Winter Fancy Food Show 2020: A Plant-Based Future, Sustainable Packaging, and Meeting Wonderful Business People

This blog post has taken a LONG while to finish. However, it needed to be done since this experience is too phenomenal not to share! The Winter Fancy Food Show of 2019 was an absolute blast. This year’s show did not disappoint! I ate my FACE off–both in vegan meat samples and enough ice cream to last me a lifetime–and took home a bunch of wonderful samples as well as business cards and stickers! Seriously, my hydroflask is DECKED OUT thanks to this expo.

I wanted to take this convention and truly highlight some of the most incredible sectors of growth in the food industry. Not only did I want to see what kind of new products were out there, but also find the genius minds of companies that are prepared to change the world, one product at a time. My documentation can’t even do it justice–there were over 1,400 booths!–but this is just a small highlight of the beacons of change in food.

BUSINESS PEOPLE

  • Meeting Miyoko Schinner HERSELF–the mastermind behind Miyoko’s Kitchen–was one of the highlights of the day. She truly is one of a kind in terms of entrepreneurship, creativity, and passion for sustainability and plant-based eating.
  • Taking a picture and chatting with Bob of Bob’s Red Mill offered some phenomenal insight on maintaining an employee-owned business, the benefits of whole grains, and integrity in quality sourcing, processing, and packaging.
  • I reunited with Cliff Nordquist of Just Bagels in Bronx. He was kind enough to give me some bagels and allow me to visit the facility any time!
  • I met the team of Eclipse Foods and learned about their magnificent mission and drive to creating an allergen-friendly, budget-friendly, and environmentally-friendly ice cream (made of canola oil, potato, corn, cassava, and sugar!) that can cater to all kinds of allergens without any added stabilizers.
  • Later on, I visited more of my Lakanto family (okay, maybe not officially, but as an affiliate, I feel tied with them enough) and discovered all their upcoming projects and reaffirmed how wonderful the company is.
  • Finally, I connected with the team at Ozery Bakery (morning rounds for days!) to learn more about their start as a family-owned bakery called Pita Break, their growth from Toronto to Quebec and the United States, and their commitment to nutritious ingredients that are as minimally processed as possible.

PLANT-BASED REVOLUTION

  • I HAD to enjoy some Follow Your Heart vegan grilled cheese! In utmost transparency, I didn’t finish the chips. But the grilled cheese was HEAVENLY. TO. DIE. FOR.
  • There was also a company that made tofu jerky! It tasted BOMB. Better yet, they are all the way from China!
  • Urban Accents offered some incredibly cool vegan meat alternative mixes such as this stunning Korean BBQ variety! As of now, they only have spice blends. However, this product is amazing and I cannot wait to see it sold!
  • Oat milk will pave the way in the 2020’s! Planet Oat is no exception. I loved both the chocolate and original flavors! My family and I have been enjoying this and Oatly since it is much more environmentally friendly than nut-based milks. They offered all their oat milk varieties to try and I fell in love with all of them–surprisingly, the original was my favorite flavor!
  • When Good Planet Foods showcases their vegan cheese as the best vegan cheese on the planet, they’re definitely not kidding! Their slices were INSANELY yummy and melted beautifully in their grilled cheese samples. What makes their cheese unique is that they are free of all allergens, which you don’t see at all often!
  • Under Before the Butcher, Uncut has established itself as a pillar of plant based protein for red meat AND poultry. I got to try their roasted turkey burgers and couldn’t believe they were animal free!
  • This Thailand-based company has manufactured jackfruit-based burgers and sausages! It’s really neat to see how creative some brands are with ingredients. I’ve hardly seen jackfruit sausages (only online in recipes) but I was intrigued! Unfortunately, they did not offer samples of this meat alternative, but they probably taste great!
  • OH MY GEE. The vegan tuna from Jinka is wondrously fabulous. The texture is substantial and hearty, the saltiness level is just right, and the flavors POP. My favorite was their spicy variety and they were so generous and gave me an onigiri to take home!
  • Move over, mozzarella! You’re probably thinking–we can eat oats in cheese? HOW? Well, my friends, it has been done, and it doesn’t taste like oats or oat milk at all. Oatzarella offers vegan cheese wheels in two flavors! As an added bonus, the wheels are gluten free, hence those with Celiac disease or an intolerance can eat them too!
  • Surprised that I had to include Miyoko’s again? No surprise, right? They are a front-runner in the movement of plant based dairy alternatives (their vegan cream cheese and butter are TO DIE FOR). Just look at all the varieties they have!
  • Want some more plant based protein crumbles and grounds? You know you do. Longeve‘s vegan protein crumbles are absolutely marvelous in flavor and texture. They currently have plain, curry, Italian, and taco varieties–I got to try the Italian and taco flavors and love them both!
  • Vegan cold cuts from Italy! Good and Green Foods showcased all kinds of deli slices, such as provolone, turkey, ham, salami, and more. There weren’t any samples offered. Imagine trying this in a sandwich or on a vegan charcuterie board–I would totally want to try the turkey slices!
  • “Jerky, mushroom jerky” – Pan’s Mushroom Jerky 2020. I can never get enough of their jerky flavors–ALL of them, even though the Zesty Thai flavor is my personal go-to! I tried replicating mushroom jerky at home (did not go well) and there’s just something so special about this product. It tastes meaty and comforting even though it’s not a soy or wheat protein product!
  • Picture this: a veggie burger mix where you choose what veggies go into the burger and cook. Down to Cook Foods made it happen with Adda Veggie protein mix! I tried their original blend prepared with broccoli and it tasted heavenly. You can really use them for anything–burger patties, falafels, veggie meatballs, and much more!
  • As of now, we’ve seen all kinds of vegan jerky–tofu, mushroom, and many more. Upton’s Naturals has a wheat protein-based jerky that tastes divine–I tried all their flavors! I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite. None of them are too salty or too chewy and do not skimp on a flavorful punch!

SO. MUCH. ICE. CREAM.

  • Never have I ever tried a Texas sheet cake, but I have gotten to taste Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream‘s dairy free Texas sheet cake chocolate ice cream. DAMN. Have I been missing out! It is one of the yummiest ice creams I have EVER tasted, kid you not. I almost asked for an entire pint’s worth of this sample. Now, I have to visit a scoop shop and enjoy this in a cup!
  • Oh me, oh my, it’s here: O’MY! This is such a wonderful line of dairy free gelato flavors that would suit any palette. I got a chance to try their upcoming keto-friendly and lower sugar flavors, which is their cake walk gelato. It made me say, “OH MY! This is AMAZING!”
  • Despite seeing Frill‘s pints at Gelson’s and Lassens, I never tried it. No excuse now! The lovely Frill team offered some small samples of their chocolate and nutty caramel flavors. They were absolutely sublime! I got a bunch of coupons and a business card. Wish I got to take a pint home!
  • Once more, I have to give another shout-out to Eclipse Foods. I could NOT believe the ice cream tasted so brilliantly close to the real deal! It looks really well swirled from its machine that you’d never guess it’s plant-based!
  • Alden’s Organics has offered many ice cream flavors, but no dairy free varieties. Well, the latter has now changed! While not debuted to stores yet, the company sampled several dairy free flavors. I loved their gorgeously refreshing vegan strawberry ice cream and their vegan brownie flavor. Plus, they had an ice cream sandwich! Fun fact: this was one of the first samples I had of the day. Sugary ice cream for breakfast? I wouldn’t do it again, but it was worth it!
  • Back to Planet Oat–they also showcased some oat milk ice cream! I tried the chocolate peanut butter and vanilla flavors. They were so delectable that I could not decide which one was my favorite!
  • Frozen smoothies that taste like ice cream? Can you imagine that? Friends, Sweet Nothings has accomplished exactly that! The packaging is simple but lovely, the message is truly genuine and powerful, and the product itself is so dreamy! I loved their chocolate, peanut butter, and strawberry flavors, but all of them are absolutely terrific! The owner Beth is such an amazing woman and has a fervent passion for creating healthier food that appeals to all people of all ages.
  • Want to try a line of sorbet that is blueberry-based and contains as much fruit as possible? I know I do! Here’s Sorbatto, a line of incredible pure sorbets that have around three to four ingredients per pint! I got to try their raspberry and blackberry flavors and ADORED both of them.
  • Acai you there! This was my exact thought when I came across the Wateke Foods area. They offered some incredibly yummy acai smoothie samples to try. I already loved the taste, but even more so on how aesthetic and various their product lines are!

SO. MANY. SWEET. FOODS.

  • Not visiting the Lakanto booth at the Winter Fancy Food Show would have been a CARDINAL sin. I got to try their baking chips and their new chocolate bars–all the wasted months without them!
  • Too Good Gourmet came out with some vegan cookies! I wish I got to try them, but they were not open for sampling. Oh well. We can only hope that we’ll be able to purchase them in stores someday!
  • Normally, I’m not crazy about fudge, BUT Mrs. Tilly’s won me over. Their vegan fudge was sweet, a little salty, and melted in my mouth! Even though you cannot find their vegan fudge on their website just yet, you won’t regret trying it once the availability becomes public!
  • If there is any booth with the best hot chocolate fix, it is that of Cacoco. They served the most fabulous varieties of hot chocolate–my favorites were the 60% rich dark and 65% golden dark!
  • Nat’s Raw Line offered some phenomenal mini raw vegan cakes! They were so sweet and allowed me to try all of them. I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite, but their berry cake did stand out to me the most! None of them even tasted like they were healthy–INSANE.
  • As an avid cookie lover, I HAD to visit KaKookies for their vegan friendly and superfood-filled cookies! The packaging is cute, the snack is wonderful on-the-go, and the line comprises of five delectable flavors. You HAVE to try all of them, but the cashew blondie would be my first recommendation.
  • Coracao showcased a huge array of dark chocolate products, including basic bars and small filled bars of real food-based ingredients. You won’t miss Snickers or Twix with these. They have the best mini almond butter-filled bars–basically luscious almond butter coated in dark chocolate!
  • More chocolate–no surprise! Raaka‘s products are some of my special occasion favorites, as they tend to be a little more on the pricey side per bar. I got a chance to try their new oat milk chocolate bar…and it is most easily one of my favorites! Their pink sea salt chocolate is also to die for.
  • Would you believe me if there was a company that sold the BEST bean-based desserts? Talking…vegan brownies, blondies, and bars? Well, Shockingly Healthy does now! I LOVED every item they had and wanted to take them all home. Plus, each bar was only 180 calories!

CALL ME THE SNACKING QUEEN

  • No surprise, I am a nut butter FANATIC. Therefore, YumButter was a MUST to visit. I ended up leaving with a few coupons having tried some of their splendid seed-infused nut butters! My favorites are their protein almond butter, crunchy almond butter, and sunflower butter!
  • Eons ago, I reviewed Evoke Foods‘s collection of muesli flavors, but they are back with a BANG. They came out with a vast array of differently flavored airy oat-based crisps–surprisingly, the berry flavor was my favorite! They were kind enough to give me the whole bag and I’ve been snacking on them little by little ever since!
  • Crapola: just read the name. Doesn’t it make you laugh? It absolutely made me giggle! I visited this booth with ZERO expectations and fell in love with their vegan chocolate raspberry kissypoo granola. All in all, I adore how they try to emphasize the importance of fiber in the diet. If that means needing to snack on more granola, then I’m sold!
  • Can you think of anything more beautifully aromatic than the smell of freshly baked or toasted bread? Well, I can’t. What made Ozery Bakery even MORE special was how each product contained whole grains, with some possessing dried fruits and others having seeds! I loved how their company strives to sustainability and detail orientation. I got to take home a blueberry morning round that was SUBLIME. Not to mention: vegan brioche.
  • What if you could eat your probiotics in the form of a portable, crunchy, and flavorful medium? Well, with CORE Foods bars, now you can! I kid you not when I say that each bar is equally delicious. They taste like a sweet breakfast! I would totally purchase an entire variety pack online!
  • While I have mentioned them before, AtheenOats was a company I NEEDED to revisit. Their small batched, handcrafted, baked, and vegan-friendly granola varieties are absolutely marvelous for snacking as they are sold in small snack packs, but can be used for more substantial meals as well. Trust me when I say this granola is truly unique–they are MUCH better than most store-bought brands!
  • Purely Elizabeth is a brand that a lot of people have heard of for many good reasons! Being non-GMO, entirely gluten free, organic, vegan, you can’t go wrong! I love their crunchy probiotic bars and granola bags, but they also showcased their overnight oats jars, pancake mixes, and hot cereals. Moreover, they have keto, Paleo, and grain free products too!
  • Imagine being able to freshly toast nuts in the microwave! This is something Blum Snacks introduced me too–it was so fun to witness! Their almonds are sustainably grown in California and they have sweet and savory flavors, so you’ll find at least one flavor you’ll love. Thus far, they can only be purchased online.
  • When I came across the Lantana Foods booth, it seemed like I stepped into an entire hummus universe. Lantana creates all kinds of hummus spreads with various types of beans such as white beans, black beans, yellow lentils, and edamame, along with spices and vegetables. Their carrot hummus sent me into heaven!
  • Though being small and young, Vixed Baking Company has launched two different baking mixes: banana bread and chocolate chip muffins! They are vegan-friendly, INSANELY easy to use, and are allergen-friendly, and only a few ingredients! You only need to add a banana to whip up a batch. Try not to eat the entire bag’s worth!
  • Rancho Meladuco Date Farm truly won my heart over. With their rustic-looking booth, their almond butter and peanut butter-stuffed Medjool date samples, and the cutest company mascot, they would have won over EVERYONE’s hearts! Their dates tasted super fresh, gooey, sweet, and remarkably hearty–you ever try to chew a date that feels like a brick? Not fun. All their dates are harvested in Coachella Valley, refrigerated or frozen to sell year-round, and are sold by the box!
  • Look, the nutrition bar sector of the food industry may seem over-saturated, but EVERYONE wants something new. KIZEConcepts is here to the rescue with their collection of bars that cater to all kinds of dietary preferences: vegan, keto-friendly, high protein, delectable, and raw. Even better? They give back to the community by donating some of their profit to With All My Heart Foundation. It’s even more remarkable to see a company doing well for their community AND for others around them.
  • Ah, everyone’s favorite cruciferous superfood: cauliflower–now, it has foodie superpowers thanks to Caulipower! They manufacture cauliflower-based pizzas, riced cauliflower, cauliflower-crusted chicken tenders, cauliflower tortillas, and even sweet potato toast slices. The tortillas were super yummy–even though not everything was vegan, it’s great to see a health-conscious company create amazing alternatives!
  • Artichokes, almonds, cacao, OH MY! These are all ingredients in Belichka bars, also known as some of the most amazing vegan, keto, and small-batch bars made in San Francisco! They didn’t taste super sweet and lent this delectable crunch with a good amount of their respective flavors such as raspberry, matcha, almond, and coffee. I loved them a lot and they have yet to become sold in stores.
  • Nakd Bars are relatively well known in Europe–they kind of resemble the flavor and ingredient profile of LARABARs, but they are smaller and slimmer in composition. They gave me some samples to try at home and I gobbled up one after dinner each night until I ran out! Their carrot cake flavor and blueberry muffin bar were TO DIE FOR!
  • Again, another booth I needed to re-visit: Just Bagels from the Bronx, New York! All their bagels are void of oils, preservatives, artificial flavors/colors, high fructose corn syrup, while many of them have whole grains and other superfoods such as seeds and dried fruit. They were so kind to give me a bag of their multigrain energy bagels to take home!
  • Yet another date company, but Joolie’s Dates could not be resisted. They manufacture the most beautiful date syrups (their cinnamon flavored syrup tastes like cinnamon toast crunch CRACK) along with sun-ripened dates from Coachella Valley. You also cannot deny that the packaging is absolutely STUNNING. I could have easily eaten a whole box of their dates!
  • Gluten free whole grain sourdough that tastes like heaven…doesn’t that sound like a product you’d only find in your dreams? Young Kobras Bread has got your back! They had the most beautiful gluten free sourdough bread varieties, including olive herb, fig walnut, buckwheat, and a plain. I kid you not when I say I nearly stole a loaf! LOL!
  • Kween and Co, the magical kingdom of GRANOLA-based spreads! You read that correctly. Allergen-friendly, perfectly sublime, and packaged in the most gorgeously designed jars, you cannot go wrong. I am obsessed with all their flavors–they served single-serving packages at their booth and they NEED to be sold in stores. It would be too easy for me to just annihilate a whole jar anyways.
  • Allergen-friendly peanut butter that TASTES like peanut butter and isn’t made of a nut, seed, or a grain? Yes, The Amazing Chickpea has chickpea-based butter that is used mainly for schools of youth. I love how awesome their spreads taste and how they are high in fiber, protein, and iron, key nutrients that young kids need to consume more of.
  • Found in the French halls of the convention, Boulart was a huge booth loaded with bakery items, mainly breads. Their samples were some of the best warmly heated baguettes I’ve EVER tasted in my life! All their products are non-GMO, vegan, kosher, free of additives, and void of added sugar. They also have a wonderful building for their workers that probably smells like bread all the time. Lucky them!

BOTTOMS UP!

  • A lot of people don’t drink kombucha because of the high-ish sugar content. But WHAT IF…there is a low sugar kombucha in the market, RIGHT NOW? Yes, Clearly Kombucha exists and it is marvelous! Each of their products are brewed and filtered to remove dead yeast cells and bacteria for a lighter product. Their ginger mint lemonade kombucha was my favorite flavor, but you have to try them all!
  • In utmost transparency, I don’t really believe in alkaline water. It’s a bit of a marketing gimmick. However, I admittedly have a soft spot for Flow Water because their flavored waters taste AMAZING. They are clean, refreshing, clear, crisp, and the fruits, herbs, and flowers are easily detectable in the water! Not to mention, the packaging is aesthetic as hell!
  • Purely Drinks is, hands down, in my list of top ten favorite booths! Their line of apple cider-based fruit vinegar has a medley of gut-friendly, fruity, and traditionally made (fermented) concentrates that you drink diluted with water for a tasty and refreshing beverage. The team was the sweetest and their products were spectacular, especially the pineapple citrus vinegar concentrate!

One of my favorite discoveries: edible spoons from incrEDIBLE spoons! This company manufactures grain-based spoons that are durable, nutrient-dense, and sustainable for restaurants to use. They have two flavors: plain and chocolate. Both of them taste like a dream!

There were also sustainable packaging!

Hope you enjoyed this recap!


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