After scouring close to 200,000 square feet, three key ingredients kept making a repeat appearance – ginger, honey and lemon. While each of these items can stand respectably on its own, these “it” flavors were presented over and over again in tasty, and often unsuspecting products at NASFT. Experts weigh in on the popularity of each ingredient, while outstanding examples are noted. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) Winter Fancy Food Show is not for faint-hearted foodies. During this annual, three-day event, more than 1,300 food vendors set up displays and sampling opportunities in the depths of San Francisco’s Moscone Center. It could easily be touted as the debutante ball for new foodstuffs; many of the brands and products are being introduced to the global market for the very first time. The buzz of entrepreneurship is palpable, as many of these small business owners have put everything on the line in this “make it or break it” introduction to the world. From a buyer, importer/exporter and food media perspective, this event sets the global industry trends for the coming year.
Monica Bhide, author of Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen (Simon & Schuster) and iPhone spice app,iSPICE thinks ginger is a magical ingredient and that its sharp taste and earthy flavors make it a natural from sweet to savory dishes…
…(And to) add to that ginger is actually really good for you and you have a winner! – Monica Bhide
Outstanding examples: Kona Brewing Co. Lemongrass Ginger Blonde, NaGo All Natural Ginger Sesame Miso Dressing, and Q Ginger ginger ale.
Former Gourmet editor and author of Lemon Zest: More Than 15 Recipes with a Twist (Broadway), Lori Longbotham, notes that as a main ingredient or an aromatic accent, the lemon is part of virtually every cuisine in the world.
Almost everything we eat contains at least a tiny amount of acid, or we would find it insipid. – Lori Longbotham
Outstanding examples: Lemon Yuzu Gummi Pandas from Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier, Three Twins Lemon Cookie Ice Cream, and TONTON Yuzu Sauce.
Chef Terry Pichor of luxury wilderness lodge, Sonora Resort in British Columbia believes the popularity of honey may be due to bees in the media.
With the bee population being threatened, l guess it’s a way of supporting them by buying the small local honeys and increasing the demand for the product. Also the health benefits of honey are huge and people are always becoming more aware and knowledgeable of that. – Terry Pichor
Outstanding examples: Honey Bee Goat Cheese, Savannah Bee Co., Organic Honey-Roasted Coffee, and Honeydrop Green Tea.