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Fancy Food Show Review: Ancient Grains

July 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Recently we attended the Fancy Food Show, ‘North America’s Largest Specialty Food & Beverage Event’, which was held in New York June 30 - July 2, 2013. The event includes 180,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more, with 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries and regions.
 
All the standard food business trends were in evidence at the show – rise of organic, healthier options, exotic and vibrant tastes, craft and artisanal food, convenience. This year the show was especially heavy on artisanal olive oils, sea salts and chips.
 
We went looking at a number of themes and trends and one thing we looked at was the ongoing rise of ancient grains. Here are a few things of interest we saw:
 
Ancient grains
Many brands and products mention ancient grains in their literature but the penetration of grains varies greatly. Some, like quinoa are entering the mainstream while others like teff, spelt or kamut, say, are much less commonplace. One product that at the show looked to be gaining traction is freekeh, being introduced alongside quinoa and used more widely as an ingredient. For example:
 
Under the tag ‘Nature’s Recipe for Well-Being,’ Freekehlicious offer Wholegrain Freekeh and Cracked Freekah.
 
Under the tag ‘ancient grains for modern times,’ Freekeh-Foods offers freekeh in three flavors: Original, Rosemary Sage & Tamari.
 
We did not notice any consumer products with freekeh but a web search shows some are emerging. Also, the rep at Freekehlicious believes that freekeh is the ‘new quinoa,’ given the benefits it offers and relative ease of using it compared to other ancient grains.
 
Chia Pod
Australia-based Chia Company is pushing the benefits of the ancient grain chia that was originally grown in South America. Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans. It is the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants.
 
It recently launched Chia Pod:
 
‘…a world first innovation. Dairy free and vegan, each 6oz Chia Pod® has been cold processed to retain the raw nutrition, taste and color of the fruit. The innovative single serve pack contains a custom designed spoon inside the lid. The lid, spoon and cup are 100% recyclable.’
 
The Chia Co products are now available throughout stores in Australia, New Zealand and the USA; since June 2013 Chia Pods have been available at Wholefoods in the USA.
Business360 staff, "Fancy Food Show Review by Business360", Business360 Comment, July 24, 2013
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