The 55th annual Fancy Food and Confectionary Show came to NYC in the past week, with its over 24,000 attendees and over 1,000 vendors of upscale candies and foodstuffs. And one thing was noticeable, at least to me: the widespread use of kosher hekshers on new products. One could get the idea that Jewish kosher consumers make up the majority of North American consumers. But they donâ€™t.
Nevertheless, whatever the perception among food producers that a kosher certification provides, it is a boon for Jewish consumers with disposable incomes.On the general side of the biz, you can get an idea of what is new from the award winners. 1,197 products were nominated and tasted for this yearâ€™s gold awards. It seemed as if every new line extension was made from either blood oranges or sea salt. You could not shake an artisinal bottle of balsamic vinegar without hitting a sea salt product. Among the winners (not necessarily kosher) were a Caramel Sea Salt Brownie for best Baked Good; Chevre Truffle Tremor for best Cheese; Argo Fine Foodsâ€™ Tzatziki for best Appetizer, Salsa, or Dip; a Blood Orange Marmalade for best Classic product; Fresh Blood Orange Juice for best Cold Beverage; a Pink Grapefruit Super Spiral for best Dessert; Yuzo Citrus Tea for best Hot Beverage; Raspberry William preserves with honey for best jam, and Sukhiâ€™s Samosa with Chutney for best Frozen Savory. By the way, there was some uncanny creativity. What do you do as a jelly bean company when you lose snack share, or share of mouth, to popcorn? Jelly Belly decided to introduce a popcorn-flavored jelly bean.
That said, on the kosher front, what was new?
The Hummus wars
New for 2009 is Shibolim brand whole wheat pretzels dipped in dark chocolate, along with the chocolate coated whole grain rice crisps. Also Kedemâ€™s Beigel and Beigel Nish Nosh snack was featured on Rachael Rayâ€™s TV show as the Snack of the Day.
One of the largest purveyors of organic foods, Eden will distribute a line of kosher canned chilis made from beans and barley, beans and quinoa, beans and spelt, and beans and kamut.
They canâ€™t all be second, but I guess it depends on how you define the words rank and share.. and 2nd. I sort of had a burning desire (or maybe it was just the result of having just drunk a sample of African ginger juice to ask the O-U if any food companies were concerned that the monies they pay to the Orthodox Union might get spent on programs that allegedly were trying to limit the New York Stateâ€™s legislature from increasing the statute of limitations for civil suits by former yeshiva students against teachers that are accused of sexual abuse. But why cause problems at a food show when every moment wasted in conversation is a moment that can be spent sampling and sampling food and candies?
Say cheese (and butter, and yogurt)
On the butter front, Wuthrich butter is kosher. The European style butter comes from Wisconsin and is made by the Wuethrich family. With its low moisture point, it does not burn until it reaches a much higher temperature than average household butters. For those of you who order in and donâ€™t cook, that means you can saute better with this type of creamy butter.
Not since kibbutz breakfasts have I had a yogurt as creamy and kosher as a new line from Emmi, a Swiss dairy brand. The O-U product will add three new flavors for 2009: coffee, vanilla, and pomegranate/blueberry.