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.
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.
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.
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.
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.