Bringing together 22,000 food devotees from the four corners of the Earth, the Specialty Food Association’s 61st annual Summer Fancy Food Show, held the last three days in June in New York, featured innovations in a variety of foods from chocolates to gourmet meats to artisan cheeses; and, yes, peanuts. All in all, 2,600 companies showcased their very best, representing the growing popularity of the $109 billion specialty food industry.
Traditional snack peanuts, peanut products and peanut butter were out in full force and proved to be well-loved favorites among the throngs of buyers. Many established brands showed innovations galore with new flavors and brand extensions. And new peanut foods showed creativity with bold flavors and some surprising combinations.
I had the chance to walk (and walk and walk) the food-filled 840,000 square feet of exhibit space at Jacob Javits Center, dazzled and delighted by what I saw. Here are just some new peanut-inspired specialty foods you need to know about.
Farms, owned by Virginia peanut farmers, Jeffrey and Stephanie Pope, showed three new spiced-up snack peanut flavors; sriracha, sriracha lime and lime. Lord Nut Levington, a company whose motto is, “Fight Bland!” showed a bold new flavor, Zesty Chili Lime Peanuts. Belmont Peanuts has an Artisan Chili Series with the hot and spicy flavors of siracha and sea salt, sweet chili and sea salt and jalapeno and sea salt; to name a few. Rounding out the new spicy flavored peanuts, AustiNuts, a company that specializes in dry roasting nuts, highlighted a new Spicy Creole Mustard Peanut line. See more spicy peanut products.
Tradition Meets Innovation: What says comfort foods better than granola or popcorn or frosting for a cake? How about mixing them with the ultimate comfort food that takes us way back—peanut butter? Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn made a hit with a new Peanut Butter Popcorn. Two ultimate comfort foods collide with Nuts About Granola’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola. Dollop Gourmet, makers of gourmet frosting highlighted its new Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting.
International Infusion: Two companies that stood out at the show are bringing new peanut flavors from other countries to American grocery stores. A new company at the show, Kitchens of Africa showed a line of spicy blends and marinades. One sauce, Maffé, is a sweet and tangy African peanut sauce. Vermont Harvest, maker of gourmet jams, jellies, conserves and chutneys extended their brand by introducing Tiger Satay peanut sauce.
Drawing a Crowd: Powdered peanut butters were popular this year. Peanut Butter & Co. garnered attention with its new Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter. Their powdered peanut butter, used in protein shakes, as reconstituted peanut butter or for baking, comes in four flavors: original, chocolate, flax and chia and vanilla. Montebello Kitchens, best known for its gourmet soups and dressings, created a stir with its new peanut butter powder and Chai Spice peanut butter powder. And can anyone improve on the good ole peanut butter cookie? Grey Ghost Bakery expanded their line of delicious, made-from-scratch cookies with new peanut butter and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.