Despite what appeared to be great foot traffic, the 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show had the shallowest pool of beverage companies we have seen in our time covering this annual event. But for those who did exhibit, that lack of competition helped get attendees to their booths.
The weak turnout seemed to be the result of several things that are going on right now. First,with news getting out that the show is moving to Washington D.C. in 2011 (the Javits Center is undergoing a major renovation), several companies had already dismissed it. In addition, beverage marketers seem to have a continued de-emphasis on the specialty food channel, which, factored in with the cost for many of the cash-strapped companies to exhibit, means that many of the more established entrepreneurial beverage companies have decided to focus on larger shows like Natural Products Expo West or the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show. What next year will bring for this show is anyone's guess….
Exhibiting companies had an upbeat vibe, both because of what appears to be an improved economy and because there was more space between competing companies (e.g. ZICO, O.N.E. and Vita Coco were all on the same aisle at a Fancy Foods Show a few years back). Despite the lack of product introductions at the show, several beverage companies commented on the strong turnout of “mom and pop” retailers: for many small entrepreneurial beverage companies, such outlets are a key part to their success.
Recent developments in the kombucha categoryprovided a hot topic for discussion. Aside from countless theories on what will happen to the category and brands in it (they range from the category being over to the category bouncing back to twice its size), several brands mentioned that they’ve received “upgraded shelf space” as a result of GTs and other kombucha brands being pulled from the most prominent spots in Whole Foods’grab-and-go coolers.
As for the companies that did exhibit, here are the highlights:
Activate — New and improved label and a new "Workout" variety that's fortified with electrolytes.
New Leaf — With a continued emphasis on their "Defenders of Taste" campaign, New Leaf offered the most engaging — if not humorous — approach to their booth (see the photos…)
Honest Tea – Noticeably absent was their kombucha line, which, like other purveyors of raw kombucha, has been removed from the shelves. Seth Goldman anticipates the product returning to the market in July, but did not get more specific. Also, the company launched a new 0 calorie Passion Fruit Green Tea with Maqui Berry that is sweetened with stevia.
Metromint — After a bit of a hiatus for launching new flavors, Metromint has added a new "goodberrymint" flavor. 10% of the proceeds from this flavor will be donated to charity.
Ayala's Herbal Water — The brand has gone carbonated with a three flavor line that's packaged in striking 750ml glass bottles.
Fizzy Lizzy — The brand has a totally revamped design, which is, at least in our opinion, the brand's best looking package to date.
Hint Water – Aside from appearing in a new campaign for American Express, Hint Water debuted a new Special Edition Yogi Bear label to celebrate “Yogi Bear,” a Live-Action/CG-animated Adventure in 3D from Warner Bros. Pictures.
- The Republic of Tea – While not in ready to drink form, Republic of Tea, which is one of the most innovative tea companies out there, had several notable products on display: a sea buckthorn green tea, a mango chile green tea, and a naturally sweetened tea using Korean hydrangea