9 Trends in Natural, Specialty and Organic Food Products

Some of the words SPINS uses to describe its 2018 trends are likely unfamiliar to many: adaptogens, FODMAP, nootropics, prebiotics. But though they're unfamiliar now, the Chicago-based provider of retail consumer insights, analytics and consulting for the natural, organic and specialty food industries is betting they'll become more prevelant as the year marches on. While most of the trends sprout from macrotrends around special diets and sustainability, others are simply downright disruptive. 

Click through to see nine of the group's trend predictions for 2018, and c-store-ready products to accompany them.

Adaptogens

Stress is a fact of life. It was only a matter of time before consumer packaged goods got in on the stress-prevention game. The term adaptogen describes a substance that promotes resistance to stress, and SPINS is noting the occurance of stress-reducing ingredients increasing in functional food and beverage products. One product, Blue Buddha's Blueberry Rose Organic Wellness Tea, contains the adaptogen herb ashwagandha. 

Byproduct products

Reducing and repurposing food waste will be a "prime area of focus for 2018," SPINS predicts. Repurposed Pod's cacao juice, pressed from the fruit around the cacao bean, is a beverage made from the leftover pulp from chocolate production, reducing waste and improving farmer incomes.

CBD

CBD, a cannabinoid derived from cannabis and hemp, does not offer the same euphoric effects as THC. The ingredient can be used in food and beverage products as well as supplements, powders, candy, gum, tinctures and more. One example is a sugar-free CBD chewing gum from Earthshine Organics called Relax. It is marketed for anxiety relief and comes in Winter Breeze and Raspberry Sorbet flavors.

Collagen

SPINS predicts collagen, an animal-sourced, amino-acid-based protein, will expand into new categories in 2018. For instance, Primal Kitchen now manufactures a line of high-protein bars with 8,500 milligrams of grass-fed bovine collagen in flavors such as Chocolate Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Almond.

FODMAP

Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that can cause digestive problems in some people. A low-FODMAP diet is usually suggested for people suffering with irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues. TrueSelf products are designed by doctors to help consumers find convenient food options that make it easier to adopt and stick with a low-FODMAP diet.

Nootropics

Nootropic describes products that enhance cognition or support mental calm and clarity. Jubi's Tropical Punch nootropic promotes increased focus, motivation and stress relief on the front of its energy-shot-like packaging.

Prebiotics

Many people have heard of probiotics, but 2018 is predicted to be the year of the prebiotic, which "[nourishes] the intestinal flora to keep the digestive system running smoothly." While prebiotics are generally lumped in with their probiotic brethren, SPINS is seeing the ingredient stand more and more on its own. One example is DNX (Daily Nutrition Excellent Taste) bars, which are made with meat and contain no added hormones or antibiotics. They contain organic fruits and vegetables with no added sugar, artificial preservatives, dairy or GMOs. They're a good source of prebiotics from organic inulin.

New certifications

New label claims and third-party certifications are becoming more prominent, particularly in the areas of glyphosate (an herbicide that is a key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer), Regenerative Organic Certification (a label that espouses the principles of the USDA-organic certification, but extends beyond farming to improved conditions in soil health, social fairness and animal welfare) and Certified Grass-Fed Organic. One brand that is certified glyphosate-free is Heavenly Organics' stable of products including Almond Chcolate Honey Patties.

Pulse treats

Pulses, or the dried seed of a legume like a bean or lentil, have been hitting shelves for a few years now, usually in savory iterations. New pulse products are taking a sweet turn, including Biena's sweet roasted chickpeas that have 4 grams of fiber per serving and plant-based protein. They come in three flavors: dark chocolate, milk chocolate and salted caramel.