As we become more conscious about the foods we eat – and the ingredients in them – trends like plant-based jerky continue to gain popularity because they are able to successfully balance flavor, mouthfeel and nutritional value.
Let’s examine why fruit and veggie snacks are gaining in popularity and which ingredients are the most sought-after in today’s on-the-go diet.
The Rise of Plant-Based Snacks
According to Whole Foods, plant-based jerky is positioned to be a major trend in 2021. This chewy snack is no longer just for meat lovers or road trippers, and now many of your favorite fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed as a dried snack.
Healthy snack options like vegan jerky are trending not only because they are a great alternative to high-sugar, high-calorie snacks but also because added ingredients like cacao, ginger, and chili make fruit jerky very flavorful. Plant-based jerky is dried when the fruit is at peak freshness, so all of the essential nutrients – and flavors – are preserved.
We discussed the top jerky trends over two years ago, and now the food and beverage industry is ready with the products to meet the demand.
Brands like Amazi foods are digging in and offering jackfruit jerky across the US. They slice this tropical fruit into bite-sized pieces, then boost its flavor by adding lime, chili, turmeric, and ginger. Other companies like Solely Fruit are capitalizing on this trend, advertising their fruit and veggie jerky as having no preservatives, concentrates, or added sugars – the only ingredients are real fruits and vegetables.
The Different Types of Plant-Based Jerky
There are many different natural ingredients you can choose from when selecting your fruit or veggie jerky, including zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, mango and pineapple.
Since zucchini is mild in flavor, it can absorb spices and seasonings to make the perfect veggie jerky. This healthy snack can easily be sliced into pieces, and the best part – you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in a second helping.
Eggplant is one of the most popular vegetables currently used to make plant-based jerky. They are spongy and absorbent, and you can marinate them in almost anything – giving you a chance to explore a wide variety of flavors. Once they’re thinly sliced and dried in an oven, the result will be a salty, chewy snack that will satisfy any craving.
Cauliflower, an already versatile vegetable, makes a satisfying vegan jerky option. Although this ingredient requires a bit more work than most vegetables, you can still make a delicious snack by drenching it in a mixture of seasonings, nutritional yeast and tahini. Once that’s done, let them dehydrate slowly over a long period, and eventually, they’ll transform into veggie jerky!
Mango is one of the most popular ingredients in fruit jerky, since it’s a flavorful fruit to begin with. Mixing this jerky with chili and salt or drizzled cacao might just become your new favorite snack.
Finally, if you’re looking for another odd place for pineapples to show up besides pizza, consider pineapple jerky. The juice of this sweet fruit brings a wide variety of flavors together, so you can season your pineapple jerky with everything from chili and salt to spicy teriyaki!
It’s clear that vegan jerky will continue to make snacking healthier – but not without balancing the right ingredients. That’s where Nikken Foods can help! We make all-natural, powdered ingredients to match whatever flavors you need.
Sea greens such as Nikken’s Seaweed Powder contain fiber and minerals while providing intense umami taste!
Nikken has countless options to create trendy flavors adding complexity and boosting umami in your fruit and veggie snacks.
Learn more about Nikken’s products today, and – when you’re ready – our food scientists will go to work for your brand!