Saturday, November 18, 2017

Key Food & Beverage Trends Seen at the 2017 PLMA Show

The Private Label Manufacturers Association hosted its annual PLMA Show from November 12-14, 2017 in Rosemont, Illinois. Over 1,500 companies from more than 50 countries exhibited at the show. In this article, I will highlight noteworthy trends in foods and drinks that I saw at the show – cauliflower “rice” and pizzas, seaweed snacks, premium fruit snacks, coconuts everywhere, cold brew RTD coffee, and functional coffee.

Cauliflower Was the “It” Vegetable at the Show

Cauliflower was the star vegetable at the show as companies used it in multiple formats to address consumers’ desires to reduce carbohydrate consumption and eat more vegetables. The vitamin C-rich, cruciferous vegetable is also naturally gluten-free. Health conscious consumers have been transforming cauliflower into “rice” by using a food processor and making pizza crusts out of cauliflower. Offering cauliflower “rice” and pizzas allows food companies to provide a quicker option for shoppers. At the show, Italy’s Emilia Foods SRL offered Via Emilia Riced Cauliflower, Cauliflower Risotto With Parmesan Cheese & Sea Salt, Mashed Cauliflower & Garlic, and Cauliflower Veggie Tots in a frozen format. Venice Baking Company is one of the largest suppliers of gluten-free pizza crusts to the restaurant industry. The company offered gluten-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust and a Broccoli Pizza Crust. Roncadin S.p.A., an Italian frozen pizza maker, offered up Monteli gluten-free Cauliflower 4 Cheese Pizza and Cauliflower Margherita Pizza. Italy's Topan offered Cauliflower Pizza Kits that contain 400g of cauliflower based dough, 300g of tomato sauce, and 100g of mozzarella cheese to make a pizza for two people.  Columbia Fruit offered frozen Organic Multi-Colored Cauliflower that contains four different colors of USDA Organic cauliflower. Belgium’s Crop’s Vegetables NV offered Rice Vegetables that include cauliflower.

Seaweed Snacks

Having been born in South Korea, I have been eating seaweed my entire life. Koreans regularly eat gim (dried seaweed sheets that are flame/pan-roasted and seasoned with oil and salt) as a side dish with rice at meals. In contrast, Americans rarely eat seaweed unless they are eating California rolls or other rolls wrapped in seaweed. Things are changing as kids in Generation Z (born 2001 – present) are embracing ethnic foods including seaweed as a snack. Numerous South Korean companies offered seaweed snacks at the show as a healthy, low-calorie snack. Yemat Foods offered USDA Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks that only contain organic seaweed, organic sunflower oil, and sea salt with 30 calories for a 0.18oz single-serve pack. Under its C-Weed Snack brand, Yemat Foods also offered 20-calorie packs in Bulgogi and Wasabi flavors that are “Great for Kid’s Lunch Box”, Seaweed Crunch With Almonds, and Seaweed Crunch With Coconut. Gim Factory Inc promotes its TrueSea All Natural Premium Roasted Seaweed Snacks as gluten free, vegan, kosher certified, and non-GMO. WooBo offered Artisan Crafted Onion Sea Tangle Crunch made with glutinous rice flour, seaweed, rice bran oil, onion, sea salt, and turmeric powder with 120 calories per 0.88oz serving. Companies are also incorporating seaweed in other snack products. Snak King offered Nori Sesame Cassava Popped Chips.

Premium Fruit Snacks

There is growing demand for snacks that are minimally processed and contain no or minimum added sugar. Exhibitor SunOpta promoted premium fruit snacks with a sale sheet that stated that the $116 million premium fruit snacks category has grown by 14.7% over the last five years according to Nielsen data. SunOpta offers fruit strips, fruit twists, and fruit bits that contain no artificial flavors, no synthetic colors, or high fructose corn syrup.

Multiple companies offered premium fruit snacks at the show. Pocas International Corp sampled Pocas Premium Dragon Fruit Chips in White and Red varieties. Pocas states that dragon fruit is a superfood that can help with digestion, speed up metabolism, and reduce inflammation. Natural Sourcing International, LLC also offered white and red dragon chips. Baobab Foods offered BaoBites Superfruit Snacks that are made from organic African baobab fruit. The company says that the baobab fruit is more nutritious than other dried fruits in terms of antioxidant ORAC value, vitamin C, total fiber, and potassium. Ecuador’s Produtankay Cia. Ltda. offered Golden Sweet Sprit Natural Superfood Berry Snack featuring Golden Berries. The company states that Golden Berries are higher in fiber than raisins, dates and blueberries; contain more antioxidants than green tea; and more potassium and vitamin C than most dried fruits. Continuing with the superfruit theme, You Love Fruit Inc offered You Love Fruit Handmade Fruit Leather in Pomberry Acai that uses organic acai pulp and organic pomegranate juice, in addition to organic mango pulp. The USDA Organic Fruit Leathers contain 2g of fiber in a 0.5 oz serving through the use of organic artichoke fiber.

Targeted towards children was Denmark’s Scandic Foods A/S offered Robinson’s Fruit Shoot Fruit that can count as one of a ‘5 a day” fruit or vegetable. The product is aimed to appeal to children by licensing Robinson’s Fruit Shoot, the number one children’s soft drink in the UK, while reassuring parents with no added sugar or artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. Other premium fruit snacks at the show included Freeze-Dried Fruit Crisps made with Fuji apples from Brothers International Food Corp., Paradise Meadow Organic Premium Dried Cranberries from Decas Cranberry Products, Inc; and Sweet Valley Organics Tart Cherries Organic Dark Chocolate Snack Bites from Mount Franklin Foods.

Coconut Everywhere

Coconut was everywhere at the show in food and beverage formats. Laughing Giraffe Organics LLC offered Snackaroons in multiple flavors including Chocolate and Salted Caramel. Snackaroons are dehydrated coconut macaroon styled cookies that are USDA Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and kosher. ONA Cookies from Tribe 9 Foods uses organic coconut oil in Certified Paleo cookies that are free of gluten, grains, dairy, and soy. Coconut oil sales have increased in the U.S. and benefited from the growing popularity of Bulletproof coffee and butter coffees that combine brewed coffee with ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oil or MCT oil. Beneficial Blends, LLC offered Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil that is USDA Organic and fair for life Fair Trade. The Kelapo Coconut Oil and Ghee single-serve 0.5 oz packets are designed to be mixed into coffee “For Added Energy & Focus”. Carrington Farms offered USDA Organic Coconut Oil and Coconut Oil & Ghee as well as a Premium MCT LIquid Coconut Oil designed to be mixed into coffee and smoothies. The company states that medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are efficiently utilized by the body for energy production and helps in calorie burning". Exhibitor Mementa Inc focuses on coconut and natural food products by selling everything from USDA Organic coconut oil to coconut flour, coconut sugar, and toasted coconut chips to coconut milk and coconut water.

On the beverage front, multiple companies offered coconut water. The Vietnam Harvest Company Co., Ltd provided Sparkling Coconut Water in addition to Organic Coconut Cooking Oil. Copra offered a line of USDA Organic products - 100% Pure Coconut Water and Organic Coconut Smoothie made with 100% Young Coconut Water & Coconut Meat alongside Frozen Coconut Meat Smoothie Packs. Jasper Products offered CoconutSense Coconut Milk in both USDA Organic and non-organic varieties.  Companies are adding fruit juice to coconut to provide more flavor variety. Ace Farm Holdings had their Ace Farm Coconut Drink line that combines water, sugar, nata de coco, and natural coconut flavor. Nata de coco, also known as coconut jelly, is produced by the fermentation of coconut water. WooBo Coconut Fizz mixed sparkling coconut water (not from concentrate) with fruit juice and no added sugar.

Cold Brew Coffee

Numerous companies offered cold brew RTD (ready-to-drink) coffee at the show to participate in the fast-growing cold brew coffee category. Demand for cold brew coffee is rising because the process of steeping coffee grounds in cold water for 10+ hours creates a coffee with a smoother, less bitter taste. Heartland Food Products Group offered its JAVA HOUSE Cold Brew Coffee Co. in both shelf-stable concentrate and RTD bottle formats. The JAVA HOUSE RTD bottles came in Colombian Black, Coffee Cold Brew Frappe, and Vanilla Cold Brew Frappe varieties. At the Trilliant Food & Nutrition, LLC ’s booth, its Horseshoe Beverage Co. division offered a variety of shelf-stable RTD coffees including cold brew, latte, and energy beverages. Berner Food & Beverage’s shelf-stable RTD coffee included cold brew, iced lattes, coffee energy, and coffee nutrition. Gehl Foods, LLC and Steam Punk’d Roasters Ltd. both offered shelf-stable cold brew coffee. On the concentrate end, Synergy Flavors, Inc offered a wide variety of options to meet different price points including a premium 100% Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate and a Standard Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate with Synergy Pure Coffee Concentrate and coffee solubles. For the do-it-yourselfer, Pod Pack International, Ltd offered Cold Brew One pods that contain ground coffee in a micro-mesh filter. The Cold Brew One pods are designed to make a single 12oz serving at home with no mess in a glass in 8 to 12 hours.

Functional Coffee

The popularity of RTD coffee energy drinks such as Java Monster (from Monster Beverage Corp.) and Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Coffee Drink that blend coffee with energy-boosting ingredients like guarana and ginseng has led companies to offer private label varieties. Berner and Trilliant Food & Nutrition offered coffee energy varieties while Strategy & Execution Inc offered a 15oz RTD Espresso that contains 13g of protein. NuZee, Inc fused cold brew and functional benefits in its new line of Coffee Blenders shelf-stable RTD Cold Brew coffees – LEAN, THINK, RELAX, and ACTIVE. The THINK variety contains 200mg of American ginseng to enhance mental clarity and concentration while the LEAN variety contains 400mg of green coffee bean extract to promote weight loss. Coffee Blenders also offered its line of functional coffees in a Drip Cup Pour Over format and whole bean coffee format.

Trilliant Food & Nutrition’s Wellnova Consumer Healthcare division offered functional coffee packaged in capsules to be used in the single-serve coffee Keurig Brewers. Wellnova’s functional coffee pods are designed to offer health benefits without the disadvantages of taking pills or vitamin gummies. Its Café Complete Coffee & Protein variety is a 2-item pack, with a coffee pod and a separate protein packet with 10g of collagen protein. Other functional coffee pods in the line include Immune (with Wellmune immune support), Fiber (8g of prebiotic fiber), and Vitamin (12 vitamins and minerals).

Monday, November 6, 2017

Top Food Trends Seen at 2017 NACS Show

The National Association of Convenience Stores hosted its NACS Show from October 17 - 20, 2017 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. In this article, I will highlight noteworthy trends in foods that I saw at the show – protein cookies & brownies, meat snacks innovation, and spicy notes. I previously wrote an article on non-alcoholic drinks trends from the show.

Protein Cookies & Brownies

Sales of protein bars are growing as they are consumed by a wide group of consumers beyond athletes and bodybuilders to busy consumers looking to add more protein to their diet as either a snack or a meal replacement product. Dollar sales of nutritional/intrinsichealth value bars grew by 3.4% to reach $2.4 billion for the 52 weeks ended April 16, 2017 in total U.S. multi-outlets according to data from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). To build on the popularity of protein bars and expand the number of eating occasions, companies are creating better tasting products that offer the convenience and high protein content of snack bars in a more indulgent (albeit, a higher-calorie and sugar) format. A number of exhibitors offered protein cookies, brownies, and cakes that offer 12+g of protein per package.

Amplify Snack Brands, Inc extended its OATMEGA protein bar brand made with grass-fed whey protein into Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, and White Chocolate Macadamia cookies. The Chocolate Chip OATMEGA Cookie contains 12g of protein, 330 calories, 12g of sugar, 10g of fiber, and DHA & EPA Omega-3s in 2.8oz cookie. Lenny & Larry’s, LLC offered their Complete Cookie which contains 16g of vegan protein (pea protein, rice protein, vital wheat gluten), 400 calories, 24g of sugar, and 10g fiber in a 4oz cookie in flavors such as Double Chocolate and Snickerdoodle. Honest Kitchens, LLC offered its Bake City COOKIE + PROTEIN whose vegan Espresso Dark Chocolate variety contains 22g of protein (from faba beans), 440 calories, 36g of sugar, and 6g of fiber in a 4oz cookie. Protein bar maker Quest Nutrition showed their Quest Protein Cookies at the show.  The display for the Quest Protein Cookies touted 15g of protein, 3g of sugar, and 12g of fiber per cookie, with the nutritional information varying by flavor. Nature’s Bounty Co’s MET-RX sports nutrition brand offered its MET-RX High Protein Chocolate Fudge Brownie with 24g of protein (soy protein, whey protein, egg white, and milk protein), 300 calories, and 18g of sugar in a 2.8oz brownie. Another high protein brownie was offered by Robert Irvine’s FIT CRUNCH. The FIT CRUNCH Whey Protein Brownie was developed by celebrity chef Robert Irvine and contains 15g protein, 5g sugar, and 190 calories. ThinkThin, LLC, a maker of protein bars, cereal, and powders; introduced the ThinkThin Protein Cakes with 12g of protein (milk protein, whey protein), 170 calories, and only 1g of sugar in a 1.48oz package. ThinkThin offers a dessert substitute through flavors of Birthday Cake, Chocolate Cake, and Red Velvet but minimizes sugar through the use of stevia leaf and monk fruit extracts.

Meat Snacks Innovation

Beef jerky has long been a convenience store staple as it offers a convenient, shelf-stable form of protein for workers, hikers, and fishermen. Dollar sales of dried meat snacks grew by 2.9% in convenience stores in the 52 weeks ended May 14, 2017 according to data from IRI. Today’s meat snacks are going beyond beef jerky and becoming more upscale and incorporating other ingredients including cheese. Demand for premium meat jerky, meat bars, and meat sticks has grown as a high-protein, minimally processed snack for health conscious men and women, boosted by the popularity of the Paleo diet and a desire for fewer, simpler ingredients in foods. Additionally, the idea of eating meat as a snack has been boosted by Kraft’s 2014 launch of refrigerated Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Packs that combine Oscar Mayer Selects meats, Kraft natural cheeses, and Planters nuts.

Meat snacks exhibitors at the NACS Show showcased new sticks and meat snack packs that incorporate nuts and cheese. Individually wrapped meat sticks offer better portion control than meat jerky in resealable pouches. Organic Prairie, part of the Organic Valley organic dairy family, offered its Mighty Meat Sticks made with 100% Grassfed Beef that is USDA Certified Organic. Conagra Brands introduced new Slim Jim Premium Smoked Sticks that use either grass-fed 100% beef or 100% premium pork that is raised without hormones. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky, owned by Halen Brands, Inc, introduced new Turkey Pepperoni Real Snack Sticks with 60 calories, 2g fat, and 9g protein. Oberto Brands launched new Pepperoni Jerky and Sticks. Link Snacks, Inc added Beef Sticks (made with 100% grass-fed beef) to its premium Lorissa’s Kitchen line that is geared towards women. Perky Jerky offered Beef (made with 100% grass-fed beef) and Turkey Sticks that are claimed to be "59% leaner than traditional sticks". Perky Jerky's sale sheet highlighted that it is targeting M3 = Millennial Moms With Money will drive current and future category growth". 

The popularity of meat & cheese snack packs is prompting companies to introduce shelf-stable varieties of meat & cheese/nut plates. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky showed shelf-stable Protein Packs that combine its meat jerky with dehydrated cheese (using a patented process) in its Real Steak Jerky – Original Recipe & Cheddar Cheese variety. Link Snacks Inc created Lorissa’s Kitchen Combos that combine meat jerky, nuts, and dried fruit in varieties such as Moroccan Market. Kraft Heinz introduced a shelf-stable variety of its refrigerated P3 Portable Protein Pack under the Planters brand that includes Planters peanuts, meat jerky, and sunflower seeds.

Adding nuts and fruits also allows companies to reach consumers who are not fans of meat snacks as these provide more textural and flavor variety. Oberto Brands introduced its Trail Mix with Original Beef Jerky that includes nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate pieces at the 2016 NACS Show.  The latest innovation in meat jerky is the PowerBar Jerky & Nut Bar from Premier Nutrition Corporation that appears aimed at consumers who want the high protein content of a protein bar but without a lot of sugar or any artificial sweeteners. The sale sheet for the PowerBar Jerky & Nut Bar states: "Real Jerky. Real Nuts. Really a Bar. 10g of Protein. Made with 100% American Beef. No Artificial Sweeteners". The sale sheet did not list the sugar content of the PowerBar. Also offering flavor and texture variety was the Farmer's Pantry line of meat with crisps. The United Snacks of America line included Chicken & Waffle Crisps (made with chicken breast), Bacon  & Cornbread, and Steak & Frites (beef jerky & French fry crisps).

On the refrigerated side, Kraft Heinz, Hormel Foods Corporation, and Tyson introduced new meat & cheese plates at the show. Kraft Heinz showed new Oscar Mayer Natural Meat & Cheese Plates (with meat, cheese, and whole wheat crackers) and new Oscar Mayer P3 Protein Plates (with meat, cheese, and dried berries).  Hormel introduced its Hormel Natural Choice snacks that are made for on-the-go snacking with meat, cheese, and dark chocolate-covered treat. Tyson extended its Hillshire Farm Small Plates line to include varieties with Beef and Pork Cuts. The small plates are inspired by wine & spirit flavors and include seasoned beef or pork and cheese in Smoky Bourbon, Whiskey & Brown Sugar, and Apple Chardonnay varieties.

Plant-Based and Vegan Options

There was no shortage of beef jerky, fried chicken, hot dogs, and sausage pizza at the show. At the same time, there were quite a number of companies offering plant-based foods to capitalized on the growing interest in plant-based foods due to ethical and health reasons. On the high protein end of vegan foods were EVOLVE and OWYN. CytoSport Holdings, Inc, owned by Hormel Foods Corporation, offered both its dairy-based MUSCLE MILK and its new EVOLVE plant-based protein brands at the show. The company offered EVOLVE ready-to-drink Protein Shakes made with 10-11 ingredients including 20g of pea protein, Protein Powder, and Protein Bars. Another clean label protein shake at the show was Halen Brands, Inc’s OWYN (Only What You Need) line. OWYN offered its line of Ready-To-Drink Shakes that contain 20g of plant-based protein from pea, pumpkin, and flaxseeds per 12oz serving. Vega, the maker of vegan protein powders and snack bars owned by Danone, offered Vega Protein + Snack Bars that are certified vegan and contain 10-11g of plant-based protein from peas, rice starch, brown rice, and hemp seeds. Premier Nutrition Corporation who introduced the PowerBar Jerky & Nut Bar at the show also sampled its PowerBar Plant Protein bars that contain 10g of protein from cashews, pea protein, rice flour, rice protein, pumpkin seeds, and cashew butter. Nature Delivered Inc, owner of the graze snacks and snack subscription box program, offered its Veggie Protein Power variety with 9g of protein from edamame beans, spicy chickpeas & black pepper cashews.

There were a number of vegan options geared toward the light snacking occasion with 5g or less of protein. Tofu producer House Foods sampled its refrigerated GO UMAMI Baked Tofu Bars that contain 5g of protein. GLK Foods, LLC offered GoBitos seasoned roasted chickpeas that have 5g of protein per 1oz serving. Rhythm Superfoods showcased its new Grab & Go Beet Chips and Kale Chips. By coating the Kale Chips with sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, the chips contain 4g of protein per 0.75oz serving. 

Gaea, a Greek company that specializes in Mediterranean products, introduced Veggie Snacks in Carrot, Cauliflower, and Gherkin varieties in recloseable pouches. Similar to its Gaea Olive Snack Packs, the Veggie Snacks contain no preservatives. Products aimed at health conscious parents included Materne’s GoGo squeeZ applesauce pouches and Brands Within Reach’s N.A! Nature Addicts Fruit Sticks – both of which contain 100% fruit and no added sugar, colors, or flavors.

Spicy Notes

Americans, especially younger ones, are embracing spicy flavors as they like to visit ethnic restaurants where Thai Sriricha, Korean gochujang, Moroccan harissa, and Yemenite Zhug hot sauces can be found. Exhibitors at the show incorporated spicy notes into both savory and sweet products. On the savory side, Picadilly Circus Pizza offered up samples of its Nashville Chicken Pizza, inspired by the popular and spicy Nashville Hot Chicken that is showing up on restaurant menus outside Nashville, Tennessee. Green Chile Food Company had a wide range of Southwestern frozen burritos (handmade in New Mexico) including the spicy Beef & Bean Burrito with green chile, cherry tomato salsa, and cheddar cheese. Another company to feature New Mexico’s chile peppers was Hormel Foods, LLC who offered the Hormel Hatch Chile Link that mixes pork sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, and Hatch chiles from New Mexico in a sausage link.  

On the sweet side, Mars Wrigley showed its new Skittles and Starburst Sweet Heat varieties that combine “fruity flavors with a spicy kick” to appeal to young consumers. Starburst Sweet Heat features Fiery Watermelon, Flamin’ Orange, Strawberry Mango, and Pipin' Pineapple. Also at the Mars Wrigley booth was COMBOS Honey Sriracha Baked Pretzel combining honey with the Sriracha hot sauce flavor. Nestlé USA sampled its NERDS Lucha Grande Guava and Mango Chile and Guava flavors varieties that are inspired by sweet, spicy Mexican candy and Mexican professional wrestling. Mondelez International introduced Sour Patch Kids Fire that fuses sweet, sour, and spicy notes.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Top Non-Alcoholic Drinks Trends Seen at 2017 NACS Show

The National Association of Convenience Stores hosted its NACS Show from October 17 - 20, 2017 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. In this article, I will highlight noteworthy trends in non-alcoholic drinks that I saw at the show – RTD coffee, cleaner energy drinks, zero-calorie sparkling waters, and unsweetened & lower-sugar RTD teas. I will be writing a separate article on food trends from the show.

1. RTD Coffee Outperforms Other Non-Alcoholic Drinks in C-Stores

Non-alcoholic drinks as a whole have not been doing well in convenience stores in 2017 according to figures from IRI cited by CSP Dollar sales of carbonated beverages, the largest category, declined by 3.3% in the 24-week period ended June 11, 2017. However, three categories did show growth – RTD coffee, RTD tea, and bottled water – in c-stores. Sales of RTD (ready-to-drink) coffee/tea and bottled water grew by 4.6% and 1.3%, respectively, in c-stores in the same time period. Given the strong performance of RTD coffee, it is not a surprise that many exhibitors offered RTD coffee products at the NACS Show. In fact, two of the top 10 rated products (based on scans by retailer attendees) in the show’s Cool New Products Preview Room were cold brew coffees. The number one product out of about 320 items was JAVA HOUSE Authentic Cold Brew Coffee from Heartland Food Products Group (available in both concentrate and RTD bottle formats) while the number three product was STOK Cold Brew Coffee Bulk (in 1.5 gallon RTD bags to be used in a proprietary dispenser) from DanoneWave Away From Home. RTD coffee, especially the cold brew variants, have shown strong growth as they meet consumers’ desires for healthy, flavorful, and convenient energy with a list of simple, easy to pronounce ingredients.

Cold brew coffee has been one of the fastest growing subsegments within coffee in both retail and foodservice outlets because the process of steeping coffee grounds in cold water for 10+ hours creates a coffee with a smoother, less bitter taste. At the show, Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee introduced a new refreshing twist to cold brew coffee with its Sparkling Cold-Brew Coffee line in Ginger, Citrus, Spiced Vanilla, and Black varieties in 12oz cans to its USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Certified Organic cold brew coffee line. New Age Beverages introduced its Marley Cold Brew Coffee in 11oz cans as a more premium offering to its existing Marley One Drop line. The sell sheet for Marley Cold Brew states that the coffee “is steeped for 16 hours in stainless steel wine tanks, then pressed and filtered for clarity”.

Seeing the trend in cold brew coffee-based cocktails, Café Agave introduced Café Agave Spiked Cold Brew in 187ml (6.3oz) cans. The Spiked Cold Brews are made with Arabica coffee, contain 10% alcohol by volume, and are “Wine License Approved” according to the sell sheet.

Innovation in RTD coffee is not limited to small companies. The largest player in U.S. RTD coffee is the North American Coffee Partnership (NACP) created in 1994 between PepsiCo and Starbucks that sells the number one Starbucks Frappuccino brand.  At the NACS Show, NACP launched the Starbucks Frappuccino Chilled Coffee Drink with Almondmilk in vanilla and mocha varieties to reach younger consumers who are increasingly looking for plant-based options. NACP added two new flavors – Vanilla & Fig and Unsweetened Black – to its Starbucks Cold Brew line and will be launching Starbucks Doubleshot Coffee Smoothies using bananas and almond milk in Dark Chocolate Banana and Vanilla Honey Banana varieties.

The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) was a later entrant to the U.S. RTD coffee market with the creation of its global joint venture with Italy’s illycaffè SpA in 2008 but now aims to become a bigger player in RTD coffee with a multi-brand RTD coffee strategy. In early 2017, TCCC launched the Dunkin’ Donuts bottled Iced Coffee beverages in partnership with the donut & coffee shop chain and added Cold Brewed Coffee varieties to its Gold Peak RTD tea line. At the show, TCCC introduced McCafé Frappés  – RTD coffees (in 13.7oz PET bottles) created in partnership with the McDonald’s restaurant chain in Caramel, Mocha and Vanilla flavors. Additionally, TCCC owns 16.7 percent of Monster Beverage Corp. who makes Java Monster RTD coffees that combine coffee, dairy, and Monster’s energy drink ingredients. Monster launched two new RTD coffee lines at the show that are more premium than Java Monster. Espresso Monster is billed as “3 shots of espresso with a shot of cream” and contains taurine and B vitamins in an 8.4oz can. Caffé Monster Energy Coffee comes in 13.7oz glass bottles.

2. Cleaner Energy Drinks and Caffeinated Waters

Energy drinks are seeing some of their consumers move toward alternatives such as RTD coffee and caffeinated water as consumers show a preference for products with “clean labels” – a short list of pronounceable ingredients. Sales of energy drinks declined by 0.9% in c-stores in the 24-week period ended June 11, 2017. Energy shots such as5-Hour Energy are struggling, with dollar sales down 2.3% for 52 weeks ended December 25, 2016 per IRI data for U.S. convenience stores. Forto Coffee aims to be a bridge between RTD coffee and energy shots with its USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, cold brew formula that contains a short list of ingredients including water, coffee extract, milk, cane sugar, natural flavors, caffeine, and baking soda. The company introduced two new flavors - Hershey's Chocolate in partnership with the confectionary company and Pure Black Espresso. Forto Coffee is billed as a “Ready-to-Drink Energy Shot” in a 2oz shelf-stable format.

Makers of “clean” energy drinks aim to take share from Red Bull and Monster Energy by offering a shorter ingredient list, using organic or natural ingredients, and not using preservatives. Organic energy drinks pioneers – Hiball Energy (acquired by Anheuser-Busch in July 2017), GURU Energy Drink, and Steaz (purchased by Novamex in August 2016) sampled their products at the show.

Organic energy drinks are becoming more mainstream as evidenced by PepsiCo introducing AMP Organic Energy Drinks at the show. PepsiCo also introduced Yachak Organic Yerba Mate that contains 160mg of caffeine per 16oz can and is USDA Certified Organic and fair for life fair trade certified. New Age Beverages introduced Marley Yerba Mate that is also USDA Organic. These sweetened yerba mate products could be considered organic energy drinks or RTD teas.

Other energy drinks companies are positioning their products as natural and using unique packaging to stand out on shelves. +Red Elixir comes from a fashion background as the founder of Rock & Republic and knows how to make a splash. The company hosted a musical performance by CeeLo Green at its booth to promote its line of beverages - Power Elixir, Power 20 Elixir, Rescue Elixir - that are “made with 100% natural flavors, no artificial sweeteners or colors” and the addition of red marine algae. +Red Elixir’s proprietary 12oz cans with a cap do not look like other energy drinks.

UPTIME Energy markets its energy drink as “premium energy with a balanced boost” with a “clean ingredient panel…featuring one fifth the ingredients of other leading energy drinks”. Part of the premium positioning for UPTIME Energy is reflected in the use of tall, slim 12oz resealable aluminum bottles.  

In addition to their Avitae original and flavored caffeine + water and sparkling caffeine + water, Avitae offered their AvitaeXR Extended Release Caffeine product that contains 250mg of caffeine. After the initial dose of 125mg of caffeine, the ZUMXR proprietary energy blend in a caffeine bead format slowly releases 125mg of caffeine over three to four hours. The clear 12oz PET cans allow the consumer to see the caffeine beads after the can is shaken.

In addition to coffee shots and clean energy drinks, companies are also using caffeinated waters to reach out to consumers who want a boost of energy with minimal ingredients. At the NACS Show, Avitae, Hiball Energy, Hint Water, and Klarbrunn offered their caffeinated waters that provide consumers an alternative to colas and energy drinks for the afternoon slump. Klarbrunn introduced BUBBL’R Antioxidant Sparkling Water to appeal to multiple groups - Generation Z (born 1995-2010), millennials (born 1980-1995), and Generation X (born 1965-1980) mothers for the family. A 12oz can of BUBBL’R contains 70mg of caffeine (about one cup of coffee) from white tea extract and green coffee bean extracts, A and B vitamins, and 5 calories. The company says that BUBBL’R is USDA compliant for high schools.

3. Zero-Calorie Sparkling Waters 

In addition to caffeinated waters, zero-calorie sparkling waters are driving growth in bottled waters as health conscious consumers seek out alternatives to carbonated soda. National Beverage Corp.’s La Croix is the most popular flavored, unsweetened sparkling water in the U.S. and continues to show strong growth. Industry players believe that sparkling water has a lot more room to grow. The Coca-Cola Company announced its acquisition of Mexico’s Topo Chico sparkling mineral water brand on October 2. Topo Chico offered Topo Chico Twist of Lime and Topo Chico Twist of Grapefruit in 12oz glass bottles at the show. Nestlé Waters offered its regional (including Ice Mountain Sparkling, Poland Spring, and Zephyrhills) sparkling waters in 12oz cans as well as PET bottles. Previously, the company offered these sparkling waters in PET bottles. Nestlé’s sell sheet citing Nielsen Homescan data stated that new entrants comprise 64% of sparkling waters category growth and that most of these shoppers want flavor options. Talking Rain Beverage Company introduced a new flavor – Ginger Lime – to its popular sweetened zero-calorie Sparkling Ice line at the show. VOSS Water of Norway introduced a new Lime Mint flavor to its sparkling water line. Another premium flavored sparkling water at the show was Hiball Energy's zero-calorie Alta Palla Sparkling Waters that are USDA Organic.

4. Unsweetened and Lower-Sugar RTD Teas

Consumers looking for alternatives to carbonated soda are turning to unsweetened or lower-sugar RTD teas. While few companies offered unsweetened RTD tea options five years ago, consumers now have several options to choose from. At the NACS Show, The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) introduced Gold Peak in Unsweetened Raspberry and Unsweetened Lemon as well as a Slightly Sweet Lemon Tea in 18.5oz PET bottles. Honest Tea, maker of USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified RTD teas, introduced Unsweet Mint Green Tea and offered Moroccan Mint Tea with 8 grams of sugar and 35 calories per 16 oz glass bottle. According to TCCC, unsweetened tea is the fastest growing segment in RTD tea and mint flavored teas are growing at 20 percent annually. Sugar content is the first point of decision-making in RTD tea purchases according to  Scott Tillman, Director, Retail Channel Strategy & Commercialization for TCCC. Fuze will also be relaunching as Fuze Antioxidant & Vitamin Infused in January 2018, with two of the four new flavors at 10 calories per 16.9oz bottle.

Bai Brands LLC introduced new packaging for its 5-calorie (and 1 gram of sugar) Bai Antioxidant SUPERTEA at the show. Bai, acquired by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in January 2017, is best known for its 5-calorie enhanced flavored waters. With the packaging redesign that emphasizes SUPERTEA, the company wants retailers to display its SUPERTEA next to other RTD teas instead of with Bai’s functional waters. 

Argo Tea, owner of a tea cafe chain, offered several RTD teas at its booth including Unsweetened Tea, Signature Drink Originals, and Teappuccinos made with almond milk. The company's newest offering is Cold Brew RTD teas that contain 20 calories (and use fair trade cane sugar) per 13.5oz glass bottle. The Cold Brew RTD teas are produced using a cold brew process and are being rolled out to Whole Foods Market stores this month. The three varieties are Armenian Mint, First Flush Darjeeling, and First Flush Gyokuro. 

After test marketing its Teavana Craft Iced Tea in select markets beginning in February 2017, Starbucks and its manufacturing and distribution partner Anheuser-Busch launched the super premium RTD tea line at the NACS Show. Two of the six varieties are unsweetened – Meyer Lemon Black Tea and Strawberry Apple Green Tea.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Top 5 Trends Seen at Expo East 2017

I had the pleasure of attending Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, a trade show that encompasses natural, organic, and functional foods & beverages, vitamins & dietary supplements, beauty & personal care, and more. Expo East is the smaller fall counterpart to Expo West (the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event) that is held annually in March in Anaheim, California. New Hope Network organized the trade show and educational sessions that attracted over 1,500 exhibitors from September 13-16, 2017. During my four days at the show, I tasted lots of products that contained collagen or probiotics, were fermented or plant-based, as well as healthy frozen desserts. Off-the-trade show events of the Harvest Festival, Press Luncheon, Run Clinic and Shake Out with Olympian Nick Willis sponsored by SOS Hydration, and the Community Breakfast gave me a chance to talk one-on-one with many exhibitors.

1. Collagen

Skin care devotees may already be familiar with collagen as both topical and ingestible formulations have been around for years promising to increase collagen production for younger looking skin and stronger hair and nails. Collagen consumption is also associated with helping joints. Collagen was everywhere at Expo East, with some exhibitors going beyond skin, hair, and joint benefits. NeoCell Corporation has been around since 1998 and focuses on skin care benefits with its health and fitness Glow Getters message. It served collagen coffee and collagen pancakes (made with its NeoCell Super Collagen Powder) at its tent outside the Baltimore Convention Center while Celebrity Chef Charles Chen held cooking demonstrations at its main booth to promote #cookingwithcollagen. NeoCell also offered NeoCell Collagen Cookie Bars containing 12-13g of protein. Another dietary supplements company Reservage Nutrition focused on a “Beauty From Within” message with its collagen line available in a number of different formats including bone broth bags, capsules, chews, liquid shots, powders, and tea bags. 

Vital Proteins, producer of Grass Fed Pasture Raised Collagen Peptides, went beyond the benefiting hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, muscles, and tendons message by stating that that collagen “also helps support better digestion, improved gut health, and overall wellness”. The company sampled Vital Proteins collagen coffee creamers in unflavored and gingerbread flavors, matcha collagen, organic bone broth infusion, and three collagen coolers at its truck. Though collagen is only one of many components in in bone broth, companies such as Ancient Nutrition are highlighting the collagen content. Ancient Nutrition states that the collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and key electrolyte minerals in its Bone Broth Protein can “support the health of your gut, joints, muscles, skin and healthy detoxification”. In addition to the Ancient Nutrition brand, the company also makes Dr. Axe Multi Collagen Protein which contains five types of food source collagen: Type I, II, III, V, and X.

The continued popularity of the Paleo, Keto, Whole30, and Bulletproof diets supports increased demand for collagen as collagen is typically derived from animal proteins (cows, chickens) and is compatible with these diets. Primal Kitchen, which bills itself as Paleo Approved, offered a line of Grass-Fed Collagen Bars with 15g of protein in chocolate hazelnut, macadamia sea salt, dark chocolate almond, and coconut cashew varieties. Dr. Don Colbert, M.D., author of Dr. Colbert’s Keto Zone Diet, offered Hydrolyzed Collagen, Instant Ketones, and MCT Oil Powder at his Divine Health Don Colbert, M.D. booth. Bulletproof, who popularized the concept of brain-boosting butter coffee made with grass-fed butter and MCT oil, offered Collagen Protein powders, Collagelatin powders, collagen protein bars in fudge brownie, lemon cookie, and vanilla shortbread flavors; in addition to coffees, Brain Octane oils, and dietary supplements at its booth.

2. Plant-based

Plant-based was a big theme at Expo East, both on the show floor and in the educational sessions. Four workshops on Friday, September 15 were devoted to the plant-based track. According to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), plant-based food sales in the U.S. grew by 8.1 percent in 2016 to reach $3.1 billion while overall food sales declined by 0.2 percent per data from market researcher Nielsen.  Excitement about plant-based foods was high at the show, especially given Nestlé’s September 7 announcement that it was purchasing Sweet Earth, a California-based maker of plant-based foods such as frozen burritos, frozen meals, and refrigerated plant-based proteins Harmless Ham and Benevolent Bacon. Plant-based products at the show included fish-free alternatives, cheeses, yogurts, milks, meats, meals, and protein bars & drinks.

Good Catch Foods made a splash at the show with chef-created, plant-made fish-free tuna and burgers and crab-free cakes that are made with peas, lentils, chickpeas, soy, and five beans and contain 17g of protein per serving as well as Omega-3 DHA from algal oil. Given consumer concerns about overfishing, attendees responded favorably to the company’s slogan “We’re culinary rebels with a cause. Seafood without sacrifice”. Good Catch was not the only exhibitor to offer fish-free products. Atlantic Natural Foods rebranded its Loma Linda plant protein brand that has been around since 1890 with a clean look and label and a new meal solutions line. Three of the products in the Loma Linda line are Fishless Tuna in Thai Sweet Chili, Sesame Ginger, and Lemon Pepper varieties. Unlike most other plant-based fish and meat alternatives that are chilled or frozen, the Loma Linda products are shelf-stable. Quorn USA introduced Quorn Vegan Fishless Sticks stating on its sell sheet that “Frozen Meatless Fish Sales are Under Indexed”. The show even had vegan sushi. Plant Based Foods offered a 100% plant based Mozza Vegan Sushi made with sprouted brown rice and filled with their MozzaRisella vegan cheese. The company makes MozzaRisella vegan cheese in block, slices, and spreadable formats with sprouted brown rice. 

Vegan cheeses at the show came in brown rice, almond, cashew, and other varieties. Miyoko’s Kitchen, a maker of vegan cheeses, introduced new Homestyle Vegan Cream Cheese in Plainly Delicious, Un-Lox Your Dreams, and Sensational Scallion varieties and Pub Cheese in Cheers to Chedda, Beer Garden Garlic, and Chive flavors at the show. Founder Miyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheese, produces Artisan Vegan Cheeses with organic cashews using traditional techniques. Daiya offered a full line of dairy-free cheeses including Cream Cheeze Style Spread, Shreds, and Farmhouse Blocks using a combination of tapioca starch, coconut oil, pea protein isolate, potato protein isolate, and coconut cream. Kite Hill calls itself a maker of “Artisan Almond Milk Foods” and offered Cream Cheese Style Spread, Ricotta, and Soft Fresh cheese varieties. The company also offered almond milk-based Greek-Style Yogurt, Yogurt Tubes, Drinkable Yogurt, and European Yogurt.

On the meatless meats and meals side, long-time vegan maker Tofurky was joined by newer companies including Alpha Foods, Drink Eat Well, LLC (Hilary’s), No Evil Foods, and VANA Life Foods. Tofurky, known for its tofu and seitan (wheat gluten)-based Tofurky Roast, introduced a DIY line of Grounds that are gluten-free in Burger, Chorizo, Breakfast Sausage, and Italian Style Sausage varieties that are made with “Pasture Raised Plants”. Despite the growth in gluten-free foods, there is still strong demand for seitan (wheat gluten) which provides a chewy texture. Alpha Foods sampled its 100% Plant Based, non-GMO, and vegan All-Day Burritos in four flavors including Philly Sandwich, Chick’ N Fajita, Mexicali, and PIzza. The company uses a proprietary blend of soy and wheat as the protein in its burritos while the cheese is made from coconut oil. No Evil Foods sampled its El Zapatista Chorizo (made with vital wheat gluten) in tacos and its sausage and pulled pork varieties (also made with vital wheat gluten) in Donut Sliders format at the show.

Among the numerous companies offering nut milks and other plant-based milks at the show, Elmhurst Milked, LLC stood out. In October 2016, Elmhurst Dairy exited the cow milk-based business and changed its name to Elmhurst Milked LLC to focus on shelf-stable nut-based milks using a patented cold milling process. After launching Elmhurst Milked Milked Almonds, Milked Hazelnuts, Milked Walnuts, and Milked Cashews varieties at Expo West in March 2017, the company introduced Elmhurst Milked Milked Oats, Milked Brown Rice, Milked Peanuts, Milked Peanuts – Chocolate, Milked Almonds – Unsweetened, and Milked Hazelnuts – Unsweetened varieties at Expo East. Another company producing cashew milk is the Forager Project that uses cashews in a wide variety of foods including Cashewgurt, Smoothies, and Drinkable Cashewgurt. Swedish company Oatly sampled its Oatmilk made from oats. Oatly uses a patented manufacturing process to retain loose oat fibers (heart-healthy beta-glucans) in the chilled oatmilks. Milkadamia added an unsweetened vanilla variety to its line of macadamia nut-based milks. Canadian Global Gardens Group sampled its Veggemo “The Non-Dairy Milk Originating From Veggies” that uses pea protein for protein, tapioca starch for texture, and potato starch for color.

What’s interesting about the growth in plant-based foods is that new product launches are not only coming from companies that specialize in plant-based foods such as Sequel Naturals ULC (Vega) but from companies that have had a long history of using animal protein. At the show, CytoSport Holdings, Inc. (the makers of MUSCLE MILK), Lifeway, and White Cloud Nutrition Inc. (Kura) offered plant-based products. Hormel Foods Corporation, maker of SPAM luncheon meat, acquired CytoSport in 2014. In February 2017, CytoSport introduced its EVOLVE plant-based brand. At Expo East, the company offered EVOLVE ready-to-drink Protein Shakes made with 10-11 ingredients including 20g of pea protein, Protein Powder, and Protein Bars. Kura started out as a brand of Grass Fed Dairy Protein powders using milk and whey from New Zealand pasture-raised cows. At the show, Kura launched a plant based protein powders that contain organic pea, oat, and organic sunflower protein. Lifeway, the largest maker of kefir in the U.S., introduced Plantiful, a new dairy-free, plant-based protein drink made with peas, hemp and rice protein with five dairy-free kefir cultures. 

3. Fermented Foods & Drinks

There was a wide array of fermented foods and drinks at the show as companies sought to promote the health benefits of naturally occurring probiotics created during the fermentation process. On the drinks side, numerous kombucha makers were at Expo East including Buchi, Health-Ade, KeVita, LIVE, and Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha to promote their beverages made with fermented tea. Fermented coffee was present at the show’s Natural Business School’s Pitch-Slam Competition. Camille Delebecque, PhD, the CEO and Co-Founder of Afineur presented on his company's eatCultured Cultured Coffee. He claims that the fermentation process produces a coffee that is easy to digest (lower in acid and stomach irritants), sustained energy (via bioactive compounds and lower caffeine), and no bitterness (with fruit and chocolate flavors).

On the food side, a number of companies offered up sauerkraut and kimchi made with fermented cabbage and salt. Mama O’s Premium Kimchi and Lucky Food offered authentic Korean kimchi. Eden Foods offered a line of organic sauerkraut including a kimchi variety. Jacob’s Raw promoted its line of Raw Organic Krauts including a caraway kraut using a classic Polish home recipe and Raw Cultured Tonics such as beet ginger with no added sugar. Wildbrine offered not just kimchi and sauerkraut but a Spicy Kimchi Sriracha and Live Shots in Korean Spicy Kimchi flavor. 

Not all of the fermented products seen at Expo East need refrigeration. GloryBee introduced Artisan Fermented Honey that is produced in Thailand. Pure longan blossom honey is placed in traditional ceramic casks, green tea is added, and then placed in oak barrels to age for a total of six months. Afterwards, the Artisan Fermented Honey is finished with more longan honey to add a sweet taste to the vinegar-like condiment. Fermentation is also showing up in dietary supplements. At the show, SoTru offered a variety of drink mixes including Organic Fermented Cacao Greens and Organic Fermented Medicinal Mushrooms, with the company saying that “fermentation breaks down otherwise indigestible plant materials, while releasing full nutritional potency and ensuring maximum digestion and assimilation”. New Chapter, Inc says that its New Chapter Fermented Booster Powders in varieties including Fermented Black Seed, Turmeric, Aloe, and Maca are “fermented with probiotics and easily digestible”.

4. Probiotics

There is quite a bit of cross over between fermented foods and probiotic-rich foods as the fermentation process can sometimes lead to the production of probiotic cultures. One of the companies leveraging the dual fermented and probiotics trends is Farmhouse Culture. The company makes sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, fermented beverages, and crisps made out of sauerkraut. In the case of its Gut Punch Sparkling Probiotic Veggie Drink, Farmhouse Culture starts with a fermented vegetable base (filtered water, cabbage, sea salt, caraway) and then adds flavors, sweeteners, and Ganaden’s probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086. Similarly, the company’s Kraut Krisps begin with fermented sauerkraut as a base and then adds oil, brown rice flour, flavors, and GBI-30 6086.

Probiotics were found in a wide variety of foods and drinks at Expo East. NextFoods had one of the largest selections of probiotic-containing foods at the show. The company launched GoodBelly Probiotic Infused Beverages and GoodBelly Strawberry Banana Juice Drink that contain 20 billon probiotics and are USDA Certified Organic. NextFoods also launched GoodBelly Probiotic Nutrition Bar that contains one billion probiotics per serving and require no refrigeration. The company also has a GoodBelly Coconut Water that is USDA Certified Organic with 20 billion probiotic cultures per serving. A number of other companies also offered probiotic coconut beverages. Inner-eco offered Probiotic Coconut Water that is made with coconut water and kefir cultures. Harmless Harvest offered Harmless Coconut Probiotics that are USDA Certified Organic, with 12.5 billion CFUs, a number of live and active cultures, including L. acidophilus and GBI-30 6086, and over 5g of MCTs from coconut meat. One unique use of probiotics was in Freed Foods Inc’s nm nurturme’s Ancient Grain Cookies that the company says is “the first-ever ancient grain cookie with probiotics”. The cookies are made with organic ingredients of millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, potato starch, tapioca starch, as well as GBI-30 6086.

There were many probiotic smoothies and meal replacement drinks at Expo East. Evolution Fresh introduced two Probiotic Smoothies that are USDA Certified Organic and contain Ganaden’s GBI-30 6086. Evolution Complete Probiotic Smoothies made with coconut milk, a plant-based protein blend (peas, pumpkin, chia, and brown rice), juices, and oat bran while the Evolution Daily Probiotic Smoothies are made with coconut milk, juices, and ground chia. Inner-eco offered Probiotic Smoothie Packs that combine frozen fruit with GBI-30 6086. TruVibe Organics LLC introduced a line of Eat Clean Organic Meals that are USDA Certified Organic and contain 15+g of protein per 12oz serving. The Watermelon, Pineapple & Moringa variety contains organic juices, pea and rice proteins, hemp seeds, Reishi mushroom extract, chaga mushroom extract, moringa, and GBI-30 6086.

5. Healthy Frozen Desserts

Many companies offered better-for-you alternatives to ice cream at the show as consumers are looking for healthy indulgence. Fronana For Life and Snow Monkey use frozen bananas as a base. Banana “ice cream” has been embraced by food bloggers including Paleo dieters because it is vegan, dairy-free, and contains no added sugars. Fronana The BANANA based ice cream alternative is marketed as being under 100 calories per serving, containing four servings of fruit per pint, with zero added sugars, vegan and paleo diet friendly, low glycemic and diabetic friendly, and free of the top eight allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat). Snow Monkey adds apple puree, hemp protein powder, sunflower seeds, and maple syrup to create what it calls a “Superfood Ice Treat” that is marketed as Non GMO, Plant Based 21g per pint Protein, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo, and Nut Free. Similar to Snow Monkey, ARTIC ZERO highlights its protein content. ARCTIC ZERO Fit Frozen Desserts are marketed as containing 10-12g of protein and 12g of fiber and 300 calories per pint through the use of hormone-free whey protein concentrate, sugarcane fiber, and monk fruit. The bars contain 3g of protein, 2g of fiber, and 80 calories. Arctic Zero is also low glycemic, lactose free, gluten free, and GMO free. The company added Cherry Chocolate Chunk, Peanut Butter Swirl and Rocky Road Trip varieties to its Chunky Pints line and a Cake Batter flavor to its bars.

Minimal ingredients and allergy-friendly status is important to many consumers. Chloe’s Fruit states that its products are free of the eight major allergens. The Chloe’s Pops contain a short list of ingredients - fruit, water, and organic cane sugar - and are also dairy free, gluten free, vegan, kosher pareve, and Non-GMO Project Verified. Deebee’s Organics Organic Fruit Pops watermelon variety also has a short ingredient list with organic watermelon puree, Fair Trade organic cane sugar, and organic guar gum to create a bar with 40 calories and 10g of sugar. Incredible Foods, Inc markets its perfectlyfree frozen bites (30 calories each) and pints of scoopable non-dairy frozen dessert as “allergy-friendly frozen treats”. The company states that perfectlyfree is “Allergy Big 8 Friendly” and free from the eight major allergens including “tree nuts (except coconut)”. Coconuts are considered to be tree nuts but used by many vegan frozen desserts maker because it lends a creamy texture to the desserts. Revolution Gelato uses organic coconut cream, cane sugar, and cashews in its gelatos. At the Buono (Thailand) Co., Ltd., they offered Buono Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert in Coconut Milk and Cashew Milk varieties as well as Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Mochi Ice.