Melanie Bartelme
Melanie Zanoza Bartelme is a Global Food Analyst at Mintel, providing insights on global innovation and consumer trends across a number of food categories

Global Food Analyst, Melanie Zanoza Bartelme spent the Summer Fancy Food Show, held June 30-July 2 in New York City, walking the floor in search of new and innovative products as part of the Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel. Melanie shared the products and companies that caught her eye in a series of observations that were released daily to attendees. Here are some of the highlights.

Good Spoon Vegan Mayo

There have been a lot of vegan mayos making the rounds, formulated with all sorts of ingredients, including avocado, coconut oil, and peas. This one sticks out because it uses the microalgae chlorella, which replaces both the eggs and 50% of the oil of a traditional mayo, for a product that contains 60% of the fat. Consumers are looking for ways to add plant-based alternatives to their diets, according to Mintel trend, “Power to the Plants.”

Suji’s Korean Cuisine Korean Style Bentos

Suji’s works with Korean chefs to create an authentic flavor in its products, and its Korean Style Bentos extend the sense of authenticity in how the frozen meals are formatted. Each single-serving box contains both a main dish like kimchi bacon fried rice and a small vegetable side dish such as sweet potato japchae noodles or snap peas. This practice is representative of banchan, the small communal vegetable dishes that would be served at a meal in Korea. These boxes give consumers a new way to experience both the flavors of a culture as well as the way they would be traditionally be eaten.

Asarasi Sparkling Organic Tree Water

Consumers are looking for ways to ease their impact on the planet, according to Mintel trend, “Hungry Planet.” Some companies are standing out for the innovative approaches they’re taking to make the most of the resources they use and a perfect example of this approach is Asarasi. Asarasi is taking the water removed from maple sap during the syrup distilling process and lightly carbonating it for a new kind of sparkling water, which it claims is the only USDA-certified organic water on the market.

Olyra

Olyra drew on its Greek roots to create a new take on the breakfast biscuit. Founder Yannis Varellas, a fifth-generation miller based in Greece, commissioned research on whole grains to create a product that provides lasting energy. The three varieties in the line also contain ingredients native to different areas of Greece, such as carob that would have been grown in Sparta. It’s a fun and interesting take on something that’s both authentic and traditional and offers the healthful convenience today’s consumers want.

Egunsi Foods

West African cuisine is another style to watch, with fresh soups serving as an affable introduction to traditional dishes and flavors. The soups draw on ingredients like crushed egusi melon seeds, a staple ingredient used widely in West African cuisine. The soups’ clear packaging is especially effective, which the founder said was intended to echo the transparency the company strives to offer and gives consumers a clear view of the products’ vibrant colors.

Farmtrue Ghee-Nut Butter

These nut spreads use ghee–clarified butter–in place of palm oil, which has been linked with deforestation and raises other ethical concerns for some consumers. The company, which produces flavored and traditional grass-fed ghees, points to ghee’s positive health attributes and associations with Ayurveda.
 

Haven’s Kitchen

Despite what it might feel like, there are consumers out there who want to cook and who feel comfortable experimenting with new flavors in the kitchen, according to Haven’s Kitchen founder Alison Cayne. That’s why her retail line of vegan refrigerated sauces give consumers suggestions, not recipes. Packaged in squeezable multi-use pouches, these globally inspired sauces offer variety and freshness in a convenient way that should resonate with today’s time-strapped home cooks.

Willie’s Superbrew

This 4.5% ABV “beer” is a refreshing option for consumers looking for lower alcohol options. It’s made from superfoods like pomegranate and acai using champagne yeast, which gives the beverage a light taste and delicate fizz.
 

Bear Yoyos

I loved the educational component of these fruit and vegetable leather “yoyos.” Each pack comes with a card introducing kids to some part of the world, and if parents collect 10 UPCs, their kids receive a paper map, helping children start to understand where different countries fit into the world. In addition, the yoyos provide a full serving of fruit and vegetables per pack.

Due Cellucci

Brands and products with compelling stories and missions can really make an impression on consumers, especially when the company shows that they are giving back, according to Mintel trend, “Moral Brands.” Due Cellucci honors the memory of the cofounders’ brother and son, respectively, who lost his battle with leukemia before he could fulfill his dream of bringing the family restaurant’s sauces to retail. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from each jar goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which should appeal to consumers looking to buy from companies they think are supporting worthy causes. The company focuses on quality as well, using San Marzano tomatoes that are sweet enough to require no added sugars.