What’s Trending at the Sweet & Snacks Expo 2019
Visiting more than 800 vendors over the course of three days is no easy feat, but at FLIK, we rise to a challenge – especially one that involves sweets and snacks. We came, we tasted, we conquered. And here is a roundup of the major trends as seen at the Sweet and Snack Expo 2019.
Meat (or something like it) Snacks
With low-carb diets on the rise, it’s only natural to see high-protein meat snacks take center stage. Luckily, newer brands are keeping both sustainability and nutrition top of mind. For example, Vermont Smoke & Cure boasts transparent sourcing when it comes to their humanely raised meat. Their allergen-free meat sticks contain at least 40 percent less sodium and 45 percent less fat than leading snack sticks.
Keep your eyes open for biltong – cousin to beef jerky and meat sticks. Unlike many of its competitors, biltong is never injected with or soaked in sugar-laden marinades, making it high in protein and low in sugar. Stryve Biltong Snacks won us over with their promise for a consistently tender product – and if you’ve ever broken a tooth on beef jerky, you know how big this is! – which they attribute to extra thin slicing and a slow, air-drying (not dehydrating) process.
There are even ‘meat snacks’ on the market for the plant-forward contingency: mushroom jerky! Shrooms Snacks, made with responsibly grown mushrooms and a variety of seasonings, wouldn’t reveal the proprietary method for making Mushroom Jerky, but the umami taste and texture are truly a #snackaltering meat alternative.
The allergen-free scene is exploding and small-but-mighty seeds are king. This versatile plant-based protein can be sweet or savory, eaten on its own, as a butter, or in a bar. When peanuts dropped out of favor as the preferred airline snack, Kathie Pelliccio, founder of Superseedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds, saw an opening. You can now find her gluten free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds available for purchase on United Airlines flights.
Another standout is the seed butter by 88 Acres, specifically, Watermelon Seed Butter – yep, you read that correctly! 88 Acres points out that not only are seeds allergen-friendly and nutritious, they’re an agricultural byproduct, which makes them an environmentally sustainable ‘crop.’
The seed scene wouldn’t be complete without a bar. Blake Sorensen, owner of Blake’s Seed-Based, grew up with a deadly nut allergy and found the lack of allergen-free snack options frustrating. Even bars not made from nuts were made in a facility that processed nuts. A no-no for somebody who needs to carry an epi-pen! Sorensen decided to take matters into his own hands and created a line of pumpkin and sunflower seed based bars that are top-8-allergen-free, gluten free, and vegan.
‘Better Thank Junk Food’ Junk Food
Think traditional puffed, crunchy, salty snacks, lower in calories or fat, higher in fiber, free of synthetic colors and artificial flavors, made from vegetables, made from pulses, enhanced with protein or probiotics. The sky is the limit when it comes to – to borrow the tagline from World Peas Brand Peatos – ‘better than junk food’ junk food.
Peatos, which look like – you guessed it – Cheetos, replaces traditional corn and potatoes with peas and lentils. And the similar snack Hippeas, the #1 Best Seller in the Puffed Snacks category on Amazon, is made from chickpeas. Shrewd Food Protein Crisps is at the top of the game in the puffed-snacks-with-added-protein category. It gets the extra grams with the addition of milk protein isolate. A handful of similar salty snacks are even touting the addition of probiotics! A’Mond Snack Puffs, a newcomer to the game and nominated for Most Innovate New Snack, boasts that they are the first extruded snack made from almonds. The second ingredient is a multigrain blend of rice, quinoa, and sorghum and somewhere in the middle of the ingredients list, you can find GandedenBC Probiotic.
One thing all these snacks have in common? The packaging is filled with logos and buzzwords: gluten free, nut free, non-GMO, paleo, Whole 30 approved, soy free, vegan, vegetarian, organic, sustainably grown, just to name a few.
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