Flavor and simplicity reign

Peruse the aisles at a natural foods store today and the offerings typically taste better than their conventional counterparts, says Carlotta Mast, senior director of content for New Hope Natural Media. “The taste profiles have improved dramatically over the past 30 years,” she says, pointing to a surge in snack and other natural and organic foods with creative, full-flavor ingredients. Some that spring to mind: snacks like Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips and Dang Foods Coconut Chips and tasty but healthful convenience foods like Evol’s gluten-free burritos and Maggie’s Conscious Vegan Cuisine meals.

As a backlash to decades of hyperprocessing and in response to a surge in demand for allergen-free food, manufacturers are also simplifying ingredient lists and packaging. For instance, Tolerant Foods’ organic, vegan, gluten- and allergen-free pastas contain—get this—just one ingredient: red lentils or black beans. That’s It bars contain only two: apple and one other fruit. KIND’s gluten-free cereals and bars come in see-through packs with a pledge that “if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn’t go into your body.” That increasingly holds true for what goes on your body, too; forward-thinking personal care companies are working to eliminate potential toxins from products and to source cleaner options.