Nutrition trends are always changing with time but one thing that has remained constant over the past several years is weight watchers’ aversion to carbs.
As dinner tables get less doughy and gluten-free, low-carb foods take over grocery store isles, companies are turning towards previously-overlooked vegetable cauliflower as low-carb replacement for rice and other starchy flours.
Rise of Low-Carb Products
For people suffering from celiac disease, finding gluten-free products has never been easier. Gail Becker, who has two celiac sons, got into baking several years ago when finding gluten-free foods in the grocery stores was a challenge. Becker started using cauliflower as a replacement to white flour in pizza crust which became an instant hit with her family.
In 2016, Becker thought of turning her creation into a business, therefore she quit her job and started a company called Caulipower, which sold gluten-free pizzas and baking mix made with cauliflower. Today, Caulipower is a company worth millions of dollars which sells its products to 9,000 stores around the country.
An increasing number of Americans, conscious about their health, are adopting a low-carb, vegan and gluten free diets, a trend that most food manufacturers are capitalizing on and releasing new products with cauliflower instead of traditional carb sources.
Cauliflower is becoming a popular replacement choice because of its crumbly texture and mild flavor making it easier to use it in an array of dishes from savory to sweet without tasting any hint of vegetable. This year alone, the sales of low-carb pasta replacements like zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice climbed up to $47 million from $17 million last year.
If the healthy eating trend continues to grow in America, low-carb substitutes will continue to double their revenues whereas traditional pastas will decrease in popularity.
Why Cauliflower is the Preferred Choice
According to Heather Smith, the founder of wellness trend-tracking company theHAUTEbar, cauliflower has attained the status of vegetable king, and after looking at its nutritional profile, you would think so too. When compared to 100 grams of white rice, which contains 150 calories and 34 grams of carbs, the same weight in cauliflower contains a little over 25 calories and only 5 grams of carbs. Moreover, cauliflower has almost three times the amount of fiber when compared to white rice.
Alix Turoff is a New York-based dietician who recommends cauliflower as a substitute to people who want to be on a low-carb diet. She believes that it is a versatile vegetable that can be used in several dishes like stir-fries, taco bowls and even in sushi instead of rice.
Experts say that the cauliflower trend is gaining popularity because it appeals to a larger consumer base who follow various diets from paleo to plant based to low carb to gluten-free. People who prefer this vegetable as a carb replacement also look for other qualities such as fewer additives and less sugar and sodium.
Cauliflower Substitutes Increase in Sale
A research showed that most high-end grocery stores carry up to 36 different categories of refrigerated foods that contain cauliflower. Products containing this low-carb substitute have increased by 108 per cent over the past 12 months.
Even pizza chains like Dominos, Pie Five Pizza and California Pizza have hopped on the cauliflower bandwagon and started offering low-carb items made with cauliflower crust.
For those who prefer making meals at home can easily create their own low-carb substitutes using kitchen appliances that are commonly found in kitchens. A manual tool called ricer or an automatic food processor is all you need to make your own cauliflower rice.
If you want to go a step further and substitute spaghetti with low-carb substitute, simply make your own zucchini noodles using a gadget called the spiralizer. But even though cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles can be made at home, the process is time consuming and messy which is why people prefer buying it from stores for convenience.
Trader Joes, which has over 450 stores around the country, stated selling cauliflower rice under its own brand name but the product was such a hit that it sold out within hours and the supermarket had to institute a limit of two bags per customer. Other supermarkets like Whole Foods and Cascadian Farm also followed suit and introduced their own cauliflower products.