I may be imagining it, but it seems like the normal food section of the Fancy Food Show (NASFT) is getting smaller and the start up companies, new products section is getting bigger! It used to be just the 200 row with the new products on the market but now they have the special new products/hot products room AND most of the North Hall at the Moscone center dedicated to new exciting products!
As a food scientist I look for technologically exciting foods- weird imports, unique flavors, special packaging— anything that makes me think about the way it was processed is exciting to me! I also want to see the latest healthy ingredients to replace last years healthy ingredients so we can all get in our fiber, protein and good fats in the proper ratios in the right beverage delivery medium.
So here it goes—my favorite weird products at the Fancy Food Show! Starting with my most curious-I am completely intrigued by a chocolate filled intact egg shell confection called “Real Egg Shell”. This product is NOT new, it’s been around awhile but I couldn’t help but ponder what goes down in that manufacturing facility. I am sure they have to steam clean out the eggshells in a very gentle way (but yet strong enough to kill off any salmonella!) and then fill it with chocolate, put little stickers over the hole (so chocolate doesn’t seep out)- and decorate it. Then they sell this for fairly cheap- like around $4 or $5 dollars! I want to tour this facility – it’s a food scientist dream plant, Willie Wonka meets the USDA!
I saw water that is naturally alkaline to a pH of 8.8 (the sales rep explained to me that above 7 is basic and below is acidic.. so glad he cleared that up!) – Now I am no water expert but I always figured water with a pH of 7 is fine- but from now on, its above 7 water for me only!!!
I got to taste Bucha– a natural Kombucha beverage with live Kombucha cultures. What made this particular sparkling Kombucha different from the many others is it actually tasted really good and didn’t have that harsh vinegar taste. Filled with living probiotics, it could actually be beneficial if you drank it every single day , which I probably won’t unless a truck load of it accidently falls in front of my house.
Lastly- sprouted is hot—sprouted almonds are so 3 years ago, now you can get sprouted watermelon seed and sprouted sesame seeds– both are higher in protein than the un-sprouted versions. The sprouted watermelon seeds are new- I can’t even find it on their website yet!
Other hot trends that I saw and heard about include— Gluten free (of course), lots and lots of seasoned popcorn, lots of half popped kernels (Half Pops, Pop Kerns and my favorite, Qancha—a lightly toasted Peruvian corn nut).
My least favorite product this year was a sugar free cookie made with Erythritol- it tasted great but caused all the usual sugar alcohol symptoms that one can expect. The company said that Erythritol causes LESS gastro distress than sorbitol and other sugar alcohols but I don’t believe it!