Winter Fancy Food Show Review

The 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show, held Jan. 13-15 in San Francisco, Calif., served somewhat as a warmup for the main event of Natural Products Expo West in March. But while many brands at this year’s show held back on product launches and line extensions, it gave the brands presenting new ideas a chance to stand out among the crowd and set the tone for the new year in beverage.

One of the trends visible on the show floor was the continued rise of the wellness and functional shots category. Companies like Numi Organic Tea, Brain Juice, Good Pickle Juice, and Tulua (formerly Ginger Shots) unveiled new lines featuring functionalities including immunity, anti-inflammation, mental stimulation, and gut health.

“People are starting to see the value of that segment, they love the convenience of it,” Zeyad Moussa, CEO of Tulua, told BevNET. “They love the fact that they can take a bunch of them, throw them in their bag or fridge and have one every day. It’s just accelerating now as far as what people are looking for, they don’t want just one particular functionality out of a shot, and they don’t just want one particular flavor either.”

The craft soda and cocktail mixer categories also used Fancy Food Show to showcase new products and branding. Beverage exhibitors embraced unique flavor profiles; Render, for example, showed a savory brine-flavored drink and a second product made with repurposed whey.

Small Barrel Shrub debuted a line of balsamic vinegar based sodas in flavors like Lemongrass Mint and Cara Cara Orange Vanilla. Brooklyn Crafted released new still varieties featuring Calamansi and Cinnamon flavors. Q Drinks announced a low calorie Light line featuring erythritol-sweetened versions of its Ginger Beer and Tonic Water flavors. And both Fentimans and 18.21 Bitters made use of Japanese citrus fruit yuzu with their respective Oriental Yuzu Tonic and Yuzu Herb Tonic products.

Winter Fancy Food Show was also a prime location for companies to unveil new designs, from slight label tweaks to comprehensive makeovers. Brands including Hella Cocktail Co. and The Living Apothecary refreshed their look across their entire product portfolio, while Harmless Harvest reformulated and relaunched its probiotic coconut smoothie line as a non-dairy drinkable yogurt. Drinkable yogurt brand Slingshot changed the name of its on-the-go breakfast line to Rise and showed show an entirely refreshed design built around the slogan of “Breakfast Elevated.”

Finally, Purity Organic, which sold a majority stake to CEO Douglas Abrams last year, announced a comprehensive rebrand across all its product lines. The brand, which markets juice, sparkling water, and coconut water products showed off multiple product redesigns and reformulations to establish what Abrams called “a clean, contemporary, more youthful look.”

Packaging on the Purity Organic’s “passion” line of sugar sweetened beverages, including iced teas and lemonades, has been updated. The company’s sparkling water line, made with 15 percent fruit juice, has been reformulated to stabilize calorie count across all SKUs at 20 calories per 12 oz. can. Along with new packaging, raspberry and lime were announced as new flavors. The brand is also now offering its coconut water in 4-packs of 330 ml Tetra Pak cartons. The line has been reformulated to be produced not from concentrate while maintaining organic certification.

According to Abrams, the brand’s packaging had not been updated in more than five years. While the company is working to evolve its beverage business, Abrams added that he sees Purity becoming a larger lifestyle brand with potential to break out of beverage and into food, cosmetics, and even paper goods.

“I think Purity should be a lifestyle brand, certainly beyond just beverages,” Abrams said. “We want truth in labelling, quality around the products and what’s inside of it.”