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At the Fancy Food Show, a twist on popcorn, and beer marmalade

Canadian Grocer's Meagan Kashty checks out what's new at the big show

Thousands of exhibitors came to New York City this week for the Summer Fancy Food Show—a trade event that showcases some of the most interesting specialty products the world has to offer.

To give smaller companies a chance to make an impression with buyers, the show featured a “New Brands on the Shelf” pavilion. Here are some of the new products Canadian Grocer saw at that pavilion during the last few days.

Classic concoctions, with a twist

Food makers these days seems to be taking familiar products and turning them on their heads. That was certainly evident at the show.

Take for example Pop I.Q., air-popped sorghum that plays off the popularity of popcorn.

Pop I.Q. (pictured) comes in four pre-popped varieties: cheddar cheese; sea salt and pepper; kettle mix and a Tuscany blend. According to Pop I.Q Snacks of Norwood, Mass., sorghum is poised to become a superfood, and is among the Top 5 cereal crops in the world. (Another advantage of sorghum? No hulls stuck in teeth.)

Delighted By, a New York-based company, is trying to differentiate itself in the dip category with a dessert hummus. The product is vegan and gluten-free, and comes in flavours such as Brownie Batter, Snicker Doodle, orange ginger and chocolate chip. It uses chick peas as a base.

Delighted By's founder, Mackenzie Marzluff, said she created the product as a healthy way to satisfy her sweet tooth. She suggest merchandising it next to regular hummus in stores.

Ethnic flavours abound

Several entrepreneurs at the New Brands pavilion have taken classic family food fare and modernized it.

After being unable to find a traditional Mexican salsa while living in France, Texas-raised Danny Mayans decided to take matters into his own hands. Armed with his family’s recipe for salsa, he created Casa Maya Salsa. The product—fire roasted red salsa—is based on a traditional salsa that Mayans ate when he visited family in Mexico.

The New York City-based company has since introduced new two new products: one salsa verde that incorporates avocado (to create a creamy texture) and another that uses dill. “I think we’re the only salsa company in the world that uses dill,” Mayans said.

Ashley Albert, meanwhile, is putting a twist on matzo with her company, the Matzo Project, out of Brooklyn, N.Y. It has a line of chips that come in salted, "Everything" and cinnamon sugar flavours. “You wouldn’t put salsa on a pita chip, and you wouldn’t use a tortilla chip for hummus,” said Albert. “You can use matzo for all these things.”

Albert decided to redevelop the matzo chip from an old family recipe. Her goal? Take matzo out of the ethnic aisles and put it with crackers. She’s also working on expanding her product range to include a matzo soup kit.

Partners Anshu Dua and Shiraz Noor took inspiration from the streets of India to create a savoury yogurt. ChaatCo has three varieties, including cucumber mint, mango chili, and tamarind date. Lentil toppers are packaged with the yogurt, seasoned with turmeric, cumin and sea salt. ChaatCo is based in New York City.

Bursts of flavour in unexpected places

With the popularity of molecular gastronomy in restaurants, it only makes sense that this trend would trickle down to supermarket shelves.

Bio-Revival of Jupiter, Fla., has encapsulated liquid ingredients into pearls (think of it like caviar, but with other kinds of food). Under the brand name “Burst Active”, Bio-Revival sells items such as juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and ketchup in pearl form. Biting on the pearl releases a wave of flavour.

Another company, Mixology Marmalades of Cincinnati, is tackling the science behind cocktails by infusing beer, wine and liquors into marmalades that can be used as a spread, mix, glaze, or whipped into a cocktail.

The “American Ale” marmalade, for example, is infused with beer. It can be used as a glaze for venison and beef. The company said its  “Foghorn” marmalade, infused with beer and gin, pairs well with fish and chicken.

The three-day Summer Fancy Food Show wrapped up on Tuesday. It was held at New York's Javits Center and put on by the Specialty Food Association.

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