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Live from Fancy Food: Popcorn, cherries and olives

The Summer Fancy Food Show has arrived in Washington, D.C., which is hosting two years of the show that previously was held in New York. Washington seems like a perfect fit, as the nation’s capital evolves into a food mecca with famous chefs, all the while promoting healthy eating for children and combating childhood hunger.

According to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, the show features more than 180,000 confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices and other specialty products, 2,400 exhibitors, 80 countries and 24,000 attendees.

This year’s trends indicate a younger customer demographic, natural and organic offerings, and local sourcing of ingredients.

  • Popcorn is a breakout item on the show floor. A representative at the Wabash Valley Farms booth confirmed the product’s popularity and said consumers are probably picking popcorn over chips because of the cost, as habits during the recession continue.
  • Cherries are something to talk about. Tillen Farms introduced Bada Bing Cherries, which have no red dye or corn syrup. Other companies touted cherry concentrate, gummies and spreads.
  • Olives and olive oil are out in style. It was as we predicted, but in more flavors, from Grand’aroma’s varieties of olive oil to Oloves, ready-to-eat pitted green olives in flavors of lemon and garlic and habanero chili.

Chefs Rick Bayless, Cat Cora, Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn were on the showroom floor, and author Joan Nathan led a guided tasting of kosher cooking.

Bookmark SmartBlog on Restaurants for more coverage, and look for more coverage in the daily Restaurant SmartBrief. Follow @SB_Food on Twitter as my colleagues and I stroll the exhibit floor and attend education sessions.

Photo credit: Chef Rick Bayless, by Rebecca Pollack Scherr

What fancy food are you talking about? Tell us in the comments.