Sweeteners to Kale-Trends at Natural Products Expo West

Kale maybe a hot new nutrition trend

At least four manufacturers at the 2012 Natural Products Expo West were offering kale as a snack.

First day of 2012 Natural Products Expo West was, as usual, packed solid by attendees. The show itself provided hints on to upcoming mainstream trends. As one attendee said “It’s where you go to see what will be popular in big consumer markets in three or four years and to figure out which companies will be bought by large food corporations in a few years as well.” In this and several other new blogs, I’ll be providing a perspective on what is new or growing, what trends are holding their own, and what may be fading.
Sweeteners: Humans being human, sweeteners will always be in demand. Although the natural-positioned high intensity sweetener stevia was certainly in many products, monk fruit extract was also found in products such as the Probiotic & Prebiotic Ready-to-Drink Beverages from GoLive™. Monk fruit extract (luo han guo), another natural-positioned, high-intensity sweetener, has not been recommended to be used as a stand-alone sweetener. It was used instead along with cane sugar in the forumla. For more information on monk fruit extract, see Ingredient Profile: Monk Fruit Extract.
Indeed, what seemed to be the two of the most popular “new” sweetener ingredients called out on labels were two ancient favorites, honey and cane sugar (basically sucrose, although heaven forbid that it ever be referred to as by that chemical-sounding name). Agave syrup had fallen due to “a bad rap” as one attendee explained. Other natural sweeteners such as brown rice syrup (generally an enzymatic hydolysis of rice resulting in a mixture of  maltose, maltotriose and small amounts of glucose), barley malt syrup (sweetness from maltose), and juices (apple and pear in particular), also graced the ingredient label of many products positioned to be natural.
The Coming of Kale (Brassica oleracea): I have often used kale as an example of how unrealistic career nutritionists can be about the American diet. It is generally within the context of “kale is a great source of vitamin K.” Right…kale consumption is right up there with pizza. However, yesterday, although I only covered maybe half the NPEW show floor, at least four companies where offering up kale snacks. And, with the flavorings such as cheese and no doubt a good dose of salt, a few were so tasty that I went back for seconds.

More food and ingredients trends to come.

— Claudia O’Donnell, Global Food Forums, a conference and seminar service

Posted on:March 11, 2012

One thought on “Sweeteners to Kale-Trends at Natural Products Expo West

  1. linda gilbert said:

    Monk fruit is truly a wonder. I’ve tasted cereals and ice creams with monk fruit as the only added sweetener and it is fantastic! Clean and sweet. And it does certainly does improve the taste of stevia – thank goodness. Check out So Delicious coconut milk ice cream bars for a special treat, YUM!

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