New product launches packed with functional ingredients abounded at SupplyExpo and Natural Products Expo West 2011. We saw probiotics slipped into something other than yogurt; immune system-supporting chocolates and beverages enriched with vitamins and collagen.
Here are five product introductions that caught our attention, and our analysis of why innovations such as these are important even beyond our industry.
Why do these five product launches matter?
Foods and beverages are increasingly moving beyond superfood status to superhero ingredient status. That is, how do you take an already delicious, natural product and pack it with even more health benefits?
Wilmar International did this for China with the introduction of omega-3 packed Arawana 3A+ premium cooking oil last year (and the company was inducted into GOED at this year's Expo). Hot ingredient predictions that Functional Ingredients' editors picked earlier this year are also ringing true: Probiotics, omega-3s and vitamin D have moved beyond the supplement aisle and are showing up in hummus, coconut milk and chocolate. If you're not thinking of ingredients in this way, you may well get left behind in the proverbial cacao dust.
Then there's the case of not-natural, not-so-good for you products. As heard during a Nutracon session, consumers want to eat healthier, but veggies and fruits don't satisfy their desire to eat healthier muffins and cakes. Probiotic Ho Hos, anyone? While processed foods may never top the nutrition found in vegetables, helping consumers take a baby step toward health and wellness is important for the natural products industry to gain steam with the 96 percent of Americans who need to hear our message.