news & trends

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!

3 Tips to Overcoming Weight Bias

Did you know that weight bias and discrimination are real and rampant? A recent study looking at news stories in media found that 72% of images and 77% of videos stigmatized  people with obesity[1].  With so much weight bias in our society, what can we do to help?  As dietitians we reviewed the science and bring you these 3 tips to help stop the weight bias, with hopes that we can all make lasting positive change in response to weight shaming, stigma and discrimination. 

N4nn weight bias 2017 2017-11-26_20-25-57

  1. BECOME AWARE – Do you have a weight bias? A first step in addressing weight stigma is to become aware of our own potential attitudes and assumptions about body weight. What do you think and say about people with obesity? Did you know being called “fat” is the most common reason children are bullied?[2] A Harvard University survey reveals many people have an automatic preference for ‘thin people’ relative to ‘fat people’.[3] This survey is based on an Implicit-Association Test (IAT) that anyone can take, and measures the implicit attitudes and beliefs that people are either unwilling or unable to report. The WEIGHT-IAT asks you to distinguish images of people who are described as ‘obese’ or ‘fat’ and people who are ‘thin’. Try the IAT here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html – and select the Weight IAT to discover whether you have a hidden weight bias.
  1. SPEAK WITH COMPASSION Use words that hurt less. At a recent nutrition symposium, we learned about research that shows the choice of words we use can have different impacts on people with obesity. [4]

words we use obesity bias N4NN 2017 11-27_14-57-23

  • Body weight should not be a topic of social conversation. It’s a deeply personal subject for most people. Even as a health professional, ask permission to speak about body weight.
  • Use person first language rather than describe people by their disease. ex. Saying “a person with obesity” is person first langauge. Saying “an obese person” is not person first language. It’s the same way you would say a person “has a broken leg” rather than say they “are a broken leg.”
  1. SHOW RESPECT – Every body deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Are YOU ready to help STOP the weight bias? Here are some tips:
  • Notice weight shaming and speak up when you hear inappropriate comments or jokes. Talk about someone’s performance, enthusiasm or other positive attributes rather than talking about their weight. If you notice someone blaming a person for their weight, remind yourself and others “We don’t know their story, so don’t blame them for their size.”
  • Shift the focus from weight to health and well-being.
  • Adjust your attitude – if you change your thoughts, your feelings and actions will follow.[5]

The journey toward well-being starts with how we eat and dietitians have the knowledge, compassion and flexibility to help Canadians achieve their goals. If you have questions about food and health contact a Registered Dietitian for reliable, life-changing advice.

[1] Heuer C, Puhl R.  Obesity stigma in online news: A visual content analysis.   Journal of Health Communication.   2011

[2] Puhl, R. et.al Cross-national perspectives about weight-based bullying in youth: nature, extent and remedies. Pediatric Obesity, 2016

[3] Harvard University, Project Implicit Sourced Nov 2017 https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html

[4] Adapted from Puhl, Peterson, Luedicke 2013

[5] Michael Vallis, Canadian Obesity Network Presentation 2011

Top 3 Trends & Winners at Grocery Innovations Canada 2017

Lucia GIC grocery trade show 2017 gic 2017 show pic

Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) is a ‘must attend’ annual event for professionals in the grocery and specialty food business. This year’s conference and trade show offered tips for growth, innovation, and best ways to connect with consumers.  Here are 3 TOP TRENDS we recognized in some of the award winning products.

  1. Pack it with protein
  2. Make it Fresh
  3. Keep it simple & clean for labels

Pack it with protein
Food makers are adding and highlighting protein in just about every category. It’s true that consumers are looking for protein but many people are confused about how much they need and where are the best sources of this important nutrient. As dietitians, we translate the science and find that Canadian nutrition recommendations encourage people to include plant based proteins and balance their protein intakes throughout the day, especially at breakfast.

Two of the 2017 Grocery Innovation award winners featured a protein claim.
•     EGGbakes (Burnbrae Farms Ltd.) with about 13 grams protein per 95 g serving.
•     PrOATein Premium Nutritional Bar (PrOATein) 15 grams protein per 50g bar.

gic 2017 egg burnbrae

Grocery Innovation 2017 Proatein

 

 


Make it Fresh
Demand for fresh food is on the rise (Euromonitor). We saw many packages inviting us to eat with our eyes first, using windows to let fresh food peek through and beautiful fresh food images on pack. Adding a story about where the food was grown and who cared for it makes packaged fresh food a consumer attraction. One of the top 10 winners of the 2017 Grocery Innovations Awards captured this trend: Ready-To-Eat Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (Nature Knows Inc.) showcasing fresh grape tomatoes, blueberries or grapes.

gic 2017 nature knows

Keep it Simple – the food label that is.
Consumers are looking for a clean label which may be interpreted as a combination of ‘free from’ features as well as an ingredient list that is easy to read, understand and not too long. Simply Simple Kefir+ Overnight Oats (A&M Gourmet Foods Inc.) was voted as one of the top 10 most innovative products.
gic 2017 kefir overnight oats

food labelling changes n4nn

You already know Canadian packaged foods are preparing to update their labels to comply with new Ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Table regulations.  Are you working with food brands and rethinking your food offerings? If you have questions about food and health contact us. As Registered Dietitians we are Canada’s trusted experts who translate the science of nutrition into terms everyone can understand. We unlock food’s potential and support healthy living for all Canadians. Reach us for reliable advice at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

NEW Front of Pack Labelling Update – 3 tips on how you can prepare for the big changes ahead.

N4nn fop labelling nov 2017
Photo Credit: Health Canada

  1. WHAT?
    Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling update is out – read it here!

Health Canada just published the future of Front-of-Package (FOP) nutrition labelling based on proceedings from Sept. 18, 2017 Stakeholder Engagement Meeting. The document’s summary and subsequent social media comments from scientists and regulators signal big changes for food makers.  Although ‘no firm decisions were reached and re-designed symbols would be subjected to further consultations,…Health Canada concluded that a mandatory ‘high in’ front-of-package labelling system is the most appropriate to use’.  Front-of-Package examples included warning symbols implemented in other countries such as Chile and Ecuador. Are you ready for something like this?

N4NN 2017 fop graphic

  1. SO WHAT?
    Consider if your packaged foods may have to show warning labels on front-of-package.

The ‘high in’ Front-of-Package label approach may require a black and white warning label on pack in the future but consumers already have a tool to focus on the 3 nutrients of public health concern in the NEW nutrition facts table (NFT). Have you considered what the % Daily Value (% DV) for sugars, sodium and saturated fat tells about foods? The NFT footnote explains the % DV as this:  5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot. The new FOP will make sure that the negative attributes of food products are represented to help Canadians make informed food choices. Health Canada recognizes that there is a gap in labelling between packaged foods and those sold in in grocery or restaurants.  Future work with provincial and territorial counterparts will aim to find the best way to provide nutrition information in restaurants and other food service establishments.

  1. NOW WHAT?
    Speak to a Registered Dietitian with food labelling expertise to plan your strategies.

Health Canada says ‘discussion is very important in moving this forward and we need to get it right’. We agree and encourage you to connect with Registered Dietitians who are regulated professionals accountable to the public based on the highest standards of science and ethics.  Our influence runs deep and we look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable advice that supports healthy living for all Canadians.

Contact us to help you meet the demands of rethinking food labelling and to guide your team in unlocking food’s nutrition potential.

 

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

Take the fight out of food! How to spot credible nutrition info!

Nutrition month 2017 Sue & Lucia Pledge

Eating should be joyful and pleasurable, but it can also be frustrating and confusing. Take the online pledge to take the fight out of food. Find accurate information to help you make better decisions about food and take the fight out of your food struggles.

Did you know that almost half of Canadians (49%) get their food and nutrition information from the Internet, social media or blogs? Unfortunately, not all online information can be trusted. Here’s how to spot the most credible nutrition info.

1. Talk to a dietitian – the most credible food and nutrition experts. According to the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, Tracking Nutrition Trends 2015 report, only 20% of Canadians get their information from a dietitian. Yet, most Canadians (88%) say dietitians are credible sources of information. Contact us with your food and nutrition questions.

2. Ask questions. Evaluate online nutrition advice by asking:
• Who runs the website?
• Is the website trying to sell something?
• Does it sound too good to be true?
• Where does the information come from?
• Is the information based on more than one clinical study?
• Was the study done in animals or humans?
• Was the information / study reviewed by an editorial board?

3. Go to these trusted websites.
Some of our favourite information sources are:
Weiler Nutrition Communications Inc.
Nutrition Solutions Inc.
Dietitians of Canada
Eat Right Ontario
Healthy Canadians

4. Look for the Dietitians of Canada Member Blog badge
. We’ve met the blog criteria from our professional organization, and are proud to share our expert, credible, evidence-based insights!

DC member blog badge


This post has been adapted from Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.NutritionMonth2017.ca

2016 Nutrition News – A Year in Review

cauliflower-crisis-best-image

2016 has definitely been a year for trending food and nutrition issues! Here’s our recap of the top three nutrition headlines of the year plus what you can expect in 2017.


1. CAULIFLOWER CRISIS

Who can ever forget the $8 sticker shock on a head of cauliflower in January?! It became the poster child for rising food prices in Canada. According to the CBC, the price of fresh veggies rose by 13% in the past two years.

What to expect in 2017: The average Canadian family can expect to pay up to $420 more for food next year, according to Canada’s Food Price Report, an annual publication by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax. The price of meats, fish, seafood and fresh vegetables may rise as much as 4 to 6 percent. Lead author Sylvain Charlebois points to weather disruptions caused by La Nina, energy related costs and the tanking Loonie as factors affecting the price hikes.

What you can do: Look at grocery store flyers and use e-coupons. Plan your meals and plan to use the leftovers too.

2. INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PULSES
Declared by the United Nations, the International Year of Pulses successfully raised our awareness of pulses and their many health benefits. Chef Michael Smith, Canada’s ambassador of the International Year of Pulses, kicked off the year with an invitation for all of us to take the Pulse Pledge and eat pulses at least once a week for 10 weeks.

What to expect in 2017: The buzz about pulses will continue, starting with Global Pulse Day which occurs January 18th of every year. It’s a global event to celebrate pulses and continue the momentum of the 2016 International Year of Pulses. With rising food costs, look to economical and versatile pulses to be a staple on your grocery list.

What you can do: Plan to eat at least one meatless meal each week using beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas.

3. SUGAR TAX
In February, the Dietitians of Canada released a position statement calling for a 10-20% excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and specialty coffee / tea beverages seems to be linked to excess weight in both kids and adults. In March, the Senate Report on Obesity also recommended a new tax on sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages as one of many efforts to fight obesity in Canada.

What to expect in 2017: Sugar will continue to be under fire. In his Spring 2016 budget speech, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau pledged to help families make better choices, including actions to include more information about added sugars on food labels. Earlier this month, Health Canada opened a public consultation about its proposed front-of-package nutrition labels. For the first time ever, sugar would be called out as one of the three nutrients that can negatively affect our health if consumed in excess. Health Canada proposes to set the % Daily Value (%DV) for total sugars (natural and added sugars) at 100 grams per day. Under these proposed new labelling regulations, foods which contain 15 grams or more of total sugars per serving would be considered “high in sugars” and carry a warning symbol.

What you can do: Share your opinions about nutrition labelling. Complete this brief consumer questionnaire and / or complete the technical questionnaire both by January 13th, 2017. This is YOUR chance to help shape the future of nutrition labelling in Canada.

Have questions about upcoming trends or how Health Canada’s proposed front-of-package labelling may affect your business? We can help. Contact us at: Info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

Highlights from Grocery Innovations Canada 2015

If you missed this year’s Grocery Innovations show in Toronto, don’t worry. We were there and we have all of the key highlights for you, starting with aloe water, protein water and locally grown quinoa. Here are our top 5 picks on what‘s trending!

1. Water, water everywhere! From alkaline and aloe waters to boxed water and protein water, it’s clear that manufacturers are duking it out to quench Canadians’ thirst!

FLOW alkaline waterAlkaline water –naturally alkaline water with a high pH. A 500 mL serving contains: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 4 mg sodium 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 4% DV for calcium. (Top 10 Most Innovative Products for 2015.)

AloeWateAloe water – pulp free and sourced in North America. A 450 mL serving contains: 35 calories, o g fat, 0.015 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugars, 0 g protein. (Made with aloe vera inner leaf powder, organic cane sugar, RebA stevia extract.)

Boxed waterBoxed water – why, because as the package says, “Boxed water is better”. The package tells their story – 78% of the box is composed from trees. No nutrition facts information is shown on the box.

Protein2OProtein2O – a protein enhanced water. A 500 mL serving contains: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 120 mg sodium, 70 mg potassium, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugars, 15 g whey protein. (Made with sucralose.)

2. Packaging with a story. Chios Gardens fruit juices uses the front of pack to highlight its fruity ingredients. The journey of the juice is featured on the back panel.

Chios Gardens juice front  Chios Gardens juice back

 

quinoa3. Locally-grown quinoa. Who knew this gluten-free grain could be grown right here in in Ontario? Available in 2016.

Popcornveggie4. Pop Fusion Popcorn. Another local innovation. Popcorn is flavoured with a seasoning blend made from all of the veggies you see in the photo!

5. Winners: Among the winners of the top 10 most innovative products this year were:

  • Coupgon App – no more having to cut out coupons!
  • Natural Delights Date Rolls – soft like a brownie with the sweetness of dates
  • Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese – cottage cheese without the lumps!
  • Prema Chai Spiced Tea – a blend of black tea with spices
  • Tandoori Lasagna – why choose Indian versus Italian when you can have both!
  • Veggemo – a vegetable based beverage made from pea protein, tapioca and potato

5 Key Food Innovation Trends

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2014 Annual Meeting attracted more than 16,400 food professionals from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and share knowledge. One of the highlights of the meeting was IFT’s five key innovation trends expected to have major impact on the food industry. We’ve added our builds for additional insights and context.

  1. Protein is the next nutrient trend following fat and carbs. Protein helps build and repair body tissues and muscle, and is a component of protective antibodies. Protein also plays a role in satiety. With all these important attributes, the quantity and quality of protein in our foods and beverages matters!
  2. Spices & heat are increasing in popularity. Food makers use a wide range of spices to infuse flavour and enhance consumer appeal. Top spice trend mentions include adobo, anise, cumin, coriander, chili peppers, paprika and turmeric.
  3. Natural colors are sought after ingredients to add vibrancy and appeal without artificial dyes and colours. Examples include a variety of fruit and vegetable extracts that are stable in different food applications and are eye-catching to consumers.
  4. Fats & oils are key food ingredients that add flavour and texture. Choosing healthier fats improves the nutritional profile of foods and results in the creation of tasty and ‘better for you’ options that consumers want.
  5. Clean labels which generally means a food ingredient label that is simple, easily understood or sounds familiar. The consumer’s quest for ‘clean labels’ continues to spark innovations in ingredients and food safety to support product re-formulations that allow for the removal of chemical sounding ingredients.

Tracking Nutrition Trends 2013 – report released (June 2014)

Established in 1989, Tracking Nutrition Trends (TNT) is the longest standing nutrition study in Canada. The recently released report examines the self-reported knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of adult Canadians with respect to food and nutrition. Also included in the report are key factors that affect consumer food choices.  Here’s a summary of the key findings.

  • Nearly all Canadians say they have done something to improve or change their eating and drinking habits over the past year. The top three improvements/changes are: eating more fruits and vegetables; reducing salt/sodium; and reducing sugar.
  • Only 24% of Canadians follow Canada’s Food Guide.
  • 2/3 of Canadians use supplements. The most popular supplements are vitamin D, multi-vitamins and vitamin C.
  • 63% of Canadians eat breakfast every day (up from 58% in 2008).
  • 97% of Canadians say taste is the most important factor when choosing a food, followed by nutrition and cost.
  • 88% of Canadians say that maintaining good health is a key influence on their food choices.
  • When looking at the nutritional information, the most influential factors of food choices are: source of protein, low in saturated fats, low in salt/sodium, source of fibre, no trans fat, and low in total fat.

For more detailed report findings, and to discuss relevance to your work please contact us.

Top Trends for 2014

From protein and probiotics to tea and cooking, we’ve got the scoop on the top 10 hottest trends for 2014.

  1. Protein Power – New science is underscoring the beneficial effect of dietary protein on weight management and muscle health. For example, eating a high protein breakfast not only leads to increased feeling of fullness but also reduces evening snacking. Also, a protein source at each meal and snack helps to maintain energy and muscle strength especially after exercise and as we age. In light of this, current protein recommendations may be under review with respect to the amount and distribution of dietary protein, including considerations for meal based rather than specific daily recommendations.
  2. Anti-wheat Sentiment – Although scientific evidence is lacking for wheat – or gluten-elimination diets for weight loss or health (unless it is associated with a clinical disorder or disease) consumers will continue to seek this popular diet. According to an NDP survey 28% of adults claimed to be cutting down or avoiding gluten completely.
  3. Supermarket Savvy – Supermarket Dietitians are increasingly visible at grocery stores which is an exciting trend for consumers. Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts who are uniquely positioned to assist Canadians to shop smarter, cook healthier, and make healthier food choices. Some experts predict that supermarkets could become a new form of the culinary centre. Many stores already offer cooking demos or “community cooking centers” that allow shoppers to come together and learn from one another.
  4. Back to Basics with Cooking – The 2014 Nutrition Month Campaign – Simply Cook and Enjoy! – is dedicated to serving up practical advice on cooking and food skills from dietitians, the food and nutrition experts. Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Awareness and Education Initiative for 2014 concentrates on Healthy Eating and Healthy weights by focusing on food skills, portion sizes and calories. Industry experts say that a deeper understanding of how Canadians prepare and consume meals helps manufacturers and retailers provide mealtime solutions in the kitchen.
  5. Pro Biotic Power & Fermented Foods – Studies suggest that probiotics (live bacteria in food) may help lessen diarrhea, improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Consumers may be interested in foods other than yogurt that contain probiotics such as fermented foods like kefir milk, sauerkraut and kimchi. Also watch for more news on the gut – brain connection.
  6. Sugar & Sugar Substitutes – Media and consumers are intent on added sugar as another food trend. An IFIC survey reported that 58% of Americans are trying to limit or avoid sugar. Helping consumers understand the role of naturally occurring sugar, added sugar and sugar substitutes is important so they can make informed food and nutrition choices.
  7. Local & Eco-conscious – Sustainable food systems, local and eco-friendly foods are important to many Canadians who believe that a sustainable eating pattern contributes to their own health as well as the health of the planet. Food researchers say roughly one-third of food produced for humans around the globe is lost or wasted each year – 1.3 billion tons of it. Increased awareness of this problem is expected in 2014 with home and restaurant food preparers attempting to reduce food waste. Look for ways to promote sustainability in the kitchen, understand the issues of organics, local food systems, food choices, and carbon footprint.
  8. Government & Industry Compliance – Canada’s regulatory landscape continues to evolve and as a result industry’s relationship with regulators is also changing. Health Canada recognizes that a safe food supply is a major contributing factor to the health of Canadians. Food industry is also committed to providing safe food and wants to make sure consumers are happy with their products and continue to purchase them. Maintaining healthy and happy consumers is a challenge government and industry must face by working together.
  9. Tea is Hot – Canadian Tea consumption is expected to rise by 40%. Flavoured teas are catching on too. Expect to hear more about the health benefits of tea flavonoids related to heart health, brain health and weight management. Furthermore, tea is not just for sipping anymore, this natural ingredient is making its way into rubs, broths and marinades.
  10. The Age of (Mis)information & Social Media – Consumers continue to have an appetite for food and nutrition information which will only grow in 2014. Bloggers will continue to write about nutrition and health, there will be more and better food photography – watch for it on Pintrest and Instagram. With the boom of social media and the interest in health and nutrition, Canadians will continue to need advice from food and nutrition experts like dietitians to cut through the clutter.