Bon Appétit: Navigating the Summer Fancy Food Show 2017

Last month, I had the delectable pleasure of attending the annual “Summer Fancy Food Show”. The Summer Fancy Food Show, presented by the Specialty Food Association, is the largest food industry event in North America. Vendors from all over the world come together to showcase their best products, exciting programs, and newest innovations. I attended the show in support of one of my customers, an organic food manufacturer, but soon fell in love with the show for the insights, exhibits, and of course, delicious samples. 

The specialty food industry is a $127 billion business, and growing every day. This show is responsible for housing a plethora of trends             in the food world. This year the event was held in New York during the final weeks of June. Due to the earlier date than usual, this year’s show flew under the radar, and attracted a smaller crowd than years’ past. However, that doesn’t mean that the show was any less special, and those in attendance would agree that the “Fancy Food Show” still had plenty to offer. 

Not only was there a change in date this year, but there was also a new twist to the show itself. Turkey emerged as a new partner country for the show, bringing the flavors of unique culinary to North America along with it. The partnership between Turkey and the Summer Fancy Food Show was organized by Aegean Exporters’ Associations who, for the past 20 years, have promoted high quality Turkish food products in the US market.

Nearly 40 Turkish companies were represented at the show this year, showcasing a wide variety of products including oils, fruits and vegetables in dried, frozen, preserved, pickled and canned form; fruit juices; pasta; grains; confections; herbs; spices; nuts and more. 

Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association shared his excitement to have Turkey as their country partner, and pointed out that “the influence of Turkish food in the American diet is a great example of the expansion of specialty food in the US.”

One of the other new attractions this year was a newly launched program, LevelUP, which provided attendees an insider look into the hottest trends of the food world. 

 LevelUp’s 3 Key Takeaways 

1.The digitization of grocery shopping, as buying food products online will become a customized service, just as Netflix has to streaming. 

2.Natural is the way to go! Using plant based ingredients is not only key for innovation, but sustainability as well. Cheese from soy milk pup is a must try! 

3.Waste minimization is essential. Using food waste and any other recoveries is another key factor in sustainability, such as bottled maple water. 

Other trends highlighted at the show can be broken down into two categories: tantalizing tastes and scintillating sips!

Tantalizing Tastes 

Strawberry is the new vanilla. The natural taste is taking over the market, and will likely be a main feature in things to come. 
Along with strawberry comes another rising taste: ginger. Aside from its zingy flavor, ginger has a host of health benefits such as relieving nausea and motion sickness. 
Everything in moderation, right? Just a touch of mint is the perfect addition to many new products, and will likely see a bigger feature in the future. 

 Scintillating Sips

Coffee is king! And we’re not just talking about your basic black coffee either. Coffee of all flavors will soon be a major player in the specialty food market, and one to look out for. 
Pickled juice was refreshing and a good preview of the increasing vinegar drinks on the market. It’s also quickly trending as a great way for sober drinking, as well as a way to stay healthy. 
As mentioned earlier, maple tree water is definitely something to try and look out for, but it’s not the only tree water out there. Birch tree water is another tasty edition. 

Overall the major themes of this year’s Summer Fancy Food show highlighted innovation, research and development, recycling, organic foods and sustainability. In a time when conserving our Earth’s resources is so critical, maintaining a sustainable practice for an business is key for companies who want to strategize future products. The millennial generation is on the move and they want to not only make quick decisions, but hopefully will make ones with a social and environmental responsibility in mind. 

 AFK Strategies Inc. is a boutique strategic advisory and business development company that is committed to serving our partners as their associates in China, Turkey, and the United States. AFK consulting services help companies identify and solve their business challenges via an extensive global expertise. The company assists the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) in the United States at the local level, while at the same time aiding the growth of U.S. companies in China and Turkey. The services encompass three key areas: business development, supply chain management and brand development.

Contact AFK Strategies Inc. to learn more.

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