New trends at the Summer Fancy Food Show

Quinoa salad with grapes and passion fruit
Packaging display at the Summer Fancy Food Show
Panettone, one of many fancy packaging displays at the Summer Fancy Food Show

Our second foray to the Summer Fancy Food Show, a trade-only event held again at the cavernous Javits Center in New York City was no less daunting than the first time.

The three-day event features specialty or “fancy foods,” premium quality products often made by artisans and small producers. This year there were 2600 exhibitors and 22,000 attendees.

The show is produced by the Specialty Food Association, a non-profit trade association with more than 3000 members. This was the first time the show had a country as a co-sponsor, with 375 companies displaying foods from Italy. The event brings buyers from the food industry together with producers and vendors looking for distributors.

A few other factoids:

  • In addition to the U.S. and Italy, 50 other countries participated.
  • One in four food dollars are spent on fancy foods, to the tune of $109 billion last year (2014).
  • One of the fastest growing food categories: refrigerated pasta

We walked for hours chatting with exhibitors along the way, and tasted until we couldn’t consume another bite or walk another step. Here’s the “skinny” on what we found:



This grain from the Andes is called the superfood of the Incas. In 2013, the UN named it the “golden grain” because of its high nutritional value and health benefits.

Quinoa salad with grapes and passion fruit
Quinoa salad with grapes and passion fruit at the Peruvian Pavilion
Quinoa flakes and puffed quinoa
Quinoa flakes and puffed quinoa


This small seed is also considered a superfood, purported to be rich in Omega-3 and to speed up metabolism.

Mexican chia snacks
Mexican chia snacks


Home cooks are increasingly incorporating kale into recipes. Although healthy, it can be challenging to cook because of its texture and bitter flavor.

Rhythm Kale Chips
Rhythm Kale Chips with Mango Habanero


A definite carryover from last year’s show, gluten-free products are still exceedingly popular.

A variety of gluten-free products
A variety of gluten-free products


Potato chips move over. Different rice and fruit chips are joining them on specialty shelves.

Risotto chips
Risotto chips
Various fruit chips
Various fruit chips

Everything Hot 

Anything hot seems to be the rage. Not only is Sriracha sauce on every restaurant table but there are other popular “hot” products.

Honey and balsamic mustard have given way to wasabi mustard
Honey and balsamic mustard have given way to wasabi mustard
Korean fermented hot chili paste
Korean fermented hot chili paste used in marinades, sauces, soups and stews
Mrs. Renfro's BBQ Sauces
Mrs. Renfro’s BBQ Sauces – Ghost Pepper is a favorite!


This one will never go away. Two interesting new products were Skimpy mixers and Skinny Sticks.

Skimpy Mixers
Skinny Sticks
Skinny Sticks


Kelp caviar

Seaweed-based vegetarian caviar
Seaweed-based vegetarian caviar

Brownie Brittle

Sheila G. discovered that people loved the burnt part of the brownie and made it into chips
Sheila G. discovered that people loved the burnt part of the brownie and made it into brittle

Fruit Pulp Vinegar

Fruit-pulp vinegar from Italy
Fruit-pulp vinegar from Italy

Himalayan Salt Shooters

Tequila Salt Shooters - Just add tequila and drink up!
Himalayan Salt Shooters – Just add tequila and drink up!

Corn Cones

U-shaped corn ice cream cones from Korea are dripless
U-shaped corn ice cream cones from Korea are dripless


Much more than the tastings, every show-goer enjoys the one-on-one interaction with people from all over the world who share a passion for food. 


We spoke to Mario Pelino, the seventh-generation of his family to work in the Pelino candy factory, which has been in business in Sulmona, Italy since 1783. He explained that Italian “confetti,” disk-shaped sugar candies typically thrown at weddings were the inspiration for the colored paper squares Americans throw at parades.

Mario Pelino
Mario Pelino

Del Terruno 

This free-range beef from Uruguay needed no seasonings. We hadn’t realized that Uruguay was a big exporter of meat. The women cooked and sliced it in front of us.

Del Terruno Free Range Beef from Uruguay
Del Terruno Free Range Beef from Uruguay

Zonin Prosecco 

Prosecco is one of our favorite sparkling drinks because it’s affordable to sip on any occasion, not just special ones. This one was a new-to-us brand and we can’t wait to try it with cassis or as part of an Aperol Spritz. It was served by lovely hostesses.

Zonin Prosecco Bar
Zonin Prosecco Bar

Previously on More Time To Travel:

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  1. It’s amazing what the imagination can come up with!! I’ll bet you had so much fun at this event!! I’m not a foodie, but I know I would enjoy the Summer Fancy Food Show!!

  2. Did you run into the Fallot Mustard people there? I’d love to attend one of the Fancy Food shows and will try to make it to the winter show in San Francisco. I went to a VIP event associated with the show in January — hosted by Fallot and DeLoach Vineyards. Most of the guests had been at the show and they raved about it.Thanks for tips for scoop on what’s trending.

  3. Fond memories of attending this show every year when we had our gourmet gift business. Oh, the miles and the calories in profusion! We always enjoyed identifying the new trends in packaging as well. While I’m glad to see an emphasis on healthy choices, I have to admit the candy intrigued me more. 😉

  4. I thought Quinoa and kale were out of trend, though I am certainly embracing all of the ‘hot’ as we are also seeing a surge in wasabi based sauces, which I love.

  5. Talk about a sensory overload! I’d love to go to the Summer Fancy Food Show and what fun to see and taste even a portion of the incredible foods! We really grew to like quinoa while we were still living in the US and our hostess in Lima, Peru mixed it in just about everything she made – a super versatile grain packed with lots of health benefits too!

  6. Would love to walk the aisles at this show! It all looks interesting, but I’m always up for trying “quirky”, like the vinegars and seaweed caviar…reminds me a little of the edible display for “dirt” ice cream at Art Basel last month, but probably more pleasantly flavored. 🙂

  7. I was fascinated to read that one of the fastest growing categories was refrigerated pasta. Over thirty years ago, a girlfriend and I started a fresh pasta business selling pasta to restaurants and good food shops. All we needed was one more step!! I’d love to go to a food show such as this!

  8. When I read at the beginning of your article that Italy was a sponsor of the show, I regretted not having attended. After all, I consider Italian food one of the best cuisines of the world. But then I read through your posting and realized that your detailed reporting and your clear photos covered the show better than if I had been there. I am jealous of all that tasting you had to live through that day …

  9. What a comprehensive post! For years, when I had a boutique in Rhinebeck I dreamed about going to the Fancy Food Show but never got there. While some of it looks fancy, a lot looks, well, not-lol. I was expecting all caviar, fancy chocolates and exotic cheeses.

      1. Does “fancy” refer to food grade, like you see in the store; i.e. “fancy peaches?”

        Where are the fancy oreos?

        1. The term usually refers to foods generally produced in limited batches by smaller producers (as opposed to mass market ones) so Nabisco Oreos definitely aren’t in that “class.”

  10. Wow! What a very thorough review of the latest from the Summer Fancy Food Show. We go to many food and travel trade shows but haven’t done this one yet. I especially loved your coverage of caviar, the Himalayan Salt Shooters and prosecco!

  11. And tonight for dinner at our friends’ home in Kamloops, British Columbia (our fourth stop on this road trip) were quinoa dish and kale salad together with good ole roast chicken! Fancy and healthy foods. Some trends are definitely worth it and it is good to know there is such an association and annual show! Thanks.

  12. What an incredible festival, and interesting to have a different slant to say Good Food and Wine. I’m glad that not all where unheard of for me but there are a couple of new things for mw to seek out and try.

  13. I’m so sorry I missed this – I would have had lots of fun looking and tasting everything! There’s always next year…thanks for the rundown and as always, fabulous photos!

  14. Indeed, looks like some “fancy” and unusual foods! We bought a large bag of quinoa, but it’s still sitting unopened in our cupboards. That’s the problem, we like eating everything, but not cooking anything that’s labor-intensive :-). Are those kale chips meant to be eaten as a snack?

  15. Hi Irene! I’m still on my leave from blogging but I wanted to stop by and say hi 🙂 Your food posts always catch my eye for the foodie in me. Also, though I didn’t comment, I read through all of your flight reviews which were fantastic! I hope summer is treating you well! 🙂

  16. Thanks for the update from the Fancy Food show! It’s incredible the variety of foods available to us today. I’m a wasabi fan, and the brownie brittle sounds yummy!

  17. The Summer Fancy Food Show sounds like a lot of fun! I would like to try a little bit of one of the “hot” sauces on a slice of the free-range beef from Uruguay. Can you say Y.U.M.?

  18. If you ever want someone to come along with you to help you taste some of these fancy foods, please call me! So many of them looked like things I’d want to try (except the hot things — those I don’t like at all).

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