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Meaty energy bars, anyone?

June 27, 2017

Like chickpeas? How about boozy desserts? Well, you’re in luck. Sunday marked the first day of the annual Summer Fancy Food Show, and both of those products were well-represented, plus a bunch of other wild and wonderful innovations in the food space. 

The event, which ran through Tuesday in New York City, showcases new and emerging brands from all over the world. It’s hosted by the Specialty Food Association, and while it doesn’t specifically highlight or categorize trends, it’s pretty easy to spot them after a few hours walking around the enormous Javits Convention Center. Here are a few of the things we’re looking forward to seeing more of on store shelves, based on our time at the show on Sunday.

Chickpeas

Everywhere we looked at the Show, we saw chickpeas. It’s no surprise, considering how popular Banza, a pasta alternative made of chickpeas, became this past year (it has double the protein and four times the fiber of regular pasta). Noteworthy chickpea innovations included chickpea bread crumbs and a genius dark chocolate covered chickpea snack. Based on all the new products, we’re pretty sure we haven’t yet reached peak chickpea...so look out for more.

Green Coffee

Get ready to go green. We saw a ton of “green coffee” at the Fancy Food Show, and were intrigued by its light green color (it almost looks like tea at first glance). Apparently, though, it’s got just as much or even more caffeine than regular coffee. It’s also made from unroasted (“green”) coffee beans, which retain more of their natural chlorogenic acid, a chemical that’s been widely claimed to have health benefits. A 2006 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine even concluded that it could be effective in reducing body fat, body weight, and liver fat composition in mice. It’s also got a ton of antioxidants. Who knew?

Boozy Ice Cream

The boozy dessert trend’s been around for a while now, but we’ve been disappointed to see that most boozy treat manufacturers are based in the U.K.  Complicated legalities surrounding the sale of alcohol in altered forms make the treats a headache to manufacture here in the States. That’s why we were doubly excited to spy a fun product from the Curious Creamery that makes it easy to DIY the stuff at home, even without an ice cream mixer. Simply add chilled liquid and alcohol to one of the brand’s pre-packaged ice cream mixes, mix, and freeze. There were non-alcoholic varieties available, too.

Fermented Foods

From the kimchi to the sauerkraut to the kombucha, it was clear that fermentation and gut-boosting probiotics are in.  These “living” products appeal to a newly health-conscious mass market, and it’s clear they’re here to stay.

Gochujang

Speaking of fermentation, the sweet-spicy, umami sauce has long been popular in Korea, but if the enormous stall inhabited by one Gochujang brand, Chung Jung One, is any indicator of the buzz generating around the product, it’s about to have its moment here in the States. Made from red chili peppers, malt powder, rice, fermented soybeans, salt, and sugar, Gochujang is normally used in tandem with something else, like soy sauce, more sugar, or oil, or added into a dish as an ingredient (rather than a condiment). 

Meat Protein Bars

Vegans, we’re sorry to have to break the news to you, but there was a ton of meat at the Fancy Food Show—which just might mean the stuff is back en vogue. Epic, a brand showcasing their meat-centric energy bars, included some savory alternatives to your standard peanut butter Clif bar. Don’t assume they’re anything like old-fashioned jerky, with flavors racing from a Venison Sea Salt Pepper Bar, a Wild Boar Bacon Bar, a Smoked Salmon Maple Bar, and even a Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar.