Returning from a food convention is never easy—and not merely because of deadlines lurking in the wings. Then again, returning from 2013 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco is a challenge, more because of the abundance of information and products on display.
The scope and breadth of the products (numbering more than 80,000 according to show organizers) makes any post-show coverage a daunting proposition. Therefore, below are some highlights, touching on some of the industry's major trends in 2013. Look for more new products from the 2013 Fancy Food Show in upcoming issues of Prepared Foods.
Eat Your Veggies, Fruit
Continuing a trend of unexpected ingredients fueling beverages (last summer's Lettuce Tea seems to have unleashed a torrent of inspirations), Numi Organic Tea added a line of savory teas: Broccoli Cilantro Tea, Tomato Mint Tea, Beet Cabbage Tea, Spinach Clove Tea, Fennel Spice Tea and Carrot Curry Tea, each promising five calories or less. Meanwhile, Wild Poppy Juice Co. introduced a Blood Orange Chili Juice. Ito En, for its part, took the superfruit route to healthy beverages with Tea Half & Half Acerola Cherry, a superfruit claiming 65 times the vitamin C content of a typical orange; also separating the Ito En product was that, unlike other half and half teas traditionally made with black tea, the Acerola Cherry variety utilizes green tea.
Unexpected fruit varieties also could be found in a line of cocktail mixers from Earth & Vine, including California Meyer Lemon Mandarin, Blood Orange and Pomegranate Pink Grapefruit. Grapefruit, lemon and orange were also the three flavors found in a line of sparkling citrus drinks from Q Drinks. Each of its new products boasted 50-55 calories per serving.
Sweet on You
Fruit inspired far more than simply beverages, however. Vosges Chocolates displayed its Crispy Carrot Chocolate Bar, featuring orange powder and confit carrots in orange juice, crisped in the oven. The same company merged milk chocolate, peanut butter, banana puree and sea salt in its Peanut Butter & Banana Milk Chocolate Caramel Bites. Also on the chocolate front, Lake Champlain Chocolates launched a new range of organic filled chocolate bars, with such unique varieties as Spizy Aztec with cayenne, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds, and a Creamy Organic Coconut and Creamy Organic Peanut Butter variety.
Fairytale Brownies added Fairytale Cookies and Half-Size Brownies, with the 3.25-in. round cookies available in such varieties as Caramel Pecan, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Toffee Chocolate Chip. Taste It Presents offered a range of desserts on display, including gourmet cakes (in Tiramisu, Toasted Almond Cream Cake and Belgian Chocolate Mousse and other options) and a new authentic gelato line, in Tiramisu, Hazelnut (Nocciola), Vanilla Bean, Belgian Chocolate, Pistachio, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Chocolate Brownie and other assorted flavors.
Chocolates sweetened with stevia could also be found (notably from The Chocolate Suite, whose sugar-free chocolate range included such flavors as elderberry, ginger and cherries), while in more of a bakery-oriented item, Brownie Brittle from Sheila G's promised "no more fighting for that corner piece" of brownies.
Terrapin Ridge Farms launched seven new products at this year's Fancy Food Show, including two dips (Bacon & Chive Gourmet Dip and Strawberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip), a Chipotle Aioli condiment and new salad dressings with such flavors as Sweet Red Onion White Balsamic and Creamy Italian White Balsamic.
However, the innovations were far from limited to flavors. Hot Can brought the self-heating can concept seen on occasion in coffees to soups. Varieties included Bangers and Beanz, Chicken Curry, Tortellini Bolognaise, Vegetable Chili and more, all with a five-year shelflife and ready in three minutes with the push of a button on the can.