The Specialty Food Association’s 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show took place June 12-14 in New York City. This season, the show welcomed nearly 2,000 exhibitors. This makes it the largest US show devoted exclusively to specialty foods and beverages. Specialty food companies are at the forefront of trends. They make premium items more accessible to consumers and help expand the global footprint of unique ingredients.
The specialty food category includes premium, unique and often globally sourced ingredients. This year, the Summer Fancy Food Show (FFS) featured an array of food and beverage exhibitors. Artisanal cheese, charcuterie, nuts and seeds, condiments, potted vegetables, oils, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc. were exposed.
The Growth of Herbal Specialty Items
Since traditional specialty foods include many animal products – exotic meats, cured or smoked cuts of meat, and dairy-based foods such as cheese and yogurt – the show is not historically known for have a strong plant presence in the showrooms. . However, it looks like 2022 is the year of change. With the explosive growth of the plant-based food market, which Bloomberg forecast to be worth $162 billion by 2030, food companies are jumping at the chance to meet this growing demand.
Innovative, mission-driven and industry disruptive companies represented the plant sector. I spoke with several experts to find out what lies ahead for the future of plant-based products. Some of the plant trends spotted at the show:
Ingredients better for you
Consumers are increasingly aware of nutrition. It is not enough for a product to be herbal; it must also be “good for you”. When the plant movement began to enter the market, companies focused on re-creating animal products. They offered products that matched the flavor profile and texture of these foods. This emphasis on taste and mouthfeel necessitated the use of additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients.
“While the plant-based movement is phenomenal, there are still many highly processed and manufactured products out there,” said Jessica Gebel, founder of Fabalish. Gebel’s mission is to offer consumers not only a better-for-you product, but a “better-for-you” food. Fabalish uses chickpeas to create nutritious falafel and veggie bites. They contain only healthy and natural ingredients without additives or preservatives. Fabalish recycles chickpea water to create dips and sauces. These products offer a healthy version of classic sauces such as ranch, tzatziki and queso.
As consumers discover the role of nutrition in promoting good health, they are demanding more nutritious and cleaner foods. Companies must adapt by switching to healthy and natural ingredients, without additives or unknown ingredients. The new wave of plant evolution takes into consideration the nutritional value of products. Brands are moving away from genetically modified artificial ingredients, towards Natural.
Plant-based companies care about the well-being of their customers, and on the well-being of the planet, animals and communities. Juan Giraldo and Nico Estrella, founders of prebiotic herbal tea Waku, started their business with a clear mission. They decided to offer a product that is better for people and the planet. Originally from Ecuador, they work with small family farms in their homeland to bring positive change to these communities.
“About 50% of Ecuadorian farmers live below the poverty line,” Estrella said. “We hope to have a positive impact on their economy and help solve the problem of poverty by sourcing our ingredients directly from herb growers.” Additionally, the founders recognize the negative environmental impacts of animal agriculture. They wanted to create a plant-based product that respects the environment, so they work with farmers who follow regenerative agriculture practices.
In the same way, Maivino was founded with the mission of doing better with wine, making it more sustainable and accessible. Maivino offers a vegan wine from organic farming that is shaking up the traditional wine market. Founder Mai Vu claims that their packaging reduces the carbon footprint of wine by 80%. Plus, it keeps wine good for up to 30 days, minimizing wine waste. Vu says only 3% of wine sold in the United States is organic, noting that many are over-processed with dyes, added sugars and pesticides.
Women entrepreneurs filled the showrooms. Nancy Kalish, Founder of Snacks to break the rules, started its plant-based gummies with the goal of offering delicious, allergen-free, school-friendly treats based on the mighty chickpea. She says consumers are often surprised when they realize her products are vegan and gluten-free because the candies taste and feel like they’re real.
Seen started his company with a mission to make fine, organic and vegan wine more accessible, sustainable and sustainable. Divya Narayanan, founder of Kapka Foods, brings authentic vegan Indian cuisine into people’s homes in a convenient, healthy and tasty way. Its product allows consumers to create fresh tasting Indian meals ready in minutes by adding only water, no cooking required. And Gebel brings together chickpeas and vegetables in a heat-and-eat food product that ticks many boxes: sustainable, nutritious and tasty.
The future of the plant industry
It is clear that plant-based eating is no longer a trend. He is here to stay. Consumers learn about the role food plays in health. They are eager to incorporate more plants into their diet to promote wellness. Food and beverage manufacturers are responding to this demand with plant-based products that are good for people and the environment. It is now possible to consume more plants with a minimum of effort thanks to practical and nutritious products. Vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians can enjoy a variety of plant-based options that are on a mission to keep you and the planet healthier.