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The 56th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show, held by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade at New York’s Jacob Javits Center, may have ended yesterday, but the memory of so many stellar gourmet food and beverage products lingers on. Following is a short list of some standout items glimpsed in the aisles, along with the current and emerging trends they tap into:
SUSTAINABILITY/CONVENIENCE: Glacia IceBox has come up with such a simple, natural idea that it’s a wonder someone didn’t think of it a lot sooner. The disposable, biodegradable, recyclable container featuring no BPAs comes in half-liter, 1-liter and 5-liter sizes. And the Norwegian arctic spring water inside tastes great. For more information, visit www.iceboxwater.com.
HEALTH & WELLNESS/ETHNIC FOODS: Wild Wood Probiotic Hummus, available in six flavors, features three live and active probiotic cultures promoting healthy digestion. As consumers cotton to the idea that probiotics are good for them, they’ll seek them out in foods beyond such obvious choices as yogurt — especially those shoppers who aren’t particularly fond of, or have trouble digesting, dairy products. The company also offers a soymilk line containing probiotics. For more information, visit www.wildwoodfoods.com.
HEALTH & WELLNESS/ORGANICS/FLAVOR INNOVATION: Stevia continues its march into the American consumer consciousness with the Fancy Food Show introduction of Honest Tea’s Passion Fruit Green Tea with Maqui Berry, the first ready-to-drink organic bottled tea sweetened with an organic version of the leafy plant extract that’s sweeter than sugar yet free of calories. A veritable liquid feast for the drinker of functional beverages, the beverage also contains antioxidant-rich green tea and the South American superfruit maqui berry. For more information, visit www.honesttea.com.
HEALTH & WELLNESS/ORGANICS: An ancient grain with origins in Mesopotamia and now grown the Upper Great Plains of the United States and Canada, organic Kamut brand khorasan wheat is gaining in popularity as an ingredient in number of food items both here and abroad, due to its natural, rich flavor; healthy nutritional profile (high in protein, zinc, magnesium and selenium); and the fact that, in common with other heirloom grains, it’s easier for many gluten-sensitive people to digest. A variety of manufacturers are now offering Kamut in such products as bread, bagels, pasta, cereal, flatbreads and even baby food. For more information, visit www.kamut.com.
PRODUCE CROSS-MERCHANDISING/CONVENIENCE/HEALTH & WELLNESS: The Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes from Chico, Calif.-based Mooney Farms has added two new varieties to its julienne-cut product line: Italian Basil and Zesty Peppers. Like all the other items in the line, the new flavors are fat-free and contain no added salt. According to Mooney Farms’ Joe Walsh, the dried fruit and vegetable category has been “growing tremendously” in the past six months, thanks to consumers’ embrace of the much-publicized Mediterranean Diet as a way to achieve optimal health. Further extensions to the line are possible, he added.
ETHNIC FOODS: Highly regarded internationally for its exceptional taste, quality and aroma, Tunisian olive oil has had a low profile in the United States, although its mild, fruity taste has often been used as a blending additive in many better-known oil products. The Tunisian Ministry of Industry aims to change this state of affairs with an ambitious marketing campaign featuring the output of the world’s fourth-largest producer of olive oil in U.S. media outlets, including online. Is this promotional push working? The verdict isn’t in yet, but Kaother Loued of Tunis-based Riviere d’Or noted she was seeing “more and more awareness” on the part of American consumers regarding Tunisian olive oil brands such as hers.
In other show news, NASFT has revealed the winners of the 38th sofi Awards for the outstanding foods and beverages of the year. The annual awards are given in 33 categories. The term "sofi" stands for "specialty outstanding food innovation.
The 2010 sofi Gold Winners are as follows:
—Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa or Dip: Simply Delish: Simply Delish Chunky Dip-Sweet Chili
—Baked Good, Baking Ingredient or Cereal: The Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. Sticky Toffee Pudding
—Cheese or Dairy Product: Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods Ritrovo Selections-Mt. Townsend Limited Edition Truffle & Salt Seastack
—Chocolate: Poco Dolce-Sesame Toffee Tiles
—Classic: Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc. Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce
—Cold Beverage: Brands of Britain Fever-Tree Ginger Beer
—Condiment: Dulcet Cuisine Mild Indian Curry Ketchup
—Confection: Amy E’s Bakery Almond Toffee
—Cookie: Effie’s Homemade Effie’s Oatcakes
—Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer: Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce
—Cracker: Kitchen Table Bakers Rosemary Parmesan Crisp
—Dessert or Dessert Topping: Ciao Bella Gelato Co. Key Lime Graham Gelato Squares
—Diet and Lifestyle Product: G.S. Gelato And Desserts, Inc. Blood Orange Sorbetto
—Food Gift: Sonoma Syrup Co., Inc. Extract Gift Set
—Frozen Savory: Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. Port Clyde Lobster Mac & Cheese
—Hot Beverage: Belgium’s Chocolate Source Hot Chocolate Stick
—Innovation in Packaging Design or Function: Knipschildt Chocolatier Ensemble Box of Easter Eggs
—Jam, Preserve, Honey or Nut Butter: Beth-el Food, Ltd. Aunt Bertha Apricot Preserves 75% Fresh Fruit
—Meat, Pate or Seafood: Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats-Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
—New Product : South African Consulate General-Rozendal Hibiscus Vinegar
—Non-Food Specialty Item: Source Atlantique, Inc. If You Care 100% Biomass FSC Certified Firelighters
—Oil: Manicaretti Italian Food Imports Olio Verde Extra Virgin Lemon
—Pasta Sauce: Dave’s Gourmet, Inc. Masala Marinara
—Pasta, Rice or Grain: Nuovo Pasta Productions, Ltd. Kidz Mac & Cheez Gol’Fish Ravioli
—Perishable Foodservice Product: Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Bijou
—Pet Product: The Lazy Dog Cookie Co., Inc.-The Original Pup-Pie Happy Birthday
—Product Line: Royal Pacific Foods-The Ginger People
—Salad Dressing: Lucini Italia Co. Delicate Cucumber and Shallot Artisan Vinaigrette
—Shelf-Stable Foodservice Product: FoodMatch, Inc. Dalmatia Fig Spread
—Snack Food: Nutorious Cranberry Orango Tango
—Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili: Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. Linekin Bay Lobster Corn Chowder
—USDA-Approved Organic Product: Truly Organic Baking Bakers Basics Organic Banana Bread Mix
—Vinegar: Lucero Olive Oil Peach Balsamic Vinegar
A record 2,257 products were entered across all categories. This spring, a national panel of specialty food experts narrowed the field to 140 Silver Finalists during five days of judging at NASFT’s headquarters in New York City. Over 200 buyers attending the Summer Fancy Food Show cast ballots to select the Gold winners, and the results were tabulated by an outside accounting firm.
This year's awards were presented by Dan Barber, executive chef of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., at a red-carpet event held during the 56th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.
“A sofi Award means instant visibility and recognition by discerning buyers of specialty food and beverages across the U.S. and around the world,” noted NASFT president Ann Daw. “This year’s winners reflect the spirit of innovation and excellence that are the foundation of the specialty food industry.”