This month, the Innovation Group visited New York for Summer’s Fancy Food Show. The Summer Fancy Food Show, which featured more than 2,500 exhibitors from 55 countries, is a leading indicator of food and beverage trends. New startups are innovating on everything from infused sugars to proteins.

The event was dominated by macro-themes such as health (especially paleo and whole food lifestyles), the quest for new ingredients, and the wave of multifunctional, culinary-focused products.


The theme of versatility was present across categories and products: Products had multiple uses, which encouraged creativity and experimentation. Brands no longer dictate how their products are to be used. Maple syrup is not just for pancakes or waffles anymore. Runamok Maple was one of the exhibitors at the event. The marketing material suggested a variety of uses, from flavoring coffee to enhancing cocktails. Runamok maple varieties include whiskeys, gingers, and hibiscus.

Healthy mixers

In the 2017 report” Future 100″, The Innovation Group charted Trendy Teetotalism, which is a trend among millennials. New bars are offering healthier alternatives to alcoholic drinks. We have also reported previously on the rise in healthism, a concept that involves more nutritious alcoholic beverages and mixers. It is also reflected by events like festivals and concerts, which combine indulgence with healthy activities.

The Fancy Food Show was a hotbed of healthy mixers. Adults were also offered sophisticated alternatives to alcohol. O. Vine is an example of a “non-alcoholic specialty drink” from Golan Heights Winery. It’s a wine grape-infused, new water. Napa Hills Vineyard launched its Peach Grigio Enriched Water. The Dry Soda Co served Dry Sparkling Soda with a light flavor in a sophisticated package. Kimino showcased its yuzu beverage in packaging that was as fresh and clean as the drink itself. Yuzu is an ingredient that has been used in Japan for centuries. Its taste can be described as a blend of lime and grapefruit.

The most popular mixers were shrubs made from vinegar. Element Shrub, The Hudson Standard, and other companies displayed shrubs made from apple cider vinegar. These shrubs are said to be detoxifying and digestion-boosting and can boost energy. As part of the theme of versatility, shrubs are also a great alternative to salad dressings, marinades, or tea additions to soothe a sore stomach or upset stomach. You can enjoy them as sodas by mixing them with sparkling water.

Vermont Village’s Daily Detox Functional Vinegar was also featured. It is described as a “delicious blend of organic raw apple cider vinegar, activated coconut carbon from organic coconuts and organic cayenne, all to support the natural detoxifying processes in the body.” “Peace out, toxic bros!”

Also, there were new twists to traditional mixers. Navy Hill, following the Fever Tree trend, has introduced a line of mixers that blend club soda with tonic and make a “sonic” in a sophisticated package that is perfect for cocktail bars. The brand comes in three flavors: original, ginger, and juniper. Each flavor has electrolytes added, is all-natural, and only contains 15 calories per serving.

Super Water

Who said water had to be boring? Water suppliers have given the category a new lease of life with innovative health benefits and sustainable sourcing.

Oxygen claims that its oxygenated water can boost water’s benefits by harnessing O4, an exclusive molecule that delivers a concentrated dose of oxygen. Oxigen-oxygenated water claims to have 100 times more air than tap or bottled water. It also promises faster recovery and increased focus.

Asarasi’s sparkling water company has made sustainability a key part of its positioning. Maple syrup producers use up to one billion gallons per year of naturally filtered, pure water extracted from maple trees. However, they only use 3%. Asarasi uses the 97% remaining water to create a thirst-quenching drink that is sustainable and renewable.

Kopu sparkling water is bottled at a source in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. The brand draws attention to its “sleek, beautiful and resealable aluminum bottles” and their “unmatched sustainability,” pointing out that “75% of all aluminum that has ever been created is still in use today (whereas over two-thirds of plastic and glass bottles are not recycled).”
As consumers become more aware of the dangers of single-use products, creative reuse and alternative materials to plastic bottles are likely to become more popular. According to a study conducted by the market research firm Maru/Matchbox in 2017, 57% of millennials demand that their products be sourced sustainably. The British government has already introduced legislation to limit the use of single-use plastics, including straws and grocery bags.

Wellbeing snacks

Cauliflower has become a popular carbohydrate substitute. Farmwise LLC’s chickpea and cauliflower veggie tots are examples. The trail mix is being updated to include sprouted seeds and nuts, which are nutritious and easy to digest.

Hot new ingredients

Unexpected flavors and healthy ingredients are available to replace kitchen staples.


Ghee, a healthy fat, is on the rise. Clarified butter, traditionally used in Indian cooking, is becoming a popular butter substitute.

Farmtrue, for example, is positioning the product to appeal to a Western audience. It sells organic, grass-fed butter and ghee made in America. Farmtrue’s Lynn Goodwin told JWT Intelligence that more and more mainstream people are realizing the benefits of healthy fat. Even though it was originally used in ayurvedic medicines, the popularity of this diet has risen due to Whole30 and paleo diets.


Chickpeas dominated the show. They were used in sweeter applications, as well as as an alternative to salty snacks. They are marketed as a low-carb, fiber-rich, and non-GMO snack that is a lower-carb, healthier option to regular candy or potato.

Biena featured roasted chickpeas with habanero and salted caramel flavors, as well as Girl Scouts Thin Mints. The sweet alternatives are perfect for desserts.

Watusee offered its Chickpeatos as roasted puffs and chickpea crumbs. Flavors included rosemary, caramelized sea salt, and spicy cayenne. Bonanza offers gluten-free, protein-packed chickpea noodles. The Amazing Chickpea markets its spread as a peanut butter alternative.


Drink companies are using jalapenos as a way to spice up classic drinks and give them a new twist. Examples include Element Shrub’s honeydew jalapeno flavor and Health-Ade Kombucha’s jalapeno-kiwi-cucumber combination. Daina Trout, CEO and co-founder of Health-Ade Kombucha tells us that they have always enjoyed the spicy flavor of jalapenos.

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