Protein, on-the-go packaging, and high-end ancestral ingredients were the breakout stars of the Summer Fancy Food Show.
The Innovation Group recently attended New York’s Summer Fancy Food Show, hosted by the Specialty Food Association. From the international to the hyperlocal, top specialty food vendors were on hand to display the latest products and trends. We’ve rounded up a few of the most notable.
Protein is not just for the elite athlete anymore. As more consumers tap into fitness trends like CrossFit and athleisure wear, a slew of brands are positioning themselves with protein options for the modern, health-conscious consumer who may not necessarily live at the gym.
“Our market is a lot broader than the traditional protein market,” explained an Iconic Protein vendor. “You don’t have to be working out seven days a week to need protein and to need a pick-me-up during the day. It’s more for people than for just bodybuilders.”
Iconic Protein offers protein drinks geared toward the busy, modern consumer, with flavors like Chocolate Truffle and high-end ingredients like grass-fed protein. Similarly, RXBAR touts simple recipes with gluten- and soy-free ingredients like egg whites in sleek, modern packaging.
“We started in the CrossFit community and wanted to create a bar that worked well in that space,” said an RXBAR representative. “We’re extended beyond that to the everyday fit person who wants transparency in ingredients and doesn’t want to think twice about what they’re putting in their body.
Broth to go
One of the hottest food trends of 2015, bone broth quickly became a culinary fad with legendary health benefits. Chefs like NYC’s Marco Canora were eager to show their take on an old standby. “It’s literally been around for 30,000 years — [the practice of] utilizing bones to make broth,” Canora told amNY.
But for consumers wishing to create their own version, it doesn’t come easy. An essential component of bone broth is time: It can take up to 20 hours of simmering to release essential vitamins from the bone marrow.
In 2016, the trend has been repurposed for an on-the-go lifestyle. Protein company Epic recently launched a ready-to-heat broth that works as a soup base or a standalone drink, while nona lim offers prepackaged broth in exotic flavors like Thai curry. Bone broth’s repackaging marks a trend toward convenience and ease, even among the most labor-intensive options.
The new vegan
Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about the risks caused by commercial farming practices. The latest enviro-cause? Bees.
Enter bee free honee, a vegan, apple-based honey alternative that aims to disrupt the commercial beekeeping industry. “Nothing about the bee life is natural anymore,” founder Katie Sanchez told the Huffington Post.
According to research collective Bee Informed, beekeepers in the United States lost 44% of their colonies during the year ending in April. Even as interest in natural alternatives to sugar rises, so too does awareness of the global collapse of the bee population. (Even Honey Nut Cheerios joined the movement with a “#BringBackTheBees” campaign).
In our Food + Drink trend report, we highlighted the “New Omnivores”—millennial eaters with an evolved outlook on sustainable meat and meat-free products. As sustainable foods continue to proliferate, look for even more vegan-friendly alternatives in the future.
Lard is the latest ancestral ingredient to enjoy a renaissance. An American staple until the invention of vegetable shortening, the rendered animal fat is fairly popular among chefs and is now working its way back into the kitchen.
Epic’s newest line includes beef tallow, pork lard and duck fat in user-friendly containers. Lard has also popped up as a savory alternative to oil in Paleo-friendly recipes like Siete’s cassava and coconut tortillas. As a Siete representative told the Innovation Group, pork lard is “high in vitamin D and good for the consumer. So grain-free and Paleo eaters really enjoy it.”
While the debate around the health benefits of fat is ongoing, lard also taps into consumer concern around sustainability. Packaging lard allows meat companies to limit waste and “use more of the whole animal,” according to Epic’s website.
The Innovation Group predicts: Swavory
Our trend report The Future 100 highlighted “swavory” foods as a trend to watch in 2016. These foods that straddle the line between sweet and savory were featured in several new items at the food show as consumers become more adventurous. Delighted By’s dessert hummus blends chickpeas with cookie flavors, while Stonewall Kitchen scored a hit with its latest chili bacon jam.
Yogurt brand Sohha recently added an ayran drink to its line of savory yogurts. The Turkish beverage is a cold yogurt drink mixed with salt. “It has more sea salt than other drinks, because you sweat a lot in the summer,” explained a Sohha rep. “You want something refreshing that has protein but that’s not sweet.”