CAPSULE REPORT: The bustling organic category continues to make news. While much smaller than the mammoth Expo West, which we reported on last month, the Organic Trade Association’s annual show in Chicago showed organic trends even more clearly. Expo West incorporates natural products as well as organic—and “natural” takes up much of the show. Here, a clear understanding of what’s happening in organic.
It’s no longer just about “organic”: In meeting consumer demands, many organic products now come with dual certifications such as Bird Friendly, Biodynamic, Fair Trade™, Humane Certified, Kosher and Sweat Shop Free. More good news is that these products are still being nurtured by entrepreneurs and smaller management teams: Ninety percent of the 600 companies presenting their products at this year’s Organic Trade Association are privately held or family owned and operated.
Artisan Coffees, Nut Butters & Oils. Exotic varieties and flavors of artisan coffees and coffee syrup, as well as nut butters and oils from specialty nuts including argan, a oil from the Moroccan argan tree, and macadamia.
Better Beef. Healthy and superior quality organic beef that contains higher levels of nutrients, and less fat, calories and cholesterol than chicken.
Better Ingredients. Organic ingredients to replace popular conventional synthetics such as baking powder, no-calorie sweeteners and food colorings.
Better Produce. Pristine produce is now grown in greenhouse environs, with new varieties to please every palate.
Candy. Those who want organic candy for themselves and their children will find options galore from fine chocolates (read our review of Theo organic chocolates) to hard candies and lollipops, divinity, cotton candy, marshmallows and marshmallow cream (at least year’s show, we discovered Pure Fun cotton candy).
New Seasonings. Unique and ethnic seasoning blends that are low in calories, fat-free, sugar free, and cholesterol-free.
Allergen-Free Foods. Organic non-dairy ranch dressing, wheat-free cookies, gourmet peanut-free nut butters and raw food vegan desserts are available for children and adults with food sensitivities.
Ethnic Foods. Ethnic packaged and frozen foods—including Indian, Greek, Asian and Mexican—meet the needs of food-lovers who like international flair.
Fine Wines & Spirits. Good cheer has gone organic. Award-winning fine wines, beers and spirits from around the globe continue to be introduced at a rapid pace.
Fresh Specialty Items. What started as a drip a year ago now is a running faucet of fresh and high-quality foods including refrigerated baby foods, dressings with olive oil-only base and granola made with real fruit.
Interesting Grains. A variety of packaged foods and ingredients made with distinctive grains and botanical materials including hemp, flax, wild sunflower root, kamut, quinoa and even organic candied bamboo. (See are article on Whole Grain Breakfast Cereals for more information on some of these interesting grains.) The ancient Egyptians baked their bread with kamut—an ancient, nutritious and delicious relative of durum wheat that can be tolerated by people with wheat allergies. Photo courtesy of Kamut.com.
Pet Food. Organic is important for four-footed family members too—even more so following the recent tragedy of contaminated supermarket brands. The pet products category continues to grow with organic and kosher certified treats, packaged raw food for dogs and even organic lactation aids for large mammals.
Enhanced Foods & Superfoods
Enhanced Foods. Enhanced organic products that provide vital nutrients and antioxidant values through innovative ingredient combinations and additions continue their rise in popularity—from chocolate bars with goji berries to milk enhanced with DHA and pizza with Omega 3s.
Superfoods. Functional “superfoods”* and beverages such as whole food supplements and energy drinks including popular açaí, cherry juice concentrate and a sparkling fruit juice with whole grains.
*A “superfood” is a natural food source that is highly concentrated with a complex supply of quality nutrients. Bee pollen is the most famous superfoods, incredibly dense with thousands of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) including enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytosterols and carotenoids, free amino acids, Omega 3 essential fatty acids, naturally chelated minerals and whole vitamin complexes. The açaí berry is considered a superfood because of its extremely high level of anthocyanins (an antioxidant), vitamins A and C and omega 6 and 9 essential fatty acids, fiber and amino acids.
Fiber & Fashion. Organic fiber and fashion offerings continue to grow, including the first certified organic designer leather, T-shirts with new low-impact dyes in vibrant colors, tote bags with fun designs, baby clothing and crib bedding.
Lawn & Garden. Products suitable for organic farms and gardens are options to replace synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Packaging. Now consumers can choose organic products with innovative and earth-friendly packaging and paper made from tree-less paper, reclaimed banana fiber, sugar cane, bamboo and glass, as well as compostable over-wrapping, recycled packaging and a one-way valve technology for keeping organic coffee fresher longer.
Personal Care. Highly functional personal care products incorporate special ingredients including noni, black pepper, hemp, goji berries, cacao powder and exotic essential oils. Supplements and skin care products for the delicate needs of expectant mothers and infants. Photo of goji berries by Gary Scott | Stock.xchng.
What’s next? Reviews of some of these great products! Stay tuned!
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