Top 5 Organic Food Trends for 2011

Written by Max Goldberg on December 6, 2010. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

With 2011 right around the corner, it is now time for my annual tradition of picking next year’s organic food trends. So, here we go. My top 5 organic food trends for 2011.

CHIA SEEDS

With people on a constant search for protein-rich food, chia seeds will become the popular choice. Again.

Chia seeds were a central component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and supposedly were the main food that Aztec warriors carried with them when they went off to fight. It was considered a sacred food back then.

People nowadays will be drawn to chia seeds for many different reasons. They are comprised of roughly 20% protein, are full of antioxidants, contain more Omega-3s than flax, help stabilize blood sugar levels and are a tremendous source of energy for the body and mind.

Sprouted chia seed powder is great to add to smoothies and chia seed puddings could soon become the next super-breakfast of choice.

PALM SUGAR


As I predicted earlier this year, coconuts were going to continue their explosion in popularity and I see absolutely no slowdown in sight. While many people may know coconut water, something that will soon become a familiar item is coconut palm sugar.

Sometimes referred to as coconut palm crystals, coconut palm sugar is nothing more evaporated palm nectar — the nectar or sap from a palm tree. It is an alternative sweetener, rich in Vitamin C, lower on the Glycemic Index than agave, honey or sugar, and considered environmentally friendly.

Don’t expect palm sugar to taste exactly like other sweeteners, however. It does have a slightly different taste and one that takes a little bit of time to get used to.

Palm sugar is the only sweetener that I have in my kitchen these days. Since I ALWAYS travel with food, it is also a lot easier to pack a small bag of palm sugar in my suitcase than a bottle of honey.

FARRO

Whether it is at organic food trade shows or on supermarket shelves, I am seeing farro a lot lately and I anticipate it will only get more popular.

Around for nearly 6,000 years, farro is considered the Mother of all grains and the one from which barley, rice, wheat and rye are derived. It is slightly different than wheat, in that it the husk adheres to the grain, so it has higher levels of protein, Vitamin B and fiber.

Farro fell out of favor because it is difficult to grow and yields aren’t as high as other grains but Italians (the primary growers/manufacturers of farro) seem to be pushing it in a big way. And, consumers seem to be responding.

KALE CHIPS

If you’ve had kale chips, then you know why they are on this list. If you haven’t had kale chips, then run to your organic market and get some. Immediately. These things are amazing.  And, amazingly addictive.

Kale chips are the next potato chip but healthy for you. Kale chips are nothing more than dehydrated kale and they come in a wide range of flavors such as habanero, cheesy, ranch, nacho and many others.

I see one of the major food companies getting into organic kale chips in a big way. This is the future of healthy snack food.

PRESSED JUICE

If you read my blog on a regular basis or follow me on Twitter, you know that I am massive drinker and fan of pressed organic juice.

Since I live in downtown New York City, I am incredibly fortunate to be able to get pressed organic juice at four different places. However, if you live anywhere else, it is very, very difficult, if not impossible, to find pressed juice — even in California. I am amazed that something so healthy is so hard to find.

I predict this is going to change in 2011. Health-conscious entrepreneurs are sure to capitalize on this tremendous business opportunity and pressed organic juice will become much more widely available.

Pressed organic juice may be the single best thing that you can put into your body.

20 Comments

  1. I think that herbs and lettuces still growing in the pot will be popular because of the ultra fresh appeal.
    And I think all things red for vitality and fun. There is research done that so many red berries are anti-cancer too.
    This is very interesting. If you wouldn’t mind – I’m sure it would be very much appreciated on the MoreSouth organic catering facebook page, http//goo.gl/nchr
    Thanks so much,
    Lisa.

    Written by Lisa Attias on December 6, 2010 @ 10:04 pm
  2. Great post! I looove coconut sugar – i can’t believe how much it resembles brown sugar in taste, smell and texture. I don’t think i could tell the difference if i tried them side by side. Have never tried the kale chips though but will definitely have to give them a try! Any idea if there is such a thing as crackers made with chia seeds?

    Written by Helene on December 7, 2010 @ 2:45 am
  3. Interesting picks. I think you’re right on with the chia seeds…I’ve seen that building for a few years and this just might be the year when the momentum tips. As for kale chips….I’ve had amazing ones, and I’ve had disastrous ones, and I’ve found that eating a satisfying amount of the good ones can easily run close to $10…so hopefully someone with a bit of purchasing scale (but still value driven) can lend a hand there. As for the palm sugar- do you see that trend as a grocery item or as an increasingly featured ingredient in packaged foods? Or both?

    Written by Christopher Angell on December 7, 2010 @ 5:39 am
  4. Hi Lisa,

    I agree with you about the herbs grown in pots. While I love the lettuce in pots, I wonder how quickly it will grow in popularity.

    Have you ever heard of the Macqui berry? That is one berry that should become very popular — the next acai.

    I will put up a link on MoreSouth’s Facebook page. Thanks for your comment!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 7, 2010 @ 11:46 pm
  5. Thanks so much Helene!!! Yes, give kale chips a try and let me know what you think.

    I have never seen chia seeds as crackers — that is an interesting concept. They would have to be in powder form or sprouted.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 7, 2010 @ 11:48 pm
  6. Thanks Christopher! Agree with you on the kale chips – they are expensive. As you know, that is because they are man-made, not machine-made.

    Palm sugar: I see it definitely as both a grocery item and an ingredient.

    Thanks for your interest!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 7, 2010 @ 11:51 pm
  7. I’m a big fan of Kale Chips and make them in almost every class that I teach.
    I don’t think that store bought Kale Chips can compare with homemade Kale Chips, especially since they’re best right out of the oven.

    Written by Randy Rabney on December 14, 2010 @ 4:53 pm
  8. Hi Randy,

    Kale chips are the best!!!! You’ll have to teach me one day how you make yours.

    Anything that can be made at home and made with your own hands and made with your love is certainly preferable to store bought food.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 15, 2010 @ 4:16 am
  9. Max – Thanks for the introductions to some great products. Chia seeds are available from various sources and differing quality. Bio-availability and consequent nutritional & food value is key.

    Go to ‘valuelife1st.lifemax.net’ and the Miracle Seed tab to get some additional background from Dr Bob Arnot, medical correspondent for CNN and other stations.

    Continued success in bringing the message to more people.

    Written by Ray on February 5, 2011 @ 9:07 am
  10. I would like the recipe you teach for Kale chips please!

    Written by Susan on February 5, 2011 @ 11:00 am
  11. Max–I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been looking around a lot for different trends in organic food for 2011 and always seems to find the same ones, like more local food being introduced. Instead, I think you offered some really new ideas. I’ve never even heard of palm sugar! I’m definitely interested in trying it, sounds like it have a really interesting flavor complex. I count it a win in my book if you can successfully add it to coffee, although it sounds like from the comments that it tastes a bit more like brown sugar. Do you think these are more trends for those of us who are very health conscious and seek these foods or rather something that could be integrated into restaurants and pre-made products?

    Written by Staci on February 7, 2011 @ 10:21 am
  12. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the kind words. I love chia seeds and prefer the sprouted chia seed powder that I sell on my site more than the seeds. The sprouting (or germinating process) is already done and the enzyme inhibitors are already removed. Simply soaking seeds in water removes some, but not all, of all of the enzyme inhibitors.

    Furthermore, chia in powder form is more easily absorbable.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 7, 2011 @ 10:23 am
  13. Hi Susan,

    I do not teach the kale chips, as my recipe is not perfected. Those are one that I bought. The general rule is to wash the kale, put olive oil on it or other dressing/marinade and then dehydrate for 12-13 hours.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 7, 2011 @ 10:24 am
  14. Hi Staci,

    I am so glad you enjoyed this post! Definitely give palm sugar a try in your coffee and let me know what you think.

    To answer your question, palm sugar and palm nectar are already appearing in products. Chia seeds are only going to grow in popularity and same with pressed juice. The same with kale chips but those may not appear in restaurants too often.

    The one with the most potential to go mainstream the fastest is palm sugar. I think it is a game changer.

    Keep me posted.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 7, 2011 @ 10:32 am
  15. Chia seeds make the greatest puddings…… mix in with any green or fruit based smoothie in a vitamix type blender….. give it a bit of time to gel and it is fantastic…… when Persimmons are perfectly ripe, pop them in the freezer whole and then blend them with a bit of fresh nut mylk and chia seeds and oohh llaaah llaah… silky splendor…… ps…. any other fruits like mango or papaya are also fabulous if no persimmons on hand…… that chia is one fine seed…..

    Written by liz on March 18, 2011 @ 3:14 pm
  16. Hi Liz,

    I am a huge chia seed fan and have been using this chia seed powder a ton. It is germinated and dried to allow for maximum absorption.

    Thanks for your suggestions!!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on March 18, 2011 @ 3:51 pm
  17. Hi – really see what you see a out the kale chips. So, much agreement that 2 years ago when I had the idea, thought I was the only one (HA) and started making them for my friends. Now, while trying to do the right thing to comply with USDA and get it to market, am finding more and more companies online including one company that has landed WholeFood stores across the nation. Oh Dear, do hope there is still room by the time this person figures it all out.
    Thanks for the article. I am using it as part of my Market Analysis for Wayne State University FastTrac program

    Written by Tabia on September 27, 2011 @ 3:57 pm
  18. Hi Tabia,

    Yes, there are many people doing kale chips but the nationwide penetration of kale chips is still very, very low. If your chips are good, people will buy them even if there are other competitors.

    Good tasting and healthy products sell. Period.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 28, 2011 @ 9:53 pm
  19. Thank you for this post I’m hooked on chia seed pudding even my ten month old son loves it! But I have a question what is the difference between cold pressed juices and juicing on a juicer at home? Some weeks I can’t get to a store and like juicing at home bit is this a waste since it is not as good?

    Written by Atara on October 25, 2011 @ 7:39 pm
  20. Hi Atara,

    Juicing at home is not a waste. It simply pushes hot air into the cells of the vegetables and uses more heat/speed. This results in greater oxidation.

    If you’re going to be juicing at home, make sure you drink it within the first five minutes or so. If you put it in the fridge for many hours, you will lose a lot of benefits.

    I hope this helps.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on October 25, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

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