Join dietician Carolina Schneider as she takes us on our tour around Expo West to discover the hottest plant-based trends for 2022 you need to watch out for.
Expo West is the world’s largest natural and organic foods event – every year, it brings together thousands of exhibitors in the health and wellness space.
This year, Expo West proved that plant-based has gone mainstream. I’m a registered dietitian and I spoke with several brand leaders to learn about the newest and hottest trends in the plant-based food and beverage world for 2022.
1. Fish-less seafood
Having previously been an underserved sector, vegan fish alternatives are set to be one of the biggest plant-based trends in 2022.
Good Catch Foods are revolutionizing the plant-based industry by delivering ‘craveable plant-based solutions’ that are nutritionally comparable to seafood.
The ‘fish’ burgers, cakes, fillets and sticks are a blend of six legumes – peas, soy, chickpeas, fava beans, lentils and navy beans – providing 12 to 21 grams of protein per serving, without artificial flavours, hydrogenated fats or synthetic colours.
Future Farm is also jumping in the fish-less seafood boat. The brand’s new tuna alternative, Future Tvna, is a good source of omega-3 and plant-based protein. It comes in the form of flakes and can be used the same way as traditional tuna.
Future Farm focuses on using non-artificial flavours from plants and a protein blend of chickpeas, peas and soy in all of its products.
2. Planet-friendly sweets
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of new plant-based sweet treats coming to stores in 2022.
Offering a selection of delicious, school-friendly, vegan treats that are sure to become a family favourite, Abe’s Vegan Muffins offers baked goods without tree nuts, peanuts, soy and sesame.
Its new goodies include single-serving muffins and celebration cakes, and as a sustainability effort, the company is switching to a paperboard package.
In the frozen sector, Cosmic Bliss delivers the creamiest planet-friendly frozen desserts*, from ice cream pints and bars to gluten-free ice cream sandwiches.
A part of HumanCo, the company’s back to nature philosophy includes “sourcing ingredients from farms that one could have sourced 100 years ago.”
Cosmic Bliss has recently rebranded from Coconut Bliss after it made the decision to launch a new line of grass-fed dairy ice creams.
3. Functional coffee & creamers
While there has been plenty of innovation in the plant milk sector to produce dairy-free alternatives that can be used in hot drinks without splitting, there are still limited options when it comes to plant-based creamers.
Super Coffee is enhancing consumers’ coffee experience with lower-calorie, sugar-free beverages with added protein and MCT oil.
Its latest launch – the Super Creamer – is made from pea protein and sweetened with monk fruit. New ready-to-drink coffees flavours include Cinnamon Roll, Blueberry Muffin and Caramel Waffle.
Four Sigmatic is making it easy for coffee lovers to upgrade their morning routine and experience the ancient benefits of functional foods.
The new whole bean coffee is coated with functional mushrooms and can be nicely paired with the new better-for-you coconut-based creamers.
4. Real-food dips
We vegans love ourselves a bit of hummus! But this year, we might just fall in love with a new delicious dip as dips made from fresh ingredients are set to shake up the snack sector.
A perfect addition to your nachos, mac and cheese, or snack time with fresh veggies, Core and Rind’s Cashew Cheesy Sauce is made from only real-food ingredients such as pumpkin and cashews, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, garlic and onion. It’s like comfort food, but good for you.
Ithaca Hummus just launched a Grillo’s Pickles flavour that contains 30 percent real ground-up pickles. Not surprisingly, it tastes like the freshest hummus just married fresh pickles – mouth-watering deliciousness.
The unique and bold flavour of Ithaca Hummus is attributed to the use of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and raw garlic.
5. Vegan chicken
Plant-based chicken is here, and let me tell you – it is quite impressive. Daring’s newest launches, fresh tenders and gluten-free breaded pieces were big crowd-pleasers.
With only six ingredients in their original chicken, Daring is a one-to-one substitute for chicken with almost 50% fewer ingredients than market competitors.
Offering a hefty 20 grams of protein per serving, CHKN Not Chicken is made from peas and is a substitute for chicken without gluten or soy.
The company is working on expanding its product umbrella with potstickers, rice and pasta bowls, and deli meats.
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6. Flavoured, ready-to-eat tofu
Say goodbye to bland, boring tofu in 2022 because flavoured tofu is set to be one of the biggest plant-based trends!
With the goal of delivering flavorful and functional plant-based products, Franklin Farms offers a variety of ready-to-eat, seasoned tofu that make healthy eating easy and tasty.
Its new product, the “chickpea tofu” is made from only chickpeas and water and can be used in savoury or sweet recipes.
Hodo Foods’ new Mexican crumbles are made from wholesome ingredients just like all of its other products.
From seasoned tofu crumbles and cubes to veggie burgers and skewers, Hodo Foods helps consumers get more plant protein in a tasty and easy way.
7. Health-conscious snacks
Working from home has left many of us snacking more than ever before, and it’s easy to reach for unhealthy options when you need a boost.
So I was excited to see lots of interesting new options for healthy snacks that will crush those cravings.
RIND Snacks is a fruit-only, zero-waste snack focused at maximizing nutrition and minimizing food waste.
RIND offers a line of chewy dried fruits as well as crunchy fruit chips that include the peel, the core, and all the goodness from whole fruits, without any added sugars or preservatives.
Made from brown rice, quinoa, and a mix of seeds, Mary’s Gone Crackers are naturally gluten-free, certified organic and contain 3 grams of dietary fibre plus 5 grams of protein per serving.
Its new launch, jalapeño crackers, are full of flavour, with just the right amount of heat.
The fast-growing snack disruptor, HIPPEAS®, is making its way into households by providing better-for-you snacks made from the humble and mighty chickpea.
The light and crunchy puffs pack an average of 2 grams of fibre, 3.5 grams of protein and only 90 kcals per serving.
8. Ocean-friendly snacking
Seaspiracy made many of us rethink what we eat in 2021 and highlighted the importance of protecting the ocean and its inhabitants.
As a result, sustainable snacks made from seaweed are on the rise in a big way.
gimMe Snacks’ roasted seaweed snacks are planet-friendly with a punch of nutrition. Two tasty launches include the Chili Lime and non-dairy White Cheddar flavours.
With a conscious effort to reduce single-plastic use, the company’s new Grab & Go line includes a single-serve slim pack that does not contain a plastic tray.
12 Tides’ puffed kelp chips are made from kelp, a nutrient-dense seaweed that is climate-positive as it removes carbon from the atmosphere.
This light, flavorful snack packs micronutrients such as iron, vitamin K and vitamin B6 and comes in a compostable packaging.
9. Eggs made from plants
Plant-based eggs are the fastest-growing plant-based category in 2022 with products like vegan egg whites and even boiled eggs hitting the market.
JUST Egg, made primarily from mung beans, has proven that plant-based eggs can be extremely tasty and versatile, being able to function very similarly to the real deal.
10. More dairy-free innovations
From cheeses to yoghurts, the dairy-free sector shows no signs of slowing down in 2022.
This year, parents can celebrate the upcoming national launch of the Forager Project kids line, an organic cashew milk yoghurt available in Berry Berry, Strawberry and Mango flavours.
Fortified with vitamins A, D, B12, and calcium, this super tasty kids’ yoghurt is also a source of gut-friendly probiotics.
MALK Organics prides itself on having only three simple ingredients – almonds or oats, water and Himalayan salt.
Its new product, Chocolate Oat MALK, adds a couple more ingredients to the list – vanilla extract and cocoa – but contains no added sugars or “natural flavors.”
Dairy-free milk and creamer giant, Califia Farms also has three exciting new launches to help you be your own barista: A plant milk made from a blend of almonds and oats, a zero-sugar oat milk, and a limited edition Mint Chip Oat Creamer.
GOOD PLANeT Foods’ new smoked cheese wheels are naturally smoked with applewood chips – a four-hour process – and come in two flavours: cheddar and gouda.
The brand’s allergen-free portfolio also includes plant-based cheese shreds, slices, wedges and wheels.
One thing my time at Expo West showed me is that it’s not enough for a product to be plant-based; it has to be good for you and good for the environment.
When the plant-based food industry first saw its boom, people were excited to get their hands into new products that tasted like the real thing. Now, consumers are raising the bar for ingredient quality and sourcing.
As a result, brands are becoming more conscious about ingredient quality, nutritional value and the environmental footprint of their products, with plant-based trends in 2022 leaning towards more wholesome, natural products.
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