By Lorrie Baumann
Natural foods manufacturers have been very busy this year thinking up ways to cater nutritious snacks for a generation that’s making frequent snacks a regular part of their eating plan. This new generation of better-for-you snacks launched at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, held March 9-13 in Anaheim, California, offers clean labels, nutrition density and bright, savory flavors.
Wilde Bars, for instance is a line of Paleo-friendly meat snacks that will appeal to carnivores looking for a protein boost. Each slow-baked lean meat bar with superfruits, vegetables and ancient grains contains just 100 calories and delivers 10 grams of protein with low fat and low sodium. The bars are made with a proprietary baking process that allows the use of lean meats such as premium chicken and turkey – the bison and beef bars are made with sirloin – rather than the fatty cuts often used for other meat bars. The bars’ shelf life is 12 months, and they retail for $2.49 to $2.79.
Caveman offers similar Paleo-inspired meat snacks for protein-craving snackers. Three flavors of Chicken Primal Bites – Sun-dried Tomato and Kale, Toasted Sesame Ginger and Habanero Green Chile – deliver 30 grams of protein for a 2.5-ounce pouch that contains 2.5 servings. The bite-size snacks are made of pure chicken infused with other healthy ingredients to make a meat snack that the company considers a little more accessible than jerky. Each pouch retails for $6.99, and the snacks have a 12-month shelf life.
Caveman also launched a line of protein bars five months ago that’s doing very well with consumers, according to Chief Marketing Officer Jim Taschetta. “It really is revolutionizing the protein bar market,” he said. “You can use Paleo principles to make really delicious foods. You don’t have to sacrifice.” These are no-compromise protein bars with no preservatives and no added sugars. Unlike many of the protein bars on the market, the protein in these comes from chicken rather than whey or soy isolates. Chicken, which has a lower carbon footprint and requires less water than beef or bison, also has a milder flavor that doesn’t compete with spices and other ingredients that provide variety. The Blueberry Pepper flavor, for instance, is made from chicken, blueberries and spices, and that’s all, Taschetta said.
A new flavor, Honey BBQ, launches in May. “It’s one of the most popular flavors on the mainstream market, but we’ve come up with it with really clean ingredients,” Taschetta said. Each bar retails for $2.89.
For those who want protein without meat, GrandyOats offers a line of organic snacks from its solar-powered plant in Maine. Garlic Herb Cashews and Maple Roasted Cashews are the top-selling products in their line of roasted nuts, while High Antioxidant Trail Mix is the company’s best-selling trail mix.
The Maple Roasted Cashews are made with locally sourced maple syrup, and the High Antioxidant Trail Mix was voted the #1 Quick Fix food by Sierra and Mother Earth News magazines. The trail mix combines goji berries, mulberries, jumbo raisins, cranberries, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, and a 1/4-cup serving delivers 4 grams of protein in a 150-calorie snack.
GrandyOats’ move into its new solar-powered facility will allow the company to dedicate a portion of its plant as a gluten-free facility, and we can expect to see a whole gluten-free line from the company soon, including all of its bulk roasted nuts and trail mixes.
HempsGood offers three flavors of a snack product called HempSeed Bhang: Thai Coconut Lemongrass, Southwest Barbecue and Sweet Cinnamon. These flavored hemp seed products are packaged in “stickpacks,” pouches about the size of a candy bar from which the crunchy mix of unshelled and shelled hemp seeds is poured. HempSeed Bhang is gluten free, vegan and low in sugar, and each 20-gram stickpack delivers 7 grams of protein as well as Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. HempSeed Bhang is a natural source of dietary fiber and has no artificial ingredients.
popchips are a healthier alternative to fried potato chips. The newest varieties, popchips RIDGES are crinkle-cut potato chips with 55 percent less calories and 72 percent less fat than ordinary ruffled potato chips. The four newest flavors are Salted, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Tangy Barbeque and Chili Cheese. popchips RIDGES are packaged in two sizes: the 3-ounce bag retails for $2.99 and the .8-ounce single-serve size retails for $1.19.
Natierra delivers crunch without compromise with seven flavors of Chia Crunch. These gluten-free and non-GMO disks are made from freeze-dried chia seeds and superfoods for crunchy texture and intense flavor without added sugar. They’re gluten free, organic and fair trade with 90 calories and 2 grams of protein in a single-serve pouch that retails for $4.99.
This story was originally published in the May 2016 issue of Gourmet News.