Hy­dro­gen water shots, pine-tree oil choco­late at food show

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in New York

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.

Spe­cialty waters

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.

Snack bars

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.

PHOTOS BY BEBETO MATTHEWS / AP

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

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