NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Specialty foods are taking center stage this week at the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center.

The trade show features everything from chocolate to cheese. It’s not open to the public, but CBS2’s Elise Finch gave us a look inside.

With nearly 25,000 people in attendance, this show is the largest marketplace in North America for buyers and sellers of specialty foods.

“This determines what’s next on store shelves across the country,” said Louise Kramer with the Specialty Food Association.

Buyers for Stop & Shop and Giant grocery stories told CBS2 what exactly they’re looking for.

“Healthy snack alternatives versus the chips and cookies,” said Natalia Torres-Furtado with Stop & Shop and Giant stores.

‘They want to be able to have good quality food that’s good for them but still tastes good,” said Michele Merchant with Stop & Shop and Giant Stores.

Healthy snacks like coconut chips and heirloom popcorn like the East Harlem based “pipcorn” are popular choices.

“A lot of people like to modify their corn but the heirloom corn is what it always has been and the beauty if Pipcorn is that it’s one of the oldest open-pollinated heirloom varieties grown in the U.S. so it’s really clean and really natural,” Jeff Martin, Pipsnacks Co-Founder.

Experts say consumers are becoming more like connoisseurs when it comes to their favorite snacks –boosting popularity for things like single-origin chocolate.

“Single origin chocolates are those that are sourced in a specific geographical region where the beans are of a like kind,” said Laura Tornichio-Vidal with Guittard Chocolates.

One of the biggest trends this year is proving non-GMO certification, which basically says the ingredients in your specialty food have not been genetically modified, Finch reported.

“Everybody is just looking for simple ingredients that are cooked properly,” said Billy Strynkowski with Victoria Fine Foods. “So it’s good to eat and healthy.”

Brooklyn-based Victoria Fine Foods is now printing their ingredients on the front label of their sauces and highlighting their non-GMO verified status. Specialty food producers say it’s hard for them to succeed without that official verification.

“We were losing a lot of customers because we didn’t have the label, we couldn’t say we were certified non-GMO so people didn’t trust it because there’s a lot of people out there who will say anything to get you to buy,” said Jennifer Martin, Pipsnacks Co-Founder.

The Fancy Food Show helped launch brands like Pop-chips, Honest Tea and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.



Leave a Reply