I received some complimentary samples for this post, but was not compensated for it. All opinions are my own.
This Sunday kicks off the 2019 Fancy Food Show New York and I’m so excited. This trade event showcases new food concepts, emerging food trends, established brands and their latest offerings and brings together wholesalers, retailers, restaurant suppliers and food crafters with their amazing innovations. This is my second year attending the Summer Fancy Foods Show but before I step off the plane at LaGuardia, I wanted to give you a sneak peak at just a few of the more than 200,000 food products we’ll be seeing (and tasting) at the show.
What Are “Specialty Foods”?
Specialty Foods are considered “unique and high-value food items made in small quantities from high-quality ingredients”. By the numbers…specialty food sales outpaces regular retail food sales 10.3% vs. 3.1% and with the creative, thoughtful, and focused foodstuffs being introduced, it’s no wonder why.
Top Five Categories – Retail Sales
- Cheese and Plant-Based Cheese
- Frozen, Refrigerated Meat, Poultry, Seafood
- Chips, Pretzels, Snacks
- Non-Ready-To-Drink Coffee and Hot Cocoa
- Bread and Baked Goods
Top Five Food Trend Categories with Highest Growth
- Refrigerated Plant-Based Meat Alternatives – it’s not just tofu anymore…
- Rice Cakes — who’d a thought???
- Frozen Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
- Water – yes… water!
- Refrigerated Ready-To-Drink Tea and Coffee
More Food Trends At The Summer Fancy Foods Show
- Plant-based is going strong.
- Specialty beverages are increasingly a force in the market.
- Reduced packaging and food waste are hot points.
This article highlights only a sliver of the hundreds of thousands of foodstuffs offered at the show, however, I was able to get advance samples of a few of them, and I’m excited to share my tasters reviews with you. Most of these products are available either in local markets or via their websites (links included are not affiliate links).
Fancy Food Show New York – Products
Healthy Snacking Food Trends
In my correspondences with various exhibitors over the past few weeks, it’s obvious that the “healthy snacking” category is huge. With everything from protein bars, shakes and powders to organic dried fruit and vegetable based crackers, pretzels, puffs and more. It’s obvious, we’re craving healthier options to munch.
This year, from Traina, we received Sun-Dried California Cherries as well as their Summer Blend of peaches, plums and nectarines. With no added sugar, these fruit bites are a simultaneously tart and sweet. Our tasters enjoyed both, but for different reasons. The dried cherries were big, soft and plump. They would be good in a hot cereal breakfast or served with pork, beef or lamb. Obviously they make a great snack as well.
The Summer Blend is a fine dice of chewy sweet stone fruit and was really delicious in this combination. This blend is great for cooking, and could easily be stirred into oatmeal, muffins or quick breads, added to granola for an instant trail mix.
Natierra, SuperFoods with Soul, shipped us a host of organic dried and freeze dried fruit.
In the dried fruit category, tasters sampled Mango Cheeks and Mango Strips. The cheeks (from either side of the pit) were large, moist and chewy leathers that were simultaneously tart and sweet. Wonderful for snacking the cheeks were the favorite among my tasters. The mango strips were thinner, chewier and less moist, but equally tasty. These would make an excellent healthy lunchbox treat or afternoon snack.
Freeze Dried Fruits
Also from Natierra , their freeze dried fruits were a surprising twist in the healthy snacking category. Light, airy and crisp each of the represented fruits tasted like their whole food counterpart, but the texture was so different that it elicited surprised looks from our tasters. I was reminded of the novelty of “astronaut ice cream” from when I was a kid with almost a dried-foam-like mouthfeel.
The granny smith apple and banana were the overwhelming favorites among tasters, as they really engendered the flavor of the fruit. Strawberry-Banana rounded out the top 3 faves. Also included were Blueberry, Strawberry and Mango.
More Snack Food Trends At The Summer Fancy Foods Show – Hidden Veggies
From The Ground Up, familiar snacks with a plant-based twist, sent a wide variety of vegetable based snacking items. Made from things like cauliflower and butternut squash, their line of chips, pretzels and star-shaped crackers kept our tasters happily munching trying to discern their favorites and what they liked best about each one. These tortilla chips, made with cassava, cauliflower and chia seeds were a hit for their light, uber-crispy crunch and mild vegetable back notes.
However, tasters were split on which they preferred. The Sea Salt variety seemed to be the favorite among the lady testers, but Nacho cheese flavored reminded the male testers of another nacho flavored tortilla chip — which they clearly enjoyed.
From The Ground Up also sent a few varieties of pretzels, made from cassava and butternut squash. The vegetable was more noticeable in these snacks, but in a good way.
Tasters commented on how crunchy they were — like REALLY crunchy. They go great with a cold beverage, but our crew wanted something to dip them in… perhaps this Tuscan white bean dip or smoked salmon dip would be good.
Another light, crispy snacking item from From The Ground Up, is made from cauliflower, were their trio of Stars crackers. Tiny little nibbles that you can eat by the handful. Cheddar and Pizza flavored were the overwhelming favorites, but the Sea Salt variety was good as well.
There is just something about these Cauliflower Stalks, though, that had everyone coming back for. Light and crunchy, these straws had a texture like cheese puffs, but with a hollow interior. These didn’t last long. Several tasters were commenting that they’d be looking for these snacks at their local markets soon. You should too.
Milkadamia is the only plant-based milk brand that uses pure raw macadamia nut oil to produce a creamy, Omega-7 infused line of milks and creamers. Milkadamia is owned by Jindilli Farms, the largest producer of raw macadamia nut oil in the world. The farm is ground zero for employing (and espousing) regenerative farming practices. Their creamy macadamia butter will be introduced into the market this fall.
Condiment & Flavoring Food Trends
This is a big category at the Summer Fancy Foods Show, including everything from spices and rubs to sauces, syrups and spreads.
Also from Natierra, Himalayan Pink Salt Flakes. These beautiful flakes are crunchy, light and salty (obviously). Tasters noted that their irregular flakes and bits added texture and clean salt flavor to the foods it seasoned. A great finishing salt for many dishes, this one will take a grilled steak to the next level.
New Leaf Tree Syrups offer certified organic syrups from the widest array of tree species. These unique elixirs would add new dimensions to cocktails, desserts and a variety of savory dishes, not to mention your morning flapjacks. Though we haven’t gotten a chance to sample these yet, we’re looking forward to trying them at the show.
Nancy Wekselbaum founded The Gracious Gourmet in late 2006 using her own recipes crafted from a love of exceptional food and inspired by many personal and professional travels around the globe. Hand-crafted pestos, chutneys, tapenade and spreads are unique and innovative and Nancy’s new Empresa line of artisanal jams is truly exceptional.
Gracious Gourmet’s Empresa Jams
- Blueberry Lemon Thyme Jam
- Apple Sweet Cherry Jam
- Balsamic Fig Jam
- Chile Mango Lime Jam
- Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
These jams and jellies are simply phenomenal. Our tasters loved the Chile Mango Lime Jam and the Blueberry Lemon Thyme, which was very blueberry forward with a nice tart finish. The Balsamic Fig would be delicious with goat cheese on a crostini with a cocktail and the spicy red pepper straddles the line between sweet and heat. Make sure you have a jar handy for your next cheese board.
With a fascinating history over 100 years in the making, Old Arthur’s Barbecue Sauces and Rubs have been passed down through five generations of the Watts family and have only recently been made commercially available. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Watch the video.
- Kewanee Red BBQ Sauce, Original – Rich and tangy, for meats, poultry and fish.
- Kewanee Red BBQ Sauce, Hot & Spicy – Bold and tasty, with extra kick.
Barbecue Spice Rubs
- Bootleg Rub – With bourbon, brown sugar and coffee, for steaks and chops.
- Crossroads Rub – A complex, seasoned salt with heat, for meats and more.
- Gold Dust Rub – Adds fire-roasted flavor to meats and grilled veggies. Sugar free.
- Smokestack BBQ Rub – Lends sweet, smoky, K.C. BBQ flavor to meats and poultry.
- Righteous Poultry Rub – With hickory, spices and classic poultry herbs.
- Stockyard Steak – Brings out the best in steak, burger and brisket.
Mutti®, Italy’s #1 tomato brand, and one of the fastest growing brands in the U.S., recently launched its newest line, Mutti® Sauces for Pizza. Developed with high quality ingredients and distinct flavor profiles, the sauces pay tribute to three Italian cities famous for their distinct style of pizza – Mutti® Sauces for Pizza – Positano (with Garlic & Oregano), Mutti® Sauces for Pizza – Napoli (with Fresh Basil & Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and Mutti® Sauces for Pizza – Parma (with Parmigiano Reggiano). The regionally inspired recipes allow anyone to easily create delicious and authentic pizzas in the comfort of their home using their creativity and sense for culinary adventure.
New Food Trends: Helping Busy Parents Get Dinner On The Table Quickly & Easily
It’s not easy planning meals when you’re also trying to wrangle the kids, juggle the job and take care of the laundry. At the Summer Fancy Foods Show, food brands are coming to the aid of harried Moms and Dads everywhere, including these offerings from Zen of Slow Cooking.
For The Semi Home-Cook
Taking advantage of popular slow cookers and pressure cookers, Zen of Slow Cooking’s myriad line of sauces and spice blends use fresh proteins and veg to get a flavorful meal on the table with less than 10 minutes of hands on prep. (If this keeps up, I won’t need this website).
Zen of Slow Cooking sent 4 multi-cooker spice packets (from a larger selection) for my tasters to sample. The promise of these spice blends is to help home cooks get a wholesome, one pot dinner on the table with a minimum of hands-on prep (7-9 minutes in most cases). Utilizing the pressure cookers, that are so popular now, a complete meal can be on the table in about half an hour. Conversely, use a slow cooker and have your dinner ready as soon as you walk in the door.
The packets give clear instructions for both pressure cooker (Instant Pot) and slow cooker methods, but any competent home cook could also make these dishes in a traditional dutch oven on the stove using the Zen spice blends.
I was only able to make one of the spice packet meals prior to the show, but it was a good one –the Southwest Fiesta Multi Cooker spice packet called for:
- Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts,
- Canned Black Beans
- Canned Tomatoes,
- Fresh Onion
- Fresh Red Bell Pepper
- Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
- I also added a can of corn (because I had it on hand and thought it would be a good addition.)
- Squeeze of Lime
After the soup had cooked for the requisite 6 minutes in the pressure cooker, I shredded the chicken breasts and added them back to the pot. Optional, but worth-it toppings included crispy fried tortilla strips, fresh cilantro and sliced green onion.
Easy Prep Slow Cooker and Pressure Cooker Meals Are Big Food Trends
This was a flavorful soup, chock full of delicious ingredients and a nice spice. Busy Moms will appreciate the convenience of a quick and easy dinner on a stressful Monday night. Tasters enjoyed the flavors in the Southwestern-style chicken soup, but commented that they’d like a thicker broth. My solution to that would be to stir in a tablespoon or so of cornmeal prior to cooking to add a bit more body. My tasters are looking forward to the next Zen meal.
Fry Family Foods is now selling their products in the U.S. and their product line includes global plant-based favorites like traditional burgers, chicken-style burgers, rice, gluten-free nuggets and stir-fry strips along with products that would be new plant-based offerings like schnitzel, sausage rolls and prawns. Fry’s products have won blind taste tests against popular U.S. brands like Gardein, Beyond Meat and Quorn. They can be found in select retailers and can be delivered right to your door through Fry Family Foods
Luxe, Specialty and Gourmet Food Trends At Summer Fancy Foods Show
They don’t call this the Summer Fancy Foods Show for nothing… because so many of the exhibitors are sharing their high end, gourmet delights. From exquisite cheeses, salumi and hams to luxe chocolates from all over the world. Many have impeccable organic pedigrees and others come from a long family heritage of luxurious confections.
Sweet Treats From Summer Fancy Foods Show
We received a sampling of artisanal chocolates from Andre’s Confiserie Suisse and tasters were “wowed” both for the impressive presentation and for the creamy, rich, decadent offerings. The Milk and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels (above) were soft, creamy and enrobed in a thin layer of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. The sea salt was a delightful contrast to the sweet confection and still maintained some texture and crunch, which the tasters loved.
Never Enough Chocolate…
Andre’s Milk and dark chocolate covered almonds dusted in cocoa powder (dark chocolate) or powdered sugar (milk chocolate) were another standout. The crunchy, whole almonds are generously coated in premium chocolate. The milk chocolate almonds were sweeter and melted quicker on the tongue than the dark chocolate (as you’d expect) but there was no standout winner between the two. Both were appreciated (and enjoyed) equally.
For the mint lovers… Andre’s Chocolate Mint Leaves are sublime. Tasters weren’t quite sure what to expect until they bit into the shiny, dark chocolate shell and revealed a creamy white, minty center which melts and melds beautifully with the chocolate.
Fancy Foods Show New York Featuring New Food Trends: Cookware
NewMetro Design has gone one step further with popular silicone bakeware. Their line of whimsical frankfurter molds include Shark Bites, Pigs In A Blanket, Corn Dogs and these adorable Hot Dog Bites.
Using mini hot dogs (I used ‘Lil Smokies) and simple pancake batter, the molds transform the simple ingredients into fun little bite-sized snacks. Tasters loved the look of these hot dog bites (which looked just like mini hot dogs) and they went FAST.
If you have kids, I guarantee this will be a favorite item, but these savory bites also received “oohs” and “aahs” from our adult samplers. These bite sized snacks make great party food and I’m sure you could come up with lots of fun flavor combinations.