From beneficial bugs and avocado mania to green chickpeas: Nine natural food trends for 2016

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Beneficial bugs to healthy fats: SRG's 9 natural food trends for 2016

Related tags: Chickpea

From purple cereal and jackfruit-based meat analogs to chickpeas in a new guise, Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) selects nine natural food trends it predicts could inspire packaged foods and foodservice menus in 2016 and beyond.

As for broader trends, look out for “beneficial bugs, good fats and system-supporting micronutrients,” ​along with “healthful snacks, plant-based meals, and paleo-friendly products,” ​says the Colorado-based branding, innovation and strategy consultancy, which works with leading CPG companies, chefs, restaurateurs, and food influencers to gather trend information.


1. JACKFRUIT:​ It’s a fruit that also doubles as a meat analog that is starting to appear in tacos, sandwiches, and wraps, says SRG. “Not much protein, but plenty of filling fiber and meaty texture​.”

Examples​: Upton’s Naturals Bar-B-Que Jackfruit, The Jackfruit Company Naked Jackfruit, Yves Veggie Cuisine Jackfruit Pulled BBQ

primal kitchen avocado mayo

2. AVOCADO:​ As sugar replaces fat as the nutritional bogeyman of the hour, foods containing healthy fats such as avocado are now appearing in portable dips, mini meals, and salad dressings, says SRG.

Examples​: Hope Spicy Avocado Hummus Singles, Primal Kitchen Vinaigrettes with Avocado Oil, Avoke Spoonable Smoothie Bowl with Avocado


3. PURPLE FOODS:​  From heirloom purple potatoes to Peruvian purple maize, anthocyanin-rich purple grains and veggies are infiltrating everything from hot and cold breakfast cereals to salty snacks.

Examples​:  Jackson’s Honest Purple Heirloom Potato Chips, Peace Cereal Purple Corn Flakes, Native State Foods Purely Pinole


4. MEAL CUPS: ​A new generation of convenient meal cups is emerging, catering to our need for instant and wholesome mini meals at any time of the day, says SRG. “Morning oats, lunchtime beans and rice, protein-packed quinoa snack cups, and even microwavable desserts offer fresh-seeming food-for-one in contemporary flavors and cool packaging.”

Examples​: Chef Soraya Eat-A-Bowl, I Love Snacking Quinoa Queen Mini Meal, Organic On-The-Go Microwave ‘Baked’ Brownie


5. BETTER BAKING:​  A new wave of feel-good baking products is gaining traction in the home baking category, says SRG: “Organic, natural, non-GMO, and Fair Trade Certified cake mixes, frostings, and food colorings bring the baking category in line with consumer demand for delicious foods that meet updated ingredient standards, especially for children.”

Examples​: Miss Jones Baking Co, Organic Baking Mixes, Wholesome Organic Frosting, Color Kitchen Decorative Food Coloring


6. FERMENTED FOODS:​ “Fermented food fans are ready and willing to add more types of cultured foods to their diets, whether they make them at home with easy-to-use starter kits or take inspiration from traditional global cuisines and refashioned staples. Beyond the benefit of good bugs comes great taste and exotic flavors, too!”

Examples​: Cultures for Health Starter Cultures, Burma Love Laphet Fermented Tea Leaf Salad Mix, Tin Star Foods Grassfed Cultured Ghee and Brown Butter (check out our recent articles on fermented foods HERE​ and HERE​).


7. GREEN CHICKPEAS:​ The humble garbanzo bean is moving beyond hummus and appearing in A new guise, says SRG: “Fresh, vibrantly green chickpeas are the base of new convenience meals and hummus dips, while protein-rich aquafaba (chickpea cooking water) provides structure to vegan mayo.”

Examples​:  Vana Life Foods Green Chickpea Meals, Fresh Nature Green Chickpea Hummus, Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise Vegan Mayo


8. NEW TEXTURES​: Innovative new snacks are delivering a “unique and exciting textural eating experience,​” claims SRG, from sun-ripened olives coated in crunch; to chewy moist lupini beans; and tender, chewy salmon jerky.

Examples​:  Gourmet Bazaar Snacks Crispy Coated Olives, Dear North Alaska Salmon Bites, Brami Lupini Beans


9. GRAIN-FREE-OPTIONS: ​Look out for more corn- and wheat-free-free wraps utilizing almonds, coconuts, cassava, and vegetables, says SRG. “These versatile wrappers cater to a growing number of grain avoiders.”

Examples​: NUCO Coconut Wraps, Siete Almond Flour or Cassava & Coconut Tortillas, Green Leaf Foods Raw Wraps: Kale, Spinach

For more details on each trend, click HERE.

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