Claire Nuttall, founder of The Brand Incubator, gives an overview of the US bakery trends on show at Natural Products Expo West 2017 in Los Angeles

The plant-based and free-from revolutions continued to be the drivers behind much of the bakery innovation at Expo West.

How to pack more nutrition into snacks was a key emerging, theme as was the addition of fruit and veg into anything baked. 

The American Flatbread brand brought a twist on handheld pizzas with hand-formed Hot Frustas, inspired by southern Italian street food. In-between a pizza and a calzone, a flatbread crust is layered with toppings and then folded and pinched in the middle. 

Hummus Pods were being shown by The Modern Pod Co. These baked, multigrain shells are filled with creamy hummus in a range of tasty, fresh flavours, including sriracha lime and smoky chipotle. They adhere to the trend towards being plant-based, non-GMO, vegan, and a good source of fibre and protein.

The cauli rice trend of 2016 seems to have inspired more innovation around the humble cauliflower. Cauliflower-based pizza crusts from Caulipower, were claimed to be more nutritious, higher in fibre, gluten-free and lower in calories. Pizza brand Oh Yes, developed by a doctor and his wife, is gluten-free, with a crust made from 12 fruits and veggies including kale, cauliflower, artichoke, green pepper, carrot and squash.

The trend for raw wraps that are gluten- and grain-free continues. The Pure Wraps brand offers a nine- to 10-month ambient shelf life and is made only from coconut meat, coconut water and Himalayan salt – they wrap just like a tortilla.

A great new creation on show was vegetable popped chips with inclusions. Several brands, including Pure Growth Organic and Off the Eaten Path, have taken popped chips and added peas, tomatoes and spinach and even black beans to them.

Among the quirkier, yet deliciously interesting launches was green veg bread from Hybread. These sliced loaves are super-high in fibre and feature dark green nutritious veggies, including kale, romaine and spinach. They taste great once you get to grips with the fact you are eating green bread. They could be a good solution for kids’ lunchboxes – how cool to be eating green bread packed full of hidden nutrition!

Also on show was Moxie Bread Co’s hemp bread in resealable plastic pouches, which brought a refreshing twist and innovation to regular bread packaging.