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Expo East Trend Watch

OK! First tour around the floor here and what jumps out at me?

Natural Snacks: Black bean from Michael Seasons, hummus from Plockey's and Simply 7, veggies from Inventure Foods, Lentil from Mediterranean Snack Food CO., nuts from Blue Diamond, and flax/pinto bean from Beanitos..... Each of these are the main ingredient in snack chips. A whole galaxy of healthy new ingredients are updating the chip category like never before.

Spices: Premium mixes in cork-topped test tube-like containers, frozen cubes in pop-put trays, finishing blends (including sugar) and portable sprinkle-able mini containers are all catching attention as a way to add flavor to any food or beverage. Almost all are organic and many are fair-trade certified.

Veggie Burgers: I was never a fan of these (not being a vegetarian), but the flavors and mouthfeel keep improving. New varieties are toaster-friendly , or contain raw or vegan ingredients... something that is a step beyond earlier generations of the veggie burger category. What's more, pack sizes are smaller, which makes them easier to trial. One brand made with quinoa comes in a frozen two-pack, while a vegan brand is sold refrigerated (due to the raw componants) with an 18-day shelf life.