Summer Fancy Foods Show Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple

Posted June 21, 2022 by Alyssa Stahr

The Specialty Foods Association (SFA) Summer Fancy Food Show culminated in an international meeting of the minds — and taste buds — at New York City’s Javits Center. If one show can define where the industry is evolving and the abundance of opportunities in the specialty food market, this was it. 

The show floor served up a unique space to not only taste test the highly-competitive plant-based foods hitting store shelves, but to also talk shop. What are my competitors doing? What trends are consumers drawn to? And, piggybacking off a major theme of Sweets & Snacks Expo just a few short weeks previously, who can I partner with to blend a familiar hero ingredient or product with something new?

Of course plant-based foods were everywhere on the show floor, and yours truly was blown away by the “thing” that product developers are finally getting right: taste. I tried a vegan, no-dairy, plant-based grilled cheese with pesto that blew me away. And the breaded plant-based chicken strips had everyone talking about how chickpeas can substitute for something that delicious. Speaking of chickpeas …

The Four C’s: Chickpeas, Coconut, Cauliflower and Cheese

Wow! If you didn’t find a cheese for you in the Deli area on the show floor, you were truly out of luck. Cheese dominated the upstairs space, thanks in part to the SFA’s Sofi Awards’ subcategory of dairy foods. Coconut was also a theme of the show, from coconut chips to coconut waters, it’s definitely an ingredient that’s trending. Cauliflower also continues to be a hot ingredient, evidenced in a mouthwatering cauliflower crust pizza that I taste tested fresh out of the oven.

Functional Waters Float My Boat

The new life vest for RTD waters is functionality. I waded through the Beverage Pavilion, eyeing waters sourced from real fruit, waters infused with cold remedy ingredients, a booth that simply encouraged us to “drink more water” a craft brewed sparkling water with hops (putting the fun in functionality if you ask me) and even a water from Deep Love that asked us, “Ever wondered what love tastes like?” I tasted this one, and if Prince Charming comes along, mark this up as a functional water for the ages.

Need a Gift? Try a Kit 

Gifting as a snacking occasion was a huge theme at Sweets & Snacks, and it continued on at Fancy Foods in a big way. I spied a Doughnut Tasting Kit, DIY Cookie Kits and one of the Sofi Awards’ Best New Products in the Dessert Toppings category: Sunday Night’s Dark + Decadent Chocolate Premium Dessert Sauce. Sunday Night sauce is not only marketed as an occasion sauce that is better for you (no corn syrup, preservatives or palm oil) but they can be transformed into cakes, pies, puddings and frostings by adding other ingredients. It’s a product that truly is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Were you at this year’s Summer Fancy Foods Show? We’d love to hear what product out of the thousands made your favorites list! Email to let us know or tag us on social!

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