Our Take on Summer Fancy Foods

The Summer Fancy Food Show is quite the unique experience. Forget that the temperature was in the high 90s or that the humidity was off the charts. We were setting off to experience a culinary adventure where you don’t know what new things you might find or what new people you might meet. The thought was enticing – as was the relief of the huge chilled space of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, complete with giant screens tuned to the World Cup.

The scale of SFFS is always sprawling and pretty much represents everything in the culinary mainstream, as well as many products that are trying to find their ascendancy within that mainstream. There were so many great products to taste, a vast variety of cheeses (including some interesting vegan ones), meats, olives, crackers, snacks, beverages, desserts and more! But we’d like to focus on some specific products that really stood out, both for their innovation and for their taste.

One of these products is the extremely delicious and (apparently) vegan mayonnaise from a company called The Good Spoon. We say “apparently," because nothing about The Good Spoon mayonnaise screams compromise. It was a creamy and quite luscious mayonnaise substitute. Something especially amazing about The Good Spoon mayonnaise, which we didn’t learn until days after the show, is that it is made from micro algae used as a stand-in for egg. But what really sealed the deal was the Poké bowls being used to showcase the mayo – which brings us to the second product we wanted to mention.

This product wasn’t even “officially” represented at this year’s show, but was being used to showcase the mayo from The Good Spoon. If you aren’t familiar, Poké began when Hawaiian fishermen, after cutting their catch, would take the pieces that would normally be discarded and season them for a quick snack. These bowls have been gaining popularity and are now found in various formats. We were given bowls that had all of the usual elements you might expect – tuna, rice, veggies, umami spices – but what we tried had a definite notable difference. The tuna was cut into little pieces and seasoned well, very delicious and satisfying. We didn’t realize until we saw the placard that what we were eating was actually chiefly made from tomato! Created by Ocean Hugger Foods, the “tuna” was made from Ahimi®, a proprietary blend of tomato and special natural ingredients, to produce a completely plant-based alternative to raw tuna. We’ve never been as completely fooled as this before. It was an astounding and exciting thing. It’s amazing that Ocean Hugger has come this close to replicating the experience of raw tuna without utilizing methods that over process. Simplicity is often the greatest arbiter of good taste.

Speaking of simplicity and good taste, another product that we tried was called TÖST, a celebratory libation that has a crisp and dry soulfulness and complexity of a Prosecco without the alcohol. In two words, it is elegant and refreshing. We particularly liked the layers and nuances of white tea, white cranberry and ginger notes. Clearly TÖST understands that it is intended to coax a kind of culinary vibe, which makes sense given that its flavors would pair well with most meals, or it can be enjoyed simply by itself. The fact that they appropriately package the product in a 750ml bottle, the same that a wine would inhabit, adds to the celebratory nature and just feels right.

To that end, we say Cheers! The size and scope of SFFS is always something to behold. Only in its second year of inclusion, the Incubator Village has really come to exemplify what is exciting about new brands and ideas pushing the envelope. It’s staggering how much goes into the success of a product launch, not to mention scaling up and distribution. BrandFirst has over 30 years of experience in helping brands comprehensively compete in the marketplace, and we know that perception is the gateway to success. Make sure you are communicating the right message and show them how good you really are!