The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drinks

Top of the pods
Lost Sheep Coffee, the Kent based micro-roastery and coffee shop chain, has launched a completely air-tight, 100 per cent compostable Nespresso-compatible speciality coffee capsule made from lignin (derived from wood bark). The packaging is unique to Lost Sheep, telling its personal journey and is fully recyclable, with full compostable certification.

The capsules are made using only top five per cent speciality grade Arabica coffee beans available in the world which are single origin and direct trade from Brazil, hand-roasted in Whitstable.

The pods are available in two flavours – Smooth Journey, described as a ‘chocolate fudge body with a light hazelnut finish’, and Funky Camper, which has notes of ‘sweet Irish cream with a rich body and mulled winter fruits’. Our tester was impressed with Funky Camper – “the Irish cream came through straight away, and it had a fruity berry finish. It was easy to drink and smooth, and I loved that I could include the packaging in the compost bin.

“The Smooth Journey did have a hazelnut tone, and a very subtle element of choc fudge, which I was hoping would be stronger! Still a very smooth and enjoyable coffee, with impressive environmental credentials.”

Aye, aye Captain
Captain Kombucha has launched two new flavours as part of its naturally fermented drinks range. Organic, vegan and gluten free, with no preservatives, artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners, the probiotic drink is made from tea and Kombucha probiotic culture.

Handcrafted in western Portugal, the new arrivals include Cayenne Pepper and Pineapple Peach flavours, available in Holland & Barrett, Morrisons, Wholefoods and Grape Tree. The punchy new launches join the existing Captain Kombucha flavours, including Original, California Raspberry, Ginger & Lemon, and Coconut – all available in 400ml bottles.

“I’ve read so much about kombucha and its celeb fans like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, I was really glad to finally be able to try it via Captain Kombucha. I am interested in gut health and the probiotic benefits of the product sound really promising. The flavours were very interesting, not like anything I’d tried before, quite intense and not for the faint hearted! The fruit flavours came through well – I’ve still to brave the Cayenne though!”

Dressed for success
PizzaExpress, the nation’s bestloved pizza brand has extended its dressings range with the addition of four new ‘Leggera’ (lighter) options, including a creamy Avocado Dressing, a smooth and fruity Pomegranate & Balsamic Dressing, and two new fatfree dressings. The classic Fat Free Vinaigrette is an aromatic blend of vinegar and herbs, but for something with a bit of a kick, the Chilli and Garlic dressing will jazz up even the simplest dish. Sweet and with a hint of chilli, it is perfect drizzled over a summer slaw, or accompanying your favourite pizza.

In addition, vegans can now enjoy a version of PizzaExpress’ famous House Light Dressing. Flavoursome, creamy, and full of herbs, the dressing has been carefully crafted to replicate the classic House Light Dressing as served in restaurants.

“I love the classic PizzaExpress House Dressing, so I was very keen to try some of the Leggera options. The Fat Free Vinaigrette had a good sharp edge, with visible herbs, the texture was slightly unusual though. The Chilli and Garlic was delicious – I wouldn’t have known it was Fat Free, and it really pepped up salads, giving them a nice heat, and good garlicky flavour. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy any PizzaExpress dressing – they never let me down.”

Healthy chocolate
June 2019 saw the launch of Prodigy Snacks, a new chocolate and biscuit brand. Using clean, natural ingredients with nutritional benefits, Prodigy Snacks vows to bring significant change to the mainstream market with its reimagined range of products which evoke the same chocolate pleasure as classic favourites but with no nasties, including no plastic packaging.

Prodigy Snacks’ first two products – Chunky Chocolate Bar and Chunky Orange Chocolate with Baobab Bar – are made with natural, raw and organic ingredients, have less than half the sugar content of current brands and 30 per cent of your daily recommended intake of fibre.

Prodigy’s high fibre treats have prebiotic benefits promoting good gut health and are packed with antioxidants from raw cacao butter and cacao nibs. They are also vegan approved and free from dairy, gluten and refined sugar.

The Taste Test Team loved the Prodigy chocolate; they were very impressed with its health credentials, and its packaging pedigree. But most importantly, the flavours, textures and tastes were spot on. “We had one chunk each of Chunky Chocolate – it was rich, with a very fine chocolate texture. The bar was quite chunky, and I could tell it was raw cacao, not milky. It was also very smooth chocolate. “I also loved the orange flavour, it was very similar to a Terry’s choc orange (surely the gold standard of chocolate orange!) Refined chocolate without refined sugar – great!”

Kind eating
British food company, The Meatless Farm Co, is expanding its range of plant-based products with a new line of sausages that cater perfectly for the nation’s meat reducers, veggies and vegans. Rob Woodall, CEO of The Meatless Farm Co, gave some more details about the product: “We have carefully created the recipe for our new plant-based sausages over the course of two years and we’re thrilled with the result. Our sausages provide the same taste and texture of meat whilst remaining nutritionally sound, this was really key to us. We wanted to add another product to the range which further champions ‘kind eating’ and provides a healthy, centre of plate solution for families – whether they’re veggie, vegan or just swapping out the odd meat meal.’

Launching into 200+ Sainsbury’s stores, the sausages are made from high quality, natural plant-based ingredients, including the company’s signature mix of pea, soya and rice proteins. The sausages join The Meatless Farm Co’s plant-based mince and burgers being high in protein, a good source of fibre, vegan friendly and gluten free.

“I often prefer veggie sausages as I find meat ones can be ‘bouncy’ and have tough skins,” said our reviewer. “These were really, really top notch – they still had the good meaty feel of a sausage, and they had a good texture, without any nasty bits. I would definitely buy these again and am looking forward to trying them in different meal combos.”

Ideal partners
Fermentino CICIONI from the Italian Casa del Fermentino is now available in a smaller 80g size. Unique and organic, this one of a kind product is packed full of nutrients and is naturally dairy and lactose free. Made from four simple ingredients: cashews, almonds, water and a pinch of salt, it is free from additives, preservatives and sugar.

A one of a kind in the UK, CICIONI is the first product in a whole new category called ‘Fermentino’ – the act of fermenting nuts with water and salt. The beauty of fermentino is the simplicity and purity of the ingredients.

CICIONI can be enjoyed on its own, within a main dish or a sauce. Or, it goes well with crackers, such as Nairn’s new Ancient Grain Oatcakes, which are enriched with nutrient-dense rye, amaranth and quinoa, and packed with wholegrain oats. Using just a handful of simple, natural ingredients, and with a completely wheat free recipe, each Ancient Grain oatcake is high in fibre and a source of protein.

“I’ve been a fan of Nairn’s Oatcakes for a long time, and immediately loved the idea of the Ancient Grains variety, gaining not only the health benefits of oats, but the extra bonus grains too. They had a lovely deep, rich flavour. “Then I tried the CICIONI, which I found to be quite unusual. It had a nutty flavour, but also a sharpness from the fermentation. I enjoyed trying out the serving suggestions – in salad, on toast with olive oil and added to soup. All were great – but it went just as well simply on the Nairn’s oatcakes!”