More grocery shoppers are trying dairy- and meat-free alternatives, according to a new national health food study by Earth Balance, which makes a line of vegan buttery spreads, nut butters, dressings and snacks. Two thousand consumers were polled for the study, which looked at which new foods they’re trying, their top motivators and trends in healthy eating.
When asked which factors are most important to them when shopping for food, respondents said buying local (37 percent), organic (33 percent) and non-GMO (30 percent) are key. Additionally, Americans are more willing to try better-for-you-foods, with the study showing the most-tried are healthy snacks, dairy alternatives and oil alternatives.
Dairy alternatives have been tried by 29 percent of respondents. Superfoods (e.g., chia, acai and quinoa), alternative snacks (e.g., gluten-free crackers, nut butters and Greek yogurt) and alternative oils (e.g., avocado, coconut and sunflower) have been tried by 28 percent of respondents, and 18 percent have tried plant-based proteins, such as hemp hearts, lentils and spirulina.
Almost half, 42 percent, of consumers said they know more about plant-based diets now compared to five years ago, and 43 percent are more likely to try plant-based alternatives today. Thirteen percent also report trying a vegetarian lifestyle.
What’s more, over half said they’ve tried dairy-free alternatives such as dairy-free milk, cheese and yogurt. Sixty-three percent have tried plant-based protein alternatives, with tofu, meatless burgers and meatless hot dogs topping the list.
By Richard Thompson
Nomoo Cookies has a line of non-dairy cookies on the market for customers who want their sweets, but can’t have – or don’t want – the milk. The company’s brand of snacks use kosher, dairy-free ingredients that the entire family can enjoy. Nomoo Cookies has added new varieties like pineapple and raspberry to traditional favorites such as chocolate chip. While certain cookies may still contain soy, eggs, wheat and nuts, the entire product line is free from any dairy product, making it perfect for those with dairy allergies, are lactose intolerant or looking to keep a kosher diet, according to Gretchen Dossa, General Manager of Nomoo Cookie Company.
Dossa spent years relying on kosher certifications to find safe products for her daughter who suffered a severe dairy-allergy – since those certifications indicated the presence of dairy – to make dairy free, kosher meals. David Bader, who co-founded Nomoo Cookies, spent years making cookies for his family and friends, but noticed many who were following kosher diets unable to enjoy his chocolate cookies. After sharing their frustrations on the lack of non-dairy products available, Bader and Dossa partnered to create Nomoo Cookies.
The company’s kosher-certified, dairy-free line of cookies are all natural and made without preservatives, hydrogenated trans fats or artificial flavors. Offered for retail in single and double packs, as well as by the dozen to consumers, The Nomoo Cookie Company strives to use local ingredients to make snacks that are as close to home baked cookies as possible.
“We are looking for flavors that are fun and interesting for everyone,” says Dossa.
While Big Chipper, with its Belgian chocolate chips, oatmeal and touch of caramel, and Oat-rageous, made with sweet dates, tangy orange zest and rich molasses, offer customers a non-dairy take on traditional staples, new varieties offer a wider range of exotic tastes.
The company’s Almond-Oy is loaded with wholesome almonds, chunks of dark chocolate and shredded coconut, while the Ginger Slap Cookie, a delicious snack that delivers a zing of crystallized ginger, won the Best New Baked Good Award at Kosher Fest in 2014.
In addition to the company’s main line of cookies, each year Nomoo Cookies makes a limited edition cookie that incorporates dried fruit inclusions. Last year, the popular Just Peachy cookie made waves with its soft color and great taste and has been succeeded this year with the Flying Hawaiian with Pineapple, which is made with chewy coconut and bits of pineapple. Currently, the company is working on a new spice cookie that can be considered a non-dairy snickerdoodle, a vanilla-bean sugar cookie made with dried vanilla bean and bean paste and a few vegan cookies.
“Our Flying Hawaiian with Pineapple has gotten a lot of praise,” says Dossa, “Right now, we’re working on getting local raspberries on top of our sugar cookies; that will probably be coming out in a couple of months…When we make cookies, we want people to think they’re really good even if they don’t need to avoid dairy,”
The makers of Wholly Guacamole® brand have added Avocado Verde 45 cal Minis to their line of products. The new minis pack all the flavor of tomatillos, hand-scooped avocados, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro of the brand’s popular Avocado Verde dip in 2-ounce containers. The Avocado Verde 45 Cal Minis are the seventh flavor in Wholly Guacamole brand’s lineup of fan-favorite mini cups.
“Consumers are continuing to explore the variety of Mexican flavors and recognize the health benefits of avocados, so we asked ‘What’s the next thing they need?'” said Terrill Bacon, Senior Brand Manager of Wholly Guacamole brand. “Our fans love our Avocado Verde dip, so creating a mini cup was the perfect solution to help them continue exploring the culinary landscape at home and on the go.”
The new minis will appear on grocery shelves in the coming months and can be purchased in 4- or 6-pack product sizes. The 4-count suggested retail price is $3.99-$4.99 and the 6-count is $5.29-$5.99, depending on the retailer. Like all Wholly Guacamole products, the Minis are all natural, gluten free, dairy free and kosher certified.