Natural & Organic Products Europe is an annual show that covers the latest healthy food concepts coming to market. Food Spark went along to see what ingredients and innovations could be the next wellness wonder.
Food Spark flagged Nestle’s foray into quark last year with a range of drinks and yoghurts, but Nordic company Yaar has taken the dairy ingredient and put it into handheld bars. Its products promise the thick and creamy taste of yogurt with the consistency and texture of cheesecake. All three SKUs are vanilla flavoured but have their own twist: one is coated in Belgian chocolate, another has a core of lemon and cloudberry (a cross between a raspberry and redcurrant) and the last one is wrapped in caramel.
Back in 2017, we wrote about America’s obsession with using collagen as a healthy food ingredient. At the show, people were treated to a boost of beauty from Sproos, which was displaying its range of bars, each consisting of 7g of marine collagen from wild-caught North Atlantic fish. Made in Canada with ingredients like hemp seeds, almonds and dates, the bars are paleo-friendly, gluten-free and available in three flavours: chocolate almond butter, lemon coconut and double chocolate beet.
Food Spark has been toking on the cannabis trend for a while and there were plenty of products derived from the plant on display. British-based company Body and Mind Botanicals has created a cannabis tea that comes in loose-leaf form and bags, as well as in peppermint flavour. The cannabis is sourced from a family-run organic farm in the Baltic region that is EU certified, with the product prepared in the UK. The tea is legal in the UK as it contains CBD and less than 0.2% of the legal limit of the psychoactive compound THC.
Lovechock has a self-care line which includes its raw, organic, CBD-infused chocolate. The 75% cacao mini bar contains hemp oil and is sweetened with coconut blossom nectar and Arenga-palm sugar from Red Ape. Boasting a hint of caramel and rich toffee notes, it is gluten-free and suitable for vegans.
Lovechock wasn’t the only one showcasing CBD chocolate at the show. Almighty Foods showed off three raw bars, each containing 10mg of cannabidiol made from hand-harvested hemp grown in in Europe. Those who like a purer product can opt for the 68% dark Peruvian chocolate, while others can choose from a milk variety with 50% cacao and a white option with 33% cacao. All are sweetened with coconut palm sugar and suitable for vegans. The bars taste at first dominantly of cacao but follow with strong and rich herby notes from the hemp concentrate.
Sticky Rice Chips
If you think it’s all been done with crisps, plenty of companies are still looking to innovate in this area. Woodridge snacks was pushing its Sticky Rice Chips, which are handmade with whole-grain rice harvested from sustainable fields in the heart of Thailand and popped into an airy crisp. Flavours included cheddar, garlic and pepper, seaweed and sriracha. It also has tempura seaweed chips that come in hickory BBQ, sea salt or sriracha flavours.
Other Foods specialises in flavoured vegetable-based snacks, which often have a Far East twist. Of particular note were the range of crisps made from different varieties of mushrooms, including shiitake, oyster and trumpet. The company said its mushroom chips have 80% less fat than potato chips and are cooked at low temperatures to retain vitamins and minerals. On the health spectrum, the crisps are high in fibre, vegan, paleo-friendly and offer one of your five a day. It has a range of sea salt okra chips too.
We featured Janda’s free-from condiments range back in February, but there were many others at the show also looking to shake up the category for plant-based eaters. Inspired Dining founders Nicola and Robert Young grew up in farming families but concerns about the planet and sustainability led them to launch a selection of vegan condiments and sauces. Apart from straight-up vegan mayonnaise, the pair make bearnaise, dill mustard, horseradish, hollandaise, marie rose and tartare. Next, the brand is planning to tackle dressings, with Caesar, blue cheese, and honey and mustard all developed and ready for launch. Accompanying them are a dizzying array of mayonnaise flavours such as coconut, lime and chilli; wasabi and lime; smoked garlic; and turmeric.
Turkish brand Pyrus Bursa had boxes of its vegan fruit bites made with Asian pear at the show. With no added sugar or additives, the cubes come coated in coconut or cocoa. Alternatively, they can be purchased with walnuts for a fruit and nut mix.
A bar with bio-live cultures
We thought it was interesting that Planet Organic was promoting the gut-friendly nature of its new snack. The raw-chocolate-covered salted almond crunch bar is made with buckwheat and seeds, then bound together with cocoa butter. It is high in fibre, low in sugar and boosted by bio-live cultures.
Sold in a can for convenience, these fermented soya beans come in spring water from Swiss-based Marigold Health Foods. A good source of protein, tempeh is often hard to find so this may be a good solution for experimental cooks.
With a focus on offering an alternative to the soda market, this brand called Oh My Gutness has taken kefir and developed it into a sparking fermented fruit drink. Its SKUs include raspberry, ginger and lemon, and natural cola. Each can deliver 100m live cultures, according to the company. The drinks are low in sugar and dairy-free.
Baobab smoothie drink
UK company Baotic uses the African fruit baobab to create a range of smoothies. This includes an original variety, plus others flavoured with baobab and orange, banana and strawberry. The product is high in fibre and comes in an ambient pouch – although the brand says it’s a drink best served chilled.