On the tasty side, the themes were around lower salt and sugar, baked and dried over fried, and a huge variety of international flavors to tingle the palette in lieu of the standard high sodium ones in US grocery aisles. Many more brands are hitting the 1% for planet, organic and non-gmo certifications: though more are producing this way the certifications are expensive.
I tasted A LOT, a few flavors from each brand, but only highlighting the ones I grabbed to bring back to the team. Links included to let you explore and find your favorite eats. Also, I’m a savory over sweet person so my taste buds, and what I choose to explore, leans that way, too.
Visually, big bold type, bright solid colors, a highlight on the NOes (gluten, dairy) and the YESes (fiber, protein, planet based) are what caught my attention. I’m still dreaming of plastic alternatives in the packaging space, but starting to see more glass, paper, ocean plastics and highly recyclable options. Slow progress, but every step counts.
Pina Picante Chili Lime Pineapple: Air dried so a bit less sticky than typical dried fruits. A little spicy, salty, sweet, and tart. I wish these came in a larger more eco friendly bag vs just single serve. Simple cutout style fruit illustrations and warm poppy color made the packaging pop.
Zing Chocolate Cherry Almond Bar: High protein, low sugar bars that I was so grateful to have in my bag on the flight home to hold me over. I have only tried the cherry but they have a keto set and all bars are plant-based, vegan, no soy, gluten-free, and non-gmo. Tone on tone fruit, texture illustrations and bold type made the packaging easy to read.
Confetti Green Curry Mushroom Chips: The first time I had crispy mushrooms was from a Japanese grocery in NY and I bought all the flavors. This version from Confetti is lower sodium than most snacks as the flavorful spices give you enough excitement on the tongue. Limited ingredients, 1% for the planet and delicious. They are really embracing color in their hashtag #COLORFORHUNGER
Saltverk Licorice Salt & Birch Smoked Salt: I love salt, and crunch and have a whole shelf in my kitchen dedicated to salts I’ve collected from around the world. I have never tried a licorice salt but this version from Iceland is fantastic. I also enjoyed their lighted smoked version. Since the flavors are delicate, I’d use these as a finishing. Nothing special about their packaging, but a great logo that looks like it’s made of salt crystals.
Southern Arts No.1 Hot Sauce: Love this mother daughter duo and their whole product line, but the No.1 hot sauce really stood out. Savory and spicy and not too heavy on the vinegar. I also like their k-pop spice mix. Very clean type driven design that feels professional with a touch of handmade.
Sayso Skinny Cardamom Paloma: I only tried the paloma version of the NA drink, and to be honest, was a little shocked by their claim they’re the first-ever drink tea bag as our client Sipsong created a gin tea years ago. BUT, I admit, this set has full cocktail flavor, where Sipsong is the gin itself. The drink was very tasty and I can see how these are good on their own or with a shot of your favorite spirit. As NA drinks are becoming more prevalent on menus, nice to have options for your home.
Jack & Friends Tomato Poblano Pepper Plant Based Jerky: This jerky was both jackfruit and pea protein gets the flavor right, but visually the shape could use work. Again, a very simple ingredients list, no sugar, vegan and high protein. This is a new brand to the Fancy Food Show and they just updated their packaging, so don’t judge from their website as the new packs are in production now.
Barnana Organic Plantain Scoops in Rowdy Ranch: This company makes a lot of banana snacks but this was the first time I tried their scoops. A great chip alternative, organic, low sodium and uses coconut oil. Love that this company is B Corp Certified as well. Packaging is standard grocery ready and either has a photo or clear window to see the product. You can also try their non-organic version under Yuniq. We had a great conversation about this line’s use of certified RSPO sustainable palm oil.
Yuca Balls from Biscoito de Polvilho: We have a Peruvian and a Brazilian in the office and this snack was a true hit and reminder of home. We can’t find where to buy these yet so fingers crossed they’ll start DTC soon. It’s like eating tasty yuca air; super light, super crunchy, super tasty. A Good Food Award winner from YuPuffs is another delicious yuca snack, not at Fancy FoodShow, but easier to buy.
Fly by Jing Chili Crisp Vinaigrette: The regular chili crisp is amazing, too.
American Vinegar Works Rose Wine Vinegar: Fermented goodness for salads or to wake up a dish.
Hakko Lab Koji Mayo and Custard: Delicious, but needs an importer/rep, so hard to find in stores.
Yolélé Foods Fonio Grain Pilaf: I love learning about an ingredient I have never had before, specially one that is so important to the economic opportunity for smallholder farming communities in Africa. This tiny grain is like a couscous for pilafs and cereals. The hand done, type driven design and the tasty products are wonderful.