So when I attend a food and products show like Natural Products Expo West, I am especially interested in finding foods with simple ingredient lists, few if any additives, good taste, affordability and nationwide accessibility. Most American families concerned with the obesity epidemic that is affecting adults and kids, and with its associated high rates of diabetes, hypertension and worrisome cholesterol levels, should be trying to eat simple nutritious foods that are less processed. Unfortunately reality demands quick food decisions, eating on the run, and emphasizing convenience as a singular, high value commodity. I’d love to see home cooking as an integral part of American life – but I am forced to recognize that consumers want quick food answers. So I plan on scouting out “the best choices” from a variety of product sectors including: cereals, baked goods, snacks and treats, soups, easy-to-prepare entrees and side dishes, nutrition bars, nut butters to name a few. I also plan to check out seasonings and taste enhancements since boosting flavor is crucial to reducing sugar and fat in recipes. Adults and kids are still drinking too many “fluid calories” and so zero-calorie flavored waters and teas are also on my priority list. Nutrition bars have become an integral part of the American diet, so I am always ready to hear about new formulations and reformulations, new tastes and the research behind the specific protein/fat/carbohydrate formularies.
I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy all the taste-testing that goes on at the event….heck, I wait for this all year. But as someone who covers diet and fitness, and as a Health Coach, this event is invaluable in helping me to track the trends being set by manufacturers in response to their perception of what consumers want. The question is – are the products healthy, wholesome and nutritious, and do the labels reflect an overall effort to provide healthier, nutritious foods with true label transparency?
Stay tuned for my Natural Products West 2014 food and trend reviews!!