy to chew. It is crunchy. Kid’s don’t even know what they are eating,” she said.
Rhythm SuperFoods also tried to make the “uncomfortable aspect of broccoli” more appealing by pairing it with “really comfortable” flavors, Greenwald added. The Broccoli Bites, which launched at the Summer Fancy Food Show, come in Garden Ranch, Zesty Nacho and Asian Citrus.
The product’s familiar flavors and bright packaging with a clear window also should help the snack fit in at mainstream grocery stores, as well as in the natural channel, Greenwald said.
Like Brad’s Raw Foods’ Broccoli Poppers, Rhythm SuperFood’s Broccoli Bites are dehydrated to preserve the nutrition and health benefits of raw broccoli, the firm said.
Forget eating broccoli – drink it!
Broccoli is even showing up in drinks.
Juice and nut milk company Forager adds sprouted broccoli to its Greens and Apple juice, which also includes cucumber, celery, kale, collards, spinach, limes and ginger.
“Sprouted foods are very good for you, and they are high in nutrients. And we wanted to add something in to kind of, you know, give it a little bit a boost,” said Erica Kirmayer, Forager’s sales and marketing coordinator.
She explained that unlike some other green juices on the market, Forager’s juices are vegetable-forward and less sweet. They also are formulated for nutrient density, as well as taste, which is where superfoods like broccoli come in.
Needless to say, with so many innovative options hitting stores shelves now, it is possible the next generation of children won’t cringe when they hear their parents tell them to eat – or drink – their broccoli.