Keto, Upcycling Steal the Show at 2022 Private Label Event

ROSEMONT, Illinois – The 2022 Private Label Trade Show showcased product innovations from over 1,400 exhibitors and over 50 countries in food, beverages, household goods, and more.

Among the food and beverage offerings, companies highlighted keto, plant-based, upcycling, regenerative agriculture, and eco-friendly packaging.

Among other topics, speakers discussed how consumers are looking to improve personal and planetary health. Caroline Davidson, director, agency and channel partnership for SPINS, noted that “Specific label claims or health focus or some type around a dietary preference like Whole30, keto, upcycled, etcetera” are some of the biggest trends impacting private label.

Consumers are showing a larger concern for the planet and valuing sustainability, according to Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group, as the concept of resiliency has evolved to a desire to strengthen the food system. Consumers have “this idea of helping community become more resilient, helping our neighbors, helping producers, helping farmers” etcetera, Demeritt explained.

Keto diet’s ongoing popularity

The Keto diet continues to gain momentum, with 11% of U.S. consumers stating that they had tried and/or followed a ketogenic or Bulletproof diet in 2021, according to Statista.

On the 2022 Private Label Trade Show floor in Greater Chicago, the keto claim was most prominent in the trail mix and granola categories, with Nature’s Garden Keto Snack Mix, SunRidge Farms Keto Trail Mix, InnoFoods KETO Grain Free Granola, and LAKANTO No Sugar Added Keto Granola.

Fans of Nutella hazelnut spread found products like Sanotti O’Sesame Keto Chocolate Spread from Beyond Meal Inc. (made with sesame seeds, coconut oil, avocado oil, erythritol, and stevia).

On the savory side, The Lupin Co. showcased their Pasta Protein made with Australian sweet lupin as keto & vegan and containing eight times fewer net carbs and eight times more protein than regular pasta.

Upcycled foods reduce food waste

Purchasing upcycled foods gives consumers an opportunity to help strengthen the food system by using foods that would otherwise go to waste. A Mattson 2021 Study of Food Waste found that 99% of U.S. consumers see food waste as an issue, and 95% believe that it is important to do one’s part to reduce food waste.

In response to consumers stating a desire to reduce food waste, retailers are beginning to introduce upcycled foods to their private label ranges. Kroger, for example, offers Simple Truth Plant Based chocolate chip, brownie and sugar cookie mixes that carry the Upcycled Certified certification from the Upcycled Food Association (UFA).

UFA members Fancypants Baking Co. and Sow Good showcased products made with upcycled ingredients at the PLMA Show. Fancy Pants Baking offered cookies made with okara flour (the nutritious pulp left over from soymilk and tofu production), oatmilk flour (the nutritious pulp left over from oat milk production), and coffee cherry flour (the fruit of the coffee bean which is normally thrown away). Sow Good, a producer of freeze-dried fruits, showed its Freeze-dried Smoothies that are made pouring the smoothie into a blender and adding a cold liquid-like oat milk and ice.

By using a freeze-drying process, Sow Good can use “ugly” fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes that wouldn’t typically get sold at a store. Ginger drinks maker GiLi Drinks, meanwhile, stated that it uses a 100% circular process to use the recovered and dried ginger fibers and lemon pulp left over from production of its elixirs to create a ginger-lemon herbal tea.

Eco-friendly packaging

A multitude of food and beverage manufacturers and packaging companies showcased their greener packaging in Rosemont.

Club Coffee (owned by OFI) introduced its AROMAPAK paper-based coffee packaging with Boardio technology. The company claims AROMAPAK has a lower environmental impact offering plastic reduction compared to bags and tubs (50% plastic reduction versus multilayer bags and 80% plastic reduction versus plastic tubs).

Additionally, it reduces carbon emissions with up to 95% space and transport reduction and 86% less Co2 than cans because the Boardio packaging is delivered flat instead of metal cans which are delivered empty.

Flair Flexible Packaging, meanwhile, introduced its new ENVi PE mono-material coffee bag at the show. The ENVi bag is the first bag to prequalify for How2Recycle store drop-off labels with valve intact and was specifically designed to package roasted coffee. Its use of white, high-barrier films protects against UV, oxygen and moisture, while the one-way degassing valve offers a correct internal environment and strong seals for a leak-free package.

Virginia Lee is a food, drinks & beauty trends explorer and market researcher. She has advised companies on innovation and market entry opportunities in consumer packaged goods at Euromonitor International, Brightfield Group, and Innova Market Insights. Connect with Virginia on Twitter and Instagram at @VirginiaALee.