Twice a year, I spend weeks dieting before the seasonal Fancy Food show, with the anticipation of over-indulging. This winter, I was asked to speak about social media in a session entitled, “How to Train You Twit (erer).” I was pleased with the response from attendees who thanked me for demystifying viral marketing for them. But, I was even more thrilled with all the healthy selections to choose from on the show floor.
Among the aisles of gourmet cheeses, jams and chocolates at the Winter Fancy Food Show, held January 16–18 at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, there were identifiable trends, gems and innovations.
You couldn’t cross an aisle without being offered a health product from Japan, especially a noodle. Two of note were, Ohsawa’s unique crunchy sea Kelp Noodles and NoOodle’s zero-calorie, no-carb yam noodles.
From the Mediterranean, we saw innovative twists on traditional classics like pita turned into breakfast buns from Ozery Bakery; chips made of falafel from Flamous; hummus made of edamame, lentils and white beans from Eat Well Enjoy Life, and flowers made of flat breads by California Lavash.
Of all the cheese tastings I did, the one at Calabro stuck out for me. I could taste the love of the Italian grandmother I never had in their old-fashioned hand-dipped ricotta.
I felt similarly about McClure’s Pickles. Knowing the McClure brothers grew up making those pickles with their family as a hobby made them taste even better.
The most gems came in the form of condiments with peeled almond butter from Barney Butter, pepper jellies from Aloha From Oregon and fruity salsas from Mrs. Renfro’s.
I had the pleasure of tasting finger limes. This is naturally grown citrus caviar, originally from Australia. Faux-caviar in general was a new category on the show floor.
Another clever innovation was WineTime Bars from ResVez. Our PR firm was instrumental in introducing this unique ingredient found in red wine that claims to “reverse it all.” I was pleased to see it in the form of a tasty, healthy, chocolate bar.
Overall, it was great to see the mainstreaming of quinoa with the launch of Urbane Grain and new uses for vegetable with Wild Veggie all-natural soup drinks. There was even a healthier take on liquorish with Natural Vines, a new all-natural licorice option from the makers of the popular Red Vines brand.
To quench my thirst, I kept going back for more of Teatulia’s delightful single-garden direct teas. They were fresh and authentic and have Ayurvedic healing properties. Plus, it’s nice to know that my drinking Teatulia tea is also helping to support a community in the Teatulia region of Bangladesh.
Social responsibility is a growing movement in the food industry and I am not the only one willing to eat and drink delicious ingredients to help local growers, farmers and communities. Product manufactures should keep up the good work and share their stories.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine Online, 2/4/11