A shop around the New York Gift Show August 14–16 with my trend-spotting eye revealed that everyday items are being package as gifts. And, it’s not the holiday fruitcake any longer.
“People are willing to pay more for quality products, particularly for items that really stand out, especially chocolates and pastas,” said Win Hames of Northeast Specialty Foods. They are looking for premium food products that can be presented as personalized gifts to friends, associates and even family members.
Exotic tea is a great example. Teatulia’s teas come from a single-garden in Bangladesh and are a best-selling gift item at Harrod’s new pantry section.
People have been turning to Europe for new products for years. Now though, there is a new influx of Middle Eastern and Latin flavors. With the products available at the gift show, people can eat global while shopping local.
Global availability is perfectly demonstrated by first-time exhibitor, Mymoune Pomegranate Molasses, the Middle Eastern equivalent of a balsamic glaze used as a dip, dressing or sauce. It adds a rich, sweet flavor to a wide variety of foods.
According to specialty food consultant Janice H. Grover, interest in pomegranate has continued to increase and not merely because of its fantastic antioxidant benefits. There has not been a truly authentic artisan product available outside of the ethnic channels of distribution. Mymoune Rose Syrup is another unique culinary product made from rose petals and a classic ingredient in local and ethnic cooking recipes.
“There is a movement toward BYO [bring your own]," said Mary Walser, People Towels, makers of reusable hand towels. BYO products can include towels as well as cutlery, bags and more.
Another trend emerging on the show floor was savory as the new sweet, including wine pairing with specialty cookies. In fact, the most impressive gift in this hot new category was savory snacks from Cookies & Corks, cleverly concocted cookies to pair with wines.
As Americans become increasingly “epicurious,” natural and gourmet products will continue to wrap themselves in the ever-expanding and now trendy gift category.
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health nut, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 20 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at email@example.com. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.
Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, August 26, 2011