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Top 7 Food & Ingredient Trends in 2016

The food, supplement and health food industry are always looking out for the next big trends when it comes to ingredients. Previous years has seen the rise of foods like quinoa, chia, kale and coconut to food movements such as increased gluten and lactose free foods as well as a switch to clean eating and vegetarianism and veganism. Trends such as an increased interest in cognitive beverages and fermented foods has also made headway in the last few years. This year is no different with a huge range of new ingredients and health foods set to appear in your meals and your supplements in 2016. Let’s check out what these ingredients are.

Teff1. Teff

This year is again going to be huge for the ancient grains market. With quinoa and chia already household names, new grains are poised to make a burst into the scene. With the rise of low carb diets and also the demand for more gluten free alternatives, many ancient grains are able to fit this criteria whilst also providing a source of abundant energy and micronutrients. Some of the up and coming ancient grains include amaranth, sorghum, spelt, millet, freekeh, kamut, einkorn and emmer just to name a few. One particular grain though is making big waves in the food industry and that’s teff.

Teff is a small grass seed that is naturally gluten free, high in protein and fibre, low in carbs and calories and bursting with amino acids and essential minerals such as calcium, manganese and iron. Native to Ethiopia and surrounds, teff is an excellent grain to use if you’re after a good source of gluten free protein from a grain and has already been used by some companies as a good wheat alternative in pastas.

2. Tiger Nuts

Lactose free products and dairy alternatives have been gaining traction for a few years now. Some of the most popular dairy milk alternatives include soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk and almond milk. But have you ever heard of tiger nut milk? Tiger nuts are not actually nuts, but tubers such as potatoes, taros and yams. Considered by some to be a weed, tiger nuts are most commonly used by the Spanish to create a sweetened milk beverage known as “horchata de chufa”.

While tiger nuts aren’t really known or used in English speaking countries, it packs quite a nutritional punch. Rich in energy, minerals, vitamins, it is also very high in resistant starch, a prebiotic that can help boost the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestines. With gut health increasingly focused on as the next big health movement, tiger nuts will no doubt grow in popularity in the next few years.

3. Kenyan Purple Tea

Tea sales have increased quite dramatically over the last 5 years thanks to a boost in availability of ready to drink (RTD) iced tea beverages. While most consumers would have heard of green tea and black tea, many new tea types are gaining in popularity including the rooibos (red tea) and white tea. One of the newest teas to take the attention of food and beverage companies is Kenyan Purple Tea.

As its name suggests, it was developed by the Kenyan Tea Institute and has a “robust but not bitter” flavour. In addition, purple tea growers tend to receive more of the profits making it a fairer trade crop. Health wise, Kenyan Purple tea is rich in anthocyanins, a type of polyphenolic compound that gives the rich red, purple and blue colours found in fruits and vegetables. Research has shown higher polyphenol and theanine levels in Kenyan purple tea and also the ability to suppress fat absorption. Products featuring the purple tea variant is still in its infancy, but with such promising research and health benefits associated, it’s only a matter of time before it shifts into the mainstream.

4. Kakadu Plum

The hunt for new superfoods is always on and native fruits and plants seems the best place to source them. The Australian outback, known for its harsh environments holds the potential for providing a huge range of superfoods and superplants. One particular fruit, the Kakadu Plum, which is found predominantly in Western Australian has shown a huge range of benefits in recent research. Also known as Gubinge or the Billygoat Plum, studies have shown that it might contain the greatest vitamin C concentration of any known food on Earth. In fact, it has approximately 100 times more vitamin C than blueberries and oranges and displays strong antioxidant properties thought to be due to the plant trying to protect itself from the heat and dryness.

Besides its potential as a superfood, the Kakadu Plum is also an excellent natural preservative having been shown to extend the shelf life of seafood by approximately 50%. Demand for the Kakadu plum is definitely outstripping supply thanks to increased interest from China, so expect to see a lot more news on this fruit along with other Aussie superfruits such as riberries, finger limes, Cedar Bay cherries and Davidson’s plums just to name a few.

5. Probiotics & Prebiotics

Gut health and gut bacteria research has been exponentially increasing in the past decade or so shedding new light onto just how important our gut microbiome is to health and the development of diseases. In fact, there have been plenty of studies looking into how gut bacteria levels and types in our body may affect the development of obesity, cancer and mental health issues. The more diverse our gut bacteria, the better, with research showing increased food sensitivities, intolerances and allergies resulting from a decreased variety of bacteria.

To alter and improve the bacteria in our gut, your best bet is to have either a prebiotic or a probiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres such as resistance starch that can stimulate the growth of bacteria. Probiotics on the other hand are live bacteria and yeasts which can further influence the mix of the gut microbiota. The desire to influence gut health and overall health is the reason for the increase in popularity of fermented foods such as miso and sauerkraut as well a general addition of pre and probiotics into our foods and supplements.

Seaweed & Algae6. Seaweeds & Algae

Seaweed and algae such as chlorella and spirulina aren’t exactly new to the health food market, but continues to be a category that is continuing to grow. Worldwide seaweed production is increasing on average around 6% per year and with more and more benefits being discovered about seaweed and algae, you can be sure this trend is set to continue.

75% of seaweed and algae production is used for food and supplements and provides an ingredient which is high in protein and nutrients and contains compounds which can be beneficial for digestive health, heart health and cancers. Many types also possess anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

7. More Natural Sweeteners

With decreasing intake of sugars and sugar containing foods and beverages continuing to trend, the non-calorie sweeteners market is booming. The interest in whole foods and clean eating has meant that most of this boom is coming from the natural sweeteners rather than artificial sweeteners. While most people would be familiar with stevia as the key natural sweetener, other options are making its way onto the market. These include the Monk Fruit (native to China and Thailand) along with Thaumatin, a sweetener derived from the fruit of a West African tropical plant Thaumatococcus daniellii. These two substances are 300 and 100,000 times sweeter than regular table sugar respectively and have been increasingly used together with stevia thanks to their properties of masking some of the bitterness associated with its use. With obesity still such a huge issue, the increased use and popularity of non-calorie natural sweeteners is beneficial for both the public and the food and supplements industries.

New Food TrendsNew Food & Ingredient Trends for 2016

2016 is going to be another big year for innovations and unique new products and ingredients in our foods and supplements. Aside from the above, expect these current and upcoming trends to rise this year:

  • Low sugar foods, snacks, beverages and supplements
  • Grass fed meats and dairy, including protein supplements
  • Increase in gluten free, lactose free and other “natural” claims
  • Continued rise in "clean eating" and "paleo friendly" menus.
  • Increase in the use of alternative proteins such as plant proteins and insect proteins
  • Rising interest in the further health benefits of spices such as cinnamon, curcumin (turmeric), ginseng and ginger.
  • Growth in the use of native fruits, vegetables and other botanicals.
  • Boost in research and funding to find foods and ingredients that may stimulate brown fat accumulation and function.
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