Lesley and I touched down in Chicago last week for the United Fresh Convention & Expo ready to see what’s new and exciting in the fresh produce industry. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite new products from the show that will be hitting produce departments near you.

We were both newbies to United Fresh and stepped onto the floor not knowing what to expect. This show is smaller than the annual Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit that we attend in October, giving us a chance to dive a little deeper with produce industry professionals on upcoming trends and new ideas.

I was also accompanied by Baby Gray (who was the size of an artichoke last week) and ready to snack on pretty much anything I could find. Hello, second trimester hunger! We were not disappointed.

We also got to meet Carla Hall, who you may know from Top Chef and The Chew. She was definitely in style with that watermelon skirt!

New Trends to Watch:

Plant-Based Options

Plant-based foods are on the rise, and you can expect to see more plant-based options hitting shelves near you. Great if you’re vegan, vegetarian or just trying to eat less meat and more produce in your life.

Grab & Go Snack Packs

Families are busy! Having the option between grabbing potato chips and a healthy snack with fresh produce and protein makes the decision so much easier. These convenient packs are popping up everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations.

Eco-friendly packaging

There has definitely been a call to reduce plastic use in this country. While we could write a whole post on the different types of packing in the produce department and the important role it plays in keeping produce fresh longer, reducing food waste and make transportation easier (thus reducing the carbon footprint), the produce industry is actively looking at ways to bring more eco-friendly packaging to the shelf.

New Products to Look For:

Tomberry® Tomatoes from NatureFresh™ Farms

Lesley recently received these as part of an online grocery delivery, a “happy accident” as she called it. These tiny tomatoes (about the size of a small blueberry) are perfectly snackable and great for adding to salads, wraps and more. No cutting required!

WOW Berries from SUNSET

These 3 new varieties of strawberries all offer a unique flavor profile. Lolliberry is sweet with a fragrant aroma, pearberry had notes of pears and tart apple, and dreamberry was perfectly sweet. After sampling each of them, we couldn’t pick just one!

Chiquita Sticks™

Who need fried French fries where there are fresh apple fries to snack on? These washed and ready to eat snacks from Chiquita are the perfect shape and size for little hands.

Simply Fresh Shakers™

Grab and go salads are huge right now. They’re easy to throw in a lunchbox for older kids or for adults to take to the office and enjoy as a fresh lunch. These new salads with flavors like Chili Lime Chicken Ranch and Lemon Garlic Chicken Caesar will be a hit at lunchtime.

Pearson Fresh Ramen Soup

Gone are the days of the packet of instant Ramen noodles from my childhood. Ramen has become a foodie staple, especially among millennials. This Ramen pack includes noodles, seasoning and fresh ingredients like cabbage, green onions, carrots and more. Just add hot water!

Del Monte® Fruit Crunch Parfaits

I’m always on the hunt for quick and easy options, especially for breakfast. These fruit parfaits are dairy free, offer a full serving of fruit and come with a crunchy granola topping.

Fresh Jackfruit from Melissa’s Produce

Jackfruit has been on fire the last few years. Its texture is similar to pulled pork, making it a great plant-based substitute. The problem with jackfruit is that it’s really intimidating to the average person to cut. Enter these fresh jackfruit packs!

Plant-Based Salad Dressings from Good Foods

No salad is complete without a tasty dressing to tie all the flavors together. We got to taste all these new flavors from Good Foods and they won’t disappoint!

Naturipe Blazeberries™

These were one of the most popular new items we posted to Instagram from the show. Blazeberries are a cross between gold and red raspberries, with a unique flavor that’s so delicious!

Crunch Pak® Snack Medley packs

On-the-go snacking was ever-present at the show. Crunch Pak, best known for its sliced apples, is stepping up the snacking category with these new packs combining hard-boiled eggs, nuts, cheese, dried fruit, and of course, sliced apples in easy, convenient packs.

Mann’s Caulilini® (Baby Cauliflower)

Caulinini is to cauliflower what broccolini is to broccoli. This baby cauliflower is a great new veggie to add to the dinner table.

Seedless Lemons from Wonderful®

Don’t you hate when you squeeze a lemon wedge into your water and get a seed in there? Or over fresh grilled fish and veggies? No need to worry anymore with these new non-GMO seedless lemons from Wonderful!