New and NotableSeptember 1, 2008 By: Marianne Dougherty, Kelley Donahue, Lotus Abrams, Nicole Palmieri, Lori Morris, Jan Arnold American Salon
NEW YORK MINUTE
Tom Julian, president of the brand consultancy firm the Tom Julian Group, tasted his way through the Fancy Food Show at Manhattan's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in July.
Each year the scent of cheese, chocolate and herbs wafts out of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City when the Fancy Food Show, sponsored by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT), arrives. This year's show attracted more than 20,000 attendees. There were also a few celebrity chefs on hand, including Food Network superstars Paula Deen and the Barefoot Contessa, aka Ina Garten, who were showcasing their signature culinary styles, products and books.
Every year there seems to be a catchy shift with product themes. This year, wellness foods that deliver holistic benefits for health-conscious Americans reigned supreme. Buzzwords like fair trade, organic, natural and eco-friendly could be seen on the packaging of a number of products designed to appeal to the eco-aware consumer; ginger, pomegranate, aloe, flaxseed and goji berries graced numerous ingredient labels; and products free of cholesterol, dairy, gluten and preservatives were widespread.
Here are some of the show's big themes:
The Secret of Bees. Leading the sweet-ingredient craze is The Savannah Bee Company, which offers a range of bath and body products containing honey from founder and creator Ted Dennard. With yummy flavors like orange blossom, black sage and raspberry, the line is a sensory treat.
The Bar Boom. The plethora of healthy snack bars to be found at the show boasted antioxidants, calcium, protein, B-complex and omega-3s, while flavors ranged from tropical mango to nutty almond. Several of note: Kind Plus, Bellybar (for before, during and after pregnancy) and Larabar.
Unsuspecting Tastes. From myrtle berries to Chilean carica (yellow fruit that is best eaten cooked or squeezed as juice), unusual flavors were everywhere on the show floor. More familiar exotic flavors tasted new when presented in unusual ways, like goat's milk ice cream or wasabi paired with chocolate (from Vosges), cheese (from Beemster) or in a salsa (from Dockside Market).
Tutti-Fruiti. Acai (ah-sigh-ee) is the new fruit rage from the Amazon Rainforest that has a berry-cocoa flavor. Packing a powerful antioxidant punch (more than blueberries or pomegranates), this gift from Mother Nature called the "purple berry" possesses omega fats, protein and dietary fiber and can be found in products ranging from sorbet to tea.
For more fodder and visuals, visit fancyfoodshows.com