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Thea Bourianne

By: Thea Bourianne on May 22nd, 2018

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Trendspotting the 4 Cs: collagen, coconut, chickpeas & cauliflower


These 4 Cs aren’t for carats, but regardless of cut or color, their benefits will give you clarity.

What are the 4 C’s?

Earlier this year, Label Insight attended Natural Products Expo West with a group of trendspotters on the hunt for what we should expect to see in the coming months and year. Topping the list of trends we saw were the “4 Cs”: collagen, coconut, chickpeas, and cauliflower.


Where can I find them?



One of the most exciting of these four Cs is collagen. Collagen is a protein famous for improving the appearance of our skin as we age. What’s intriguing about the collagen-containing products we’re seeing is that it’s being added to food rather the more traditional use in skin care products. Within the Label Insight database we are seeing collagen ingredients being added to items like coconut water as a source of protein, bottled iced teas claiming to “nourish your skin”, and protein bars with claims around joint and skin health along with over 110 other food products.



Coconut and its derivatives have been trending a while now, but the prevalence of these ingredients is broader than ever. Over 16,000 products contain coconut or a derivative ingredient. Coconut is also seen as a superfood by many consumers and we are seeing bread and cookie products making claims around the “natural” and “real” properties of these products. Nearly 2,000 products containing coconut ingredients make a “natural” claim on package. The perpetuation of coconut as a superfood has also allowed for other unusual coconut ingredients to become mainstream like coconut aminos. Coconut Aminos is made from coconut sap and is most commonly used as a soy-free soy sauce replacement. Within the Label Insight database it has a high correlation with vegan, paleo, and gluten-free products such as mayo and salad dressings along with meat snacks and meat alternatives. Nearly 1,800 coconut products make a vegan or vegetarian suitable claim on package and over 4,300 products make a gluten-free claim.



Most people associate chickpeas with hummus, a product with a strong heath halo, but our database shows chickpeas are starting to earn more widespread notice. Products containing chickpeas are touting their attractive properties like celiac and vegan friendly, plant-based protein, source of fiber, all natural, and wholesomeness. One category in particular that is embracing the chickpea is the chip aisle. Whether the chickpeas are roasted or made into a chickpea chip, there are over 100 chickpea snack items. Chickpea-containing products have a high proportion of products that are non-gmo or organic certified with over 25% of products being certified one or both.


Five white cauliflowers, two still in the basket, on display cornucopia-style at a farmer's market (foreground focus)Cauliflower

Dietitians like myself have been singing the praises of cauliflower for years! The cruciferous vegetable is rich in cancer-combating phytonutrients and a good source of a laundry list of nutrients including protein, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and phosphorous, fiber, vitamin C and K, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese and pantothenic acid. Cauliflower has invaded the freezer aisles in a big way with products like cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower, cauliflower tots as new staples as side dishes or within a frozen dinner (354 products).


Why these 4 Cs?

These 4 C’s of food trends are certainly not fads.

Research shows that collagen is a more effective beauty-booster when absorbed from the inside-out rather than the outside-in and therefore I expect this trend to continue to grow. Because collagen is not naturally found in plants most collagen containing products are most likely not suitable for vegans.

Coconut, while it does contain some nutrients as well as MCT (medium chain triglycerides) — which are thought to reduce heart disease risks, it is still high in saturated fat which may increase the risk of heart disease. Coconut ingredients are very effective dairy replacements for individuals with dairy allergies and intolerances.


Chickpeas and Cauliflower

Chickpeas and cauliflower can fit into almost any lifestyle diet. The only diet these would not be recommended for is for individuals following a low-FODMAP diet to help manage the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Chickpeas and cauliflower, as ingredients or on their own, are filling and low calorie, vegan and vegetarian, low fat and heart-healthy — just remember to rinse with water if they are canned!



About Thea Bourianne

Thea Bourianne, MBA, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian based in Chicago. Specializing in nutrition, US and international food regulation, and food composition makes her uniquely positioned to work strategically with global CPG and retail clients to build data-driven, customer-centric solutions. In her current role at Label Insight, a SaaS company that provides insights on food label data, Bourianne supports retailers, CPG brands, US government, technology companies, researchers, and other entities by crafting and applying high order attribution to products in-store and online. Bourianne is passionate about safe, transparent, sustainable, wholesome products and strides for best-in-class customer experiences to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Prior to working at Label Insight, Bourianne’s previous positions have included product development, commercialization, fresh and frozen food manufacturing, and regulatory affairs with companies and clients such as Taco Bell Corp., Wilton Brands, Starbucks, Ahold, Walgreens and 7-Eleven, among others.