In late June, 7 of us made our annual pilgrimage to the NYC Fancy Food show. That’s Ignite2X account management, creative and content teams converging in one place to discover the entire universe of artisanal, gourmet, and fancy foods. We ate cheese, sipped all kinds of tasting experiences (from sparkling beverages to olive oils), and sampled every imaginable premium snack and indulgence. Our stomachs have forgiven us, and we are ready to share of a few of the things that really delighted us this year.
International Premium Beverages
Some beverages are designed for hydration, and others are meant to be savored. At this year’s Fancy Food Show, we were most blown away by the international beverage brands leading the charge in premium sodas, mocktails, and waters. These international brands are different, have fun gourmet flavors, and are a true brand experience. Can brands like Lornia with their elegant Parisian flair or Bionade with their German craftsmanship breakthrough in the U.S.? Velle Min bottles alone turn serving water to friends and family into a festive experience. With artisan brands growing exponentially faster than the market and Millennials looking for new grown up brand experiences, the trends are on their side.
We’ve all had frozen pizza that was less pizza, and more convenience. But you have never had frozen pizza like this—seriously. When it’s handcrafted from Napoli and tastes like it came out of your home kitchen, it’s time to ditch the old and get with the new. If you can’t take the time to go to Italy or make your own Damascus bakery pizza, we recommend Talia di Napoli frozen pizza. It’s new, so you’ll have to look for it and buy it in volume, once you discover it at a store near you. As the old pizza box says, you’ve tried the rest (and we have); now try the best at home.
Keep it Simple
It’s back to basics for today’s “free from” consumers. That’s It Fruit creates bars with fruit in it (No really, that’s it. You won’t find any more ingredients on the label). Pomi and Mutti tomato sauces have just one ingredient—really out of this world tomatoes. The trend is growing as consumers are becoming more educated about what goes into their foods, which in turn, goes into their mouths. Several brands are focusing on organic and ethically sourced ingredients. Are you missing the BHT, Monosodium Glutamine or Dextrose yet? We didn’t think so.
Brands on a Mission
While not a new trend, who doesn’t want to feel a part of something bigger? Happi Foodi is a brand on a mission to make the world a better place one meal at a time. The company creates and uses its restaurant quality frozen meals to fuel its mission to transform lives and eliminate food insecurity through urban agriculture. But they aren’t the only ones. Lotus Foods is focused on changing the way the world grows rice and conserving water, all while making sure the farmers’ lives are just as good as the product they grow.
There is no such thing as too convenient
Baking is in the eye of the beholder. To fewer and fewer, it’s scratch baking. If you think slice and bake cookies are already convenient, we have hot news for you. King Arthur Flour has developed cookie and brownie mixes in a single serving cup. Just add a teaspoon of water, mix, and microwave for 30 seconds. It’s not only convenient but has portion control built right into the product. Whew! Just what we needed.
All of these brands at the Fancy Food Show have their eye on the prize—meeting the changing consumer’s needs. As consumers’ tastes and preferences for healthy, yet innovative, foods grow, the artisanal food market is thriving. Consumers are now willing to pay premium prices for products of higher quality, value, and that offer a unique experience. If you’re one of these brands in this growing niche space, keep going. And more importantly, keep listening to what consumers are truly asking for.