NEW YORK CITY – Another Fancy Foods show has come and gone, and though everybody wants to rule the world, most will settle for a good piece of cheese, a new client, and certainly a big sale. Food and beverage companies, CPG companies, and specialty buyers and sellers from every corner of the globe descended upon the Javits Center in western midtown Manhattan for three days of samples, flavors, inspiration, and connection.
Here are some of the more notable trends seen on the show floor. Bullet points marked with an asterisk * will eventually be featured on the FI Instagram account.
Many booths from every pavilion featured bake-forward products for the at-home patissier and specialty retailer. Items like readymade baking kits to sugar and flour alternatives that can help gluten-sensitive consumers or allergy-prone palates achieve sweet and savory satiety were everywhere to be found. Many companies’ products (and the stories behind them) came specifically from owners and entrepreneurs simply figuring out a problem. For many, it wasn’t enough to simply feature something delicious – to reach market, it has to be functional.
- Mama’s Biscuits*
- At-home Bake Shop
- Jesha’s Sourdough*
Low Ingredients, Simple Formats
From three-ingredient syrups to one-ingredient plant extracts and additives, simplification was a big deal this year. The sheer volume and variety of sub-five ingredient snacks, sauces, and drinks was impressive. Former SOFI winner Blackberry Patch was featured on the Day 3 livestream (see below) and makes a robust blueberry syrup using just blueberries, lemon juice, and cane sugar. “As creative as you can be with the product is about how far you can take it,” said owner Collier Feinberg, citing syrups, marinades, vinaigrettes, and cocktail/mocktail flavors as good options.
Other low-ingredient products noted were:
- Matéa yerba mate powder – an Argentinian plant extract*
- Wagashi nekiri – a traditional Japanese confection
- Lakanto – powdered monkfruit sweetener*
New Flavor Combos
The familiar was rendered fantastic all around the Javits. From lemon- and sesame-coated ginger chews to strawberry-mochi marshmallow mash-ups, a novel new taste or texture delighted showgoers from pavilion to pavilion. Some of the more notable new flavor combos included:
- Lemon-coated ginger chews*
- Champagne-infused gummies*
- Orange creamsickle soda – Wild Bill’s was featured live [see below]
- Mochi gummies*
Mike Shino is founder and CEO of Issei and her mochi gummies delighted Food Institute staff. “Mochi is an incredible opportunity,” she noted, describing the new favorite as a “blank canvas” for world flavors.
From the pampas of Argentina to the North Atlantic sea, food and beverage companies continue to push the limits of what’s available in retail from around the globe.
- Yerba mate tea*
- Krill – “Set to revolutionize health and wellness specialty food sector” per Alfredo Nasti of Antarctic Krill Meat. “Krill is a nutrient-packed protein; 15g of protein; 67 calories; 4g of iron; countless health benefits from the bottom of the ocean.”*
- Mushroom-blasted tomato juice
- Almond & cashew oils and spreads – Octonuts
Standout Packaging & Health Benefits
Brands such as Five Stars and The Saucy Ladies (both to be featured on FI’s Instagram video page) are making waves with bold packaging and original products and ingredients.
“Companies must stand out,” said Food Institute CEO Brian Choi. “To win in the marketplace, products have to have a differentiated selling point – just being ‘good’ is not good enough in this environment.”
Choi also noted how much more selective food and beverage companies need to be with their marketing and trade spends. “Gone are the days where exhibitors can passively expect buyers to come by their booth and sample,” he added, noting that companies are being much more selective in where they are exhibiting. Corner booths stand out for a reason and most companies took every opportunity to lure potential buyers with neon lights, LED-backlit displays, and pristine sample packaging and presentation.