NEW YORK — Emerging brands exhibiting at the Summer Fancy Food Show are reimagining grocery staples, from peanut butter to trail mix to chocolate chip cookies, tapping into consumer demand for global flavors and allergen-free formulations.
The annual event, held June 25-27 in New York, highlighted concepts from up-and-coming companies, including those partnering with incubators and accelerators to develop and scale innovative offerings.
“The Fancy Food Shows were created to help facilitate the growth of the specialty food industry, and they are the premiere destination for those who want to see, taste, and experience the incredible breadth of specialty products available today,” said Bill Lynch, president of the Specialty Food Association, New York. “Specialty food and beverage makers are innovators and trendsetters, and that was on full display during this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show."
Here are five standout startups exhibiting at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
1. Mixed Up
Mixed Up is a family-owned, Colchester, Vt.-based brand of spreads formulated with a blend of nuts and seeds. Among its offerings are Mud Season, with almonds and cashews, cacao nibs, maple sugar, ground coffee, sea salt and vanilla bean; Maple Creamee, with cashews and pecans, maple sugar, sea salt and vanilla bean; and Coconut Flurry, with cashews and pecans, unsweetened coconut, cacao butter and sea salt. Products are available in specialty food stores throughout New England.
“My father and I founded Mixed Up when we realized the potential of using simple, high-quality ingredients in a thoughtful way,” said Kent Arnold, co-founder. “We take pride in offering our customers a diverse range of flavors and textures that excite their palates. Our products stand out from others on the market because we are dedicated to delivering a unique food experience with honest ingredients.”
The latest addition to the lineup is Everyday Seed Butter, featuring sunflower seeds, pepitas, vanilla and coconut sugar.
“Until now, we’ve been focused on producing nut butter, but recognized the opportunity to introduce a seed butter to appeal to those with sensitivities to nuts,” Mr. Arnold said. “Plus, it’s a natural expansion — great on bananas, in oatmeal, or straight from the jar.”
Foodberry, a Boston startup, has created edible, plant-based coatings inspired by fruit skins and peels to wrap moisture-rich foods such as ice cream or hummus. Using patented technology developed in labs at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Foodberry is collaborating with major food brands to create fresh snacks that may be sold in biodegradable packaging. Concepts showcased at the Summer Fancy Food Show included peanut butter in a raspberry coating and yogurt in a blueberry shell.
3. Growee Foods
Growee Foods, Atlanta, presented its newly rebranded collection of plant-based dips and spreads featuring flavors inspired by founder Aman Blana’s Indian heritage. Products include spiced mango, curry zucchini and red pepper, available in specialty grocery stores across the East Coast. Recipes contain locally sourced fruits and vegetables, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, apple cider vinegar, curry powder and raw cane sugar.
“I was tired of eating indulgent snacks that were marketed as better-for-you but ironically had an unrecognizable ingredient list,” Mr. Blana said. “As a brand we aim bring fresh clean label products in a category that has mostly been overlooked when it came to simplicity of ingredients and nutrition.”
4. Nomad Mix
Nomad Mix is a Portland, Ore.-based maker of savory trail mix combining unexpected ingredients. The Meadow mix contains almonds, cashews, beet chips, apricots and berries, sweetened with honey and dusted with basil, cocoa and coffee. The Forest mix has mushroom jerky, carrot chips, walnuts, apple and tarragon. The Harvest mix includes sweet pickle chips, hemp seeds, bee pollen, persimmon, pear, white pepper and hazelnut. The Tide Pool mix has shiitake mushrooms, pistachio, pine nuts, mango, goji berries, cracked ginger, mirin and toasted nori. The Dune mix blends toasted corn, peanuts, Brazil nuts, tart sour cherry, banana chips, pineapple, cilantro, spices and honey.
Dissatisfied by conventional trail mix, founder Aiyesha Christian drew inspiration from outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest to concoct the snack clusters and donates a percentage of profits to organizations focusing on protecting and rejuvenating communities and environments.
5. Nowhere Bakery
Nowhere Bakery, Los Angeles, offers a line of allergy-friendly cookies, brownies and dessert bars featuring ingredients such as almond butter, organic cassava flour, organic dark chocolate chips and coconut sugar. The products are free from dairy, eggs, grains and soy and sold online at nowherebakery.com and in cafes and specialty grocers throughout the Southern Pacific region. The startup, owned and operated by married co-founders Saphira and Maurizio Rasti, seeks to expand its footprint beyond the West Coast.
“We envision Nowhere as more than just a bakery,” Ms. Rasti said. “We’re building a brand that understands true quality as a reflection of inclusivity. Our approach to innovation starts with our belief that everyone should be able to enjoy a delicious dessert without fear over how their body will react, and without sacrificing taste.”