Nutrition trends 2016: go back to basics with ancient foods and algae

As we continue to shun modern-day artificial ingredients and GMOs in search of more natural products, 2016 will see nutrition go even more back to basics with a variety of ancient fruits, grains, and even algae. Here we break down for you why and how to add them into your daily diet to give your health a boost next year.

Ancient ingredients

Thanks to our continuing quest for unprocessed foods, market intelligence agency Mintel predicts that next year will see a surge in popularity of simple but nutrient-dense ancient grains and fruits.

2016 will see us move on from quinoa to also explore the health benefits of ancient grains such as millet, teff, amaranth, and kamut. Already trusted for centuries, ancient grains are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, high fiber and high protein, and their new popularity and accessibility means it will be even easier to add more nutrition and variety into our daily diets.

The new powder smoothie supplements for 2016 will include ancient ingredients such as baobab. Full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, it is also high in protein and rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron. Peruvian lucuma also has anti-cancer properties thanks to a high level of beta-carotene, and may help fight depression with its high level of vitamin B1. High-fiber Maca is also rich in many important vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, and B vitamins, with studies showing that among its many reported health benefits it can improve sexual function, hormone balance, and sperm count.

As well as these single ingredient powders, there will be an increase in new products incorporating these ancient ingredients, such as baobab, chia, and buckwheat, as seen at this year's Natural Products Expo West trade show.


The popularity for plant-based protein will continue, with algae the next vegan protein source of choice according to a presentation this summer at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), USA.

Algae is set to join hemp, pea, and brown rice protein powders as the latest plant-based, dairy-free protein powder for post-workout shakes. US company AlgaVia are now offering an algae-derived protein powder, as well as a whole algae flour that can replace oils, dairy fats, and eggs in cooking with a healthier source of fat.

The same company behind AlgaVia, Solazyme, has also developed Thrive, an algae oil that could replace coconut oil as the next healthy cooking oil. A high smoke point means it doesn't break down at high temperatures, retaining the beneficial nutrients in the oil, and it reportedly tastes great.