Here at Associated, we got the in on the latest and greatest snacking trends and our trips to Expo West help expand our knowledge and insight even further. Trade Shows like Fancy Food Expo and Natural Products Expo West are two annual events where the latest and greatest businesses in the food industry come out and exhibit their offerings. Do you know what’s been buzzing in the world of snacks so far this year? Here is the inside scoop of the most popular and unique from our visits to Expo West this year.


Biltong is a form of dried, cured meat that originated in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Various types of meat are used to produce it, but beef happens to be most common. Biltong is lower in sugar and higher in protein than traditional jerky. Made from a variety of different cuts, Biltong is seasoned and cured with vinegar, salt and a variety of other spices, then air dried. This process creates a product with a unique and distinct flavor, different from traditional beef jerky. Kalahari Biltong showcased their natural beef Biltong offerings in original, garlic and a kickin’ spicy peri peri flavor.

Kalahari Biltong
Image Credit: Robinson Ginsburg –

Cauliflower Based Snacks & Flours

Cauliflower has proven itself to be an incredibly versatile vegetable. On its own, cauliflower is high in vitamins and fiber, and very low in carbs. If it’s cooked the right way, it can be transformed into mock-rice and even pizza dough for a healthy twist on high-carb classics. Snack makers have been listening to consumer’s demand for snack foods that meet today’s nutritional expectations, and we are beginning to see the emergence of cauliflower-based snacks such as Cauliflower Puffs by Vegan Rob’s, and Cauliflower Crackers and Pretzels by From the Ground Up.

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Cricket Flour

Bold and a little intimidating to some, cricket-based snacks and cricket flours are edging into mainstream eats in the US. A popular cricket-based snack is Chirps Chips and their tasty offerings do not disappoint. In a nutshell, (or cricket shell) crickets are a nutritious,  excellent source of protein. But the most attractive part: they are far more sustainable than animal-based proteins. For example, crickets only need 1/10 the water and 1/6 the feed to get the same amount of quality protein as you would from cattle. And with an expected global population of 9 billion by 2050 (almost 3 billion more than now) alternative sources of protein are needed. Did you know that 80% of world’s population consumes bugs regularly? Would you give them a try?

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Fruit Jerky

It’s hard to go wrong with a snack packed with “good for you” ingredients. N.B.T.F. (Nothing But The Fruit) debuted their Fruit Jerky, packed with plant-based protein and made from only real fruits, spices, seeds and nuts. That certainly does make for a guilt-free and fruity alternative to traditional jerky.


Paleo Offerings

While there is wide range of how the paleo diet is interpreted, the diet typically excludes dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol and coffee. With those restrictions considered, the grab-and-go snacking options may seem limited. But in fact, there is a strong presence in paleo friendly snacks. Lesser Evil debuted their grain-free Paleo Puffs and Base Culture introduced their Paleo Sandwich Bread, made with almond flour and ground flax seed.

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Plant Based Proteins

There’s a growing list of celebrities, athletes and every day folk across the world who are giving up animal proteins or supplementing their diet with more plant-based foods. Over the last year, plant-based foods rose 20% with sales topping 3.3 Billion. Food Revolution Network has grouped some phenomenal statistics that summarize the data, and it’s exciting to see the conscious effort made in order to reduce our carbon footprint and make a healthy changes. By no means do you have to be a vegan or vegetarian to eat plant-based protein snacks. Expo brought out exciting offerings from Square Organics like their brown rice protein popcorn, Crunchamame organic edamame puffs and Crunchsters sprouted mung bean snacks.

Image Source: Square Organics on Twitter @squareorganics

We can’t wait to share with you more exciting details from our next Expo West adventure. Until then, snack on, friends!


Excited by any of these items and wish to see them available for your product mix? Send us your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you.