Live from the floor at the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show

World Cup distraction

The Germans seemed a little distracted during the World Cup, and not much business was done at their booth.

I go to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco every year, but it’s been awhile since I made it to to the New York version. The Summer Fancy Food Show is a bit bigger and seems more chaotic, but maybe that’s because I’m used to the organization of the West Coast show.

Nueske's Cheddar Bacon Brats

Best product I tasted: Nueske’s Cheddar Bacon Brats

Best product I tasted at the show: Nueske’s bacon and cheddar cheese bratwurst. How to make a tasty brat even better? Put some bacon on it. Amazingly, it’s only 26 grams of fat which is not that much higher than a regular brat.

Pork Clouds

Pork Clouds (nee Fried Pork Rinds)

Best product name: Pork Clouds. That’s what we used to call chicarrones, or fried pork rinds.

Most overexposed product: Jamon Serrano. A few years ago this was a rare treat. Now, there are  enough displayed on magnificent carving stations to feed the world and half the pigs in Spain must be hobbling around on peg legs.

Serrano ham

Enough, already

Trending up: Jerky. It was everywhere, evenly divided between the candied/marinated variety that’s familiar at the snack counter and a new artisanal approach toward what SlantShack, one of my favorites, called “dried steak”.

Trending up: Peanut butter. Which has expanded to a new category which you might call “spreads” as in peanut butter (maybe with marshmallow fluff or white chocolate) designed to spread on a cookie.

Sriracha Hummus

Is the world ready for sriracha hummus?

Trending up: Sriracha. In everything. Including peanut butter.

Trending down: Gluten Free products. Of 2730 exhibitors at the show, only 425 categorized their products as “gluten free”. This in a nation when 49% of citizens say they have some form of gluten intolerance. I don’t have a comparable percentage of gluten free exhibitors last year but guarantee it was far higher. Celiac is a disease, but some feel that gluten intolerance is a fad and the food marketers seem to be betting it’s time to put it behind us.

Today’s the last day of the show. I have a couple of in-depth product reports that I’ll file in coming days.

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