Archive | Trends

2010 FANCY FOOD SHOW – POST #4: Too Good to Be True? I Hope Not!

At this year’s Fancy Food Show, I discovered a few products that seem almost too good to be true – but I hope they’re for real!
  • Xan’s Saintly Sins Collection has three filled fine chocolates that are billed as low glycemic, gluten-free (“Death to Gluten!”) and only 29 calories each. Frankly, after tasting the raspberry version, I don’t know how they could possibly pack so much chocolaty goodness into 29 calories. Wow!
  • The Numi folks say that drinking three cups of aged Puerh teas (the oldest of which can cost hundreds of dollars) for two months could help me lose up to 22 pounds and drop my cholesterol 64%. Put the kettle on!
  • Nutmeric Turmeric Almond Spreads claim they deliver turmeric (a new health darling) in a way the body can best absorb it. I thought their zippy versions of almond butter could easily become addictive – based on taste alone.
  • Winetime Resveratrol Bar claims to have 50 times the resveratrol (another of humanity’s latest saviors) contained in a glass of wine. Gives new meaning to the term “wine bar.”
  • The maker of Bread Armor Artisan Bread Bags, claims they will keep bread fresh and mold-free for up to 20 days – without refrigeration. I’m going to test this one myself.
Check back tomorrow, to see some products I’d banish to Sibera! Like what I have to say? Subscribe to my RSS feed and spread the word with Twitter!

2010 FANCY FOOD SHOW – POST #3: Wish I’d thought of that!

I wish I’d thought of…Smoked Olive Oil – on its way to being a best-seller.
What products were able to stand out amid the thousands on display at the Fancy Food Show? Here are my picks for clever product, packaging or marketing ideas:
  • Smoked olive oil from The Smoked Olive snagged some of the biggest buzz at the show. The naturally smoked oils (it took four years to figure out how to do it) come in two levels of smokiness and a spicy version, and it’s easy to imagine the kick they could add to pasta, vegetables – or even just as a dip. They are already in the market, and someone from the company whispered in my ear that they’re the #1 selling product at Tyler Florence’s store.

  • Cake Shots from Balboa Dessert Company aren’t earth-shaking, but they’re a cute nod to the micro-desserts trend – and they packed big taste in a little shot. I like what the clever packaging brought to the party.

  • The Bradley automated smoker has been around for a while, particularly the restaurant model. But the whole idea was new to me – and maybe will be new to you, too. The mechanism feeds little biscuits of compressed wood into the smoking box, maintaining an even smoke and temperature. When the company found out consumers who didn’t own the $399 gizmo were buying the wood “biscuits” to use on regular grills, they started marketing them that way, too. Smart. You just set them on the grill over a low flame – no soaking necessary (in fact, the spokesman told me soaking wood chips actually releases an unpleasant acid in the steam).

  • Skinny bunsOneBun and Fabulous Flats have both come out with pita-style buns for burgers and sandwiches. A simple idea – but perfect for anyone who has ever ditched half of a hamburger bun. Why didn’t somebody think of this sooner?

  • I’ve seen aerosol food foams in French supermarkets, but Le Foam claims to be the first in the US. These are thick foams, not frothy Ferran Adria concoctions. I tasted the chocolate, which reminded me of cake batter (not in a bad way) and Lemon Dijon, which was interesting on a slice of chicken. The makers claim the foams are low in calories – unless, of course, you suck the entire chocolate one straight from the nozzle! It will be interesting to see if these catch on – and if competitors enter the market. I think the challenge here will be defining serving occasions, the quality of ingredients and distancing this product from its trashy relative, spray-cheese. And oh, yeah, please remove that erroneous accent mark from “Le” – it brands you as laughably faux-French.

  • Check back tomorrow, to see some products that seem almost too good to be true!Like what I have to say? Subscribe to my RSS feed and spread the word with Twitter!

2010 FANCY FOOD SHOW – POST #2: The Big Trends for 2010

Black garlic – part of the “Food is the New Black” trend I spotted
This year, the Fancy Food Show organizers sent some “food experts” into the aisles to name their top trends, which turned out to be:
  • Good-for-you foods (Yawn! This is not exactly news.)
  • Coconut (I did spot several coconut-based drinks, particularly non-fat coconut water, but I wouldn’t say it took the show by storm.)
  • Gluten-free (Agree. “Death to gluten!” seems to be the new industry cry.)
  • Exotic citrus (OK, there was some yuzu here and there, but the exhibition floor wasn’t exactly flooded with real exotics like Buddha’s hand. No exotic dancers, either, BTW.)
  • Nostalgic foods (I spotted one classic candy that’s back in a big, upscale way. Read on!)
From my perspective, here are the trends worth watching:

Food is the new black
  • Out of nowhere this year, came what I’m dubbing “luxury licorice,” a stodgy candy making a trendy comeback, via slick packaging, clever shapes and Euro-cachet. Prime example? Black Heart, in the shape of…hearts – in hip, goth packaging. Or if you prefer cute, there’s Kookaburra Gourmet Licorice, from Australia.
  • Aged black garlic has hit the consumer market – and you might mistake it for licorice, at least in looks and texture. The garlic flavor is less intense and much sweeter than fresh garlic. I can see why some chefs have gone gaga for it.
  • Dark, European-style hot chocolates are finally catching on in the US. I liked the Monbana entry, from France – but there’ll be plenty to choose from.
“Garanimals” for the pairing impaired
  • Bedazzled by all the types of honey out there? Don’t fret, Savannah Bee Company has got you covered, with Cheese Honey, Tea Honey and Grill Honey.
  • Not sure how to pair chocolate and wine? Brix makes three different intensities of chocolate and tells you exactly which wines to serve them with (milk=pinot noir; extra-dark=cabernet).

Attack of the chickpeas!

Chickpea chips, aka hummus chips, aka falafel chips, seemed to be everywhere I turned. Producers were touting “no gluten” (of course – “Death to gluten!”), higher fiber and higher protein. There were entries from Flamous, Plocky’s and others, plus lentil chips from the Mediterranean Snack Food Co.

Superfruits and more superfruits

Three years ago, nobody had heard of goji berries. This year, they’re getting stuffed into everything. One product line I liked was the goji berry cookies from Goji Gourmet, little bite-sized goodies packed with flavor.

Baconmania still sizzles…Will it ever fizzle?

Truffle kerfluffle

Several truffle purveyors were flaunting fresh black truffles, zaftig ones at that. But a plethora of truffle cheeses – even one from the US (Truffle Tremor), truffled popcorn (479°) and other trufflicious products (La Rustichella offered a huge line of truffle spread, sauces, rice, polenta vinegar, oil and honey) mean the funky fungus is here to stay.

The US finds cheeses (say it out loud)

It was really exciting to see all the US artisan cheese producers at this year’s show. Cowgirl, of course, and some tasty offerings from Bellwether Farms (loved their buttery cow’s milk Carmody and their sheep’s milk yogurt!). But there were plenty of others, making it worth not totally gorging at the European cheese section.
Check back tomorrow, to see the innovative products I wish I’d thought of.
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