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Fancy that! The specialty food association's 65th summer fancy food show drew thousands to new York City to show off innovative new products and learn about the hottest trends in the food marketplace.

MORE THAN 2,600 EXHIBITORS AND THOUSANDS OF ATTENDEES escaped the New York City heat at the Jacob K. Javits Center, June 25-27, for the Specialty Food Association's (SFA) 65th Summer Fancy Food Show, where Turkey was this year's featured partner country. A whopping 180,000 specialty food products were on display at this year's show, which introduced a stronger buyer-focused registration process and, in turn, delivered more verified business contacts on the show floor.

A new attraction, LevelUP, was also added to the 2017 lineup to showcase global food innovations, industry research and data to help attendees understand consumer habits and trends across multiple purchase channels. The LevelUP attraction also featured a diverse lineup of industry speakers, such as Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert, who moderated a panel discussion among a group of traditional and e-commerce buyers. The lineup also included Chef Francisco Migoya with "Insights from Modernist Bread;" Bertha Jimenez, RISE Products, on "The Resurrection of Food Waste: Brewery to Table Cuisine;" Jon Taffer of Spike TV's Bar Rescue on the "Reality of Small Business Success;" and more.

The sofi Product of the Year award--which generated 3,000 entries across 39 categories --was presented to Anastasia Confections Coconut Cashew Crunch with Chocolate Drizzle. In addition to winning the competition's highest overall honor, Coconut Cashew Crunch also nabbed the Gold sofi in the Sweet Snacks category.

Grocery Headquarters staff had the opportunity to sample some of the exciting and innovative new products on the show floor. Here are some highlights:


Amplify Snack Brands has expanded its line of SkinnyPop better-for-you popcorn with two new flavors that are made with real cheese. The new Aged White Cheddar and Pepper Jack flavors are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher and contain no artificial ingredients or flavors.

"SkinnyPop has the best brand fans around and they're always asking for more ways to enjoy our popcorn," said SkinnyPop brand manager Kyle Banahan. "There's large demand for cheesy popcorn and we saw an opportunity to bring everything our fans love about SkinnyPop to this large and growing segment, this time with a bigger burst of flavor."


Aunt Dottie's All Natural Foods had new products to show off on the floor, including its Greenjoy snackable vegetable bar and three new dressing flavors.

The Greenjoy bars contain two cups of veggies each and are available in three flavors: Beets & Greens; Cacao & Greens; and Pomegranate & Greens.

The Bluffton, S.C.-based company also expanded its dressing line with the launch of its Turmeric Maple, Pumpkinseed Vinaigrette and Orange Poppy Seed dressing flavors.

The algae oil-based salad dressing provides consumers with a way to increase their superfood intake. Combining algae oil with flavorful superfood ingredients, the new dressings appeal to the super health conscious and the better-for-you demographic, company officials say. Like all of Aunt Dottie's products, the dressings are all-natural, made with no added sugars or emulsifiers and are gluten-free.


Blount Fine Foods officials showed off their Noodle and Rice Bowls, which have just launched nationally. The company also sampled its new Organic Oatmeal Cups.

Blount Fine Foods launched the line with four different bowls that cater to different palates and lifestyles, including vegan and glutenfree options. Bowls come ready-to-heat with separately packaged and shelf stable noodles. The initial offerings include: Chicken Ramen Bowl; Hibachi Chicken & Rice Bowl (gluten-free); Coconut Chicken & Noodle Bowl; and Asian-Inspired Vegetable & Rice Bowl (vegan, gluten-free).

"These new bowls represent the confluence of two important and undeniable trends in consumer purchase behavior: broad desire for innovative world flavors and recipes, as well as the ever-growing demand for healthier, easier-to-prepare meals," said Bob Sewall, Fall River, Mass.-based Blount's executive vice president of sales and marketing. "Our consumer research shows younger, health-conscious consumers seek relief from operating at the quick pace of today's world, and they put a premium on options that fit seamlessly with not only their routines, but also their personal tastes and preferences."


Bob's Red Mill introduced two new products for consumers looking for a nutritious breakfast, Paleo Pancake & Waffle Mix and Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix.

"At Bob's Red Mill, we believe that regardless of special dietary needs, every meal should be full of flavor and easy to fit into your day," said Bob Moore, founder, president and CEO of Milwaukee, Wis.-based Bob's Red Mill. "These mixes mean there's no need to compromise when it comes to breakfast--you can have delicious pancakes and still stick to your diet."


Brianna's Fine Salad Dressings showcased its Creamy Cilantro Lime flavor, its most recent addition to the brand's 15-flavor home-style dressing lineup. Creamy Cilantro Lime is vegetarian, free of gluten, nuts, trans fats, MSG and high-fructose corn syrup, and is certified kosher. The latest dressing variety offers a fresh, creamy and zesty flavor that can be used as a salad dressing, barbeque marinade or dip to pair with vegetables, shrimp tacos or even chilled pasta.

"All of us at Brianna's are excited to present this new, distinctive dressing to our friends and fans," said Jeff Sadler, sales and marketing director at Brianna's, based in Branham, Texas. "It's a bright and creamy mix of tart lime and refreshing cilantro. The adventurous foodie will find many unique ways to use our new Brianna's Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing."


CJ's Premium Spices was named a national winner in the 2017 sofi Awards.

The Oconomowoc, Wis.-based company was recognized with a Bronze sofi Award in the Salsa/Dips Category for CJ's Premium Dill Dip Mix.

Each of the company's products contain 11 to 12 US DA Organic ingredients that are metered individually into a single-use packet. This process creates an easy-to-prepare solution for consumers with any level of cooking experience.

"It's an incredible honor to be presented with a sofi award for one of our signature products," said Alan and Laura Swan, owners of CJ's Premium Spices. "We currently sell retail and foodservice sized formats of our spice/herb blend mixes for a superb tasting Dill Dip, Onion Dip and an incredible, consistently delicious, easy to prepare Potato Salad. With this honor, we have the potential to take our current and future products to the next level with reinvigorating the organic dip and spice blend industry."


Deca & Otto displayed its line lineup of Buffalo Mozzarella, Burrata, Dulce de Leche (Milk Caramel Spread) and Greek Yogurt. Products made with water buffalo milk have healthier benefits compared to cow milk, including 30-40 percent less cholesterol, more protein and more calcium, according to company officials.

The company produces natural, authentic buffalo mozzarella and buffalo dairy products made from 100-percent grass-fed buffalo milk. Deca & Otto works with local farmers who have naturally bred water buffalos for generations, located in the Northern Prairies of Colombia. Deca & Otto's production process combines traditional techniques with new technologies, while ensuring the highest standards of quality, safety and social and environmental responsibility.


Dewey's had quite the North Carolina spread at this year's show. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company sampled its new line of Southern-inspired snacks and sweet treats.

The new cookie flavors include Banana Pudding, Caramel Popcorn, Lemon Bar and Pecan Praline, which will hit shelves nationally this fall. The company's cracker line is available now and includes five flavors inspired by traditional Carolina cuisine, including: Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread, baked with cornmeal and smoky chipotle peppers; Low Country Boil, with a unique blend of spices to capture the essence of the classic Charleston gathering; Carolina Style Barbeque; Sharp Aged Cheddar; and Sweet Potato with Cinnamon Brown Sugar.

"Dewey's has been part of the local Winston-Salem, N.C. community for the past 87 years and has had the privilege of offering our customers deliciously sweet and savory treats that reflect the local flavors we love," said Scott Livengood, owner and CEO of Dewey's Bakery. "Our products are baked with care, and our passion is creating moments that bring people together to slow down, celebrate life and enjoy the moment."


Fischer & Wieser sampled its two sofi Award-winning products. Dr. Foo's Kitchen Bali BBQ Sauce--which won a New Product Award in the Barbeque Sauce category--features the spicy-sweet flavors of Thailand and pairs nicely with poultry or shellfish. The sauce is free from MSG and preservatives, and is available for a suggested retail price of $7.99 per 14-ounce jar. The Cherry Balsamic Preserves which won a Silver Award in the Jam, Preserves category--is made of sweet cherries melded with tart, white balsamic vinegar to pair with desserts, cheeses and grilled meats. The product is preservative--and gluten-free, and is available for a suggested retail price of $7.95 per 10-ounce jar.

"We are honored that Dr. Foo's Kitchen Bali BBQ Sauce and Fischer & Weser's Cherry Balsamic Preserves are both sofi Award winners," said Case Fischer, founder and CEO of Fredericksburg, Texas-based Fischer & Wieser. "Our products are created to inspire culinary adventure, and these two are prime examples of the wide range of fresh flavors we bring to the table. It's humbling to see these products get this industry recognition."


Honey Mama's showcased its Nibs & Coffee chocolate bar, winner of the Silver sofi Award in the Sweet Snack category. The refrigerated chocolate treat is made from all-natural ingredients, with a base of cocoa powder, coconut oil, raw local honey and either sprouted almonds or shredded coconut, designed for consumers looking for a healthy, yet indulgent treat with a clean ingredient list.

"We're honored that Honey Mama's has won its first sofi Award," said Christy Goolsby, founder and CEO of Portland, Ore.-based Honey Mama's. "As entrepreneurs, we're always looking for ways to innovate and please our customers. This is one of the ultimate stamps of approval from the specialty food industry, and we're very grateful."


JJ's Sweets, the makers of better-for-you craft sweets and the Original Coconut Milk Caramels, sampled its new Sea Salt Chocolate Covered Cocomel Bites, a sofi Award winner for Best New Vegan Product. Cocomel Bites are non-GMO, gluten-free, USDA Certified Organic and made without dairy. The sweet treat features a creamy coconut milk caramel center covered in chocolate, available in Vanilla and Sea Salt varieties. Cocomels are distributed in Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Kroger, Wegmans and natural and conventional grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $4.99 per 3.5-ounce bag.

"We developed Cocomel Bites because we heard from our customers that they wanted a bite-sized and shareable version of the delicious Cocomel and chocolate combo," said JJ Rademaekers, chief candyman at Boulder, Colo.-based Cocomels. "After years of experimentation, we think we've found the best Cocomel experience in these Cocomels Bites it's the perfect ratio of chocolate to Cocomel."


Michelle Crochet, founder and president of Los Angeles-based Droga Chocolates--maker of Money on Honey, 2016 SOFI winner, and the first line of caramels made from honey--talked about the brand's national distribution with Walgreens, Wegmans and Starbucks.

Money on Honey caramels are sweetened only by pure honey and cane sugar, blended with real cream and butter and finished with Certified Fair Trade dark chocolate with a sprinkling of fine French sea salt.

"We are excited to be exhibiting again at this year's Fancy Food Show in New York with additional distribution at some of the most recognized retailers throughout the country," said Crochet. "Being able to reach consumers across the nation with our delicious and better-for-you caramels in both our signature snack bags and Money on Honey 4-pack has truly been an incredible opportunity and we are looking forward to bringing our product to even more consumers over the next year."

Additionally, a portion of all sales will be donated to Project Apis M., a non-profit organization whose mission is to fund and direct research to enhance the health and vitality of honeybee colonies and improve crop production.


Two-time sofi Award-winning Nona Lim sampled its Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth in a Heat & Sip 10-ounce cup. The product won a Bronze sofi Award in the Savory Appetizer, Soup or Stew category, following Nona Lim's Gold sofi Award for its Thai Curry and Lime Bone Broth in 2015.

"We are proud our bone broth has the most awards for flavor in retail today," said Nona Lim, founder of the Oakland, Calif.-based company. "At Nona Lim, it isn't enough to be healthy. We also want to taste absolutely delicious and we work tirelessly on our recipe development to make health and great taste join hands."

Nona Lim also debuted its Chicken Turmeric Bone Broth, made with goji berries, and showcased its Heat & Sip Cups of Carrot Ginger Vegan Soup and Thai Basil Tomato Soup. The company's Heat & Sip Broth and Soup Cups are free of additives and preservatives, as are its lines of Asian-inspired soups, broths and noodles. The bone broths are simmered for 24 hours to reach full nutritional benefits and flavor, while the veggie soups are made fresh and packed with plant-based nutrition. Each Nona Lim product is made with clean-label ingredients.


In 1989, Pacific Resources International (PRI) was the first to introduce New Zealand Manuka honey to the U.S., and today the Carpinteria, Calif.-based company has a wide range of consciously sourced products. PRI still only works direct with New Zealand bee-keeping families that take pride in producing high-quality products. The company's Pacific Sea Salt continues to be one of the only wind and sun-dried sea salts with no additives and still contains all the natural trace elements. Some new products made an appearance at the show, including Chipotle BBQ Salt, Manuka Honey Sticks and a line of lip balms.


Perky Jerky launched a new line of 100-percent grass-fed beef sticks, which company officials say are a premium option for jerky fans. The Perky Jerky stick line is an on-the-go snack made for Millennials. Made from 100-percent grass-fed beef, Perky Jerky's sticks are 59-percent lower in fat and 36-percent lower in sodium than other options on the market, according to company officials.

"Consumers look for convenient snacks that will fuel their bodies throughout the day without compromising their health," said Brian Levin, CEO and founder of Greenwood, Colo.-based Perky Jerky. "Our new 100-percent grass-fed beef stick product line is all about bringing consumers a product that they can feel confident about eating and also feel good about giving their children to eat. We're excited to offer beef sticks in our signature jerky flavors with clean ingredient lists, providing customers with a new and convenient meat stick in a class of its own. We saw an opportunity to create a 100-percent grass-fed beef stick that's lower in sodium and more flavorful than the legacy sticks on the market."

The 100-percent grass-fed Perky Jerky beef sticks are available in the following flavors: More than Just Original, Tasty Teriyaki, Brewmaster's Pale Ale and Jazmin' Jamaican.


SaltWorks introduced several new Artisan Salt Company products, as well as new bulk and wholesale salt offerings. The Woodinville, Wash.-based company debuted its new pour-spout pouches under the Artisan brand, designed for consumers to easily refill the reusable jars, shakers and grinders that launched earlier this year, as well as a new partner product for its gourmet salt line, whole black peppercorns packaged in a new ceramic grinder.

In addition, SaltWorks displayed its expansive selection of all-natural sea, mineral, smoked and flavored salts, available in a range of packaging options for retail, and introduced an updated deli pre-pack program for grocers designed to help them easily sell the new style of packaging.

"We are thrilled to introduce our new product offerings to retail, grocery and bulk ingredient customers during the Fancy Food Show this June," said Mark Zoske, CEO of SaltWorks. "We had an incredible response to our new Artisan packaging in January, and we're looking forward to hearing what customers have to say this summer."


This year, the Serious Foodie introduced its new line of products using New Zealand's super fruit, the tamarillo. The tamarillo, also known as the "tree tomato," is rich in antioxidants, potassium and vitamins. The products include a Tamarillo Marinade and Tamarillo Vinegar.

After coming across the fruit while traveling in New Zealand, Jim Pachence, president of Serious Foodie, came up with the idea to create products enriched with the tamarillo's unique taste and nutritional qualities.

"We think serious chefs, and the general public, will become enamored with tamarillo once it gets more exposure," said Pachence, who credits his company's alliance with New Zealand-based Tamarillo Cooperative, which he said has "been essential in helping us source the best product."

Serious Foodie's line now includes nine sauces, five spice rubs and the unique tamarillo vinegar.


Simple Mills highlighted its 2-inch round Sprouted Seed Crackers and Crunchy Cookies at this year's show.

Hemp seeds and other simple whole-food ingredients are used to make the grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, paleo-friendly, lower-carb, non-GMO crackers. Simple Mills' newest cracker creations get their goodness in part from a sprouting process that boosts nutrient absorption by removing the outer layer of the seeds that limits vitamin and mineral availability to the body.

Simple Mills' new collection of crunchy cookies contain 25-40 percent less sugar than leading cookie brands, are sweetened with coconut sugar to limit the glycemic impact and are made from other simple whole-food ingredients.


Ridgefield, N.J.-based Toufayan Bakeries displayed its line of Organic Naan, which was first introduced at IDDBA in June. Organic Naan is available in the deli section at retailers nationwide, and comes in two flavors: Original and Garlic. The soft, oven-baked flatbreads are the only USDA Certified Organic Naan on the market today, according to company officials.

"We're excited to offer the first Organic Naan for consumers seeking delicious, healthy baked bread options for their family," said Karen Toufayan, director of marketing at Toufayan Bakeries. "As a family owned business, we savor the ability to be nimble and to provide our retail partners with quality products just when consumers begin to seek them out on the shelf."
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Title Annotation:GHQ: CENTER STORE
Author:Marcarelli, Rebekah; Taylor, Natalie
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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