Trend Spotter: What’s Driving the Better-For-You Foods Category

by Maureen Frost
food trends

Here at Moms Meet, we’re always on the lookout for delicious, better-for-you foods to inspire our Mom community. That’s why we make a point of frequenting trade shows that showcase and unveil the latest culinary trends and products. From the Sweets and Snacks Show to the International Dairy, Deli, and Bakery Association Show, to Fancy Foods and the National Restaurant Association Show, we recently had the opportunity to taste the top new items coming to market.

Despite the diverse nature of these shows, some common themes emerged. Here are six trends to watch:

1. Plant-Based Foods

With non-dairy milk and meat alternatives leading the way, the plant-based market is exploding.  Category sales grew at 20% in just the past year alone.

Classic brands like BOCA, owned by Kraft Heinz, are reformulating and re-branding to appeal to a new audience of “Millennial balancers.”  New players continue to emerge into the U.S. market, like Canadian-based Happy Planet, making a splash with beverages made with ingredients such as pea protein, oats, and almonds.

2. On-the-Go Convenience

As families scramble to keep up with today’s fast-paced modern lifestyle, the concept of three square meals a day is disappearing. Instead, consumers are increasingly seeking grab-and-go options they can feel good about for themselves and their children.

laughing cow

Look for The Laughing Cow Cheese Dippers, which combine creamy, dippable cheese with the perfect portion of savory breadsticks in a portable snack for kids and Moms alike. Or, try school-safe snack MadeGood Granola Bars. Made in a facility free from the top eight allergens, each delicious bar contains a full serving of veggies.

3. Protein-Centered Snacks

In their quest to maintain a balanced diet on the run, Moms are looking for creative ways to meet nutritional needs. As a result, protein is showing up in unexpected ways in a variety of snack foods. From popcorn to cookies and crisps, manufacturers are fortifying foods with protein.

Oatmega Cookies are full of grass-fed whey protein along with omega-3 fatty acids. Crunch-a-Mame Organic Edamame Puffs offers 6-7 g of plant-based protein in each serving. 

4. Health Food that Prioritizes Taste wicked crisps

Just because it’s better-for-you doesn’t mean it shouldn’t taste good. Curious and adventurous Millennial palates are driving flavor profiles with savory, sweet, and spicy flavors in demand.

Endangered Species pairs Fair Trade, non-GMO dark chocolate with the sweet smell of cinnamon, tingling heat of cayenne, and delicious taste of dark cherries. Wicked Crisps brings the flavor and nutrition with varieties like Roasted Garlic and Asiago Cheese Broccoli Crisps and Red Curry Hummus Crisps. 

5. Clean Label Ingredients

When it comes to ingredients, consumers want transparency. Moms are demanding products be free of artificial flavors, colors, and hormones. Mainstream companies, as well as niche brands, are responding.

Applegate (owned by Hormel Foods) and Butterball are actively expanding their lines of all-natural products touting no nitrates or nitrites, no hormones, and no artificial ingredients. Elmhurst Milked, whose makers made the switch to plant-based milk after a long history of producing dairy milk, uses only six ingredients or less in each of their flavors. All varieties are Non-GMO Project Verified and free from artificial ingredients.

6. Better-For-You Indulgence

From chocolate to cheese, Moms are looking for guilt-free, indulgent treats to satisfy cravings.  Companies are stepping up their game to fill the space between healthy and indulgent.


A new brand from Pladis, Chuah Energy Snack Bites, features fruits, nuts, and seeds dipped in dark chocolate. Michel et Augustin offers preservative-free sweets with their French-style Cookie squares.

For a little “me” time for Moms, we can’t resist the gourmet flavor of  Finlandia’s SnackTime Imported Cheese Sticks or Emmi Roth’s Creamy Snack Cheese, both perfect for the adult palate.

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