Earlier this week we sent Kory Grushka, our Director of Business Development, to the Fancy Food Show in NYC to study up about the latest trends in the world of retail food. He was also tasked with gorging himself with hundreds of thousands of small gourmet food samples. To that end, we are happy to report that Kory was up to the task, as both objectives were met with resounding success. Below are some of his thoughts and observations from the show:
Obviously this year’s show was full of natural, organic, gluten-free and other healthy food products – both new and old. These are trends that are clearly here to stay and many (if not most) of the new product development out there seem to be focused on these areas. International flavors is another trend that has been picking up steam in the packaged food industry for the last few years, and was all over the place this year as well.
Kitchens of Africa
Staying on the international flavor theme, Kitchens of Africa is a startup out of North Carolina that is bringing native African flavors to market with an interesting new line of cooking sauces and marinades. Their products stood out as bringing to market some delicious and unique flavors, while riding high on the international flavor trend (which is here to stay).
Apinya Thai Food Co.
Staying with the international flavor trend, Apinya Thai Food Co. recently rolled out a new product packaging line for their Thai chili sauces that caught our eye. The packaging features an upside-down clear tube container that showcases the vibrant colors of the sauces, while prominently featuring the brand name in Thai letters (rather than English). Its a very compelling package structure and design and obviously capitalizes on the sriracha craze.
A couple of really interesting licensed products caught our eye as well. Some of you may have seen Guiness Chips before… these are potato chips that are infused with the famous Guiness stout flavor, and they are RIDICULOUSLY delicious.
They launched in Europe a couple of years ago and were first introduced into the US market in January 2015. Very unique product and flavor profile, and a great example of logical licensing in the food business. This is not Jack Daniels lip balm… this is a complementary flavor and a recognizable brand extending into a why-didnt-I-think-of-that product category. As any bartender knows, Beer, chips, pretzels and nuts are the life blood of any bar… why shouldnt they go together? Just surprising that you dont see more beer/chips combinations… yet.
For years, we were surprised that the original Sriracha brand – Huy Fong Foods – did not extend their brand or sauce into other food categories. To that end, I wrote this article back in 2013 which questioned why there were not more sriracha products on the market. Naturally then, I was absolutely shocked when I stumbled across the booth for POP! Gourmet Foods, a popcorn company, and I saw this on their table:
As you can see, its a shmorgasboard of Huy Fong Foods Sriracha-branded products, from croutons to ketchup to potato chips! All are co-branded with the POP! brand. Now, you might be asking yourself, what does a popcorn guy know about ketchup or mayo or hummus??? Probably not that much. But as you can read here, somehow the owner of the POP! brand was able to persuade Huy Fong Foods to grant them a license not just for popcorn, but for a ton of other unrelated food products. While it may be a little late in the Sriracha game, its still amazing that a popcorn company was able to license this super exclusive (and reclusive) brand for all these random products. Hope it works out for them, but really more shocked than anything.