Latest Food Trends – Lauren’s Top 5 FNCE Finds

Found Food Trends at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo

If you’ve never heard of FNCE, it’s the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo with over 300 vendors exhibiting the latest in food, nutrition and technology. This year’s EXPO in Chicago featured nearly 400 brands/services. While, I’d love to mention all my faves, including KIND bars, Siggi’s yogurt and the Rxbar, I’ve chosen to feature 5 new discoveries that resonate with myself, and my foodie philosophy. The following products show that brands are increasingly developing  products that are organic, more wholesome and with improved nutritional-quality, taste/texture for gluten-free.

PHOTO: Lauren O’Connor | | Simple Mills at FNCE in Chicago

Simple Mills is a product that resonated with me. Why? Because I love to bake and lately have been experimenting with gluten-free baking mixes (none of which I prefer until now). The ingredients are simple and wholesome, paleo-friendly and there are no artificial flavors or fillers. The convenience of a healthy, gluten-free “bisquick” that I can keep in my cupboard for easy prep and bake is invaluable. The samples I tried were delicious and the texture was great! If I’m strapped for time for my kids’ next school bake sale or party potluck suddenly comes up, this is certainly a brand I can count on for better health, taste and convenience.

PHOTO: Lauren O’Connor | | Thunderbird bars

What I love about Thunderbird Real Food Bars is that they are wholesome, made with real food like dates, figs, cherries, nuts/seeds, and spices – nothing else. The fruit is real sweetener, no added sugars and no added fillers. They are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free and have plenty of protein and heart-healthy nutrients. If I’m in need for a grab-n-go snack that tastes great and offers nutritional value too, this is a bar I can count on for my family and myself.

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PHOTO: Lauren O’Connor | | Q Cups

Q-Cups by Now® Foods got me through my flight home from Chicago. Sometimes it’s just easier to have dried goods to carry along — less potential mess, no liquid to be “taken away” while going through security. Just add hot water and in 5 minutes you can enjoy a convenient bowlful of tasty, nourishing quinoa blend. The Southwestern blend contains quinoa black beans, organic sweet corn, red bell pepper, chipotle pepper, and chili pepper. The delicious varieties contain 80% less sodium than other lunch cups.

PHOTO: Lauren O’Connor | | Explore Cuisine

Get the goodness of legumes, with products by Explore Cuisine! I love that these alternative “pastas” are vegan, organic and gluten-free. This certainly can make life more delicious for those with sensitivities or allergies to gluten. With varieties like Chickpea Fusilli, Organic Red Lentil Penne, and Organic Red Lentil Spaghetti, there  are plenty of tasty options for a variety of cuisine.

PHOTO: Lauren O’Connor | | Jovial gluten free bread flour

I am absolutely Jovial over this gluten-free bread flour. And while I’m not gluten-free, it’s nice to have options I can recommend to those who have dietary preferences and/or sensitivities or allergies to gluten. More and more these days, the gluten-free products are getting healthier, with less excess starch, sugars and more nutrients. This flour contains ancient grains and no added starch! If you haven’t yet discovered ancient Einkorn wheat (a gluten-free alternative), it’s a good source of protein, iron and dietary fiber as well as B vitamins. What’s more – it’s got  higher percentage of protein and carotenoids than other forms of wheat. And with less nutrient loss during processing, this is a great nutritional choice.