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As the way that consumers shop for groceries continues to change over time, so does their diet. There is a significant demand for healthy, environmentally sustainable, and ethically sourced food items. In response to this trend, food companies have begun to think outside the box for innovative new products that meet this demand from consumers. Here are four of the most unusual foods they’re developing.

Edible Insects

Some Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies are trying to meet the demand for more sustainable food items by marketing insects as food. Eat Grub is just one brand that is promoting the benefits of insects as a sustainable and highly nutritious source of food. These brands aim to appeal to more performance-oriented consumers, like gym enthusiasts and serious athletes, by offering everything from crunchy roasted crickets and grasshoppers to edible meal and buffalo worms that aim to improve athletic performance more than other protein products on the market.

Jellyfish

Market research indicates that other ethnicities are influencing the cuisine that consumers are willing to try in the United States. Since the Asian population has expanded in the U.S., some of their culinary staples, like jellyfish, have become more acceptable to consumers. An increased demand for healthier snacks is also driving more people to experiment with new and exotic food items like this. Also, when compared to classic potato chips, jellyfish chips contain vitamin B12, magnesium, iron, and are much lower in calories. They also provide food at a minimal cost to the environment.

Algae

To keep up with the competition, and consumer calls for food choices that can bolster well-being, manufacturers and marketers will both need to focus more of their resources on expanding functional food offerings. Promoting algae-based ingredients can help provide a much-needed boost in both attributes and differentiation of food products. Algae is also an environmentally-friendly and sustainable substance that can take on many forms.

Cell-Cultured Meat

Food technology continues to rapidly evolve, and major brands are making moves to integrate these options into their offerings. There are some major companies investing in the cell-cultured meat niche because it’s considered cleaner than traditional methods and reduces the carbon footprint. According to FoodDive who reported on this:

  • Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, has purchased a minority interest in Memphis Meats, a cultured meat startup based in San Francisco. The company said in a release that the move represented Tyson’s “commitment to explore innovative, new ways of meeting growing global demand for protein.” Terms were not disclosed.
  • Memphis Meats plans to use the investment to more quickly develop products and is now looking to expand its stable of chefs, scientists, and creative and business teams, Tyson said. Along with Tyson Ventures, other investors in Memphis Meats include DFJ, Atomico, Cargill, Bill Gates and Richard Branson, the company noted.

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