What’s Gurgling? Listen to your gut.

Everyone’s talking about Gut health.

Last week Excel was home to a huge showcase of food and drink products from around the globe. At the IFE and Pro2Pac exhibitions you are surrounded with international and regional delicacies, trend and tasting tours and experts discussing important topics such as; small producers’ success stories, how plant power is changing the industry and what Brexit may mean for food packaging manufacturers. So, what new tastes or trends should we expect to see in 2019? Well, the overall key trends we observed were the importance of gut health, plant- based power, innovating with tastes/smells and experiences, sustainable and waste friendly components, CBD oil, probiotic fortified foods and using natural sugar such as honey as a sugar alternative! Below we have given some bite sized nuggets on some of these trends for you to chew on (sorry).

 

How to look after your gut.

 

With trends focusing on gut health, Kimchi; which is an iconic Korean staple food, was presented as a way to integrate probiotics into your diet. There was a push for pea protein as a milk replacement and Kombucha as a fizzy drink alongside probiotic puffs as an on-the-go snack!  Alongside the chefs using kimchi in their food as a tasty way to get good bacteria, probiotics are now appearing in traditional food staples removing any ‘over thinking’ from the consumer so they are able to get the nutrients they need, in the food they normally eat. Vegan Rob’s focuses on nutrition and compassion with a range of probiotic puffs. Kefir has been on the shelves for a while, however I was always apprehensive about the taste and texture. I can now confirm that the chocolate kefir smoothie from Bio-tiful tastes good and it is filled with good bacteria! A staple in Greece, Ariani (which seems to be sour milk) was presented by Koukakis as a refreshing Greek yogurt drink packed with electrolytes set to be popular with the sports industry.

 

Working alongside gut health is plant health, providing meat and dairy alternatives in the form of plant-based ice-cream and meat alternatives.  Expert panels provided insight to how plant-based power is affecting the food and drink industry, explaining how veganism is no longer as stigmatised as it used to be and is opening the doors to wider discussions on climate change and sustainability.

 

 Grab and Go Snacks

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The wonderful Nordics have produced a delicious snack which is healthy, filling but also a treat. The Yaar Quark Bars are flavoured Quark coated with a thin chocolate. Low calorie and high protein snack, and one of them tastes just like cheesecake!

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One of the most interesting international influences was from lotus seeds, there were about 3 different producers of lotus seed snacks featured at the show. I chatted to both Plant pops and Guriji discovering that these water lily seeds have historically been a staple snack in India. These lotus seed pops are also lower fat than crisps which is appealing to health conscious consumers.

CBD

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CBD is becoming more popular with chefs using it in their demonstrations, CBD in a fizzy drink from Green Monkey through to high end marshmallows infused with CBD from the high end decadent The Marshmallowist.

  

The Conscious Consumer

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The conscious consumer seemed to be ever present in the mind of the food producers at the same time as ensuring they keep the quality of the taste. When discussing the mission for Tony’s chocolate; to make it completely 100% slave free, the girls on the stand presented that it was “guilt free” in this way. This chocolate is thick and tasty and not guilt free if you are counting calories, however you can devour it safe in the knowledge that you are supporting a Fairtrade company that is “Crazy about chocolate, serious about people”. 

Environmentally friendly Flawsome drinks use flawed fruit to make juice. The juice is made of vegetable and fruit cast offs in the fight to reduce waste. On each drink you have you are informed of what you have saved, rather than what you have consumed.

Lost Sheep Coffee Roasters are producing their ground coffee with compostable pods which can be in waste or recycle and they will decompose within 10 days. However, they feel this is just what everyone should be using. Not patenting the pods is an example of this community using open innovation, encouraging the sharing of thoughts and ideas towards a better working future for the industry, consumers and for the environment.

Experience Generation

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As we are observing everywhere in retail, we as consumers are becoming demanding with high expectations of what added value we are getting with the activities we are doing. Smith and Sinclair are an example of this providing a fun and exciting buzz to eating and drinking with some really snazzy packaging. The highlight was of course the edible perfume and I look forward to what they will create next!

Free From vs Local  

It appeared that there was an underlying battle between the free-from community presenting their new ingredients with plant-power recipes and the regional producers arguing the importance of their basic and specialised products, whilst still understanding the need to innovate to appeal to the more discerning customer market.

It is an unsettling time for some food producers and manufacturers.  However, as so often happens in these times of challenges, ideas bloom and innovations are discussed which create inspired product lines and shine a light on the importance of sharing ideas regionally and internationally. This may go some way to create an industry that cares about product and people, which we have seen so much of here at IFE this year.