Mercer Foods is serious about creating healthy, natural foods, and it is important to keep an eye out for the latest and greatest in food trends. After attending Natural Products Expo East 2016 to introduce two new branded product lines, Truth in Snacks and AquaFruit, we brought back an insider look into what the world of natural products has to offer. Keep an eye out for these trends; they are quickly taking over.

1. Natural superfoods are king

Foods that serve more than one purpose in terms of their nutritional benefits were on everyone’s mind. Foods like açaí are making their way into mixes, as well as other superfoods such as blueberries.

2. Do not forget the story

Many of the companies at the expo had products that elaborated on the story of the food, from farm to table. Mercer Foods knows the power of this narrative, which is why we keep tabs on every aspect of our process and work with only the best farms.

3. Connect with the Earth

Consumers are turning away from the factory and seeking products that have a link to the Earth. Whether it is healthy cleaning products or products from animals that have been grass-fed, the more natural, the better.

4. Mixes for millennials

The baking mix is not anything new, but marketers are wising up to a new crowd, changing packaging and ingredients to meet the needs and desires of millennials.

5. Veggie snacks make their way to lunchboxes

Veggie snacks are cropping up everywhere, from bonus vegetables in chips to entire snacks arranged around veggies. Freeze-dried vegetables provide a worthy addition to the veggie snack lineup.

6. Nuts for nut butters

Natural peanut butter has been around for years, but there is a whole new world for all the other nuts of the world. Cashew, almond, pine, brazil, and walnut were all present at the expo.

7. New fruits come off the bench

Along with all the new nut butters, there is a whole new suite of berries making their way into products. Goji berries, lingonberries, and mulberries were everywhere (and they are ripe for freeze-drying as well).

8. Protein bulks up

Protein powder has been a staple of many diets, but usually these products opt for soy, whey, or casein. Now, there are dozens of new types of protein powder built from plant proteins, proving once again the versatility of vegetables.

9. Reinventing the tried-and-true

Old ideas are often good ones, and many companies are working to refine and perfect old recipes. Jams and baking mixes were very popular, and for good reason — they are good ideas asking for a modern spin.

10. Natural innovation springs eternal

The final takeaway: It does not matter what industry or brand is behind it, choosing to develop products that are both healthy and friendlier to the Earth is a winning proposition, and Expo East was a great indicator of this.

If you would like to share thoughts about Expo East 2016, let us know on Twitter or Facebook. If you would like to find out more about freeze-dried foods, get in touch with us.