If it’s hot, humid and June, it must be the time for the Fancy Food show in the Javits. Sure enough, in June 2013, I arrived at the entrance doing a good imitation of a human puddle. Thankfully, it took no time at all to see my first genuine trend of the day; the second generation of thirst quenchers. They quenched but also set the theme for the days; food and drink that soothe the spirit, the mind and the body.
Forget gourmet sodas, these bevies are so far beyond. Among my top sips were those focused on purity like Spindrift. Their offerings showcase three simple ingredients. Like many of the current drinks that balance health and happiness, they are great for today’s crazed cocktail culture. Spendrift is especially serious about the purity of its pulp and sweetener and, I must say, has a totally trustworthy and charming website to boot. Another contender for superior tipples is Belvoir Fruit Farms. The company culls ingredients from its organic British gardens. The flavor that wowed me was the very romantic sounding elderflower. Love. With a splash of soda or even better, cava, topped with a sprig of mint? Delicious. This is a trend to support. After all, who wants to sour that farm-to-mouth sandwich with high-fructose corn syrup?
Following the trend for food and drink that borders on medicine is the blossoming in vinegar. I’m a true believer in Bragg’s. I’m on board with the raw cider vinegar as a home remedy for anything from clearing sinus infections, settling stomach bugs, clearing my skin or just giving me energy. I am thoroughly hooked on my daily dose. But after all of these years as an underground secret, I see that they’ve got some competition as vinegar leaps from the dressing and into the mainstream.
Two smart companies out of Portland, OR, have banked on vinegar and there’s more coming. Pok Pok Som makes "drinking vinegars" known as shrubs in honey, tamarind, apple and pomegranate flavors. Genki Su meaning energetic vinegar and that company is using coconut vinegar as a base. Like Bragg, the company is positioning itself as big on health and bringing a Japanese point of view, with flavorings like shiso and ginger. Watch this category to take off by the next two Fancy Food shows, as food and medicine come closer together.
Did someone say food and medicine? Kale. I love the power-packed mega vegetable whether in salad, baked or in juice, but as a refreshing snack, that I could not have seen coming. Green Wave Smoothie Pops delivers vegetable power in frozen treats. Wild and crazy, yes, but delicious too. And what’s more, they pack all the nutrition in a pop holding 40-60 calories and no sugar added. The ice trend, like LifeIce, was especially a great one to find on a sweaty day. These are luscious cubes of flavor, like mini-popsicles with only 30 calories or so and no bad stuff in them. They’re brilliant, refreshing and while not quite medicine, will make you feel fantastic.
Another food vying for healthy snack status is hummus. Don’t think this is old news. The Eat Well Enjoy Life brand is giving the category and positioning new life, rebranding the snack to include legumes of all kinds with show-stopping flavor. The category is crowded but these stood out like crazy they’ve even convinced me that pairing it with wine is brilliant. Red Lentil Chipotle with a young Rioja? So much for hummus being an impossible pairing. Hummus is one of those indulgences that are really good for you, we know that. Is the world ready to accept caviar in the same way? Get ready for launching the concept of a spoon of eggs in the morning for a days worth of brain power. Honestly cod-liver oil never tasted this good. I was super impressed by the vast offerings and quality of Paramount Caviar. Their eggs had the snap and the power that make a difference. And what’s more, they pack a whollop of vitamin A & D, omega 3s, potassium and magnesium.
But when it comes down to it, with all the trends and the tastes, at the end of the show, my favorite morsel of the show was a sliver of the perfectly ripe, creamy, acid balanced mango from Melissa’s Produce. The girl can pick a fruit, and that’s a trend that will always be super healthy and stylish.
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, 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 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.
Posted in WholeFoods Magazine, July 16, 2013