What is FNCE you might ask? Pronounced (fen-see), it stands for Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition. It is the annual conference and expo on behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which the the main affiliation of most registered dietitians. Consisting of educational sessions, alumni/club breakfasts, networking events and the expo floor, it is a long couple of days! It’s in a different location every year, this years being Chicago! It was also the 100th anniversary of the event, so there were over 10,000 dietitians that attended!
Below are the 4 Spice Girls that were able to attend, pictured at the MSU alumni breakfast (Sage, Salt, Pepper and Sugar) unfortunately Cinnamon and Ginger were not able to make it 😦
I wanted to briefly mention 5 main food trends and observations on the expo floor, since that’s always the most exciting part of the event due to the massive amounts of samples you get!
1.) Microbiome and Digestive Wellness
You probably have already noticed the emerging gut health and digestive wellness trends. It was so compelling this year at FNCE, that they had an entire section of the expo floor carved out just for these products! From bars to drinks to supplements to yogurts, it was clear that this is going to take over the marketplace. There is still research emerging about the true connections and benefits probiotics and prebiotics have on our overall health, but consumers sure are jumping on board.
2.) Clean and Natural
This movement continues to rein as a simple nutrition solution, the “less is more” approach. Many bars leaning into this with simple “clean” ingredients. These are great on the go options when you don’t have the time to prep your own snack packs or treats, however, they can be quite expensive.
3.) Commodities and Basic Nutrition
Foods like eggs, berries, almonds, honey, walnuts and more continue to have a great presence at this event. Whole food commodities that promote the food’s inherent health and usually provide recipes or meal solutions to go along with them. My personal favorite – the egg booth 🙂 #eggcellent
4.) PROTEIN (milks, nut butters and bars galore)
Protein continues to be celebrated with no major controversy and companies are leaning in hard to meet that need. Protein was delivered in so many food forms, but the ones that stood out the most were shakes/milks, nut butters heavily promoted and of course; bars. We know protein is important, but what people don’t usually realize is that we do not have a protein deficiency problem in this country. Most everyone gets the necessary protein needed to maintain muscle mass and normal weight, however we seem to always be wanting more of it. My personal favorite bar was the PowerBar Jerky and Nut version coming soon – very refreshing compared to most sweeter bars.
5.) “Healthier” Snacks
By “healthier” I mean, adding in more natural ingredients to manufactured foods. This is to compliment the natural and whole foods movement and give consumers the wholesome ingredients they are seeking, with the convenience of packaged food. Most were pretty tasty and provided more vitamins, minerals or other nutrients than a more traditional version. Some examples below.
Hope this was insightful, until next year’s FNCE in Washington D.C…
Cheers! – Salt