My FitBit was pumping as I entered the Jacob Javits Center in New York City for my foodie adventure at the 2018 Fancy Food Show last month. Would I hit 10,000 steps by the end of the day? I had 365,000 square feet to capture with 2,400+ exhibiting companies. Better yet, would I burn off the calories I was about to consume on all the chocolates, cheeses, beverages, snacks, desserts and other delicacies from around the world?
What Are the Food Trends?
As a long-time foodie, I enjoy going to the Fancy Food Show each summer. It's fun to see the trends and flavors unfold and sample what's new.
According to the Specialty Food Association's (SFA's) annual research, trends this year include:
Sparkling and functional beverages along with cocktail mixers
Cauliflower (I talked about cauliflower being popular in cookbooks, too.)
African flavors and foods from the Philippines (Filipino cuisine is being added to more restaurant menus.)
Sustainability and upcycled products with ingredients that would otherwise go to waste
Tea infusions with tea varieties being used in ingredients
Functional foods, such as cannabis cuisine (this was a popular topic with new books, too), collagen-infused foods and foods with hidden or unexpected fruits and veggies
Are Baby Boomers Big Foodies?
This year's SFA research showed that baby boomers are not foodies as much as their millennial kids. They aren't as inclined to order food online and have a below average purchase of specialty foods. However, boomers do cook from scratch and like to use seasonal foods. They are interested in all-natural, organic and plant-based foods. And boomers read nutritional labels and desire quality ingredients.
Janice Anne Wheeler from Secret Spice Remedy is a post-50 woman who created her own superfood spice blend.
Let's Sample the Products
I think the best way to introduce you to some of the trends is to share the food products I tasted. I didn't sample from every booth—it's way too much food to consume. I did make my way around the entire show and did an extensive amount of good eating.
Savannah Bee Company sells honey in honeycomb hand cut from the hive. It makes a nice presentation on a buffet.
I was overwhelmed by the number of food products related to health and wellness. Equally so were all the decadent foods for those times one wants to indulge. As I nibbled and noshed my way around the show, I kept reminding myself that it's all about balance, variety and moderation, the nutritional guidelines I learned when I was younger.
Peekaboo Ice Cream contains veggies! It was one of the busiest booths at the show.
If you want to purchase any of these products, ask at your local supermarket. If they don't have the specific product, check with Whole Foods or go on Amazon and see if they sell it. Often when I asked providers where I could find their products, they said "Amazon" or their company's website.
These Something Good to Eat vegetable soups with glass packaging attracted my eye.
Drink Up and Have a Cocktail, Too
According to SFA research, beverages are growing faster than food categories. SFA says that functional beverage sales are up as people are also drinking for health and beauty.
Sparkling beverages, apple cider vinegar drinks and kombucha were popular.
Here are some highlights:
Evy Cold Brew Tea by Evy Chen is the first cold-brew tea company in the U.S.
Fire Cider Apple Cider Vinegar Tonics will make your mouth pucker. Apple cider vinegar is supposed to be good for digestion and a whole lot more. (Personally, I'd rather make a salad dressing with it than drink it.)
Natural Fruit Juices like Retreat Tropics are tropical fruit juices direct from family-owned orchards located in the famous Chanthaburi province of Thailand. Similar to a smoothie, these freshly-squeezed juices provide added vitamin C and are associated with antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
For those who like to throw cocktail parties, these mixers only require some spirits.
Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer are made with real ginger; so is Annie's Ginger Elixir made by Brooklyn's Annie Bassin, a post-50 woman. She says to consume the Elixir at the first sign of a cold, cough, sniffle or body ache—or just drink because it tastes good.
Annie Bassin makes Ginger Elixir in Brooklyn.
Cocktail mixers are trending. Gus Grown-Up Soda offers a 7-ounce bottle mixer that can be consumed as a nonalcoholic cocktail or poured into a glass with 1 to 2 ounces of liquor for a tasty cocktail. It comes in Mojito, Moscow Mule, Tonic Lime and Sparkling Cosmo varieties. Bittermilk Handcrafted Cocktail Mixers are all-natural, balanced cocktail mixers to make unique drinks like Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt and Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour.
Tumeric's medicinal properties can be found in varieties of The Republic of Tea mixed with matcha, ginger or cinnamon, and in Twinings Soothe tea, blended with benefits to support healthy digestion. Twinings is introducing a new line of herbal teas: Energize with matcha (which contains caffeine) to energize the body and mind; Renew with lemon and ginger for healthy balance from within; and Support with lime and ginger to promote a healthy immune system. (Note: Twinings Tea varieties may not be available until later in the year.)
Cold brew and hot herbal teas made with ingredients like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and lavender provide medicinal benefits.
It's All Free—Gluten-Free, Allergy-Free, Lactose-Free
I've noticed more gluten free products in my supermarket each week. The gluten-free category is booming. More than just gluten-free, now there are other allergy-free products and foods to support different diets. I sampled:
Gluten-free snacks, baked goods, pasta, flours, granola and ethnic frozen foods: Cup4Cup baking mixes and flours developed by chefs of Thomas Keller's The French Laundry; OLO's organic chickpea pasta with 20 grams protein and 11 grams fiber per 3.5 oz serving (note: OLO also makes a chickpea polenta with more plant-based protein and healthy fiber); feel good foods' frozen potstickers, egg rolls, taquitos and empanadas; Victory Dance Foods' Garden Granola made with fresh organic beetroot, ginger, lemon and apples (this granola won an award from SFFS); al dente gluten-free pasta made with white bean and brown rice flour.
Dairy-free and lactose-free ice cream was available at the Beckon brand booth. I liked flavors like sea salt chocolate and espresso. I also tried Noona's Dairy-Free Sesame Ice Cream since I'm a fan of sesame and tahini. (Note: Not all of Noona's ice creams are dairy-free.)
Noona's new line of ice cream is dairy-free.
FODMAP diet followers like me who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) will appreciate Fody Low FODMAP and gut-friendly foods. FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbs found in everyday foods such as pasta, bread, onions, garlic, beans, milk, apples, honey, mangoes and more. FODMAPS are commonly malabsorbed in the small intestine, causing uncomfortable symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and other IBS woes. Fody has a new extensive line of products that are gut-friendly.
Fody makes gut-friendly foods.
Low-carb foods are perfect for people with diabetes and others who are watching their carbs. Check out al dente Pasta Company's carba-nada pasta. It's lower in carbs and higher in protein. (Note: It is GMO-free but not gluten-free.)
Other "free" foods include PUR gum and mints that are aspartame-free and naturally sweet and Swerve, a natural sweetener made from ingredients found in select fruits and starchy root vegetables. It's zero-calorie, non-glycemic and safe for those living with diabetes, since it has no effect on blood glucose or insulin levels.
I found the Himalayan salt slabs for grilling quite creative.
Are You Eating Enough Protein, Plant-Based Foods and Superfoods?
A plethora of protein bars and protein powders are on the market from small creators to major players. Now some have added prebiotics and probiotics and ingredients that are plant-based and superfoods. Here are some I noticed:
Protein bars come in different varieties such as: high-fiber, prebiotic and probiotic truth bars with 10 grams of protein; This Bar Saves Lives which gives lifesaving nutrition to a child in need every time you buy a bar; R.e.d.d. positive energy bars with 10 grams of protein and 11 superfoods; Siren Protein Bites with 12 grams of plant protein per serving; TeaSquares energy snacks infused with naturally occurring caffeine from organic tea.
Protein and superfood powders can be added to smoothies, baked goods and other recipes. According to Navitas Organics, superfoods are "nutrient-rich foods considered beneficial for health and well-being." Offerings that popped for me were Navitas Organics Superfood powders made with gogi berries, chia seeds and cacao and its line of Essential Blends Vanilla & Greens and Cacao & Greens and Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides powder with 10 grams of collagen.
Sipping my superfoods.
Superfoods and probiotics sprouted up in snacks, cereals and nut blends like Living Intention's Activated Superfood Popcorn with friendly probiotic cultures in every bag and Worthy Superfood Blendie Bowls containing 10 grams of plant-based protein, two servings of veggies and fruit, 8 to 9 grams of fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—all for around 150 calories.
Plant-based snacks are options for vegans. I found bohana popped water lily seeds, which have been consumed in India for thousands of years and contain 3 grams plant protein; Lebby Chickpea snacks with 4 to 5 grams of protein (these are higher in fat so read the labels); Peeled Snacks has some fruit and veggie snacks with protein; RIND are skin-on fruit snacks and claim they are "all taste and no waste," because they use the whole fruit, which helps reduce unnecessary food scraps; Aree Almond Bean Chips, which were one of my favorite snacks at the show; and Bada Bean Bada Boom, another plant-based snacks. (Note: These last two are not on the market yet.)
The Power of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is the "it" veggie right now. Little Green Sprout's Organics by Green Giant sells frozen riced cauliflower. CauliPower has Paleo Cauliflower Pizza Crust as well as a cauliflower-based baking mix. You can also find Ground Up Cauliflower crackers.
Always Room for Chocolate
Last, but not least, I give you chocolate. Yes, yes, yes, I ate a ton of chocolate. I just could not resist chocolate in all its glory:
Set your mood with chocolate.
K+M Extravirgin Dark Chocolate from Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller and legendary Italian olive oil producer Armando Manni; Moodibars dark chocolate bars from Astor Chocolate to express your mood; Edible Chocolate Candles (Such fun for a birthday celebration); Green & Black's Organic Hazelnut & Currant Dark Chocolate bar (I love fruit with my chocolate); and FlavaBars that contain five times the cocoa flavanol antioxidants of standard dark chocolate. Plus FlavaMix drinking chocolate that contains nine times the cocoa flavanols of a typical dark chocolate bar and eight times the cocoa flavanols of a typical cocoa powder.
I savored Mojo Premium Belgian 70% Dark Chocolate Mousse (just a little spoonful was so satisfying); Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almonds; Dark Chocolate and Blueberries Undercover Quinoa; Bonchou Mini Chocolate Eclairs (simply the best!); Peekaboo Organic Chocolate Ice Cream (OMG, there's hidden cauliflower in this ice cream).
Wow, that was a whirlwind of a foodie adventure. I'm so full. I can't believe I ate all that food! Any I mentioned you want to try or have tried? LMK what you like best.
This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.