news & trends

Does Eating Veggies Protect Your Heart? Trending Research Translated for Wellness

Image Source: Bigstock, Canva

A recent study made media headlines questioning whether eating veggies really protected your heart. Since eating ‘lots of veggies’ has been the mainstream nutrition recommendation for promoting health and wellness, we thought a closer look into this new research was warranted. Here we bring you the Dietitians’ translation of the science into meaningful advice to support healthy living.

The Study [1]

Published in the Frontiers of Nutrition, a new study by researchers from the University of Oxford, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Bristol involved nearly 400 000 British adults and 12 years of follow up. There are strengths in the diverse team and sample size. The study initially found that the people who consumed the highest amount of vegetables had a 10% lower incidence of cardiovascular disease compared to the people with the lowest vegetable intakes. However, when they adjusted for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors (including physical activity, body weight, high blood pressure, smoking and other nutrients) any protective effect of vegetable intake became much less important. [2]  This surprising finding resulted in the headlines ‘Eating vegetables may not protect against heart disease.’

Low quality evidence

  • Very low vegetable intakes
    The study says the “Mean intakes of raw and cooked vegetables were 2.3 and 2.8 tablespoons/day, respectively”. This amount is very low, less than half a serving per day!  Healthy dietary guidelines recommend much more than this. For example, the WHO suggests consuming at least 400 g (i.e., five portions) of fruit and vegetables per day excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots to improve overall health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. [3]
  • Observational study errors
    One of the limitations of this observational study was that all data was self reported and vegetable intakes may not have been reported accurately, causing measurement errors. It is possible that the study participants had difficulty visualizing their vegetable intakes as their number of “heaping tablespoons”, which the questionnaire asked them to estimate for their vegetable intakes.1
  • Inconsistent with current evidence
    This is one surprising study whose findings are not supported by the significant amount of existing data. Current mainstream evidence shows higher vegetable consumption promotes health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Our Recommendations

Keep eating plenty of vegetables and fruit for health including your heart health! Make veggies and fruit half your plate at each meal. Pile your plate with colour and eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.

Do you have a food or nutrition question? Ask us! Registered Dietitians look beyond fads to deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Written by Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc, Award-winning dietitian and Co-Founder, n4nn

[1] Feng Q, Kim JH, Omiyale,  Bešević j, Conroy M, May M, et al. Raw and cooked vegetable consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a study of 400,000 adults in UK biobank. Front Nutr. 2022 Feb; 9:831470. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.831470. Available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.831470/full

[2] Dietitians of Canada, PEN Nutrition (2022) Available at: https://www.pennutrition.com/TrendingTopic.aspx?id=29382 (PEN registration required to access)

[3] Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. WHO Technical Report Series, No. 916. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003. Available at: WHO_TRS_916.pdf

Food & Nutrition Trends 2022

A paper grocery bag filled with lettuce, red pepper and a carton of eggs

Food prices, sustainability and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be the key influences on our eating habits and practices this year. Here’s our roundup of the top 10 food and nutrition trends to watch in 2022.

1. Pantry to Plate

Who can forget the sourdough baking craze in 2020? The cooking and baking skills we built at the beginning of the pandemic will stick with us. With food prices expected to rise 5 to 7% this year, an average family of four can expect to pay an extra $966 in groceries this year according to the annual Canada’s Food Price Report. Consumers will be looking for creative ways to use up those ingredients at the back of the pantry and fridge. What’s more, this trend will help to tackle food waste in our kitchens.

 

2. Streamlined Menus

Look for smaller menus as restaurant operators are adapting with potential supply chain snags. They’ll be innovating with local ingredients already on hand and opting for simple prix fixe menus rather than bringing in new SKUs. Food and Wine magazine reports that with rising food prices, chefs will be taking creative approaches to minimize waste and streamlining their menus to effectively manage their costs.

 

3. Plant based – The Next Generation

While sales of plant-based burgers appear to be declining, food giants such as Unilever are still committed to offering plant-based options to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain. In fact, the company is calling for public health strategies that facilitate the transition to a balanced diet with more diverse nutrient-dense plant foods through consumer education, food fortification and possibly supplementation. Insights from the 2022 Trend Report by Nourish suggests that there are gaps in plant-based categories like snacks, desserts and bakery. Keep your eyes out for novel plant-based ingredients and offerings.

 

4. Bye Bye Plastics

­Not only are sustainability and climate concerns driving our food choices, but they’re also inspiring positive changes in the use of plastics. Just last month, Walmart Canada officially announced the elimination of single use plastic bags from in-store shopping as well as online grocery pickup and delivery orders from each of their 400 stores across the country. This would amount to eliminating almost 750 million plastic bags each year. Biodegradable, compostable cucumber wraps are already on the market, and we can expect to see more innovations from grocers and food manufacturers.

 

5. Packaging

With a move towards take-out and meal delivery, chefs surveyed in the “What’s Hot 2022 Culinary Forecast” by the National Restaurant Association have actually ranked packaging four times in their top 10 trends for 2022:

  • Trend #1 – Packaging that is sustainable / reusable / recyclable
  • Trend #2 – Packaging that travels intact to maintain food quality
  • Trend #3 -Packaging that retains temperature
  • Trend #9 – Packaging that is tamper proof for food security

 

6. Immunity Support

As the pandemic continues, immunity remains top of mind. Findings from the 10th annual “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey commissioned by Today’s Dietitian and Pollock Communications predicts that immunity support will remain a key purchase driver for 2022. Instead of “boosting” the immune system, consumers will realize that daily nutrition is important to keep the immune system strong and functioning well. Key supports for the immune system include protein, probiotics, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, C and D. Other purchase drivers identified from the dietitian survey are: affordable and value-based items, as well as food and beverages which offer comfort and emotional well-being.

 

7. Digital Do’s and Don’ts

Digital ordering capabilities, QR menus and touchless payment options will continue to become mainstream in restaurants and food service. In the survey of almost 1,200 dietitians, 90% of them cited online food shopping as the biggest trend from the pandemic that they believe will continue. This will compel marketers to reimagine ways to reach consumers on virtual shopping platforms, such as online promotions, digital coupons and immersive virtual branding experiences. On the other hand, the digital world is fuelling false nutrition news and dietitians say that social media is the top source of nutrition misinformation, with friends / family coming in second, and celebrities a close third.

 

8. Fuel for Remote Working & Learning

Working remotely from home, hybrid work models and even online schooling mean that more breakfasts and lunches will be made and enjoyed at home. Nestle USA predicts that consumers will be on the lookout for more at-home breakfast and lunch options such as heat-and-eat meals. According to top chefs, breakfast trends will include non-traditional proteins such as chorizo or vegan bacon, plant-based breakfast sandwiches and egg-base breakfast bowls. For lunch, trends point to globally inspired salads and grain-based bowls.

 

9. Non-alcoholic Beverages

Research from Whole Foods and The Hartman Group are noticing a growing community of “sober curious” millennials and Gen Z-ers. During pandemic lockdowns and restrictions on indoor gatherings, consumers are taking a more mindful approach to enjoying alcohol and embracing a world of “dry-solation”. Enter beverages without the buzz such as dealcoholized wines, low-alcohol beers, mocktails, and drinks with functional ingredients and adaptogens to enhance mood and relaxation.

 

10. Top 5 Regional Cuisines

Chefs surveyed by The National Restaurant Association and the American Culinary Federation predict that these top 5 regions and cuisines will influence the menus of 2022:

  1. Southeast Asian – Vietnamese, Singaporean, Philippine
  2. South American – Argentinian, Brazilian, Chilean
  3. Caribbean – Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican
  4. North African – Moroccan, Algerian, Libyan
  5. Western African – Nigerian, Ghanan, Western Saharan

 

Which of these trends are you most excited about? How can you leverage these trends for your business and product innovations? Connect with us at info@n4nn.ca and let’s shape the future of food and nutrition together!

 

– Written by Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC – Award-winning Registered Dietitian & Co-Founder, n4nn

Food Innovation – SIAL looks 20 years into the future

In September, Canada’s largest agrifood tradeshow SIAL hosted an event dedicated entirely to food innovation! With a focus on the future, we heard featured talks from Canada’s leading industry experts. Here are the lasting mega-trends that caught our eye on the future of food innovation!

  1. Convenience
  2. Health and Wellness
  3. Sustainability

It was interesting to see the audience response to the trend ranking questions posed by speakers Isabelle Marquis RD, and food innovation expert Dana McCauley. How would you answer these questions?

  • Which of these three core trends do you think was the most influential over the past 20 years?
  • Which of these three core trends do you think is the most important to food businesses today?

Convenience

In our fast paced world, the ‘anything, anytime, anywhere’ convenience is on the rise. Consumers are looking for solutions and the industry will have to change to remain relevant. McCauley says, ‘Instead of buying ingredients, people are buying fully prepared meals at the grocery store. We have come a long way from microwave meals.’  Innovations in convenience stores offer online and in-store features that create an ultra-convenient experience. Consider the mobile product recommendations, in-store product scanning codes (Quick Response Matrix)  that tell you much more about a product than what fits on the packaging. Convenience is an important trend that will continue to drive future innovation.

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness was ranked as the top trend by event participants. It came out as ‘most influential in the past 20 years’ and ‘most important in business today’. Not surprising, consumers are expecting food products that are nutrient rich, support a healthy lifestyle and taste great! Long gone are the days of ‘no fat’ where taste and texture of modified foods were underwhelming. Food makers are boosting the beneficial ingredients with proven health benefits including omega-3 fats, probiotics and other functional ingredients.  Protein continues to lead food innovation from snacks to meals with focus on nutrient quality and source.  Besides nutrients, the ingredients list is in the spotlight. Consumers are choosing to follow an individualized eating pattern that’s good for their personal health and fits their schedule. McCauley observed that more often, the question around meal times may be ‘What will I eat?’ instead of ‘What’s the family dinner?’ The ‘clean label’ trend is here to stay too with no artificial ingredients and no additives. This back to basics and want for naturalness is going to be part of the future of a very strong health and wellness trend.

Sustainability

In addition to looking for foods that are good for the body, consumers are also considering what’s good for the planet. People – especially millennials – are asking questions about where their food comes from and how it was grown / raised and processed. Simple, minimally processed, sustainable foods that are healthy for people and the planet are promising to lead us into the future.  Responsibly grown and processed food is a very important aspect of innovation and it also has a direct impact on the global food supply chain. Buying products considered to be ‘green’ and made with ‘clean ingredients’ is a lifestyle choice that more consumers and communities will be embracing. Another sustainability pillar is around packaging. ‘Plastic attack’ was alive and well pre-Covid pandemic and is likely to return before too long, predicts Marquis. Eco-friendly packaging is what consumers will expect when choosing groceries. Sustainability is a concern to everyone on the planet and we all have a chance to do something about it.

Bottom Line

The challenge of the times for the food business according to McCauley, is ‘integrating the most relevant trends with your brand identity and your consumers’ needs.’ The three key trends driving the way we will be eating in the decades to come include convenience, health and wellness and sustainability.

Connect with us (Info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com) and let’s work together for your innovation journey.  As dietitians, we can support you and your business in taking meaningful steps toward healthier communities and a more sustainable agri-food industry.

Webinar Replay – How has the last year changed our relationship to food and beverage?

a glass of orange juice beside a white mug and a plate of fresh fruit

Join Sue Mah and Jo-Ann McArthur President at Nourish Food Marketing, as they reveal the top 6 food and nutrition trends that are driving consumers’ food decisions.

* Discover how the last year has changed consumers’ relationship to health, food and beverage
* Take away tips / tools that are relevant to you, your clients and your business

Watch the recording here!

 

Top 5 Food & Nutrition Trends from FNCE 2018

One of the best things about our job as food and nutrition experts is going to conferences to learn about new trends and share our learnings with YOU! This year’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Washington DC did not disappoint! It’s the world’s largest food and nutrition event, attracting well over 10,000 delegates with hundreds of speakers and exhibitors. Here are our top takeaways from the event.

1. FODMAP Friendly. This was by far, the biggest trend at the show. FODMAP is an acronym for “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyphenols”. These are different types of carbohydrates found naturally in everyday foods such as fruit, veggies, grains, beans and milk product. For some people, eating foods containing high amounts of these FODMAP carbohydrates may cause gas, bloating and other digestive symptoms. Dozens of products at FNCE sported a “FODMAP Friendly” logo, including Prego’s Sensitive Recipe pasta sauce (made without onions or garlic) and Lo-Fo flours.

fodmap friendly logo

Prego fodmap friendly

fodmap friendly foods

2. Protein Power. We’ve been following the protein trend for years now – not only how protein help to keep your muscles strong but also the power of protein across the lifecycle. This year’s FNCE show featured several protein packed products such as a peanut-based protein shake and a protein enriched pancake mix.

Peanut protein shake

Pancake protein

3. Probiotics. At last year’s FNCE event, exhibitors flaunted numerous probiotic products. This year, we saw even more innovations ranging from infused probiotic beverages to a combination protein/probiotic hot oatmeal.

probiotic drink

probiotic oatmeal with protein

4. Plant-based. Following this trend were plant-based beverages such as “sesame milk”, “banana milk” and yes, even plant-based maple water. When it comes to calcium, vitamin D and protein though, not all of these products are equivalent to cow’s milk or fortified soy beverage.

Sesame milk

banana milk

maple water

5. Snacking. Among the countless numbers of protein bars, we found snacks such as barley bars, flavoured chickpea snacks as well as single serve, shelf stable bean dips for on-the-go energy.

barley bars

chickpea snacks

Black bean portable dip snack

Which trend are you most excited about? We can help you leverage these trends in your business and communications. Contact us and let’s start a conversation!

Food and Nutrition Trends from FNCE 2017

Sue FNCE sign 1 CROP

We were thrilled to attend the centennial Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) – the world’s largest annual nutrition meeting hosted in Chicago by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! With over 13,000 attendees, FNCE did not disappoint! The Expo trade show featured hundreds of food and nutrition products. Here are the ones that caught our eye!

PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS

Gut health is a growing trend! Prebiotics and probiotics work together to keep the gut healthy. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that actually act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in our colon where they help to maintain a balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria. From crackers to drinks to powders, these innovative products are designed to keep your gut healthy.

Farmhouse Culture Gut Shots – probiotic beverages and foods made with fermented veggies. Slogan: We’re here to ferment a food revolution!

Farmhouse Culture Gut Shots – probiotic beverages and foods made with fermented veggies. Slogan: We’re here to ferment a food revolution!

Go Live Probiotic & Prebiotic Beverages – the probiotic is housed in a foil-blister cap which can be added to the beverage when you’re ready to drink. Slogan: Think outside the bottle, look inside the cap!

Go Live Probiotic & Prebiotic Beverages – the probiotic is housed in a foil-blister cap which can be added to the beverage when you’re ready to drink. Slogan: Think outside the bottle, look inside the cap!

Regular Girl – prebiotic fibre and probiotics for the women whose life is anything but regular. Can be sprinkled on food or in beverages. Slogans: Eat, drink and be regular! You go girl! Déjà poo!

Regular Girl – prebiotic fibre and probiotics for the women whose life is anything but regular. Can be sprinkled on food or in beverages. Slogans: Eat, drink and be regular! You go girl! Déjà poo!

PROTEIN

We’ve been watching the protein trend grow for the past decade now. Featured at the FNCE show were protein packed pancake mixes and protein enhanced beauty products.

FlapJacked Protein Pancake & Baking Mix – boasting 19 grams of protein per 60 g serving from whey protein isolate and pea protein.

FlapJacked Protein Pancake & Baking Mix – boasting 19 grams of protein per 60 g serving from whey protein isolate and pea protein.

Vital Proteins – from free range bone broth collagen to wild caught marine collagen to collagen beauty water…with the belief that collagen will support bone health, joint health, gut health and a glowing skin, nails and hair.

Vital Proteins – from free range bone broth collagen to wild caught marine collagen to collagen beauty water…with the belief that collagen will support bone health, joint health, gut health and a glowing skin, nails and hair.

PLANT-BASED BEVERAGES

Move over soy, almond and rice. Make way for new plant-based beverages made from nuts and pea protein.

Elmhurst Milked Peanuts – 2 new beverage options: straight up peanuts (made with 21 peanuts) or peanuts plus Dutch cocoa. Contains 8 g of protein per cup however not fortified with either calcium, vitamin D or vitamin B12.

Elmhurst Milked Peanuts – 2 new beverage options: straight up peanuts (made with 31 peanuts) or peanuts plus Dutch cocoa. Contains 8 g of protein per cup however not fortified with either calcium, vitamin D or vitamin B12.

Bolthouse Plant Protein Milk -  made with pea protein, contains 10 g protein per cup and fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Bolthouse Plant Protein Milk – made with pea protein, contains 10 g protein per cup and fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Veggemo – veggie-based  non-dairy beverage made from pea protein. Fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, but only 3-4 g protein per cup.

Veggemo – veggie-based non-dairy beverage made from pea protein. Fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, but only 3-4 g protein per cup.

Top Food Innovations at the 2017 SIAL Show

SIAL_2017

This year marked the 150th anniversary of SIAL – North America’s largest food innovation show! We were there and here’s what caught our eye!

Quinoa still going strong

Making its foray into the baby / toddler food market, Bio-Kinetics introduced an organic Sprouted Whole Grain Quinoa Baby Cereal. Millennial moms will be pleased with the clean ingredient deck (nothing but quinoa). Also in this line-up are sprouted oats and sprouted buckwheat cereal. #GetKidsHookedOnQuinoaEarly

IMG_6545.

Building on the convenience trend, France-based Sabarot showcased Le Petit Quinoa, a ready-to-slice roll of quinoa – really! Recognized as a top 10 finalist for the SIAL Grand Award, the product can be sliced, grilled, fried and used in a variety of dishes. #ConvenienceMeetsHealthy

SIAL quinoa loaf2.

The Millennial Market

It was the name of the exhibitor booth – “Millennial Foods Inc.” – that made me stop in my tracks! Quebec-based founder Simon Letendre created a “North Americanized” version of bubble tea. Instead of using tapioca, the tea is made with Mubbles – which stands for “Molecular Bubbles” and are essentially tiny fruit juice bubbles made via a molecular spherification process. Mubbles are packaged in a small container, much like a fruit cup and can also be used in drinks, salads and desserts. #InterestingButALittleTooSweetForMe

Sial mubbles1

Healthy Snacks

Innovation often starts in the home or farm kitchen. This is true for Spokes – air-puffed potato snacks, shaped like bike spokes, with 40 calories per cup and no preservatives. Created by Calgarian #SeniorEntrepreneur Elaine Cadrin, Spokes is geared to millennials. “The millennial mom is our target,” says Mike Cadrin, Senior Sales Director and proud son, “They’re looking for a super clean ingredient deck and want something special and unique.” #LovedTheMangoHabaneroFlavour

SIAL spokes potato chips 3

Another one of our favourite snacks at the SIAL show were these Crunchy Peas – made by Zak’s Organics, a fourth generation family-run farm in the small community of Fir Mountain, Saskatchewan (where the population is under 500). Inspired by Allen Zak’s own kids, the snacks are made from organic whole green peas and available in four different taste profiles with a new #trendingflavour mango habanero launching next month. #GrownInTheCanadianPrairies

Sial Zaks crunchy peas

East Meets West

If you’ve never tasted sea vegetables, Acadian Seaplants wants you to try! Hana Tsunomata is a sea plant that’s cultivated in the east coast. It’s available in a trio of colours: pink to represent Japan’s cherry blossoms; green to represent new life; and yellow to represent the chrysanthemum which is the favourite flower of the Japanese royal family. The product must be rehydrated in water for about eight minutes and can be used to add colour and texture to salads, cold noodles or pasta dishes. Holly Reardon, Brand Strategist for the product says food service is their primary market. #SeaVeggie

IMG_6609

Sweet Stuff

A Quebec-based company, Great Northern Maple, developed Kombucha Syrup. The ingredients are evaporated cane juice, black tea and kefir cultures. Though the product claims to have probiotics, there is no disclosure of the amount. #DidntWinMeOver

IMG_6639

Février 29 was another top 10 finalist for the SIAL Grand Award for it’s fun way to package Maple Syrup. Designed to sit right on the counter, the syrup is packaged in a bag-in-tub container, complete with a spout. And what’s the rationale for the company’s name? February 29 makes every day exceptional, 366 days of the year. #CoolPackaging

SIAL feb 29 maple syrup2

Taking the Grand Prize at this year’s SIAL show was Taj Food’s Saffron Sugar Cubes. According to Sap Hariri, Sales Director for the product, the sugar cubes allow consumers to add flavour and sweetness their teas all at once. The sugar cubes are also available in cinnamon and cardamom flavours. #SweetMeetsSpice

SIAL sugar cubes winner

What’s HOT in chefs’ kitchens? Our Dietitians’ take of TOP Trends.

chef survey trends bRestaurants Canada’s 8th annual Canadian Chefs’ survey tells what’s trending now and what the up and comers are as well. Of the 20 chef trends mentioned in the research, here are our TOP 7 favourites  with insights from our food forward health conscious perspective.

  1. Locally sourced foods – eating what’s in season where you live is a terrific way to discover seasonal foods. Local is a perennial favourite of dietitians, chefs and consumers alike.
  2. Sustainable seafood – Eating at least two servings of fish each week is recommended as part of healthy eating for all Canadians. Producing safe, sustainable fish is important for the future of food.
  3. Ancient Grains – Canadians like to explore dishes that showcase authentic food from around the world.  Discover the heritage of ancient grains and try  authentic recipes using kamut, spelt, amaranth and freekeh.
  4. Simplicity / back to basics – Remember family style comfort food meant for sharing? We love the serve-yourself shared dining experience, be it eating out or at home. If you make it yourself  or in-house, you’ll add some authenticity that everyone will appreciate.
  5. Veggie centric cuisune. YAY! Veggies are ON TREND which we find very exciting. Aim to have HALF YOUR PLATE as vegetables. Let’s get creative on making veggies more centre-plate.
  6. Craft beers / microbrews – Alcohol in moderation continues to add enjoyment to meals. Remember to follow Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines.
  7. It’s Canada’s 150th Birthday – Let’s celebrate our Canadian food heritage!  Consumers are ready to embrace  this trend. What a great opportunity to boost variety beyond the obvious Canadian foods.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights, join us at the 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 26, 2017, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com