Watermelon Fruit Jerky

SPINS’ Five Favorite Finds from the Summer Fancy Food Show

By Jill Failla

SPINS’ health & wellness experts attended the Summer Fancy Food Show (SFFS) in New York City earlier this season and rounded up their five favorite products from this specialty food event.

“Speaking to the power of the current plant-based movement, all of the products featured in our roundup are made from plants – many of which offer nutrition boosts alongside socially and environmentally responsible label claims. We’re excited to see how this macro trend plays out at Expo East this week,” said Tiffany Richardson, MPH & MSNW, SPINS’ Policy, Partnerships & Regulatory Manager.

Here are five products we expect to see shake up the shelf and inspire further innovation down the road.


1. Maprao Organic Coconut Jerky

We all know about meat jerky, but how about fruit jerky? Maprao, the makers of Organic Thai Coconut Water, are soon launching an Organic Coconut Jerky product in Original and Black Pepper varieties. The jerky is labeled vegan and gluten-free. On its website, Maprao says it works closely with its Thailand farming communities to educate workers on the benefits of traditional farming as opposed to using chemical pesticides.


2. Watermelon Road Dried Fruit Jerky

Summer 2017 may henceforth be known as the Summer of Fruit Jerky, as our second favorite item from the SFFS is Watermelon Road’s entire lineup of no-sugar-added Dried Fruit Jerky. It was too hard to pick just one flavor to love when the options range from sweet ones like Watermelon Lemonade and Pineapple Mojito to the savory Smoky Balsamic Eggplant. This Brooklyn-based brand touts the absence of additives, preservatives, or refined sugars in its jerky, as well as vegan, Paleo, and gluten-free label mentions.


3. GAEA Veggie Snack

Available nationwide this month, GAEA’s natural rendition of shelf-stable veggie snacks is giving us cause for excitement. Using lemon as a natural preservative, this Greece-based company’s Carrot and Cauli (cauliflower) Veggie Snack packs tout a year-long shelf life. The Carrot and Cauli – which our taste testers found to be more crispy than crunchy – offer front-of-label vegan and gluten-free claims, alongside a myclimate neutral product label on the back of the package.

These two veggie varieties join the several natural and organic Olive Snack packs that preceded them, though the olives are not described as shelf-stable.


4. Mr. Mak’s Ginbao

Differing from kombucha, Mr. Mak’s Ginbao is brewed long and slow to make its ginger and ginseng bao formula extra potent, according to the product’s back label. The brand’s gluten-free and uncarbonated Ginbao come in the original Dynasty Ginbao flavor, as well as Queen Bee Ginbao (with organic honey) and Dragonwell Ginbao (with green tea) varieties. Our taste testers found it to be more spicy than sweet, and though we tried it cold, Mr. Mak’s says to serve it warm for the strongest kick of ginger.


5. JusTea Purple Rain

Is purple the next big thing in tea? JusTea makes us hope so. Grown organically, these tea leaves are purple because they contain anthocyanins, the same super antioxidants found in other purple plants like blueberries and pomegranates. All of this brand’s purple teas are sources directly from Kenyan tea farmers – with the farmer’s photo displayed on the tea tins – and the tins also come with a hand-carved Kenyan tea spoon.

JusTea’s natural Purple Rain variety features Kenyan purple tea, hibiscus, apple pieces, rosehips, passion fruit flavor, and organic lemongrass. The brand also offers Purple Mint, Purple Jasmine, and Purple Leaf Tea varieties.

Want to know more about what SPINS’ health & wellness experts are trendspotting in the marketplace? Be sure to check out our Expo East Recap in October! Or contact your SPINS representative or [email protected] to find out how SPINS uses data as a springboard to unlock insights and fuel your growth.