Winter 2011 Fancy Food Show Recap

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The Winter 2011 Fancy Food show in San Francisco wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon; while the overall number of beverage companies was relatively light for the second year in a row, (approximately 50) many of the usual suspects were present – coconut waters, enhanced waters, sparkling juices and teas. Exhibitors said they were impressed by both the caliber of the attendees and the overall density of general foot traffic, particularly on Sunday and Monday. On both days, show aisles were completely filled with attendees ranging from large influential retailers and wholesalers to smaller, “high-end” gourmet grocers and buyers. At times, in fact, it was nearly impossible to pass between booths due to the high volume of people. The atmosphere was upbeat and lively compared to the past couple of shows, which had been somber due to economy uncertainty. Companies expressed good riddance to 2010 while hoping and praying that 2011 will be a strong year for the industry. Still, innovation gave way to repackaging and tweaking of flavors — beverage companies, at least, continue to focus on their core lines and remain lean. However, there were some novel and interesting product launches across the board. Below is a sampling of what we saw. Note that BevNET’s coverage of Fancy Foods West was sponsored by Ex Drinks www.exdrinks.com.

12 Noon to Midnight is a sparkling line of organic white, green and black teas using champagne carbonation techniques in 750ml frosted glass bottles available in Original and Rouge.

blk Water is a new entry to the enhanced water category. The product is an infusion of Canadian Spring water and Fulvic acid, an antioxidant purported to fight and eliminate free radicals.

Blue Monkey Coconut Collection is a new line of all-natural not-from concentrate coconut water products with coconuts sourced from Thailand. Available in RTD and powder formats, the flavors include 100 percent coconut water with and without pulp, coconut/guava, coconut/passion fruit, coconut pomegranate/acai, coconut/mango, coconut green tea, and coconut oolong tea.

Bottle Green Drinks Company from Canada launched a new line of fruit juice sodas.

Brands of Britain added 500 ml glass bottles to the Fever Tree mixers line for tonic water, ginger beer, club soda and ginger ale.

Bulzai energy drink is a new energy drink imported from Dubai with amino acids and essential vitamins in an 8 oz. can.

Epicurean Beverages launched Val de France, a sparkling fruit juice line available in Apple, Peach, Pear, Pomegranate and Raspberry.

Fizzy Lizzy launched Tangerine Passionfruit.

GT Beverage added a Grape flavor to its Sportastic line. The company announced that it is making a major push to get the brand into schools nationwide.

GuS made some subtle packaging tweaks to its labels.

Harney and Sons is distributing the Taste Nirvana Coconut water line and revamped the glass bottle packaging with newly designed labels.

HINT previewed a new, lightly carbonated line, HINT FIZZ.  Like HINT, the brand is unsweetened, zero calorie, with zero added sugar. Initially available in Blackberry and Watermelon in 12 oz. glass bottles, more flavors are in the pipeline.

Honest Tea introduced CocoaNova. Over five years on the research and development side, CocoaNova is a departure from tea entirely. The beverage is made from brewed cacao beans and contains 50 mg of theobromine, intended to provide the drinker a boost. Each 10.1 oz. bottle is 50 calories and is certified organic, fair trade, dairy and gluten free. Flavors are Mint, Mocha, and Cherry. Honest Tea also launched Classic Green tea in a glass bottle.

Hot Lips Soda will be adding a Pinot Noir flavor later this year.

ICIO Water has new flavors for 2011 in a 12 oz. flask-like bottle – Blood Orange Tarragon, Peach Ginger, Lychee Watermelon, and Black Currant Blueberry

Lorina introduced a new look for its Premium CSD offerings, including new labels, new packaging in 14.2 oz. plastic bottles, and new flavors.

Numi Tea has redesigned its RTD product labels and reduced their sugar levels by 40 percent.

Powell & Mahoney’s line of all natural vintage cocktail mixers welcomed the addition of Pomegranate, Peach Bellini and Simple Syrup to the company’s existing 750 ml glass bottle portfolio.

Santasti redesigned its packaging with new labels and has new glass bottles.

Steaz will be launching zero-calorie, stevia-sweetened green teas in February to complement its existing 16 oz. canned line. Flavors include Raspberry, Citrus, Peach Mango and Half and Half.

Teas’ Tea from Ito En has undergone a full package redesign including a new 16.9 PET 1 BPA-free bottle. The company also launched Teas’ Tea Lightly Sweetened with cane sugar in three low-cal flavors (Mango Oolong, Blueberry Green, Lemon Black) and Teas’ Tea Classic sweetened with cane sugar (Country Peach Black Tea and Crispy Apple Black Tea).

Vignette Wine Country Soda added California Brut in a 750 ml bottle. The product, made with a blend of Muscat and Chardonnay grape juices, will launch in April or May.

Vinnedge Distributing launched French Arancino Organic Blood Orange Soda and Artisanale Limonade in 1 L glass bottles.

X-Life Energy Drink is from the Czech Republic and is available in Original, Bitter Lemon and Green Tea in 8 oz. cans and in a 2 oz. energy shot.

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