The NY Fancy Food Show was PACKED this weekend. I had to push my way through the rows and aisles to get to the food-and had to fight a crowd of hungry attendees to get a sliver of the award winning American Artisan English cheddar cheese from Fiscalini. All the usual players were in town, the gourmet popcorn, the beautiful chocolates, olive oil from every country, the foreign pavilions and all the cutsey mom and pop companies making various culinary kits. There were chefs, food scientists, culinologists , and of course the usual slew of non food industry people that managed to trick NASFT into letting them register, even though they have nothing to do with the biz! I saw amazing products this year at the
As a food scientist I was especially interested in companies that have caught on to the fact that one can successfully sell industrial ingredients directly to consumers –if marketed correctly. For example, I tried this product called True Lemon that is basically cold pressed crystallized citrus packed into tiny 0.8 gram packs (also sold in bulk 80 gram jars) with a little bit of citric acid, bulking agent dextrose and citrus oils packed in. WOW-Its totally natural, has no calories, no sodium, and comes in lime, orange and lemon. Finally all you food scientists out there can stop raiding the lab supply cabinet for citric acid, citrus oleoresins and dehydrated lemon powder-true lemon has created a bare bones rather basic “flavor” that you can buy. Nielson Massey is another company that has caught on, making their industrial vanilla powder available to the retail market in 2.5 oz jars. Vanilla powder is no big deal to food scientists and manufacturers who see it as a way to save money (not shipping water) and maintain product color (liquid vanilla is dark brown can affect final color of a product) but for a non industry home cook-it’s a fun and novel concept.
An added benefit to these ‘industrial ingredients gone retail” is it brings the retail buyer closer to our world, our secret world that normally scares or confuses them is now becoming a bit clearer with the introduction of these ingredients into the retail marketplace. ANYONE can be a food scientist now with their own dehydrated flavors and citric acid on hand! Maybe now when my non food industry friends start asking me what “oleoresins” are or trying to understand what all those scary ingredients like maltodextrin and citric acid are-I can use basic products like True lemon and vanilla powder to educate them on these matters!
Stay tuned for more Fancy food show coverage including a list of American (who needs cheese from France and Italy when we have great stuff right here at home-in California, Upstate New York and Vermont-lets lower our carbon footprint and support our local farms.. let’s all do our part!) artisanal cheese, natural raw honey (don’t feed to infants ever!) and a few mentions of Serbian jam products that are made with fruits grown in the mountainous regions of Serbia and cooked on wood burning stoves.