By Jenn LaVardera, MS RD
Over 1,500 food, beverage and wellness companies gathered to showcase new products at Expo East. Though the exhibit hall was dominated by snack foods, supplements and other packaged goods, fresh produce did make an appearance at the show. Here’s a look at how three companies who exhibited at the event demonstrated there is still room for innovation in the fresh organic produce category:
Capitalizing on the growing trend of spiralized vegetables, Austin-based Veggie Noodle Co. has created a convenient solution for serving organic vegetable noodles without the messy prep work. Founded in 2015 by entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “veggie nerd” Mason Arnold, Veggie Noodle Co. prides itself on selling a nutrient-dense, gluten-free pasta alternative meant to inspire consumers to eat more vegetables in a fun and delicious way. Products include Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Beet and Butternut Spirals, as well as Zucchini and Butternut Veggiccine (a larger noodle) and Sweet Potato Hash (a shorter cut). The company also offers seasonal picks; the Fall 2017 lineup includes Golden Beet, Purple Sweet Potato, White Sweet Potato and Watermelon Radish Spirals. With the tagline “Simple but Twisted,” the products are just that. Made entirely of vegetables, all products provide between 10 and 70 calories per serving, have a 12 to 15-day shelf life, and are Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Gluten-Free. Veggie Noodle Co. vegetable noodles are now available in over 2,000 stores across 38 states. With help from a minority investment from Encore Consumer Capital, which was announced in May, the company hopes to expand its team and grow production to further enhance nationwide presence. MSRP is $4.99.
New this year from Ready Pac Foods are single-serve, ready-to-eat Certified Organic Salad Bowls, crafted to meet the demands of the 31% of consumers who say organic is very important when choosing a salad bowl. Ingredients are separated to maintain freshness and taste, and to help extend shelf life. Launching just this past week, the new line comprises four different SKUs: Caesar Salad with Chicken, Apple Walnut Salad with Chicken, Asian Inspired Salad with Chicken, and Santa Fe Style Salad with Chicken. All bowls provide between 270 to 340 calories and 9 to 17 grams of protein per single serving. In addition to organic lettuces, bowls include organic ingredients such as cheese, nuts, carrots, and fresh and dried fruits.
Salinas-based Organicgirl is introducing a new line of triple-washed, ready-to-use organic heart leaves. Branded as True Hearts, these leaves are harvested whole, then separated by hand, resulting in a tender heart leaf. The three new products include Butter Plus, a green and red butter lettuce blend, Butter, a tender sweet green butter inner heart leaf, and Romaine, which promises the sweetest crunchiest inner heart leaves. In addition to the new lettuce products, the company has introduced a line of organic dressings. SKUs include Lemon Agave, Pomegranate Balsamic, Caesar Rules, White Cheddar, Kale Parmesan and Fresh Tomato Italian. Dressings are Certified Organic and bottled cold to keep flavors fresh.