Every year, New York’s Fancy Food Show is a showcase for many of the world’s most interesting and innovative food & drink brands. Here, The Brand Nursery director Chris Blythe highlights 10 key trends to watch
Pickles, and the sour flavours they deliver, are definitely enjoying something of a revival. There were plenty of pickles in evidence battling to differentiate themselves.
Randy’s Pickles uses quirky descriptors – ‘Sideburns’ and ‘Mustache On Fire’ – to bring its pickle range to life. Bruce Julian was pickling more unusual ingredients like okra and brussels sprouts in his ‘Sassy’ range.
Brooklyn Whatever’s range is branded ‘Shpickles’ to deliver that distinctive Brooklyn character.
Chicago’s Suckerpunch offered a range of ‘Pickle Juice Shots’ as part of its cocktail mixer range, although the product was also offered in its ‘raw’ form as a hangover cure – two birds with one stone.
2. Good fat
Helped by the growing focus on the keto diet, fat is back! Brands like Love Good Fats and Fat Snax recognise the need to keep body energy levels topped up and are actively promoting the benefits of fat in the human diet.
As the owner of the Fat Bombs brand proclaimed: “Sugar and carbs are the enemy, fat is your friend now”. This is exemplified in his range of cheesecake and cookie dough sweet snacks.
3. Bone broth
Bone broth has been emerging for a while now, but this trend seems to have really flourished this year – as a dedicated product format, but also as a key ingredient in other products. Aneto from Spain has a range of broths made using only natural ingredients, whilst LonoLife has a range of bone broth sachets to enable their nutrition to be enjoyed on the move.
Galassi Foods has created its ‘Sticks & Bones’ branded range of pasta sauces using the nutritional benefits of bone broth to “give a nod to our past while providing a modern, delicious, and satisfying way to fuel your family”.
4. For the common good
I was struck this year by food manufacturers that don’t just nod in passing to being more responsible or charitable citizens, but who are wholeheartedly embracing this as the ethos for their business.
Sindyanna of Galilee is “a unique non-profit organization led by a team of Arab and Jewish women working to create social change from the ground up” – their range of olive oils help their local farming communities and are branded as ‘Peaceful’, ‘Hopeful’ and ‘Positive’.
The Chocolate Dream seeks to deliver products that will benefit Columbian farmers, communities and society right across the country.
Flax 4 Life has a range of flax-based products that offer dietary benefits to those with autism, and the company also supports community projects and initiatives via the Autism Hope Alliance.
5. Everyday plus
Another notable trend this year is the presence of relatively familiar, mainstream food products that have been given a little ‘twist’ to make them more fit for today’s consumer.
Goodpop has ‘cleaned up’ traditional favourite ice lollies and pops by just using clean and responsibly-sourced ingredients.
Coney Island Classic’s popcorn range now contains Himalayan Pink Salt (more on this later) to enhance its flavour credentials.
Otamot says it is “redefining” tomato sauce by using natural ingredients derived from a range of vegetables to deliver a more nutritious version of this everyday staple (and spelling ‘tomato’ backwards, for those that hadn’t noticed).
6. New ways with coffee
Coffee is increasingly being offered in newer formats that make it ever more convenient – single-serve cans and tetra-paks abounded at the show.
Munki has an Italian espresso granola product (all your breakfast needs in a single bowl) whilst Quantum from California has created a range of energy ‘squares’ that each contain a single espresso shot, to provide your morning coffee kick in solid form.
Twin Engine from Nicaragua had a range of ‘travellers’ coffee sachet products, so that “good coffee goes with you” whilst Don Pablo offers a range of “booze-infused” coffees that include bourbon or tawny port in their blends.
7. Salt of the earth
I’d spotted some Himalayan salt products a few years ago, but their presence was far more evident this year, both as stand-alone seasonings and also as a named ingredient in savoury products.
Premium salts were in evidence from as far afield as Switzerland and the Grenadines – purity of sourcing was the common thread, delivering a high-quality, pure-tasting seasoning.
Saltsi has gone a step further, creating a salt substitute (made from olive leaf) that is delivered via a fine spray to enable even distribution.
8. Monk fruit
Stevia has a new rival – monk fruit from South-East Asia is an attractive alternative sugar substitute, containing zero sugar, carbohydrates and calories but with none of the digestive side effects some stevia users experience.
Lakanto from Utah offers a range of monk fruit-based products, including sweeteners, syrups and chocolate bars (that are also dairy and gluten-free).
This year the halls of the Javits Centre echoed to the sound of crunching – there were a host of snacks, both sweet and savoury, that promoted themselves on their crunchy (or occasionally ‘krunchy’) texture.
Nutty energy bars and coated nuts, biscuits, breadsticks and crispbreads, seaweed snacks, candies and chocolate products all used a version of ‘crunch’ in their branding, although the ‘Crrrunch Bites’ range from Handfulls perhaps says it best.
10. Sweet & spicy
Hot flavours have been on trend for a while now, so perhaps it’s no surprise that products are now emerging that combine spices and heat within traditionally sweet formats. Like Hot Scream from Connecticut, a range of spiced-up ice cream tubs, or Lammes Candies from Texas which is making Habanero Pralines – chewy chocolates with a real kick.
Black Sails has added spicy flavours to coconut water to capture the spirit of the Caribbean (and to offset that slightly cloying taste).
And five more notable new things…
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