Healthy Food Trends from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) 2016 {Podcast Episode #293}

From better-for-you snacks made with less sugar to products brimming with beneficial probiotics to pasta made with pulses, we had an opportunity to sample and sip a smorgasbord of new and nutritious food products at the 2016 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Boston.

Healthy Food Trends via #fnce

FNCE is the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where registered dietitian nutritionists like us gain access to new food trends and scientific sessions.


As we do every year, we scoured the Expo floor for the latest, greatest family-pleasing food products that may soon be coming to a supermarket near you.

Tune in to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast for all the fun details, and read on for more ….


This year, we noticed some common themes on the Expo floor including foods made with pulses, snacks made with more protein and less sugar, foods and supplements designed for good gut health, and ready-made meals aimed at getting nutritious dinners on the table quickly.

Read on for our favorite finds.

Check out our Facebook LIVE featuring hot food trends from FNCE.

The Year of Pulses and Beyond

FNCE food trends 2016 via

2016 is the International Year of Pulses. Lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas are nutritious and sustainable plant foods that bring fiber, protein, and flavor to a variety of everyday meals. And now food companies have jumped on the bandwagon by adding pulses to a surprising and unexpected variety of food products. Lentil chips anyone?

FNCE food trends 2016 via

These no-bake lasagna noodles from Explore Cuisine are made with green lentil flour, green pea flour, and brown rice flour. All of their pastas are made with some sort of bean-based flour and they are all gluten free.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Over the past few years, we’e tried various pasta products made with beans. We were never completely sold on the flavor, but after a few bites of this new chickpea pasta from Banza, we’re definitely hooked. Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to regular pasta or want more protein from your noodles, this product is definitely worth a try.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Enjoy Life has a lineup of gluten free, dairy free, and peanut-free food products designed for people with allergies. Their Margherita Pizza Lentil Chips (AKA Plentils) are seriously yummy. The main ingredient is lentils, and each servings has 2 grams of plant-based protein.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Move over French fries, because there’s a new chip in town. Veggie Fries, a Boston-based company, has created some seriously delicious potato fries made with add-ins like chickpeas, white beans, carrots, and broccoli.

Better For-You Snacks with A LOT Less sugar … and More Protein 

FNCE food trends 2016 via

There were a lot of bars at on the Expo floor, but the one that tempted our taste buds the most were there Mediterranean-Inspired bars from Mediterra. The company has a few sweet bars as well as a lineup of surprisingly scrumptious savory bars. While our favorite was the Kale & Pumpkin Seeds bar, we also loved the Black Olives & Walnuts and the Bell Peppers & Green Olives. Their bars have just 1 to 2 grams of sugar.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Broad beans (AKA fava beans) are the star ingredient in these crunchy, satisfying snacks from Enlightened. From the oh-so-subtley sweet Cocoa Dusted flavor to their savory Mesquite BBQ, this company knows how to satisfy a snack attack. When we spoke to their marketing guru, he even suggested replacing croutons on salad with their Sea Salt crips. All options are gluten free, high fiber and contain 7 grams of protein.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

We’re obsessed with smoothie bowls and smoothies, so this frozen fruit ‘n greens blend from Dole grabbed our attention. Keep a bag (or two) in your freezer for fast ‘n easy after-school snacks. {Oh, and while you’re at it, check out our download for a free copy of The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook!}

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Crunchy snacks get a makeover with these dehydrated apple sticks by Snack Factory. There are six apples in every bag, and it’s impossible to eat just one … which is a good thing!

FNCE food trends 2016 via

We’ve always been big fans of sweet potato chips and kale chips, and now beet chips have joined the list of our favorite veggie-based nibbles. Each serving of Rhythm SuperFoods beet chips has 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

We’ve never had great luck roasting our own chickpeas, so we’re super excited about these nutritious chickpea snacks from Biena. With six flavors including Sea Salt and Rockin’ Ranch, each 1/4 cup serving has 6 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and no sugar or saturated fat. Crunch on!

Foods with Gut Health Benefits 

FNCE food trends 2016 via

This chai flavored protein powder from Bob’s Red Mill can be added to smoothies, protein shakes, and even added to overnight oats. Each servings has 11 grams of fiber (wow!), 20 grams of protein, and 240 milligrams of omega-3 fat. The cool thing about this food find is that it contains beneficial probiotics, the so-called good bacteria.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

If you experience digestive discomfort after drinking milk, check out a2 Milk. While some people are sensitive to lactose, others have a tough time digesting a common protein in milk known as A-1 beta-casein. This milk is easier to digest because it comes from cows that produce only A-2 beta-casein. It sounds pretty scientific, but apparently this minor difference is all it takes for many milk lovers to be able to tolerate their favorite thirst quencher.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Sorghum is a gluten-free ancient whole grain that’s making its way into hearty side dishes, creative salads, satisfying soups and even popcorn. Pearled grain sorghum takes 45 to 50 minutes to cook. For info and and recipes, head on over to Simply Sorghum.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Having issues with regularity? Regular Girl has come to the rescue with a tasteless, colorless powder made with 5 grams of prebiotic fiber and 8 billion probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria important for gut health and the prebiotic fiber feeds them. Together, they maintain regularity and promote intestinal health.

Fermented cabbage via

Kraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods contain good bacteria that can improve digestion and immunity, and several were on display in the Expo hall. Farmhouse Culture was sampling their probiotic kraut, which you can  add to salads and sandwiches for an immunity booster.

Salad Kits and Meal Kit Services 

FNCE food trends 2016 via

Fast and easy gourmet salads are what you’ll get when you assemble these simple salad kits from Eat Smart. Each salad features an array of super foods — kale, brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds — and they come in interesting varieties like Sunflower Kale and Asian Sesame.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

When you’re cruising the Expo floor, a fresh salad is always a welcome sight. We loved this organic Caesar salad from Dole. Other offerings in their salad kit line include Barbecue Ranch, Southwest, and Creamy Balsamic.

FNCE food trends 2016 via

One of the hottest food trends for today’s busy consumer is meal delivery services like Hello Fresh. Healthy ingredients for nutritious meals delivered to your door. We ran into their dietitian and were impressed with their lineup of recipes — Chicken Paillard, Potato and Brussels Sprout Hash, and Shrimp Banh Mi Burger — so we’re itching to give this service a try.

Other Fun Stuff

Fancypants cookies via

A big trend in the food industry is a shift away from artificial ingredients like food dyes to clean labels and colors made naturally. The Fancypants Baking Co. is a Massachusetts-based company, and their treats are decorated with frosting made with fruit and vegetable dyes, so the colors are muted … not neon. Oh, and they’re super yummy too.

Other FNCE-related blog posts from fellow registered dietitian nutritionists:

Nutritious Meets Delicious by Carolyn at Oneil On Eating

Trendspotting at FNCE by Janet Helm at Nutrition Unplugged

My Top FNCE Take-Aways: Where Nutrition Science Meets Food Trends by Rebecca Scritchfield

Food Favorites at FNCE by Katie Morford at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Top 5 Nutrition Trends You Can Use Spotted at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo by Elena Paravantes Hargitt at Huffington Post

We Went, Saw, Tasted, Heard: Now We Decide by Rosanne Rust at Chew the Facts

FNCE and Fall Food Trends from Michelle Dudash, Facebook LIVE

4 Trends Driven More by Consumers’ Fears Than Science by Keri Gans at US News

4 responses to “Healthy Food Trends from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) 2016 {Podcast Episode #293}”

  1. Julie says:

    This was my first FNCE and it was so fun learning about all of the food trends! Thank you for capturing and sharing everything with us!

    • Liz says:

      You are most welcome. We are adding links to other RDN blog posts. It’s amazing how much new science and food trends news comes out of one meeting. Scroll down in the post for links!

  2. Lots of fun things for adults and kids to try that are conveniently packaged to make meal planning easy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *