Innovative food ideas steal the Summer Fancy Food Show
WATER that packs a hydrogen punch, snack bars as sticks and confections more savoury than sweet are among innovations to emerge at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
The annual showcase, hosted by the Specialty Food Association, wrapped Tuesday in New York, after more than a little sampling of the bites and beverages from over 1,200 companies.
Denise Purcell, head of content, offered these observations.
Over the last couple of years, Purcell said, something has happened to water. Companies are playing with its natural properties to claim added benefits.
“Water is up 75% in dollar sales from 2014 to 2016,” she said.
HFactor Hydrogen is infusing its pouched water with molecular hydrogen, reportedly to boost anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also claims an additional energy boost.
And there’s Formula Four Beverages’ OXiGEN water, infused with molecular oxygen. The company said it uses 1,000 parts per million of bio-available oxygen per 20 ounces in a bottle, compared to between five and 40 parts per million in tap or other bottled water.
According a study cited by Formula Four, all of that helps clear lactic acid, for faster recovery after exercise. It also claims a boost in endurance, stamina, mental clarity and, wait for it ... decreased hangover effects.
There’s a company enhancing waters with pomegranate seed oil, reportedly good for inflammation and digestive health, Purcell said.
Rogers Collection has taken a different approach with its Oak Smoked Water, made from Welsh oak chips. Smoked over four days, the water is for use in soups, risottos and casseroles as a way to add depth, or as ice cubes for cocktails.
Snack bars that aren’t
“Snack bars are up about 50% since 2014, and forecast to grow.”
Among recent innovations: A company called Aunt Dottie’s mixes salad ingredients – greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits – and condenses them into a bar.
The snack stick is a variation on the bar. Vivify is doing energy snack sticks in combinations of nuts, quinoa and seeds like flax and sunflower.
There are cheese, meat and dairy alternatives but also condiments, frozen desserts and water, said Purcell.
The show included cashew sauce as a cheese sauce alternative in a handy add-hot-water format.
For dessert? “We are seeing a lot more vegan-friendly desserts, whether it’s frozen ice creams or sorbets. Alternative milks, nut milks, are becoming very popular,” Purcell said.
Coffee and tea
“We’re seeing a lot of innovation, especially in the refrigerated and ready to drink varieties. They’ve been up 114% between 2014 and 2016,” Purcell said.
Sunup uses unroasted green coffee beans in a bottle drink, offering tea-style flavour with a full caffeine kick.
Afineur claims to have customised the natural fermentation process to eliminate the undesirable characteristics of coffee and enhance the goodness. The resulting coffee is less bitter and easier to digest, Purcell said.
Savoury, spicy confections
Chocolate went peppery a while ago. Now the artisans are having fun with other flavors.
“Spices, they’re going to a new level in confections,” Purcell said.
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, gummy bite-sized treats with saffron threads. visible in the rich, golden candy.
MilkBoy chocolates from Switzerland has bars of 60% cacao infused with pine tree oil. – AP
Zumo Gazpacho – natural ingredients with purified sea water – at the Summer Fancy Food Show.