Tired of seeing the same old foods at your grocery store? Spice up your home-cooked meals with some new options from our top trend picks, as spotted at the 35th Fancy Food Show and Food Fete in San Francisco.
Latest Food Trends 2010
Dairy-free Coconut Milk Beverage
- Cow’s milk alternatives are always a big hit – whether due to cow’s milk allergies or vegetarian reasons. Last year at the Grocery Showcase West show, we spotted hemp milk. This year, we saw a coconut milk made for drinking! Don’t be confused here. This coconut milk in a tetra pack is very different from the canned, thick coconut milk made for cooking in Thai cuisine. In addition to coconut milk, keep an eye out for coconut water, and coconut yogurt. Coconut milk is generally lactose-free, soy-free, and gluten-free, so it may be appropriate for individuals with multiple allergies. However, coconut milk is NOT a good source of calcium, so you may need to resort to other calcium-rich foods or supplements for your daily calcium requirement.
- People are always on the hunt for alternatives to refined white sugar. They are looking for something natural, and perhaps better or healthier. Old favorites like honey and organic maple syrup are back in the spotlight, and some newer options like agave nectar were jam-packed onto the show floor. According to Dr. Roger Clemens, IFT spokesperson, agave nectar contains only two-thirds the amount of fructose found in high-fructose corn syrup, and it tastes sweeter than white table sugar. So, in theory, you may use less agave than white sugar in the same recipe.
- Olive oil became a staple in American home kitchens a few years ago, thanks to Rachel Ray’s EVOO catchphrase. But there are lots of alternative oils, other than the usual olive oil and canola oil, for home use. Gourmet oils like avocado oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, and pumpkin seed oil were big hits at the show. We even came across tea seed oil, a cold-pressed oil from the tea Camellia family! With its high smoke point, tea seed oil is a popular cooking oil in southern China and Japan.
- We all know the benefits of eating whole grains by now, so it wasn’t surprising to find various whole grains vendors on the show floor. But we noticed a few booths promoting sprouted grains – sprouted brown rice, sprouted beans and lentils, sprouted quinoa, and bakery products made with sprouted grains. Village Harvest claims that sprouted brown rice, for instance, produce more gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA in short), a chemical responsible for relaxing muscle tone in humans. TruRoots said sprouted grains contain more nutrients. We are not able to confirm or deny these claims from independent scientific studies at the time of publication, but we will definitely look into emerging data about this in the near future. Sprouted or not, it’s a good idea to eat more whole grains anyway!
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.