Hydrogen water shots, pine-tree oil chocolate at food show
Water that packs a hydrogen punch, snack bars as sticks and confections more savory than sweet are among innovations to emerge from hundreds of purveyors at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
The annual showcase hosted by the Specialty Food Association wrapped up last week in New York after three days and more than a little sampling of the artisan and hightech bites and beverages from more than 1,200 companies.
Phil Kafarakis, president of the trade group, says that his industry is booming to the tune of $127 billion a year, including the retail and food service markets.
“Everybody keeps talking about the Millennials, but it’s not just the Millennials. GenX and NextGen and even Boomers, when you think about health and wellness, are looking for authenticity in products,” Kafarakis says.
Over the last couple of years, show organizers say, something has happened to water. Companies are playing with its natural properties to claim added benefits.
“Water is up 75 percent in dollar sales from 2014 to 2016. Separately, there’s a lot of interest in functional beverages, so what we’re seeing right now are enhanced waters,” she says.
There’s a company called HFactor Hydrogen infusing its pouched water with molecular hydrogen, reportedly to boost anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also claims an additional energy boost, all with no added chemicals or magnesium.
Another company is doing enhanced waters with pomegranate seed oil, reportedly good for inflammation and to help with digestive health, Purcell says.
Yet another took an entirely different twist on water and it’s not necessarily to sip or improve health.
It’s from Rogers Collection and it’s called Oak Smoked Water, made from Welsh oak chips smoked by the folks at Halen Mon. The water has actually been on the market since 2013 and is pretty much what it claims to be, with smoking done over four days without additives for use in soups, risottos and casseroles as a way to add depth.
It can also be frozen into ice cubes for cocktails.
Among recent innovations: A company called Aunt Dottie’s mixes together salad ingredients greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits and condenses them into a bar.
An interesting variation: the snack stick.
The company, Vivify, does energy snack sticks in interesting combinations of nuts, quinoa and seeds like flax and sunflower. There’s a chia-pistachio combination and a quinoa and toasted coconut combo.
Plant-based foods The show included a plant- based water made from hemp. Cashew sauce was offered as a cheese sauce alternative in a handy add-hot-water format.
For dessert? A lot more vegan-friendly desserts, from frozen ice creams and sorbets to alternative milks, nut milks.
Savory and spicy
Chocolate went peppery a while ago. Now the artisans are having fun with other flavors.
One company, Rumi Spice, was founded by a group of US military veterans who source saffron from sustainable farms in Afghanistan for its Saffron Gems, a gummy bitesize treat with threads of saffron visible in the rich-tasting golden candy.
MilkBoy chocolates out of Switzerland offers bars of 60-percent cocoa infused with pine-tree oil.
and Fran’s Almond Gold Bar are among thousands of food and beverage items from more than 2,600 food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs from around the globe at the annual Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York.
Creative Coconut Snacks