Washington, D.C.— NASFT’s 58th Summer Fancy Foods Show was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from June 17-19, hosting over 2400 exhibitors from all over the world, in what was its final appearance in the nation’s capital before returning to New York’s Javits Center for 2013.
Besides the thousands of new product debuts, food tasting and business occurring in two exhibit halls, the show featured a red carpet ceremony for its 40th annual sofi Awards with keynote speaker Chef Jose Andres, a celebration of NASFT’s 60 years in existence with an exhibit called “A Visual Feast,” a chef demo theater on the show floor featuring renowned and celebrity chefs, as well as a slate of educational sessions.
Fancy Foods as usual had an international flair, with crowds jamming the aisles between Mexican and Japanese exhibitors, discovering new culinary frontiers in the process. The overarching trend continued to be the gluten-free revolution, with a majority of company’s touting not just their gluten-free offerings, but the improved taste profiles of these products. This included everything from tasty desserts from the likes of 1-2-3 Gluten Free and La Vita Foods, to gluten-free pretzel sticks from Snyders of Hanover. Other product crazes included marinades, rubs and other grilling condiments, just in time for summer. Products such as spicy ketchup or flavorful dipping sauces are being repurposed left and right, and marketed as perfect for cookouts or the home grill artist.
The sofi Gold Awards made winners out of a long list of companies, though for many it was not the first time. Highlights included best Diet and Lifestyle Product going to WOW Baking Company for its wheat and gluten free Lemon Burst Cookies, Innovation in Packaging Design or Function going to Ajiri Tea Company for its loose Kenyan Black Tea, and Back to the Roots’ Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden, which won for best Food Gift.
Published by WholeFoods Magazine Online (online 6/20/12)