I had the privilege of attending my second Summer Fancy Food Show earlier this week on Sunday, June 28th, and Sunday, June 29th. The Fancy Food Show was held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan for three days from the 28th-30th of June. This is an annual event, and is only open to members of the specialty food trade. There is also the Winter Fancy Food Show held annually in January in San Francisco. During my extensive two day tour, I made connections with over one hundred new and established food businesses.
The event is an eye-popping, gastronomic adventure to say the least. It is something that I strongly anticipate each year and always find it to be a huge success in terms of discovering innovative specialty food products and the latest trends. I sampled some of the best iced teas, nut milks, kale chips, fruit gummies, gourmet chocolates, international cheeses, and waffles that I have ever tried in my life. For the rest of this year for my Specialty Food Friday posts, I am eager to share some of the new businesses I met with you. Their products are ones that took my by surprise and I hope they will do the same for you.
I also met with two wonderfully talented individuals: Bob Moore, the Founder of Bob’s Red Mill and Chef Lidia Bastianich, both of whom are extremely hardworking and dedicated to their craft. I was gifted with a personalized autographed cookbook from Moore and Bastianich. Below you will find a selection of photos from the event and some highlights.
Some new and some ongoing food trends were apparent throughout the food show. Most ubiquitous were cold brewed coffees and teas, non-dairy milks such as quinoa milk, evaporated coconut milk, rice milk and macadamia milk, veggie chips, vegan ice cream, gourmet nuts such as curry pumpkin seeds, and twists on old favorites such as fruit infused ketchup and bold flavored jelly beans. A touch of nostalgia was manifesting including charcuterie boards, and vintage-inspired holiday packaging.
Chai tea was very popular; in fact, tons of tea and biscuits that would allow for the perfect pairing. I noticed that there were many new, hip healthy products, and a plethora on gluten-free and non-GMO products were abound. There were also plenty of atypical flavors in all categories.
I love when new food products jump out at me. Once I find a new, fun product, I can’t seem to get enough. Honorable mentions include Blackberry Patch, Byrd’s Famous Cookies, Sister’s Gourmet for their dry cookie mixes, and The Good Bean for bean protein snacks, chocolate crumb cake by Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company, bit-size cookies by Wackym’s Kitchen, camel milk by Desert Farms, avocado oil by Chosen Foods, nut butter by Saratoga Peanut Butter Company, dried chickpeas by Bean Protein Snacks, and cocktail sauce by Valine’s Famous Cocktail Sauce. My top five were Herb Sign (the best Lemon Grass tea beverage) in the Thailand booth area, Saffron Road with the best frozen food section imaginable, chocolate chip cookies by Chunkie Dunkies, cold brewed tea by Ahmad Tea, and Turkish Delight by The Turkish Confectionery Promotion Group.
Something old, and something new.
I rediscovered some well-known brands that I turn to on a regular basis including Mamma Chia, Brownie Brittle, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Walker’s Shortbread, Republic of Tea, and Tortuga Rum Cakes. Most of these businesses were showcasing a new product at the food show. Nielsen-Massey focused on creating new drinks and simple dishes with their extracts, Mamma Chia was debuting their new Strawberry Lemonade flavor, and Republic of Tea has their own line of Downton Abbey specialty tea blends with even more blends arriving this holiday season.
Which will stay on top?
Maple flavored anything from tea and water to chocolate and candies, and of course good ol’ maple syrup were having a blast at the show. In my opinion, maple is here to stay and integrates perfectly with most any food category. Everyone will also have a distinct sweet tooth so any type of gourmet chocolate that stays true to its name will hold on top. Toffee crunch, chocolate gift baskets, and even natural egg shells filled with chocolate truffle were outstanding. There were countless chocolate companies around every corner, many of which had an old-fashioned look and comfort food appeal. Honey is the sweetener that takes the cake, and was also found in different types of soft cheeses. Italy, Turkey, Trinidad, the United Kingdom, and Thailand dominated the show. The international food trade is rising to the peak, and will continue to grow even stronger as our world becomes even smaller.
Long Island businesses at the Fancy Food Show included Tate’s Bake Shop, The Hampton Popcorn Company, Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company, SerendipiTea, Backyard Brine, Steve’s Ice Cream, and cHarissa.
The 61st Annual Summer Fancy Food Show had an anticipated 24,000 attendees, and 2,400 exhibitors from around the world showcasing more than 180,000 products. This is the largest food event of its kind.