December 18, 2013
Raw eating has advanced beyond a niche diet for the extremely health conscious. While plenty of “high raw” consumers still nosh only on foods found in your produce section, many more seek the health benefits of raw food products. Raw foods are often gluten free, made with nutrient-dense ingredients and minimally processed. Because of this, the category now attracts gluten-free and paleo eaters, as well as those simply looking for healthier convenience foods. Nutrition BusinessJournal estimates that U.S. consumer sales of raw-positioned foods tallied just shy of $600 million in 2012, growing 27 percent from 2011.
As the category has begun to appeal to a wider audience, product offerings have changed too, with brands promoting “raw ingredients” more so than 100 percent raw. “Raw nutrition” is still a priority, but it shares the stage equally with flavor, as specialty diet consumers increasingly demand products that taste just as great as they make them feel. While initial raw offerings fell short with inconsistent textures and homegrown flavors, the newest products prove raw can be synonymous with delicious.
Indulgently Raw: 5 products to stock
When raw foods first came onto the grocery scene, the category was dominated by products from small, local producers without the ability to scale up and who often had minimal resources for ensuring product consistency. As the category has grown, so have the methods for delivering delicious raw products with a longer shelf life. While brands aren’t quick to share their secrets, one thing is for certain, it’s all about quality. Snacks dominate, but rather than a convenient food to stave off hunger, raw foods play up giving in without guilt. Look for ingredients like coconut and cacao and even truffle oil. This emphasis on flavor is helping raw appeal to anyone hunting for the coveted natural food triple threat: nutrition, convenience and deliciousness.
Raw Real and Wonderful Dark Chocolate Cherry Nut Clusters
Raw, organic almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts and cherries come together in these clusters drizzled with dark chocolate made using raw organic cacao butter and cacao. They answer the call for a sweet treat but have only 4 grams of sugar per 1-ounce serving, with an added bonus of 3 grams of protein. Yes, please! SRP: $9.99
Hail Merry Strawberry Macaroons
The newest addition to Hail Merry’s line of raw desserts, these rosy macaroons deliver decadent strawberry flavor with hints of fruit pieces. The Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified treats are made with organic and raw ingredients and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. I only wish more than eight came in a bag. SRP: $4.99
ZaZa Raw Vegan Brownie
Made with a crust full of raw walnuts, black raisins, raw pecans and just a hint of coconut, this vegan brownie is as decadent as you remember—only it’s free from processed sugar, grain, eggs and milk. I love that the generous portion has only 130 calories and 4 grams of sugar. SRP: $5.99
Wonderfully Raw Snip Chips Cheezy Herb Truffle
Let these chips make a parsnip lover out of you. The crunchy snack comes in three taste-bud-tempting flavors including my favorite, Cheezy Herb Truffle. The naturally gluten-free, vegan crisps are certified organic. Persnickety about parsnips? Try the brand’s new Brussel Bytes made with the dehydrated brussels sprout leaves. SRP: $4.99 - $5.99
The GoodOnYa Breakfast Bar Don’t let the electric packaging fool you. Behind all that yellow is a truly tasty bar. Between its nutty texture from hemp, sunflower and sprouted
flaxseeds and the delightful bits of chocolate and plump raisins, this is a real treat. The bar is also certified organic, 74 percent raw and a great
source of protein and fiber—almost afterthoughts since it tastes so good. SRP: $3.29 - $3.99
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