Highlights from the 2019 Fancy Food Show
The return of taste, new ways to experience food in‑home and a thriving Incubator village.
NEWS - Jun 26, 2019
For the past three days, our team has been scouting the Summer Fancy Food Show in quest of the hottest new foods. It was held at the Javits Center, in the booming Hudson Yards neighborhood, which has become a focal point for all things trending, from architecture to retail to.. well, food. Here's what went down.
Taste is back
Taste came back from a guilt trip, after having been eclipsed by competing claims of clean-eating. The dessert category has made room for unapologetic propositions, made with the richest ingredients for a genuinely indulgent brand promise. Frozen custard was at the center stage, as seen with classic Milwaukee dessert shop Gilles, vowing to build layers of intense and bold flavors by adding egg yolk to the ice cream mix.
The superfood trend has also penetrated the indulgence proposition, moving away from the all-too expected “light” category. Sweet Tahini integrates the infamous chickpea oil into bold treats, and MudLrk takes their shiitake proposition to the next level: an explosion of flavors, a proudly bold snack. These ingredients are not simply made for savvy nutrition gurus, they are the proof that natural foods are game for everyone's taste buds, and can live outside of the health claims universe. Clean nutrition is still very much part of this narrative, but it is now taken for granted.
Don't eat it, experience it
On the other hand, the experience around food rituals is also given increasing attention. For some, it’s encouraging the audience to experiment, play with how food can be served to create a genuine moment of creativity (see Cypress Grove’s recommendations and “brulée” cheese). Making more out of the product than it already is creates experiences worthy of sharing online, a major concern common to millennials, Gen X and Z alike. For bottled craft cocktail manufacturer Straightaway, it means extending the bar look and feel to your in-home cocktail game, with an identity inspired by classic mixology cues. Experience makes the exceptional reachable and elevates the product itself.
Grated cheese brand Cello brings premium to another level by turning its products into a noble art form, a symphony. A melody is associated to each type of cheese to create a multi-sensorial experience, creating an exceptional tasting ritual.
A tradition of the Fancy Food Show, the Incubator Village hosted a panel of inspiring, innovative unique brands. These are housed under the mentorship of powerful mainstream brands such as Chobani along with local ones fighting a social fight like Hot Bread Kitchen. For brands to take on such disruptive products under their wing shows their commitment to creativity and experimentation outside of their food specialty.
Overall, the “incubees” were brands blending traditional storytelling with modern claims from contemporary insights. For example, Cocina54 has developed an authentic Latin identity with their empanadas that also constitute a high source of protein and are made from scratch. Brittle and Beyond has taken on the “small-batch” trend in an old-school apothecary way with their with their coconut oil-based snacks. From a packaging design standpoint, this extravagant visual trend is gaining ground on more minimalistic and blunt approaches to transparency in ingredients.
Product Spotlight: Cafello
It’s as if we found the perfect love child of coffee and cola. Surprisingly delicious with a double kick!
This year’s show demonstrated that with small brands breaking down barriers of traditional challenges such as clean diets, indulgence and convenience, mainstream ones very much have an opportunity to lead change and assert themselves as icons.
Authored by Strategist Chloe Rinaldi