New Snack Doubles as a Meal

Rebekah Schouten wrote . . . . . . . . .

Outstanding Foods is introducing TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs, a plant-based snack that may also serve as a meal replacement. The products come in four varieties: Pizza Partay, Hella Hot, Chill Ranch and White Chedda.

Packed with 21 grams of protein, the puffs contain 30% of the recommended daily values of iron, calcium, zinc and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K. The snacks are made with rice, high-oleic expeller pressed sunflower oil, pea protein, pea grits, brown rice protein, calcium carbonate and a proprietary blend of broccoli, spinach, kale, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, sunflower seed, kelp, chlorella, maitake mushroom and shitake mushroom. Certified gluten free, plant-based, kosher and vegan, TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs are free of GMOs, trans fats, nuts and soy. Each bag contains 400 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 19 grams of fat and 35 grams of carbs per bag.

The Pizza Partay puffs feature a pizza seasoning that includes pea protein, tomato powder, sea salt, garlic powder, spices, yeast extract, natural flavors, olive oil, onion powder, lactic acid and paprika extract.

The Hella Hot puffs feature a spicy seasoning made with pea protein, sea salt, inactive baker’s yeast, tapioca solids, natural flavor, garlic powder, yeast extract, lactic acid, paprika extract, onion powder, spices, white distilled vinegar, habanero pepper, citric acid and ghost pepper.

The Chill Ranch puffs have a ranch seasoning composed of pea protein, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, natural flavor, yeast extract, tomato powder, spices, white distilled vinegar, tapioca solids, citric acid and lactic acid.

The White Chedda puffs contain a cheese flavored seasoning comprised of pea protein, tapioca solids, sea salt, natural flavor, yeast extract, inactive baker’s yeast, lactic acid, onion powder, garlic powder, spices and citric acid.

“Just about everyone has finished an entire bag of snacks and felt guilty because all they got were empty calories and a bomb of salt and fat,” said Bill Glaser, co-founder and chief executive officer of Outstanding Foods. “With TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs, for the first time ever, you won’t feel guilty whether you’re enjoying it as a great tasting snack or in place of a meal. We take out the bad stuff and (co-founder) Chef Dave Anderson adds in a proprietary blend of super nutrients. You get the benefits of a balanced meal with the convenience of grabbing takeout!”

Outstanding Foods TakeOut Meal-In-A-Bag Puffs are available exclusively on the brand’s web site for a suggested retail price of $3.99 per 3-oz bag.

Source : Food Business News

Coronavirus Diets: What’s Behind the Urge to Eat Like Little Kids?

Carli Liguori wrote . . . . . . . . .

Have you noticed grabbing an extra bag of chips at the supermarket? Or eating more frozen dinners than you used to? Or even eating snacks that you haven’t eaten since you were a little kid?

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every facet of our daily lives, from how we dress, to how we work, to how we exercise.

It’s also changing the way we eat. As a registered dietitian and nutrition researcher, I’m fascinated by the types of food people are buying during this strange time.

One recent survey found that 42% of respondents indicated they’re purchasing more packaged food than they typically would and less fresh food.

Sales of frozen pizza have almost doubled. Sales of frozen appetizers and snacks – think Bagel Bites – are over a third, while ice cream sales have increased 36%.

According to Uber Eats, the most common food delivery order in the United States has been french fries, while the most popular beverage has been soda.

To me, these foods have one thing in common: They’re the stuff we ate as kids.

Why might grown adults be reaching back into the pantry of their pasts? What is it about a pandemic that makes us feel like we’re teenagers at a sleepover?

The reasons are deeply rooted.

At its core, the purpose of food is to nourish. Of course food provides us with the necessary energy and balance of vitamins and minerals to power and fuel the body. But anyone who’s reached for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a particularly stressful day will know that nourishment is about more than nutrition.

During periods of stress, people tend to eat more and show a greater preference for higher calorie foods. The sweeter and saltier the better. Regardless of hunger, a tasty snack can feel comforting. There’s evidence to suggest that highly palatable foods, especially those high in fat and sugar, may illicit a response in the brain that is similar to the response from opioids.

Yes, a delicious slice of rich chocolate cake can be just as good as drugs.

We tend to call many of these foods “comfort foods,” but the definition of comfort food is a bit slippery. Food is deeply personal. The foods that comfort people depend on their cultural background, taste preference, and personal experience. We know, however, that food can induce feelings of nostalgia that transport us back to simpler times.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that, during a period of uncertainty that has many of us desperate for some relief and comfort, the foods of our childhood can act as a salve. For some of us, that bowl of Lucky Charms isn’t just a sweet treat; it’s a reminder of days gone by, a time of safety and stability.

There’s nothing inherently wrong in finding temporary relief from chaos and uncertainty through food. But it’s probably best to view these changes in eating behavior as a temporary habit during a weird time. After all, a diet rich in macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets doesn’t exactly set our bodies up for long-term success.

As people’s lives start to regain some sense of normalcy, diet can actually be a major part of the equation. Returning to a more health-conscious diet could be part of reestablishing your previous routines. And if you’ve never been able to find the time to prioritize healthy eating, now could actually be a good opportunity to start laying the groundwork for habits that become the new normal.

Source: The Conversation

If You Think Before You Snack, It’s Not So Bad

To snack or not to snack? That is not the question, because we’re going to snack.

But it doesn’t have to mean cookies, chips and cola. As eating habits evolve, snacking can mean anything from a mini-meal to workout fuel to a healthy interlude to tide us over to lunch or dinner.

“Each person has a different eating personality, and there’s no right or wrong,” said Dr. Anne Thorndike, a general internist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “It’s just really important to be conscious of what’s in your snacks, and not to just eat mindlessly.”

It’s hard to measure just how much of the American diet consists of snacks. A 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture report concluded 90% of adults snacked at least once a day – up 30 percentage points in 30 years – and consumed about one-fourth of their total calories between meals.

A 2019 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics indicated nearly one-fourth of working adults ate food at work bought from vending machines and company cafeterias or offered for free by employers or colleagues, adding an average of almost 1,300 calories to their weekly totals.

“The opportunity is certainly there more than it used to be,” said Robin Plotkin, a Dallas-based dietitian and nutrition consultant. “Food is available around every corner. What it boils down to is personal responsibility.”

Plotkin said many factors have changed the traditional definition of snacking – munching on something between meals or before bedtime. People in a hurry grab something to go, drive-thru windows are everywhere, families may not sit down for traditional meals like they used to, and some people prefer to “graze” during the day rather than load up at a single sitting.

“But from a dietitian’s point of view, the advice is the same,” she said. “You want to pair a complex carbohydrate with a lean protein and healthy fat. And you want to focus on fiber, because most Americans don’t get enough.”

Thorndike agreed. “When you do choose to snack, you should reach for foods that are healthy and lower in sugar and salt. Fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheeses or nuts or yogurt are great snacks to tide you over to the next meal.”

Reading labels and resisting temptation also are key. Food companies are working to provide healthier snacks, Plotkin said, but consumers need to look beyond terms like “healthy” or “natural” on the label. She cited some nutrition bars, yogurts and smoothies as prime examples.

“You think you’re eating something healthy when in reality some of them have more calories and sugar than you’d find in a candy bar.”

Another key is to remember many between-meal calories come in liquid form.

“I think a lot of people are getting the messages about the calories in soda and juice drinks,” Thorndike said. “But perhaps they don’t realize how many calories they’re getting in their coffee drinks.”

The best solution, both experts agreed, is to bring snacks from home.

“You know what’s in it and that it’s food you enjoy,” Plotkin said. “Maybe people don’t consider leftovers for a snack, but that’s also a great way to combat food waste.”

Thorndike advocates – and practices – a technique she calls “choice architecture.”

“Set up your environment so the default is a healthier choice,” she said. “If you don’t want to eat cookies at home, don’t buy them. If you don’t want a snack during the day at work, don’t walk by the desk that has candy on it or stuff a lot of granola bars in your drawer.”

That architecture can be deployed on a broader scale. At Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where Thorndike practices, cafeterias place items like fruit and water at eye level, making unhealthier options a little less convenient. “Traffic light labeling” on many foods indicates immediately whether your selection rates red, yellow or green.

For a 2019 study published in JAMA Network Open, Thorndike analyzed two years of sales figures and concluded the tactics encouraged people to make healthier choices.

“There’s an emotional reaction to the red label,” she said. “It really does make a difference. Because before you reach for that snack, it’s really good to stop and think why you’re reaching for it.”

Source: American Heart Association

Pecan Is a Healthy Holiday Treat

Want a holiday snack that’s packed with nutrition? Pick up some pecans.

Nuts are considered heart-healthy. They’re part of the blood pressure-lowering DASH diet and full of “good” fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, said Ginny Ives, a registered dietitian and director of nutrition at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas.

Pecans are a standout nut, though.

“They actually have the most fiber of any other nut,” Ives said, with about 3 grams per 1-ounce serving, “and they’re also the lowest in carbs.” They’re a good source of thiamin, zinc, and the trace minerals copper and manganese.

“They also contain micronutrients known as phytonutrients,” which have been shown to reduce inflammation, she said.

Pecans, as well as nuts in general, can help in weight maintenance, Ives said. They’re high in fat, which helps people feel full. Eating them as a snack or adding some to a salad or cereal “can help our food to stick with us a little longer and help us to feel more satisfied, so we don’t overeat.”

An ounce of pecans – 19 pecan halves – has 196 calories, so don’t go overboard. Ives recommends a single 1-ounce serving a day and said they’re great toasted. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes at 325 degrees, occasionally shaking the pan. You can store pecans for up to two years in the freezer.

Source: American Heart Association

2020 Snack Food Trends

From Truly Good Foods . . . . . . . . .

Our annual trend report highlights some of the biggest food trends we predict for the coming year. 2020 is looking like a big year for flavor innovation, personalized nutrition and a wider acceptance of plant-based options.

Our 2020 Snack Food Trends include:

Unique Fruit Flavors

Fruity flavors are taking a turn to the exotic. Especially popular in beverages and candies, the flavor trends are moving beyond traditional fruits and highlighting more unusual flavors. Coming from an overseas influence, we’re seeing fruits like yuzu, lychee, blood orange, prickly pear, calamansi (a hybrid between a kumquat and mandarin orange – more on hybrids later in our trends!), Meyer lemon, and Japanese plum.

Sweet Heat

The consumer’s sweet tooth is transitioning into more of a spicy tooth. As sugar continues to be looked upon as a negative, product development teams are looking into less sweet flavors that will keep consumers interested. The combination of sweet and heat is continuing to gain ground, especially moving into candy. As spicy, global cuisines continue to be a huge trend in the foodservice industry, that has filtered down to confections with spicy chocolates, baked goods and candy.

New Flours

As a grain-free lifestyle becomes more popular, alternative flours are hitting the mainstream and you can expect to see even more versions this coming year. Popular for a few years in pre-made cauliflower crust pizzas, cauliflower flour will be available in bulk and packaged for the consumer to experiment in the kitchen with. Some other interesting alternative flours going mainstream this year include banana flour, chickpea flour, Tigernut (a root vegetable) flour, coconut flour, nut flours (almond, cashew, macadamia, etc), and sorghum flour.

Expect to see more “boosted” flour options too that feature added protein, fiber and other nutritional benefits.

In the CPG arena, more snacks will feature these new flours as key ingredients to offer a gluten-free snack option.

Mood Boosted Food

We covered the functional food trend in last year’s report and this year we’re diving deeper into mood-boosting foods. Foods and beverages featuring mood-boosting ingredients are on the rise this year as consumers want those added benefits from their snacks. Mood-boosting ingredients are being featured on packaged snacks and restaurants are even testing special menus to shift your mood in a particular way.

More Nut Butters

Similar to gluten-free alternative flours, nut butters are getting more unique options to compete with the OG peanut butter. These plant-based butters avoid peanut allergies and many of them also eliminate the use of palm oil whose harvesting can be harmful to the rainforests. Look for new nut and seed butters that are made from watermelon seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and coconut.

Hybrids

Adventurous consumers are highly receptive to hybrid products. You probably remember the mass hysteria a few years ago over the cronut – a croissant/doughnut hybrid. We’ve seen hybrid trends come and go since then and we expect 2020 to be a big year for hybrid snacks. As food companies feel the pressure for creative flavor innovation to attract consumers’ attention and boost sales, they’ve taken to mixing and matching among flavors and categories. Think birthday cake-flavored popcorn or alcohol-flavored gummies. A lot of these hybrid flavors are being rolled out with limited-time releases which enhances the uniqueness of the experience. Food launches with a limited-batch claim have increased by 36% over the past several years, according to Innova. It’s a great way to test innovation and draw excitement for interesting hybrid snacks.

More Than A Flavor

Consumer demand for unique experiences will move beyond flavor to include texture more this year. 70% of consumers said texture gives food a more interesting experience and although texture is a key element of how we experience food, it doesn’t get as much attention as some of our other senses. Often when texture is commented upon in food, it’s in a negative way such as not liking the texture of a food item.

Playing up texture can make existing products more exciting and new products can highlight textures for a fun, new experience. Consumer demand for something new and different is predicted to increase, to be reflected in more product launches with textural claims. Because not many brands focus on their product’s texture, it can be a great point of differentiation in crowded categories, like snacks.

For color trends this year, the palette is moving from warm to cool with blues and greens spotlighted in dishes and packaged snacks. Colorful ingredient options include blue algae, beets, matcha, and butterfly pea flower tea, which changes color from blue to purple when acidity is added to it.

The Mighty Chickpea

Product developers continue to discover new possibilities and applications for chickpeas. Already popping up in savory and sweet spreads, pastas, and snacks, garbanzo beans are now breaking further into the bakery segment. A great source of plant-based protein and fiber, chickpea crust could be the next cauliflower crust and chickpea butter the next alternative nut butter.

Plant-Forward World

Food and beverage products featuring a plant-based claim posted an average annual growth rate of 68% over the past five years, according to Innova. The interesting part of the plant-based revolution is that it’s no longer just about finding meat-free alternatives for vegans and vegetarians. Now, plant-based products are being enjoyed by the general meat-eating population who are trying to cut down their meat consumption. That is a true testament to the product innovation of great tasting food and the storytelling that has gone hand-in-hand with plant-based products.

Interest in plant-based foods and beverages is aligned with sustainability, another top trend for 2020.

According to an Innova report, close to 90% of global consumers said they expect companies to invest in sustainability, up 22% from last year. When it comes to sustainability, studies have shown that older consumers care more about food waste and younger consumers care more about plastic waste. The heightened focus on single-use plastics is no longer just a trend relegated to certain states, but a reality that goes beyond the purge of plastic straws.

Source: Truly Good Foods