Hunting for trends during a food show is a daunting task, if ever possible. Trends are, after all, never 100 percent objective and depend on the particular features of the show attended. After spending three entire days on the floors and aisles of the Winter Fancy Food in San Francisco tasting food from nearly all over the world, here are my five top observations on products or trends that I modestly witnessed. All personal.
"New Age" Bars
We have had protein bars, raw bars and gluten free bars. But here comes the salty bar: I embraced the savory Journey Bar, which, as its subtitle says, is "miles from ordinary." For more savory days, it comes in five distinctive flavors including the parmesan romano, rosemary, hickory barbecue, pizza marinara and coconut curry. I also happily discovered the innovative chickpea bar made with dark chocolate. This is courtesy of The Good Bean, the food company that will place chickpeas in our lives. Other varieties include the Apricot Coconut and the Fruit & Seeds trail mix.
Grown up, high end seasonings
From J & D's bacon rub to the Hawaiian black lava sea salt from the Spice Lab to the new umami 5 powder for seasonings, our palate seems to be a real grown up on the lookout for exclusive taste, flavor and color.
So far we've had coconut water. During the show, I found coconut in the form of coconut oil from Kelapo, coconut jam from Hey Boo and coconut pudding mix from Noh Foods of Hawaii. The coconut tea from Tea Forté is a reality and so coconut has become a part of our kitchen pantry. And don't forget the new coconut water from Harvest Bay!
It's no longer a simple chocolate bar, pralines or truffles. You can now try the flax seed chocolate bars from Newtree, dark chocolate blended with gluten free energy bars from NuGo Slim, or with gluten free cookies like the double chocolate chip love cookies from Mary's Gone Crackers. It tastes good, too...
Drink your alcohol
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