What's shaping what we're drinking and eating in 2017.
From food incubators in New York to Expo West in Anaheim and farmers markets in Phoenix, Vail, Santa Monica and Seattle, the Treatmo team traversed the nation in 2016. We saw many food trends emerge and disappear.
The themes this year have trended towards an interest in simplicity, transparency, self care, sustainability and plant power. Where big food corporations have knocked consumer trust when it comes to nutrition and health, smaller businesses and new food entrepreneurs are jumping in to satisfy growing demand for better for you food.
The food and drink trends to watch, enjoy or build from in the new year.
Functional foods with high impact and less sugar
Sleep deprivation and energy depletion were two big forces driving health and diet choices in 2016. The old guard of shelf products have been insufficient and too artificial to provide nutritionally sufficient solutions to these concerns. A quick look at many products on the shelf and you'll see more sugar than any other ingredient from yogurts and kefirs in the cold storage aisle to beverages in the middle aisles.
Getting more from real food to aid with energy levels from the beginning of the day to the end without negatively impacting sleep brought rise to new food entrepreneurs like Metabrew and Cocorau from New York and TruEnergy from Boston. All three companies strive to provide a product rooted in natural food without artificial sweeteners or refined sugar.
Sports shots without the refined sugar or the crash
TruEnergy is a sport shot infused with natural ingredients like green tea and maple syrup along with vitamins and minerals to help high performing athletes push through the wall and replenish lost nutrients and electrolytes quickly. It's easy to drink, tastes good and does what it says.
Sustained energy and fast recovery
Metabrew an energy and recovery drink with foundations of organic cacao, coffee, and cashew helps boost energy and restore the body after intense workouts without negatively impacting sleep. It's available for delivery and pick up at local delis in New York and ships.
Adaptogenic mixable powders for fast absorption
Cocorau aims to support balance of the adrenal glands, reduce stress and inflammation and lift mood. Their Holy Body Powder has raw cacao, he shou wu, astragalus and shilajit along with natural fruit based sweetener, monk sugar. The powder borrows from ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to bring about harmony and wellness and support stress reduction. A cup at the beginning of the day with almond milk helps energize and at the end of the day can help reduce stress and make it easier to fall asleep.
Adaptogens. Now this is a word we really didn't toss around much two years ago, but it's one that has started to pepper conversations about health more regularly. Used in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to heal, adaptogens are plants, mushrooms, herbs and minerals that were used to treat illness and still are. Holy basil, licorice (in Physical GraffiTea's turmeric ginger tea on Treatmo), ashwaganda and astragalus are a few.
Shisandra berry (above) is one we love that doesn't get talked about as much yet. But we're sure it will. It helps with focus, memory retention and alertness. It's also a liver cleanser, provides anti-aging benefits and is flavorful as a tea (above from Physical GraffiTea).
Medicinal herbs, spices and essential oils
This past year vitamins and supplements were in the spotlight for being less effective than many think they are. Eating real food--food that isn't highly processed, filled with preservatives, or artificial ingredients--still provides the most complete source of vitamins and antioxidants. Turmeric, ginger and a growing number of organic herbs and spices supply the body with medicinal benefits naturally. Physical GraffiTea from New York, Terre Botanicals and Daddy's Gourmet from Arizona, are food makers making healthy taste delicious and easy to enjoy everyday.
Ginger and turmeric
Known for cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory properties, Turmeric is widely used in Asian and Indian cooking. It has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and memory boosting properties. When paired with pepper oil, the nutritional benefits are better absorbed by the body. Physical GraffiTea in New York has an exceptional and addictive turmeric ginger tea blend.
For cooking or adding to your coffee or tea, culinary oils are high potency, real food additions to your diet. Terre Botanicals has a line of edible oils like cinnamon and black pepper that elevate food with just one drop. Most common in cooking, ginger is an anti-inflammatory food and a digestive aid that consumers are looking to more and more to help with circulation and overall wellness. You'll find it in teas, sauerkraut, powders and creative bottled beverages.
Single-origin organic herbs
Straight from the source, organic herbs grown at small farms and packaged on site have the power to transform food, nutrition and flavor. Dill helps reduce damage from airborne pollutants and just may be the thing everyone should be eating more. Daddy's Gourmet in Mesa, Arizona grows basil, oregano, peppers, thyme and more that are shipped direct from the farm to consumers.
Plant based foods and proteins
From the expansion of Veggie Grill to the emergence of plant based butchers and the growth of the faux meat business and veggie burger establishments, the demand for plant based food and protein is expanding. Beyond Meat's wings at the Whole Foods food court in Arizona was a key indicator early on in the year. But the number of food makers going into plant based food products is increasing quickly.
Getting more from your cheese
Still a new concept for many people, plant based cheeses are healthful alternatives to dairy and taste amazing. This plant based pine nut parmesan above from Sanctuary Vegan Cheeze is made with simple ingredients and matches or improves upon its dairy counterpart. The upside is nuts supply a host of vitamins, proteins, fats and minerals that help with everything from brain health to weight loss.
Cacao and hemp in particular are two beautiful things on the rise. Hemp has the ideal ratio of two essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega6 which support cardiovascular health. Aside from these good fats, hemp is a perfect protein, contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. b naked chocolates from Arizona is maker of sweet treats without the downsides. The macaroons, truffles and crackers that they make are perfect examples of how real food can taste amazing and be good for you too.
Mushrooms and nootropics
Cognitive nutrition was a notable trend at Expo West in Anaheim in March 2016. Substances for optimizing brain activity are increasing in popularity especially in Silicon Valley where investors are quite keen on them in the form of supplements. Also appearing with greater frequency at farmers markets across the U.S. are unique varieties of mushrooms known for their health and cognitive health benefits. One is Lion's Mane which supports enhanced brain function and memory, reduces depression and anxiety. Nootropics are on the rise, of which Lion's Mane is one.
All the good fats in nuts and alternative butters
Fat was a big topic in 2016. Healthy fats or good fats like those found in salmon, avocado, coconut and nuts may cut the risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol, they are also good for brain health. Nuts, seeds, and coconut, including coconut butter, are growing in popularity. Sprouted nuts and fresh milk alternatives--like hemp and nut-based--are also on the rise.
From Fat Uncle Farms--an early advocate of regenerative farming--sustainable almond farm in California, to Binnie's Coconut Butter from Colorado, to NotMilk nondairy milk delivery in New York City, and Jersey City's Hi-FiBar better for you granola, healthy nuts, seeds and alternative butters are coming to you in new creative forms in 2017.
Organic, raw almonds and almond butters
In flavors from cajun to coconut, Fat Uncle Farms almonds and almond butters are raw and unpasteurized. They are excellent for making almond milk at home and easily accessible at California farmers markets or direct from they Treatmo store. Their sonora wheat flour, also available on Treatmo, is an heirloom flour with many health benefits. Early adaptors of regenerative farming, which is better for the soil and the nutritional levels of food, Fat Uncle Farms is one to watch in 2017.
Dairy free milks made of healthy seeds and nuts
NotMilk NYC delivers in New York and Brooklyn and along with a line of nut-based milks that include their unique blends of walnut, cashew, macadamia and almond, they have stepped into custom milks like hemp. You won't find gums or any funny ingredients in these milks which stand apart from anything on the shelf at your local grocery in terms of freshness. Drinking nuts also helps improve sleep.
Coconut butter that's organic, paleo, vegan
Coconut is continuing to appear everywhere. A new and growing category is coconut butter. Binnie's Coconut Butter is a standout. Made in Colorado, they are hyper conscious about sourcing and ingredients. They have concocted three delicious coconut butters that wow in natural, organic favors from Dark Chocolate to Vanilla and Cinnamon!
Granola with no added sugar, low glycemic, diabetic friendly
Granola and snack bars have caught a lot of flack in 2016 for their high sugar content. Hi-FiBar has taken a step back and approached the space with cleaner, diabetic-friendly options. These granola's have no added sugar, are vegan, high in protein and fiber. Sugar came under fire in a huge way in 2016 as a factor leading to obesity and illness. New food entrepreneurs are tackling the problem creatively not sacrificing taste that many have become accustomed to, but defining new flavor and better health. Hi-FiBar is just one.
Brain food - walnuts
It looks like a brain and it's actually also really good for brain health. Walnuts like many types of nuts and drupes are great brain food and in addition to a balanced diet support memory and brain function. Food sites like Spoon University touted brain food on social media in conjunction with food events this past year and brain enhancing food is a continued point of interest in the battle against Alzheimers and mental health generally. Fluffy Vegans kale chips made in Arizona are loaded with walnuts. If you're not getting enough, they've made them deliciously accessible.
Ancient wisdom and fermented foods for gut health
Many look to bone broth as a collagen supplement and for its other health benefits. Grass fed and finished and locally sourced bone broth from trusted farms is what top broth makers look for when preparing their recipes. Passed down through the family each generation, JPP Apothecary (formerly known as Nourished Foods) out of Arizona--for delivery and shipping on Treatmo--takes great pride in being selective when it comes to sourcing for their broths. Working with small Arizona farms, the company ensures animals are treated well and nothing goes to waste. In turn, customers receive the highest quality product possible. Ghee also grew in popularity this year and JPP Apothecary's ghees in white truffle, harissa and prickly pear & ghost pepper, deliver the same brand promise.
Gut health might not have been dinner table conversation a year or so ago, but it's slowly creeping into discussions everywhere. Bad gut health has been linked to everything from bad digestion, lowered immunity, mood swings, and depression. Maintaining a healthy microbiome prevents all of that. It doesn't necessarily mean just eating tons of sauerkraut is going to change your life, but eating fermented foods and getting all those beneficial probiotics along with a balanced diet is a good step. Adding sauerkraut, like Garden Goddess made in Arizona and shipping on Treatmo, is a great start and optimal for taste too. We even included in our routine as a regular snack this past year.
No gums, low sodium, organic sauces and condiments
Clean food in the context of our trends report means food free of gums, artificial ingredients and preservatives and this style of food is on the rise. Carrageenan, a binder, came under fire for it's carcinogenic properties as did excess sugar in the diet in 2016. Sauces and condiments in general are stepping back to step forward. The OKB a 175-year old 'clean' Barbecue Sauce made in Arizona is a perfect example, along with Grate Roots and the Lesedi Farms African-inspired dressings like Peri Peri sauce are all on the rise.
The OKB recipe is 175 years old starting from a BBQ shack in Kentucky. At that time, food was not manufactured in a plant with artificial ingredients, it was sourced from the land. The OKB is shaking up the Barbecue Sauce category by presenting a product that is actually healthier than 90% of the sauces at the grocery store. It didn't have to reinvent the category, it just looked to the past, started fresh and remained delicious.
Lesedi Farms from Washington State grows many of its ingredients from their small farm. Free from gums, preservatives and excess sugars, the gluten free and vegan sauces they are launching in 2017 are delicious and inspired by recipes from the founder's home in Botswana. Livening up food naturally and in a way that isn't harmful to diet or health is a growing trend where makers like Lesedi Farms are finding a ready audience for their food.
Grate Roots is another business that brought a category of food, horseradish, back to its origins. Simple, clean, and diet conscious, Grate Roots comes in lime, citrus, cranberry (seasonal), white, and beet. All natural and organic, texture and taste combine perfectly to make a condiment that you want to eat from the jar. It's good for you too with cancer fighting properties and more.
At a time when there is rising concern about eliminating food waste, the environment and dependency on vitamins and supplements, more businesses are rising to the cause to fulfill a purpose. Whether root to stem or nose to tail, or ugly produce, everything is finding a place.
Vertical farms, meal kits, drinking vinegars, hemp water, aquafaba, plant proteins and flours like teff and coffee, algae, seaweed and chick peas along with concepts like identity preservation--tracking food back to a single source or season, and more ideas continue to shape the future of food for people today and generations to come.
All of the above is marked by ongoing discussions on nutrition and gmo labelling, food origin, soil health, industrial agriculture, sustainability and environment. It's perhaps no coincidence that Pantone's color of the year 2017 is Greenery because the trend is towards greener living. Read more on happenings in food on The Minitoast.
View the Treatmo food makers series to see how small businesses are making it all happen.
The Treatmo marketplace makes getting to fresh and natural food and selling it easier than ever. By hosting store fronts for new food makers and innovators in one marketplace, Treatmo makes good food more accessible to more people. Ship, deliver, pick up or pay in person with Treatmo app. See how it works! Get the iOS app or Open A Store!
by Anna Zefferys, CEO and Co-Founder of Treatmo.