GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

I am a self-admitted chocolate addict, one of many in the office. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, you name it, I’ll eat it…in moderation of course, most of the time. As a consumer of all things chocolate, I also enjoy watching food and beverage trends as part of our food and beverage practice so when I saw a recent announcement that the International Congress of Nutrition brought together experts to present evidence that cocoa flavanols have health benefits, I knew they were on to something. Like, did you know that cocoa is actually a fruit? A fruit! That means technically we are allowed to have 2-3 servings per day, right? But wait there’s more. Cocoa is not only a fruit but a “super fruit, packed with unique active plant compounds called flavanols, linked to healthy circulation.” Go ahead, read more about it. It will make that next Dove bar seem harmless:

Cocoa Research Finds a Place in the Global Health Dialogue <>

How do you top good news that involves chocolate? Here are a few trends uncovered at the Natural Products Expo East/Organic Products last month in Boston identified by editors and experts from New Hope Natural Media, publisher of Natural Foods Merchandiser, Delicious Living, Functional Ingredients and Nutrition Business Journal:

  • Hot new ingredients include coconut oil, lavender, maqui, agave nectar and ancient ingredients such as salba grain
  • Superfood producers continue on their quest for even higher levels of antioxidants, omegas and other functional benefits; probiotics are being featured in drinks, powders, yogurts, cereals and bars
  • Gluten-free products were found outside of the baked goods aisle; low-calorie and low-sugar products are strong, especially in beverages
  • Dairy-free and nut allergy avoidance are hot topics, as is transparency of sourcing and a commitment to social and eco-responsibility across many product categories
  • Value products are being introduced in response to tightened budgets; packaging trends include mini-sizing, portion control and squeeze-packs or pouches, especially for kids

I look forward to seeing more products in the coming months with cocoa flavanols, but don’t recommend having these in mini-sized, portion control pouches. Bring on the superfoods. You’ll find me in line at the new Sprouts Farmers Market in Boulder.

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