11 Trends and Products From the Summer Fancy Food Show

Summer Fancy Food Show

The 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show held at the end of June in New York has always been an ideal location for spotting trends. This year, with more than 2,600 exhibitors from around the world and more than 180,000 specialty food and beverage products, the Specialty Food Association put together an official Trendspotter Panel made up of diverse perspectives from retail, foodservice and culinary education. They included Ken Blanchette, FreshDirect; Jonathan Deutsch, Drexel University; Perla Nieves and Alysis Vasquez, Midnight Market; Alison Tozzi Liu, James Beard Foundation; and Elly Truesdell, Whole Foods Market.

"Overall, consumers are seeking out better-for-you foods and beverages made with quality ingredients. They want to make a good choice, even when indulging," said Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association, which hosts the event. "For instance, they are looking for foods that give them added servings of vegetables or are good sources of protein or have a health benefit. But they also need to be convenient, as frequent snacking and meals-on-the-go are the common ways consumers eat now. And above all, they need to taste good."

Click through to see the panel's picks of on-trend new-product innovations from the show.

Afineur, Cultured Coffee

Afineur, Cultured Coffee

This biotechnology firm uses controlled natural fermentations to create a new type of coffee.

"[This product is] brand new to market. The double fermentation process is attractive for people who love coffee but may have stomach issues with the tradtional brewing process," said Truesdell of Whole Foods Market.

The Hudson Standard, Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

The Hudson Standard, Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

This product is based on a colonial American tradition of bending fruit, spices, vinegar and sweetener to make a concentrated syrup. The product, which uses New York state organic apple cider vinegar and local strawberries and rhubarb, is "refreshing, spritzy and flavorful," said Liu of the James Beard Foundation.

The Owl's Brew, Radler

The Owl's Brew, Radler

This organic product is made without artificial ingredients. It blends premium beers with fresh-brewed organic teas and infuses them with real fruits and botanicals. This is said to be the first line of tea paired with beer and the first stand-alone line of Radler-style beers on the market. 

"A refreshing and light beverage, we loved the array of flavors that are presented, and it's definitely marketed toward women," said Nieves and Vasquez of Midnight Market.

Smith & Salmon, Sap! Birch Soda

Smith & Salmon, Sap! Birch Soda

This organic, non-GMO, gluten-free sparkling birch-sap beverage has only 25 calories and 6 grams of sugar. 

"There are so many exciting trends in just one can," said Truesdell. "This line is expanding from the maple soda and seltzers to include the whole forest. This new birch-water soda is made by tapping the sap from birch trees, which offers a subtle caramel flavor in this light bubbly drink. It's also an excellent and innovative example of sparkling drinks or waters with low sugar and plant-based or healthy-focused ingredients."

SunUp, Green Coffee

SunUp, Green Coffee

This premium, organic tea-style drink is made from unroasted coffee beans. 

"I loved the fact that it has the caffeine of cold brew but tastes and digests more like tea. The unsweetened is very tasty. We're always looking for zero-sugar options," said Blanchette of FreshDirect.

Lebby Chickpea Snacks, Dark Chocolate

Lebby Chickpea Snacks, Dark Chocolate

This gluten-free, vegan and kosher new product is roasted through a centuries-old process that creates a good texture and flavor. The chickpeas are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals and have 70% less fat than roasted peanuts, the company says.

"These chocolate-covered chickpeas were really unexpectedly delicious," said Liu.

Rooted Food Co., Popped Lotus Seeds

Rooted Food Co., Popped Lotus Seeds

The lotus flower is a giant lily that grows in wetlands and has edible seeds known for their medicinal and nutritional value, the company says.

"I loved the cheddar and chive, and jalapeno varieties. The size of the snack bag was great, and I loved the natural variety in sizes of the seed puffs," said Truesdell.

Sheffa Foods, Savory Bars

Sheffa Foods, Savory Bars

This new product is gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and kosher, and is low in sodium and sugars. It is made with whole-grain brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, chickpeas and sunflower seeds, with a touch of olive oil. It's made without sweeteners or fruits. 

"The savory bar has been the holy grail for bar makers, and these guys nail it," said Deutsch of Drexel University.

Nanduto Home Cooking, Cassava Leaves Jerky

Nanduto Home Cooking, Cassava Leaves Jerky

This Indonesian product is more like a rice cracker than traditional beef jerky.

"It's crunchy and savory, with just the right aount of spice," said Liu. "The use of cassava leaf is unexpected and innovative."

Cucina and Amore, Farro Meal

Cucina and Amore, Farro Meal

Perservative-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan (except for Basil Pesto), this ready-to-eat quinoa meal is available in four flavors. It comes with fully cooked quinoa, mix-in sauce and a spoon. It can be heated up in its microwaveable cup.

"Farro Meal stuck out to us as the most trendy for the 'person on the go.' The concept makes being healthy effortless with a blend of farro and veggies in a microwavable container," said Nieves and Vasquez.

Fawen Ready-to-Drink soup, Broccoli and Cauliflower

Fawen Ready-to-Drink soup, Broccoli and Cauliflower

This organic, vegan, kosher and gluten-free soup is made with no added sugar or preservatives, and it comes in an eco-friendly bottle.

"Among the many drinkable soups I saw over the past few days, in cardboard pourable packaging and single-serving 'drink' bottles, this one stood out for the flavor, as well as the addition of turmeric, an ingredient that is also trending. It also stood out to me for the use of cauliflower, an ingredient that is so popular in the restaurant industry right now," Liu said.