Thanks to the Internet, food trends hit the market faster than ever, and knowledge is pooled and shared in a click. We spoke to Christine Rubi-Cruz, Wellness and Lifestyle Manager of Cold Storage, about what’s trending now.
FLYING OFF THE SHELVES
Always one step ahead of the competition, Cold Storage is constantly reviewing its product offerings and scouring the market to bring its customers the latest, freshest food ideas.
In response to health-conscious customers’ quest for healthier replacements to conventional foods, Christine reeled off a list of alternatives that are enjoying healthy sales.
“Carb alternatives like cauliflower rice; alternative pro/pre-biotic sources like sauerkraut; and alternative grains such as quinoa, teff and sprouted brown rice are all selling well now,” said Christine. “Vegetable chips such as kale chips, cabbage chips and coconut chips, on-the-go healthy breakfast bars and alternative nuts and seed butters (other than peanut butter) are all winning fans.”
Christine has observed a growing demand for specialty products with proven health benefits.
“Generally, I am happy to realise that once ‘healthy niche items’ are becoming increasingly common in consumers’ baskets. While I don’t have concrete numbers to identify the extent of switch across all categories, I am seeing that sales of healthier carbs are steadily rising,” Christine shared.
Christine added that she has perceived an upward shift of demand for healthier versions of white rice like red, brown and mixed rice as well as rice grain alternatives like quinoa, freekeh and couscous. The same pattern applies to bread. Sales of sliced white breads have been dipping while sales of wholemeal breads and gluten-free breads are climbing.
Apparently, a similar shift in buying behaviour is happening for cereals. Christine shared that conventional family cereals like flakes and puffs are slowing down in sales while the muesli, granola and specialty types of cereals are gaining market share.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CONTROVERSIAL
We asked Christine to dish the dirt on those much-maligned foods that fall in and out of favour faster than you can say trans-fat.
“Eggs, once blamed for causing high cholesterol that leads to heart attack and stroke, have been falsely accused,” said Christine. “They are actually rich in good protein and healthy fats. Someone who may have issues from having high cholesterol can limit his or her intake to three per week, while a normal healthy individual can regularly take them daily.”
Another victim of unfair bad press is coconut oil. “Some would argue that this is a source of saturated fat or the bad type of fats. On the other hand, there is also evidence that it is a saturated fat made from medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are better assimilated by the body,” said Christine.
Other controversial foods that may have health benefits that outweigh the hazards are the popular beverages of coffee and red wine.
“Actually, caffeine is not bad at all as it gives you a boost of energy and can keep you mentally focused, plus it is also a source of antioxidants,” said Christine. However, people who are having issues with hypertension, hyperactivity or sleeplessness, and pregnant women, should consume it with caution. Basically, key to healthy consumption is knowing how your body responds to coffee and adjusting your intake accordingly.
“Similarly, red wine is a good source of the heart-friendly antioxidants known as resveratrols,” shared Christine. While that’s good news for regular drinkers, alcohol is linked to certain types of cancer, so moderation should be exercised.
“However, it is something of an oxymoron to advise a non-wine drinker to drink wine regularly. They can get the antioxidants from many other foods,” added Christine.
Nuts are another controversial food. “While nuts are high in fat and calories, it is from good fats. They can also provide you with protein and other microminerals, which makes them a healthier choice than other empty calorie options,” said Christine.
MODERATION AND MINDFULNESS
In general, Christine urges her customers to listen to their bodies. If any food causes you discomfort, she suggests that you should discontinue it from your diet. She also advises against adopting food trends that encourage you to just eat one food and eliminate all other food groups.
“If it tells you to do this diet for X number of days before you feel better, that should also trigger an alarm to indicate that it is a fad,” warned Christine.
“Like most people, I get excited when new food items and trends pop up. But my advice is to use them to add variety to your diet, and enjoy them in moderation,” suggested Christine.
With that sage advice in mind, do enjoy experimenting with the trending new ingredients and items in the Wellness4Life section of your local Cold Storage supermarket. Variety is the spice of life, after all!
With thanks to:
Wellness and Lifestyle Manager
Cold Storage Singapore