Hundreds of booths, miles of aisles. It’s not easy cutting through the noise and excitement (and, in the case of Bob’s Red Mill, a marching band that made the rounds this morning) to hone in on trends that will soon be making their way into the conventional grocery channel. What’s ahead for Q4 of this year and the start of 2013? There are several elements at work here, and they deserve some mention as Expo East gets into full swing.
RTD Cider Beverages: Like Kombucha, these drinks promoting digestive health are an acquired taste. And whether they’re flavored with pomegranate or blueberry, one whiff of an opened bottle reminds you of Easter eggs. But these drinks are on the move up. Infused with a dash of apple cider vinegar, they are known to aid in digestion and help the body absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Soup Bases and Recipe Starters: Fall is the ideal time for the introduction of liquid bases that go great in slow cookers or into the kettle as the bases for stews, soups and related recipes. Older versions were typically high in sodium, but this new generation of starters is not only lower in the salt, products are focused on unique flavors like red bell pepper or edamame. Of course, it depends on what else you add that determines just how healthful a recipe you’ve got.
Dairy-free cheeses: Make room in the produce aisle for a new group of dairy- and lactose-free chesses designed to appeal to the ever-growing number of vegetarian, vegan and allergy-sensitive consumers in the store. A number of companies here are sampling slices, shreds and crumbles are reporting mainstream retail interest in a category that they say remains woefully under-represented in conventional stores.