Can you imagine 840,000 square feet of food?
No, neither can the Accidental Locavore, even though I was part of it.
That was the recent Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.
It made me glad to be just a casual observer, rather than a food retailer or someone who needed to really shop the show for business. Think about working your way through 180,000 products — in three days, that’s 60,000 a day!
Sensory overload went into effect after about five minutes and my objectives for the show — find local vendors for future pieces, identify potential clients for my consulting business and do some market research for a client — totally went out the window.
But what you want to know is what’s going to show up in the stores. Here are a few of the trends I noticed at the Fancy Food Show:
- Chips: Made out of anything that can be flattened and fried or baked. Pumpkin, risotto, kale (old news), coconut. Flavors from savory to sweet, some of them more successful than others. Surprisingly Parmesan/garlic risotto chips made me run for something to take the nasty taste out of my mouth (Bulgarian feta worked very nicely).
- Coconut: Probably the kale of 2016. Many different types of oils. More varieties of coconut water and other drinks all in about a thousand flavors. Yogurt made from coconut milk. Chips (see above). Just imagine all the things people have tried to put kale into and substitute coconut…
- Coffee: Fair trade, local blends, local roasters. Hot, iced, cold brew. Recyclable pods. Composting pods. Flavors. DIY roasting, cold brew etc. kits. At least half of the incubator companies were coffee related. And although tea is supposed to be a contender, there was very little of it that I saw.
There was a huge area representing Italy and pastas in all shapes and colors. Like rice noodles from Taiwan, not sure how you tasted them to figure out what was what.
Other countries at the Fancy Food Show included places like Latvia who had a surprisingly large area (lots of fish and dairy products, if you were wondering). I don’t know if I was projecting, but the aisles along the United Kingdom’s booths seemed eerily quiet. Sad, if you had spent the money to come and exhibit and end up not knowing what future trade rules look like.
The most beautiful food there was a version of a Middle Eastern date bar, but by that point too tired to taste, photograph, or even get a card.