Summer 2007 Fancy Food Recap

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@@img1 The 2007 Summer Fancy Food Show took place at the Javits Center in Manhattan from July 8-10. This annual event is focused on retailers and distributors of specialty food and beverage products, so it’s no surprise that the 60 or so beverage companies exhibiting at the show were focused on trends that fall into the premium segment of their category.

Certainly no surprise was the fact that most beverage exhibitors were excited (or concerned) about the rapidly changing landscape of the industry. The recent acquisitions of Fuze and Glaceau had several beverage marketers buzzing about new openings, especially with key vitaminwater distributors (pending buyouts). There was also lots of discussion about “Who’s next?” Most were focused on Hansen, who, rumor has it, is being pursued by AB. Back to the show floor, there was an abundance of new and unique products to be found.

Here are our highlights:

Function Drinks – The first major citing of this brand on the East Coast was a good one, with charismatic founder Dr. Alex Hughes and hired guns Bob Miller and Marty Jay Zirofsky taking charge at a booth that was almost constantly packed. The brand is, according to various members of the Function team, having an exceptional year (especially in CA) due in part to the changes to the brands look & lineup, the addition of added talent to the sales team, and openings from Fuze and Glaceau.

Metromint – Metromint’s booth showed signs of a good year, especially behind the additions of their most recent flavors, Orangemint and Lemonmint. Speaking with Moselle Hindle, director of marketing, we were told to keep our eyes out for some very innovative flavors this fall.

Boylan’s – The Boylan’s brand had several new things, with the most exciting being their new “Mash” line. “It’s not a soda, it’s not a water, it’s not a juice…it’s a mash” is how Ron Fiorina described it. Line has attributes borrowed from juice and CSDs and is sweetened with sucralose. Packaging is a proprietary 20 oz. squat PET bottle and will be available within the month. Also new were 8 oz. mixer bottles for the seltzer line.

Harney and Sons – High end tea company Harney & Sons has been around almost 25 years but it’s only now that they are taking a stab at the RTD market. Available in 5 flavors, the product is organic and delicately sweetened (lighter than even Honest Tea’s “tad sweet” flavors). Packaged at Castle in PA – just like Honest Tea – the brand uses a familiar bottle that has a full bottle clear wrap with a logo that bears a strong unintended resemblance to Kombucha Wonderdrink. The product is taking the high road with price, expecting to retail for $2.50 or more. Currently in the Northeast, with Whole Foods expected to come online soon.

Honest Tea – Showcasing two new Honest Tea flavors as well as the Honest Kids multi pak, co-founders Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff have come a long way since “sneaking into the show with a duffle bag” back in 1998. One of the new flavors, Sublime Mate, blends a mainstream citrus flavor with a smooth brew of yerba mate.

Dale and Thomas Popcorn – The company is known for creating great popcorn (really, it’s good stuff) and now they want to be known for making “the best lemonade”. New line has 3 flavors, made with a high concentration of lemon juice and packaged in a 12 oz. glass bottle. Can a snack company make it in the beverage industry? Hey, it worked for FritoLay and Pepsi.

Other briefs:

Steaz – Their organic fair trade energy drink line has been a huge success, so their introducing three new flavors: Lime, Orange, and Diet.

Skylar Haley – We sampled Essn Energy, an organic energy drink made with Yerba Mate, green tea, and pomegranate and limeflower flavors.

Izze – Gone are the hippies from boulder and in are the suits and PR people from Pepsi. The booth didn’t have the same charm as it used to, but they did have Izze Esque, a low cal all natural CSD that’s arguably one of the most innovative diet CSDs we’ve seen in a long time.

Sweet Leaf – New mason jars were a hit and new flavors are in the works for later this year. The lemonade line is also an NASFT Silver Sofi Award Winner.

Hint – Hint’s switch to a new bottle is, according to the company, getting a positive response. In our eyes, it definitely looks and feels like a revitalized brand.

Adina – The company was exclusively showing their new RTD coffee lineup, which is close to completion. Standout flavor was a “Mayan Mocha” flavor which features a spiced finish.

O.N.E. – The Tetra pak line has two flavors (Amazon Acai and 100% Coconut Water) and is experiencing success due to acceptance from major chains, including Kroger.

Fizzy Lizzy – Probably the unofficial “most improved” brand for the show, especially as their new packaging was cited as being a huge improvement over previous efforts. Quality hand drawn illustrations have given the brand a much more polished and appealing look. It even helped them win an NASFT Silver Sofi Award for outstanding cold beverage.

Emmi – The Swiss dairy maker is looking to launch a refrigerated RTD coffee line in the US sometime this year. Project is lead by Daniel Schnyder, formerly of Swiss T / DrinksAmericas.

GoAppetit – Hailing from Texas, this brand is trying to go nationwide with their line of meal replacement smoothies which, despite being named after soup varieties, are not intended to be soup. Go figure.

Regatta Ginger Beer – New 8 oz. short can.

Vita Chef – NYC based startup with vitamin enhanced fruit beverages. Product should be complete within the month.

Sence – A rare European rose essence beverage with a striking bottle. Designed as a mixer or standalone, the product is also available in a Tetra pak.

SEI Water – Photos don’t do this product’s etched bottle justice. It’s one of the more elegant yet simple designs we’ve ever seen in the bottled water category.

For additional information on exhibitors: View the Photo Gallery