By Robin Mather
Here are some of the trendiest products hitting the market right now.
The specialty waters segment grew 75 percent from 2014 to 2016, according to the Specialty Food Association, which also noted a growing interest in fictional beverages. Among exhibitors at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show with specialty waters were HFactor Hydrogen Infused Water, which has been supercharged with molecular hydrogen to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant; Formula Four Beverage Oxigen water and shots, enhanced with O4 molecules; Pervida Immune Health Waters, enhanced with pomegranate seed oil, said to provide immunity support and improve digestive health; and the Rogers Collections’ Halen Mon Oak Smoked Water, meant to use in recipes to add a robust flavor to soups, risotto and casseroles.
Snack sticks are definitely hot, hitting snacking, portability and wellness with ingredients such as seeds, nuts, super fruits and additional protein. Vivify Snacks Energy Sticks blend quinoa, flax, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with nuts for protein sticks, and Grayson Natural Farms offers grassfed smoked beef sticks.
Plant-based foods, vegetarian- or vegan-friendly foods are also hot, as producers touch on cheese and dairy, frozen dessert, water and meat alternative segments. Beyond Better cashew sauce is a just-add-water alternative to cheese sauces; Little Red Dot Kitchen’s Eggplant Baconness BakWa is a vegan version of the company’s Singapore- and Malasian-style meat snacks.
Coffee and tea remain white-hot as well, the Specialty Food Association said. A number of companies have capitalized on innovations in both refrigerated and shelf-stable varieties as well as RTD categories. Sunup Green Coffee offers a RTD brewed coffee made from unroasted green coffee beans, while Afineur Cultured Coffee is using natural fermentation to provide premium coffee with low bitterness.
Savory and spicy sweets are drawing customer interest, with place-of-origin labeling key, the Specialty Food Association said. Rumi Spice Saffron Gems, founded by a military veteran, is helping Afghan farmers bring saffron to the U.S. market in the form of saffron threads suspended in gummy candies. Milky Finest White Chocolate now offers a bar that incorporates chips made from blue potatoes grown in the Swiss Alps, white chocolate and sea salt.
Nicky USA is introducing Hawaiian Wild Harvest Antelope, the first USDA-certified antelope available in the United States, to the American market in both wholesale and retail packaging. The antelope comes from the “forbidden island” of Niihau. Eland, the largest of the antelope family, are native to the dry African desserts, and have thrived on the arid desert Hawaiian island of Niihau ever since they arrived in 1998. This Wild Harvest Eland is one-of-a-kind, a 95 percent lean protein that has more protein than beef, half the calories of beef, and all the delicious flavor. It’s a healthy and unique option added to Nicky USA’s game line up.
The animals were raised on Niihau Ranch, a 100 percent free-range, all-natural ranch producing sustainable meats raised on pristine Niihau forage. All livestock are raised without antibiotics, growth hormones or steroids and are processed in a USDA-certified abattoir.
Niihau Ranch is located on the privately owned island of Niihau, 17 miles west of Kauai, and boasts the title of the western-most ranch in the United States. This 72-square mile island was purchased by Eliza Sinclair from King Kamehameha IV in 1864. Known as the “Forbidden Island” due to its limited access, Niihau is home to a closely knit community of native Hawaiians who are descendants of the island’s original families. Referred to as a “shoal in time,” the residents live in balance between modern ways and ancient traditions. Niihau Ranch is dedicated to providing the economy to support this last truly Hawaiian island.
The Hawaiian Antelope is available for wholesale now and will soon be available in retail packages. Nicky USA will feature antelope in its Carter Cutlery Game Cooking Competition at Wild About Game on October 8, the meatiest culinary celebration in the Northwest, where samples of the antelope will be available for all attendees to taste.
Expert judges at the 2017 American Cheese Society Contest awarded La Bottega di BelGioioso Artigiano® cheese with two awards at a blind judging in Denver, Colorado, last month. Artigiano received both first and third place ribbons in the flavored cheeses category, while BelGioioso Crema di Mascarpone™ took home a first place best in class award in the mascarpone category. The contest drew a record number of 2,024 entries.
Artigiano is a new cheese from BelGioioso, marketed under the La Bottega di BelGioioso brand. The wheels are carefully aged under the supervision of BelGioioso’s Master Cheesemakers to develop their deep nutty flavor and delicate crystalline texture. The cheeses are then soaked in an aged balsamic and cipolline onion marinade or hearty red wine blend to create two different varieties. Artigiano is also available in a Classico offering, without a marinade.
“These awards from ACS are greatly appreciated by our cheesemakers and their teams. We are committed each and every day to crafting consistently high quality cheeses for our customers to enjoy, and this type of recognition affirms that our cheesemakers’ dedication to their craft, as well as their expertise, continues at a very high level,”said Gaetano Auricchio, BelGioioso Executive Vice President. “Gianni Toffolon, one of our original Master Cheesemakers who came from Italy with my father over 35 years ago, wanted to create an exceptional cheese, and after a few years in development, it appears he has done just that.”
BelGioioso cheesemakers were recognized with a total of six awards in the contest.
· 1st Place Best of Class – La Bottega di BelGioioso Artigiano Aged Balsamic & Cipolline Onion – Flavored Cheeses Category – This pleasantly nutty and sweet Artigiano cheese is accented with a tangy balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy and sweet onions from Calabria.
· 3rd Place – La Bottega di BelGioioso Artigiano Vino Rosso – Flavored Cheeses Category –This pleasantly nutty Artigiano cheese is soaked in a hearty red wine, adding a layer of sweetness.
· 1st Place Best of Class – BelGioioso Crema di Mascarpone– Mascarpone Category – This fresh, soft cheese has a sweet, creamy flavor and is versatile in both sweet and savory recipes.
· 2nd Place – BelGioioso Parmesan – Italian Cheeses Grating Category – Its teasingly sweet, nutty flavor is the result of a 10-month aging in special caves.
· 2nd Place – BelGioioso Pesto Fresh Mozzarella Braid – Marinated Cheeses Category – Award winning fresh mozzarella marinated with fresh basil pesto.
· 3rd Place – La Bottega di BelGioioso Crescenza-Stracchino® – Open Fresh Unripened Cheese Category – A mild, creamy cheese with a touch of tartness.