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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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05.11.07

Food for Thought: Fancy Food Show in Review

Bites: News and Miscellany


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The floor of the Fancy Food Show

After wandering around the Food Marketing Institute’s “Power of Five” convention held recently at McCormick Place, we were confused. Not because the show features some 1,000 exhibitors and combines five food-industry segments under one roof (Food Marketing Institute, National Association of State Department of Agriculture, United Fresh Marketplace, All Things Organic and the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade). We also had no problem with the mass of 30,000-plus attendees that were supposedly there.

What had us scratching our heads — in between sampling way too many gourmet crackers, cookies, cheeses, chocolates, and more beverages than you could shake a pomegranate at — was how blurry the line between healthy organic foods and regular eats has become.

On the organic side of the equation you can find organic mini pepperoni pizzas, yellow cake mix, hot dogs, Oreo-style cookies, bagels, Spanish sangria and even marshmallow fluff (“Sweet treats with a touch of kindness”).

On the other side, foods without the certified USDA Organic green label seem to be trying very hard to make consumers aware of their health benefits, too; “low fat,” “no trans fat” and “fresh” were all terms found prominently at the show.

What does this all mean? Well, more product choices for one, and a sense that maybe the big food corporations are turning things around… or maybe that’s just the sugar talking. It’s more likely that it’s just a sign of crass economic incentive to brand even the unhealthiest of things as organic to sell more product.

Here are a few of our highlights from the show:

Treleela Teas from Ineeka

It’s not just that these 100 percent organic whole leaf teas come from an environmentally and socially responsible producer — and Chicago-based one to boot — but that the individual paper infuser (“pochette”) means that we don’t need a pot or strainer to get a flavorful cup of tea. The pre-measured loose leaves makes it that much easier.

Ineeka

Texturas from Solex

Sure, we’re already big fans of the traditional Spanish products imported by Solex Partners — sausages, cheeses, olives, tortilla Espanola — but it’s their newest product line from Spanish chefs and brothers Ferran and Albert Adria of famed restaurant el Bulli that got us most excited. Now we might be able to make hot gelatins, airs, melon caviar and spherical ravioli. Or, at least, have fun trying.

Solex

Sol Maté

Because unlike most of the other beverages we tried — the sparkling whole grain fruit juice beverages with agave and whole brown rice from Vim didn’t work for us — this one actually tasted good. Plus, we’re suckers for a cool logo and caffeine is always a good thing.

Sol Mate

Sunkist Bottled Fruits

Remember those metal-tasting fruit cups you ate as a kid? This new product from Sunkist — look for it at local supermarkets in August — has nothing to do with those. The Valencia oranges and red grapefruit we tried were sweet — Look, Ma, no sugary syrup! — and flavorful, plus the serene packaging works for us, too.

Sunkist

Mrs. May’s Nut Snacks

Plain, roasted nuts are so yesterday, or at least that’s the feeling we got after seeing all the nut-based snacks at the show. We could easily see ourselves downing an entire bag of the Mrs. May’s Almond Crunch — hey, it’s good for us, right? — and the Black Sesame Crunch would definitely be welcome at our next soiree.

Mrs. Mays

Bossa Nova Acai Juice

Good bye pomegranate and hello acai, the wild berry from the Brazilian rain forest that contains more antioxidants than any other fruit. Plus there’s the feel-good factor knowing that every Bossa Nova sold saves one rain forest tree, or so we’re told.

Tasty Baby

Organic Undies from the Organic Cotton Company

‘Nuff said. (416-762-0940)

2 Comments on "Food for Thought: Fancy Food Show in Review"

Cynthia

I second the vote for Mrs. Mays. I’ve been addicted for years. The almond with coconut is great, too, as are the pumpkin seed crunch and sunflower seed crunch. Very fresh, very crunch, but not too sweet — sweet is very subtle. Just love them.

And one can feel even better about eating them as they’re not just good for us, they’re good for others — part of the cost of each package goes to supplying wheelchairs for people around the world who cannot afford them. So definitely a feel-good product.



Anne

why couldn’t've they had the mate out for the national restaurant convention this weekend? i love the stuff, and like you say, caffeine never hurts. especially when you’re hustling around mccormick place.

i wish there had been special nametag colors for bloggers, too. we all could’ve eyed each other.

– anne, menuism.com intern



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