Innovation, Gourmet News

By Richard Thompson

This year’s Summer Fancy Food Show introduced new and growing brands that aimed to update how we look at foods, from breakfast to all-natural desserts. Many of these news products stood out with their focus on reinvention, health and taste.

If there was one new brand that will be hard to forget, it would be the sweetened waffles from The Belgian Kitchen. Made using brioche dough infused with raw sugar, this frozen dough is an all-natural, butter-based dough that breaks out of traditional waffling by being marketed as a dough rather than a batter mix.

The Belgian Kitchen waffles are already enjoyed at five ski resorts in the Northeast and more than 60 foodservice businesses – including multiple frozen yogurt chains, and President Sean Lee has plans for expansion that will see this product targeted at the family market and being sold as frozen dough balls in retail chains. It’s simple and delicious, says Lee: “It’s a very simple product. It’s like the WD40 of doughs.”

Southern Culture Artisan Foods Founder Erica Barrett presented her own take on waffles with her ShortStacks Pancake and Waffle mix. Sixteen different pancake and waffle mixes offer flavors from Bourbon Salted Pecan and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie to Sweet Potato and Peach Cobbler. These non-GMO, vegan friendly and dairy free batter mixes are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, says Barrett.

Alongside the company’s ShortStack batter mixes were Southern Culture Artisan Foods Cajun Bacon Rubs in three different flavors, adding a zing to a breakfast meat favorite. Available in Original, Bourbon Pecan Praline and Sweet & Spicy, these rubs enhance not only bacon, but any meat.

The company’s 2015 sofi-nominated Garlic and Herb Stone Ground Grits captivated attendees with its flavoring that could complement everything from shrimp to bacon and eggs. “I started the company for one reason: to reinvent breakfast and for retailers to reinvent it too,” Barrett said.

Another up-and-coming company is reinventing the frozen pop with its line of healthy summer treats. Paleo Passion Pops, sweetened with all-natural fructose, doesn’t quibble about being a really healthy and delicious dessert for those who have an active lifestyle or those just looking for a dessert they can feel good about.

Kayla Cord, Administration and Marketing Manager of Paleo Passion Pops, said that the company’s founder invented these pops out of concern about the amount of added sugars in the American food supply. This led to a dessert line whose flavors include Orange Mango, Pineapple Ginger, Blueberry Pomegranate, Apple Crisp, Green Passion, Chocolate Passion and Strawberry Passion.

Each of these options can be considered super food as they are made with flax seeds, ginger, kale and green tea. They are allergy safe and made in a nut-free facility. While these are popular with fitness groups, says Cord, “We’re looking for everyone!”

Java To Go is a brand that offers exceptional coffee that tells the story of the lives of travelers, according to President and Founder Shaheed Momin. “We want to see where coffee is coming from and where coffee is going,” he says. “We want to reinvent the coffee experience.” The company is focusing on the fast paced lifestyle of Millenials and their social networking habits.

Along with traditional flavors like Original and Colombian, Java To Go also has Salted Caramel and Southern Pecan and seasonal offerings like Cookie Doodle and Pumpkin Spice. Each is an organic blend that follows fair trade standards and is high quality, according to Momin.

This brand of gourmet coffee is offered in various packages for different drinking habits. Coffee cans that come in 11 ounces and 32 ounces, single serve K-cups, and traditional stand-up bags with both whole and ground beans are available. Momin is most excited about his single serving coffee sticks that promote a lifestyle of adventure. “This coffee represents a love of travel,” he said.

Backyard Safari Company is breaking from tradition with its seasoning products. This four year-old company’s uniquely packaged “Dinner Tonight!” seasonings are aimed at making dinners an easy one-step process without sacrificing taste. Seasoning options include Burger Seasoning, Southwestern Chipotle & Lime Fajitas Seasoning, Salmon with Angle Hair Pasta Seasoning and the sofi-nominated White Bean Chili Seasoning. Each package has a suggested retail price of $3.95, serves between four to eight people and makes a complete meal in under 30 minutes.

Matchbox Backyard Grilling Spices come in matchbox-inspired containers that hold 2.6 ounces of seasoning. Made for backyard grilling without the fuss, each flavor is meant to “Start a Fire in the Backyard.” The line includes a Lemon Zest & Garlic Chicken Rub, Sweet & Savory Rib Rub, Seafood Grilling Herbs Rub, Peppered Garlic Steak & Burger Rub, and for a spicy vegetable kick, the Sweet Chipotle Grilled Corn Rub.

Kids can learn about fresh seasonings and how to grow them with Sunny Side-Up Garden Kits, also offered by Matchbox Backyard Grilling Spices. In six different varieties, each egg carton package contains soil, seeds and instructions. Kids will be able to grow green beans, summer squash and sweet baby carrots in the Little Fresh Veggie Garden, while the Little Goodnight Garden introduces kids to Evening Primrose, White Purity Cosmos and Evening Scented Stock. Each carton has a suggested retail price of $11.95.

Simply Gum uses a chicle base with no artificial sweeteners and is the only brand in the United States that uses 100 percent natural ingredients. Caron Proschan, Simply Gum CEO, says that the American consumer palate is more sophisticated than is normally granted and that the subtle flavor in each piece will be appreciated. Simply Gum flavors include Ginger, Maple, Fennel Licorice, Mint, Cinnamon and Coffee. Simply Gum products are available in five Whole Foods Stores in the New York area and Sprouts nationwide.

Ft. Greene Farms produces small batch relishes and hot sauces that have already been nominated in the Martha Stewart “Made in America” Jar Goods Category for the company’s whole line. The company’s flagship relish is made with champagne vinegar, yellow mustard seeds, sugar and water for a relaxed mustard flavor. Red Pepper Relish adds a little extra kick to that mustard seed base with red bell peppers, Scotch bonnet peppers, light brown sugar and red onions.

In the hot sauce category, Ft. Green Farms’ Charred Sriracha Hot Sauce is made with Fresno chili, lime juice, shallots, rice wine vinegar, garlic and sea salt. This hot sauce brings a fiery little kick that isn’t too hot for those who enjoy spicy foods.


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