Top industry trends are emerging at NCA's Sweets and Snacks Expo this week, as confectioners unveil new flavors such as maple syrup, specific varieties of apples, blood orange and s'mores, as well as customizable cookies, crackers and candies. Other new products include flavor mashups, functional products, jumbo shareable versions of iconic treats and "thin" cookies and biscuits.
Rockit apples, which are crisp, red and golf-ball-sized, have seen success being marketed as a high-end convenience food and snack item, rather than just another produce option. The apples, grown in New Zealand, are packaged in clear plastic tubes to help them stand out from other apple varieties and are now sold in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.K. "Rockit was thinking outside the square, repositioning the total apple offering," said Steve Saunders, director of the firm Havelock North Fruit Company, which played a major role in the marketing strategy for Rockit apples.
A study found that people who shop when they are hungry may buy more calories, so nutritionist Dr. Lisa Young recommends having a healthy snack before going to the store. Some quick options include an apple with peanut butter, fruit with yogurt or cottage cheese, a cup of mixed vegetables with hummus, a fruit smoothie or whole-grain crackers and reduced-fat cheese.
Post Sesame Street Cereal, in apple or banana, has been introduced by Post Foods. The cereal, which provides two-thirds of a toddler's recommended whole-grain intake, is shaped in X's and O's that are easy for young fingers to hold.
Male doctors who ate whole-grain cereal seven or more times a week had a 25% lower risk of high blood pressure compared with counterparts who did not eat the cereal, according to a study presented at an American Heart Association conference. The lead researcher said the high fiber content and micronutrients in whole-grain cereal, as well as the ability of whole grains to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, may account for the effect.