It’s that time of year again. The biggest health food show in Canada – The Canadian Health Food Association show (East) took place a couple of weekends ago and I got the chance to attend again this year to check out what’s “trending” in nutrition.
In reviewing last year’s write up, I noticed some of the same products featured again this year (and gaining momentum) as well as a few new contenders.
Here’s what I observed as the top trending products:
Collagen is a protein and a key component of our connective tissues including the muscles, ligaments and skin as well as hair and nails. It plays an important role in our body by strengthening bones, repairing the body after exercise, providing your skin with structure and boosting mood. Unfortunately collagen diminishes as we age. Given the important role it plays in our body, it’s no surprise that its popularity as a supplement is on the rise. But what really stood out this year at the show was how many products have started to incorporate collagen. For example, Sproos, a company that specializes in collagen supplements, has a new collagen creamer. It contains both collagen and MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides). There were also collagen infused snack bars, protein powders and gummies (ok this last one was questionable for me – hey I’m a nutritionist). Expect to see and hear more about collagen in the near future. This one appears to be the new darling of the health industry.
2. Bone broth
Drum roll please; and for the 3rd year in a row, bone broth continues to gain momentum. I saw even more vendors at the show this year with ready-made bone broth products for consumers to just heat and serve. This landscape is becoming quite competitive with each vendor providing something different to set themselves apart. This year they even had a vendor who had bone broth in a tea bag! Their target market is for customers on the go. Leave a box in your desk at the office, take it with you when you travel, or just heat and serve at home. I’m not surprised with the gain in popularity of bone broth since collagen products are on the rise and bone broth contains a good dose of collagen.
3. Keto everything
The Keto diet is a huge trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. If you’re not familiar with what the Keto diet is it’s a diet that consists primarily of fat and a very low in take of carbohydrates. The increase in the number of vendors specializing in or adding Keto friendly products to their existing line is clear evidence of the popularity of this diet. At this show this year I saw a lot more Keto “snack bars”- last year there was only one. There was a company that specialized in Keto friendly foods that are typically not permitted on a Keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content such as crackers, pizza crust, and bread. There were also a staggering amount of vendors selling MCT Oil or products containing MCT like creamers, coffee, protein powder, and even peanut butter. Of course, as previously mentioned there were also many vendors with collagen products and bone broth – both a key part of the Keto diet.
4. Vegetables reimagined
Cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower linguini and Brussels sprout Buffalo wings. I started to see more of these convenience products at the show as vendors capitalize on the desire for consumers to eat healthier versions of traditionally higher calorie, non-diet friendly foods. However, when I checked out the ingredients in the products I noticed that in all cases the veggie was the fourth ingredient (or further down) on the list – not the first! Also, a lot of these products really weren’t as healthy as consumers may believe they are. Sure they had vegetables, but they had a lot of other unhealthy ingredients as well. Also, some consumers may opt to buy, for example, a cauliflower pizza crust because they believe it’s lower in net carbohydrates than a traditional pizza crust; and that just wasn’t the case. It’s a little reminder to never be fooled by fancy packaging and a claim on the front of the box. Always check the ingredients label.
5. Vegan cheese
Last year at the show I observed a large number of vendors carrying vegan products such as vegan bread, crackers, snacks, milk, desserts and cheese. And this year was no different. As a matter of fact, I noticed a lot more vegan cheese offerings. With the increased competition, vendors brought their A game (or should I say A products) to the show. I got to sample the vegan cheese products and they were amazing! Some of the products were creamy like a cheese spread or brie and some were more like a brick style cheese. Either way, the taste was comparable to regular cheese so vegans can still enjoy without compromise. A few vendors worthy of checking out are Spread ‘Em Kitchen, MiYoko’s, and Nuts for Cheese. The one down side of vegan cheese is the price point. Right now they are quite expensive, which is understandable since they are made with nuts which can be costly. Additionally, many of the vendors at the show were smaller start-up businesses so their overhead would be higher. Perhaps we may see price points drop in the future as competition increases .
6. CBD-based products
Last October marijuana became legal in Canada. As a result there has been an explosion of products containing cannabidol (CBD). CBD is derived from the hemp plant, a “cousin” of the marijuana plant, however, it does not cause a “high”. From a health and wellness perspective, it is claimed to treat anxiety and helps as a sleep aid for people with insomnia. It is also popular as treatment for chronic pain, particularly arthritis. Naturally companies are going to try to capitalize on the legalization of CBD and as such I found it in everything from skin lotions to chocolate!
Well, there you have it, the North American health trends for 2019/2020. Depending on where you live in the world, you too may be seeing some of these products trending now or in the very near future. Please share your thoughts with us.
To fitness with love,