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Specialty Sings at the Summer Fancy Food Show

Kathryn Shear, operations lead on the SPINS Product Library team, recently attended this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show® hosted by the Specialty Food Association® (SFA). When we asked Kathryn, a seasoned specialty products expert, what’s new and exciting in specialty foods, she had lots to report!

“I walked into the Summer Fancy Food Show with high expectations,” Kathryn said, “but the show exceeded them. At SPINS, we study natural and specialty products, their positions in the greater marketplace, and their movement across channels. So many important products and trends come out of the Specialty Channel. The SFA put together a great gathering of exciting brands.”

The show spanned two floors with one specifically dedicated to new members of the SFA. Since 1973, the organization has recognized outstanding products at its shows with sofi Awards™ for culinary excellence and creativity.

After tasting at least 150 products at the show, Kathryn gave us her top five favorites. Two are sofi highlights, too!

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Little Red Dot’s bak kwa – sofi Award winner for Savory Snacks!

The brand’s founders missed the taste of home, so they recreated Malaysia and Singapore’s traditional gourmet preparation of bak kwa jerky stateside. While most jerky is made with dried meat, Little Red Dot bakes its pork and turkey to create a more juicy and tender texture. Adding only spices and turbinado sugar, this simple, tasty snack is also nitrate and wheat free. Right now, it’s the only American-made version in this style – another differentiator in the saturated meat snack market.

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Monsieur Singh’s frozen lassi desserts – sofi Award finalist for New Products!

Frozen yogurt shops may pop up on every other street corner, but we doubt you’ll find anything like Monsieur Singh’s frozen lassi treats. Guided by Ayurvedic principles geared to improving digestion and nutrient absorption, probiotic yogurt joins fruit, herbs, and raw sugar in flavors like honey lemon, mango, passion fruit chia, and pineapple banana.


Be Mixed’s zero calorie cocktail mixers

Thirsty for a healthier cocktail, the makers of Be Mixed created a natural alternative to standard sugary fare. Made with monk fruit, the mixers come in refreshing flavors like cucumber mint, ginger lime, and margarita. The brand’s website offers a bevy of recipes to take the guesswork out of a gourmet tipple, too.

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Wild Poppy’s organic sodas

While the brand’s juices come in sophisticated signature flavors like blood orange chili and peppermint lemonade, Wild Poppy’s new sodas are perfect in their simplicity. Made from just filtered carbonated water, sugar, and juices, the sodas come in classic flavors like grape and orange, as well as lemon. Beleaguered by many, soda gets a sustainable new spin from this company committed to organic farming.

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10th Avenue Tea’s instant tea powders

Shocked by the waste a few daily brews can create (from K-Cups to teabags), the founders of 10th Avenue Tea set out to reduce packaging without compromising the quality of the tea drinks they love. Inside the recyclable or reusable metal container, each bottle contains 60 servings of finely powdered tea that dissolves easily in cool or hot water. Flavors like berry herbal, chai, green, and tropical lend themselves well to baking, cooking, and cocktailing, too.

Kathryn wasn’t the only one with great insights from the show: find her quoted in esteemed industry company by Project Nosh here.

“One of the best parts of the Summer Fancy Foods Show for me was seeing how traditional ethnic flavors are integrating seamlessly with core natural production standards,” Kathryn added. “I saw more Fair Trade certifications and Non-GMO Project Verifications than ever before in the specialty space, and I absolutely love to see fantastic, lesser known flavors move out of the international section to new aisles of the store.”