Just as the summer heat started to descend on NYC, Matter employees Kate McCann and Julianna Sheridan ventured to the city that never sleeps to experience all things food and beverage-related at the Summer Fancy Food Show, held annually at the famed Javits Center. While Matter has several food & beverage clients that attend the show every year, this was both their first time exploring the show floor – and what an amazing three days it was! As amateur foodies themselves, it’s hard to think of a better event than checking out (and tasting) brands – both emerging and experienced – in the food & beverage space.
Here are a few things you can expect to see on store shelves soon (including a few of Kate and Julianna’s favorite finds from the show)!
It’s no surprise that there was a major movement toward better-for-you snacks. From delicious chickpea-based puffs from Boston’s own Biena Snacks to probiotic-filled cauliflower snacks a la Vegan Rob’s, brands are finding ingenious ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into our favorite guilty pleasures (goodbye veggie sticks!).
As consumers are becoming more conscious about the ingredients, so too are the brands that are feeding us. GrandyOats organic granola is the perfect addition to a morning parfait, Good Planet plant-based cheeses fooled us for the real deal, and MadeGood’s snacks are accessible for anyone with a top-eight allergy.
We could even indulge in sweets from UnReal Brands chocolates, who have strived to make chocolate that you don’t need to feel guilty about with no artificial ingredients and fair trade, sustainable ingredients. What’s not to love?
Bars on bars
You couldn’t walk far without finding a new bar to add to your bag. While all the bars we tried were delicious, there were a few that we’ll be adding to our carts during our next trip to the store. Bobo’s Oat Bars new nut butter filled granola bars gave us the filling boost we needed to walk the show floor, That’s It fueled our plane rides home with fruit-based bars, and KiZE and WOLO Snacks protein-packed bars kept us energized during our post-show workouts. It’s always hard to choose a bar as you stare at the immense section in the grocery aisle, but these brands are committed to providing great products with transparent ingredients.
Hydrate, energize and have fun!
At an impressive one million square feet inside the Javits Center, we needed to stay hydrated (these food shows are a marathon, not a sprint), so we were on the lookout for some delicious and inventive ways to stay hydrated. Our first stop was grabbing two flavored alkaline spring waters from FLOW – the Watermelon + Lime and Cucumber + Mint hit the spot and gave us the burst of energy we needed. We’re both big fans of seltzer water, so we paid a visit to the Spindrift booth and try out some new flavors, and made sure to stop by Polar Beverages to give a fellow New England company some neighborly love. Polar’s mystery flavor, Unicorn Kisses, did not disappoint.
Just when we started fading, 4 p.m. rolled around and select booths began offering cocktails, just in time for happy hour. Navy Hill, a “sonic” (soda + tonic) mixer low in sugar with added electrolytes, gave us the jolt we needed to carry on. Before long, we found ourselves at MatchaBar, who was mixing up delicious cocktails featuring their Hustle energy matcha paired with tequila. It might sound strange, but trust us – this drink was perfection. Before heading out, we grabbed some mini piña coladas from Bevycoop to round out the day.
These shows, while fun and deliciously satisfying, are truly exhausting. Thankfully, we had reinforcements in the way of coffee and probiotics to kick-start our day each morning. We stopped by RISE Nitro cold brew to grab a couple of coffees for a morning pick-me-up and added some Hazelnut Hemp Creamer (a real game changer), courtesy of Elmhurst 1925, a producer of delicious plant-based milks. After sampling even more food – despite our pathetic attempt at self control – we needed serious refreshments, and what better way than GoLive? The company was showcasing their line of live probiotic water with added prebiotics. The flavors were delicious and we’re sure most people were thankful for some added gut-health during the show.
Add a little spice
Much like the temperature in the City, the Summer Fancy Food Show was packed with heat. Mike’s Hot Honey was providing samples of their signature honey, infused with chillies, and while we were at first hesitant, tried one of their spicy hibiscus margaritas. It gave us the kick we needed, and while it brought the heat, we found it to be the perfect compliment to a marg. We made our way to Xochitl – a favorite of both of ours – to taste some of their always-delicious chips and salsas. The Asada Verde salsa paired perfectly with Xochitl’s “Dipper” corn chips. To round things out, we swung by another local brand, Stonewall Kitchen, to check out some of its newest offerings. Two words: Bacon Queso. As is typical with most other products from this Maine staple, the Bacon Queso was out of this world. While chips are encouraged, we have to admit, we could have eaten it with just a spoon.
We packed in a ton at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show – from the newer brands making their first appearance to the veteran companies that have been coming to NYC for years – we saw (and ate) it all, a few times over. We sampled a ton of delicious food, met some incredible people and picked up on some emerging trends within the food and beverage industry that we anticipate we’ll see hit shelves this year.
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