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$175 Billion Specialty Foods Industry on Display at NYC Fancy Foods Show

Considering that New York City is the culinary mecca of the world, housing some of the most extraordinary restaurants and a variety of cultured cuisines, it only makes sense that specialty foods vendors have traveled across the globe for the first Fancy Foods Show held in three years.

After an extended hiatus due to Covid-19, the Fancy Foods Show is finally being held again, located at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. According to the Specialty Foods Association, the market has shifted into popularizing food products that one can cook and enjoy at home, rather than strictly gourmet items only found in restaurants. 

The Fancy Foods Show is a major event that allows smaller specialty foods vendors to promote their products and expand their clientele on a global basis. For example, Kekoa Foods, a pouch-style organic baby food company, began with a dad who started making complex flavor combinations, from fennel and kale to curry vegetable mango, for his infant son to expand his palette from a young age. 

The increasing demand for plant-based products was present at this year’s trade show, showcasing the Zing plant-based protein bars which are dairy and soy-free, and packed with antioxidants and prebiotic fiber to maintain a healthy gut. Many products also cater to those who want to enjoy a delicious meal or beverage, but may be on the go or have time constraints that don’t allow them to cook extravagant dishes. Soup companies I Eat My Greens and Siempre Soups serve nutrient-rich meals in resealable pouches, while wine companies such as Maivino have created a vegan, organic wine in similar resealable pouches that stay fresh for 30 days. In addition, ready-to-drink teas have emerged as a replacement for coffee, with teas by the brand Tea Infusions by Nas promoting effects that mimic antidepressants and enhance relaxation.

The only downside to indulging in specialty foods is the increased cost that comes with these convenient, healthy, and gourmet items. However, most up-and-coming specialty food brands strive to create products that promote nutritious living, as well as benefit the planet through low-waste packaging and recipes free from animal products, justifying the higher price points. 

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