Yes, plant-based foods were everywhere at the Winter Fancy Food Show this year, as you can read all about here, but the desire to eat more plants was by no means the only prevalent food trend we noticed whilst scouring the aisles for new and interesting products. Here are a few of the categories and themes that were being driven by, as well as shaping, product innovation on the show floor.
New ways with coffee
There’s no doubt that Americans love their coffee, but now they can have their coffee and eat it too. This was the idea embodied by Pocket Latte, a line of (very cute) “ready-to-eat coffee” bars that come in four flavors—the original Dark Roast and Cream + Sugar, and the new Hazelnut and Lavender Vanilla. Each small square is equivalent to a cup of strong coffee (130-150 mg of natural caffeine) and has a creamy, cocoa-butter base.
For another take on coffee, Sweet Nothings’ coffee-infused, plant-based frozen dessert paired coffee with bananas, cashews, chia, flax and dates, offering a slightly sweet, frozen coffee treat with added superfood benefits. Additionally, with its new 8-ounced cans of single origin coffee, USDA Organic Blue Bottle Coffee is the perfect size for coffee drinkers like me who want a plain, solid coffee to go in a manageable size.
Another worthy concept is that of the Vietnamese coffee from Copper Cow Coffee—with new flavors Churro Latte and Lavender Latte—whose pour over set offers a single-serve coffee option that is part compostable and part recyclable—a much better option than single-serve pods. Kuju Coffee has a similar, single-source coffee product and donates 1% of sales to the National Park Foundation.
As the health and wellness benefits of sobriety continue to drive both occasional drinkers and abstainers to seek interesting non-alcoholic options, brands are responding with products that are not only delicious, but often offer additional health benefits. The world of shrubs is great in this regard, as these vinegar-based fermented drinks can provide the benefits of vinegar along with gut-friendly probiotics. Anna’s Kitchen Shrubs positions its line of USDA Organic shrubs as both cocktail mixers and “drinking vinegars,” touting interesting flavor combos such as Peach Jalapeño, Cranberry Mint and Banana Turmeric. Of course any benefits depend on the amount consumed.
Crafted Brand Co. added a Meyer Lemon variety to its line of concentrated, agave-sweetened shrubs, along with a Sparkling Drinking Vinegar RTD version of the same. And a new brand called Tarta launched a line of three balsamic vinegar infused spritzers—not exactly shrubs, but interesting, nonetheless. And though not technically a shrub either, the refreshingly tangy concentrated Yuzu drink with apple cider vinegar from Kuze Fuku & Sons was another standout product.
In terms of other nonalcoholic options, a particular highlight were the sugar- and carb-free nonalcoholic craft beers from Surreal Brewing Co.
As an increasing number of consumers seek environmentally and socially responsible products, more brands are making sustainability a part of their storytelling and core identity. It was great to walk the show floor and hear these stories directly from brands. Upcycling was a particularly hot topic.
Riff makes its Alter Ego beverages by brewing the upcycled (cascara) fruit from coffee plants, which lend an earthy, pleasant flavor. Ziba Foods Sweet Apricot Kernels are sourced from Afghanistan and, along with the company’s other products, are produced by small farmers and almost entirely processed by women. The Avocado Leaf Tea Co. has been brewing up a unique line of teas made with the upcycled (and healthy!) leaves from avocado trees on their California farm.
Of particular note is the work that Planetarians is doing to upcycle defatted sunflower seeds, the byproduct of sunflower oil extraction, into sunflower protein concentrate and sunflower flour —versatile products that more and more companies are catching onto thanks to this ingredient tech company.
Also, a special shout out to LivBar, an ultra-clean superfood bar that has a compostable wrapper! Yep, you heard us right! This is definitely something we hope to see more of in the future.
Women’s health and beauty
Some things we always take note of are new and exciting functional foods and beverages. Who wouldn’t want to get added health benefits from what they eat (as long as it’s delicious)? This year, it was inspiring to see a variety of products targeting women’s health and wellness.
Canadian company The Lactation Cookie Co launched a line of three lactation cookies (original, gluten free and vegan) in support of breastfeeding moms. GoLive presented its new pro- and prebiotic supplement mix targeted specifically at women’s health needs and including things like cranberry fruit extract. And we loved being reminded about Flying Bird Botanicals Mama’s Pregnancy Tea and Mama’s Gift herbal tea supplements while sipping on the brand’s new drinking chocolates—a welcome break for our mental health.
In terms of beauty, collagen-infused products like Glow Collagen Infused Water and Harmony Proteins collagen powders both promise to improve the appearance of skin and nails, among other things. And the Simplified Superfoods packets of smoothie-ready ingredients that include grass-fed collagen, chia seeds, hemp hearts and flax are fantastic, without the addition of sugars or sweeteners of any kind.
In need of rejuvenation after a long day at the show, we felt refreshed after spending some time at The Republic of Tea booth sampling the various Clean Beauty Beautifying Botanicals teas, including the new Berry Aloe Tea with sea buckthorn berry, aloe vera, hibiscus flower, rose hip and milk thistle.