Highlights From the Fancy Food Show
Last weekend, Poom Seitz, Laura Demarest and Julia Hunter Rancone attended the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show to get a read on the food and beverage trends. It’s one component of Ultra’s research in writing our annual food trends magazine, which will be coming out shortly (you can read 2018 here). The Fancy Food Show (FFS) is often compared to Expos East and West, the natural and organic show. For years, FFS has been the show to uncover the latest in food and beverage trends, but as natural and organic products become more popular and mainstream, Expo rivals the show (here’s a small taste of this year’s Expo West). Fewer products at FFS are as wellness minded as at Expo, providing a good counterbalance.
NEW-TO-US PRODUCTS FROM THE FFS
Not everything we see that is new or innovative makes it into the food trends book. Here is what we saw over the weekend that we found ourselves talking about as we walked along The Highline after the show.
Avocado Leaf Tea
Not avocado toast, but we’re all trying to use the “whole plant” these days, right? The leaf has a high concentration of polyphenols & flavonoids – both of which are super antioxidants.
Fat Tire Beer Brats & Pulled Pork
Brands are testing the waters with loyal consumers to see what they can offer outside of their core offering. Ty Tonander, VP of Brand Design, recently wrote about this topic . Add that growing list of brands is Fat Tire, who after years of establishing itself as a leader in the craft beer space is now dipping a toe into foods that classically pair with a delicious beer, like brats and pulled pork.
Mansi Juice & Tea
Calamansi was referenced by JWT’s Innovation Group this year as the next big food trend. This citrus fruit, native to the Philippines, has been spotted on various craft cocktail menus, but this is the first we’ve seen in a retail product.
There was a point two years ago at FFS where I couldn’t taste another version of “the best peanut butter on earth.” Mewe Nutrition’s peanut butter, however, differentiates itself in two ways that appeals to the modern consumer: its brand positioning of being the “peanut butter for your lil’ peanut” introduces the concept of introducing peanuts to kids early enough to avoid peanut allergies, as well as having a specific global malnutrition give-back program.
Ginjan Ginger Beverage
Consumers are craving authentic global flavors and experiences. This product is “born in Western Africa, produced in New York.” Ginjan is based on a thousand year old African recipe, cold pressed from pure & organic ginger, pineapple, lemon, vanilla and anise to replicate the taste the founders grew up drinking.
Newby Zodiac Teas
Ultra recently wrote about astrological marketing and cosmos-inspired products here, and so it was no surprise to see this collection of teas curated for the 12 signs of the zodiac.
Fonio has been named as an up-and-coming ingredient trend for a few years, but has never found its footing in the mainstream the way cous cous did. As a rival to it, this brand highlights its origins in Africa and promotes itself not as a wheat but as a whole grain that works with carb-avoiders and Keto-dieters.
Misfortune Cookies were pretty stop-able on the show floor with black fortune cookies that had sayings like “Your parents wanted you to run away from home.” The dark humor stood apart from so many more serious brands with serious claims.
The data every year on consumer eating habits solidifies that consumers want smaller meals to snack on throughout the day, and they want them to be convenient, fresh and delicious. Enter Freshe Meals, a tuna-based meal with flavors and added vegetables to pull off Thai Sriracha and Nicoise. Eat on its own (it was delicious!), or top on a salad or toast.
IndiCoco Coconut Water
There is still a lot of coconut in the food and beverage world but it did feel as though last year might have been the peak. This year, much less was made of coconut but this coconut water was the first we’ve seen to highlight its origins, which is Thailand. A different, more descrete flavor that we found better than the mainstream options.
RifRaf Ricotta Cups
Yogurt sales are down, cottage cheese seems to be taking up more room on shelf, and everyone seems to be talking more about savory over sugary foods. Enter ricotta cups. I’ll admit, I would have never thought to eat ricotta as a base, but when you add meyer lemon or sundried tomatoes, it is a very satisfying snack.