Archive for the 'New Products' Category

2014 Summer Fancy Food® Show: The Savory Side

Friday, July 11th, 2014

While it’s hard to believe that it’s already July, another fabulous Summer Fancy Food Show has come and gone. This summer’s NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Summer Fancy Food Show was hosted in NYC June 29th through July 1st and was attended by foodies from around the world.

As always, walking the Fancy Food Show floor means an eyeful (and many mouthfuls) of innovation and adventure. Check out some of the savory products that stood out to me this year.

NASFT - Snikiddy Vegetable Chips
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Innovation Roadshow eXclusive!

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

We are eXactly siX weeks out from David Michael’s 2013 Innovation Roadshow® X. Here at the office and in our labs, we are operating at full speed as we prepare for the 10th anniversary of our industry-recognized event. Consider this your sneak peek at some of the innovations you can expect to see and taste at this year’s showcase on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

Innovation Roadshow® X Product Photography

Our talented photographer, Anthony Sinagoga, always aims to get the best shot.

Innovation Roadshow® X - Food Props

The staging area is home to our many fresh props. A little zest goes a long way when you’re styling food!

Innovation Roadshow® X Product Photography Session

You’ll just have to come to the Roadshow for yourself to find out what this little sweet treat has in store!

Innovation Roadshow® X - Macarons

As beautiful as they are delicious! (One of the best benefits of a food photo shoot is getting to snack on the products once they’ve had their turn in the spotlight)

Innovation Roadshow® X - Foof Photo Prep

The team hard at work to get the products looking just right and then making sure they stay that way under the hot lights.

Innovation Roadshow® X - Animal Crackers in the Wild

Yes, you should be intrigued!

We can’t reveal much, but we promise this Roadshow will renew your sense of creativity while re-charging your innovation energy.

Register Here!

And be sure to follow us on Twitter @DMFlavors to stay in the know about the upcoming Roadshow and all things food and flavor!

Celebrating National Soup Month

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Throughout many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, January brings with it the chill of winter weather but it also brings with it the warmth of National Soup Month! Although we can’t quite seem to get to the bottom of the origin of national soup month, it’s become a beloved time in America to celebrate and recognize one of winter’s favorite global comfort foods: the one and only spoonable, slurpable, shareable soup.

As one of the oldest forms of food, soup has rightfully earned its respect throughout the thousands of years that we’ve been consuming it. It’s a staple in many cultures worldwide and we just adore its versatility and seemingly infinite varieties. Here’s just a short list of soup’s many admirable qualities:

  • Plays well with others (namely sandwiches and salads)
  • Comforts us when we need it most
  • Time-efficiency via the convenience of leave-alone crock pot recipes or instant and microwaveable versions
  • Frequently opens the door to regional and ethnic ingredients and introductions
  • Resourceful! Makes great use of fridge and cupboard contents that are nearing their life’s end
  • Exhibits strong family values and traditions (that legendary chicken soup recipe that’s been passed down for generations)
  • And of course (whether real or imagined) its indisputable healing powers

Since National Soup Month is about commemorating soups that span the world, here are some of our favorite new soup products that have launched globally this winter:

Green Shoot - Broccoli, Coconut Milk and Green Curry Soup

Broccoli, Coconut Milk and Green Curry Soup (France; Green Shoot)

Morrisons M Christmas Cream of Roast Parsnip and Pancetta Soup

Cream of Roast Parsnip & Pancetta Soup (UK; Morrisons M Christmas – private label)

Bertolli - Ricotta and Lobster Ravioli in a Seafood Bisque

Ricotta & Lobster Ravioli in a Seafood Bisque (USA; Bertolli Meal Soup)


New Covent Garden Soup Co Indian Style Chicken Soup

Indian Style Chicken Soup (Belgium; New Covent Garden Soup Co.)

Whether it’s clear or creamy, hearty or lite, veggie-based or meat-centric, we hope you celebrate National Soup Month with a pot-full of your favorite broth, bisque or bouillabaisse – and at least one helping of a new-to-you soup find. Happy slurping!

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 3

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

So much food, so little time…

I was pleasantly surprised at the 479° Popcorn booth. How exciting can flavored popcorn be? That’s what you’re thinking, right? Me too. But their flavors –Vietnamese Cinnamon Sugar, Madras Curry Coconut & Cashews, and Black Truffle & White Cheddar – were both creative and delicious.

And speaking of creative, I just loved the breakfast pitas, with real fruit pieces, from Ozery Bakery. Available in apple cinnamon, cranberry orange, and breakfast muesli, they make a fabulous substitute for your usual morning bagel, toast, etc. (I’m thinking the cranberry orange wouldn’t be too shabby with a lunchtime turkey sandwich either!)

Granola Flats weren’t much more than an ultra-thin flattened granola bar (Nature Valley type), but they were darn tasty! Plus, they’re sold as a “chip” rather than a bar which means I have something to snack on now when hubby dives into the Fritos during a baseball game.

When it comes to food, I’ll try anything once. (Whether I’ll try it again is a different story.) But there is the occasional product that my brain just won’t allow past my lips. That’s been true in the past of vinegar drinks brought to me by my wonderful co-workers at David Michael Beijing. I love vinegar – so much, that I load it up on my salads to the point of mouth numbing. But the idea of drinking it, like juice – I just couldn’t get past that. So, when I spotted Hong Cho’s pomegranate vinegar drink, I decided to go for it. And you know what? It’s pretty good! The vinegar is noticeable, but not overwhelming. Since there are a number of health-benefits linked to vinegar drinks, I’m officially adding this to my radar. With the right marketing (a downplay of the word “vinegar” I’m thinking) this could be a future trend to watch.

Other fun finds at this year’s show? I was excited to spot macqui berry at Honest Tea’s booth in the new Macqui Berry Mate – keep your eyes peeled for more of this superfruit. There was lots of prickly pear and blood orange flavored goodies, mostly drinks. I found Parisian macarons at a number of booths, including the frozen macarons at Galaxy Desserts – perfect for foodservice. The Naan Pizza at Tandoor Chef was awesome – it’s about darn time we had something like this on the market. And, Chobani Greek Yogurt now offers Chobani Champions, said to be the only Greek yogurt made for kids.

And my favorite product of the show? Nothing too crazy here – my personal favorite were the falafels at Falafel Republic. Lightly fried balls of ground chick peas, falafels are typically served in a pita from your favorite street vendor. This version needs only seconds in the microwave to heat up, and the falafels are satisfyingly savory and filling. Served with tzatziki sauce, I could eat them every day, with or without the pita.

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Probably the most innovative product I spotted at this year’s Fancy Foods Show was the Brazilian import, Bacon Krisps. Distributed by Acme Import Co., Bacon Krisps are very interesting little snacks. A minute in the microwave, and voila, these little wheat nuggets puff up into perfect little red, white and tan striped bacon-flavored snacks (you know, the kind of striped coloring you wish your at-home bacon actually looked like). And bonus: they’re vegetarian! And on a side note, this was just one of many air-popped snacks for kids and adults on display.

Danielle’s Crispy Veggie Chips sells a line of exotic dehydrated fruits and veggies, including jackfruit, roasted coconut, spicy carrot and okra. What I most surprised by was how popular the durian was at the show. If you’re not familiar with this tropical fruit, the durian is a highly prized fruit of Southeast Asia – even though it is actually banned in most public places due to its pungent odor. But, durian lovers (and there are many), are more than willing to withstand the smell to get to the custard-like filling of this spiny, football-shaped pod. Apparently, Fancy Food Show goers couldn’t wait to taste it either – by the time I made it to the booth, it was all gone…

And speaking of Fancy Food hits, I was lucky enough to sample from the last pint of Vosges’ Bacon Toffee Ice Cream. I’m a HUGE fan of their bacon chocolate bars, so I was pretty excited to sample this new, not-yet-available-in-stores treat. The verdict? Smoky, caramel, and a little meaty. Not sure I could eat a whole bowl, but I imagine a scoop melting atop the right dessert would be pure heaven.

And speaking of chocolate – my main source of sustenance at the show – an unexpected favorite was the Toasted Corn chocolate bar from Philly’s own Eclat Chocolate. And I don’t even like corn-flavored things! But this was excellent – crunchy, toasty and tasty.

Next up – granola chips, maqui berry, drinkable vinegar, and my personal show favorite!

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 1

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Ah, the Fancy Foods Show – 331,000 square feet of chocolate, cheese and sauce. A playground of flavor for food industry peeps and bloggers alike. A global adventure that takes you around the world in eight hours. In short – practice your competitive eating skills beforehand, wear your comfiest of comfy shoes, and be ready to take a lot o’ notes.

Lollibons® – ice cream filled truffles on a stick – caught my eye first. I was reminded that everything tastes better on a stick, as was the thinking behind our own Pie Pops (pies on a stick) showcased at the 2009 Innovation Roadshow®.

Of all the trends lining the aisles of the Javits Center, “real” ginger – whether it was ginger soda/ale or ginger beer – seemed to be the strongest. With too many to count, one that really made an impression was Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Organic Ginger Beer. Strong does not begin to describe the kick of this carbonated soda – but it had me wanting more. Their elderflower juice was pretty darn tasty too – and both ginger and elderflower are hot on cocktail menus right now.

Our flavor chemists recently developed a line of honey flavors from Australia and New Zealand, so I was pretty excited to spot the Manuka honey line from Honey New Zealand. The twist? The number of active enzymes in each jar are called out on the package – from 5+ to 25+. According to the manufacturer, enzymes in honey have natural healing properties and do not dissipate when heated. Each batch is independently tested for its activity level, and marked as such.

Last year, the Peruvian pavilion was the place to be. Even though Peruvian cuisine is still on the rise, Korean cuisine is beginning to steal the spotlight as the next big thing. At the Korean pavilion, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) joined forces with the Korean Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation for a demonstration of fusion foods, like Bibimbap Mini Tacos and Kimchi Pancakes.

Next up – Bacon, bacon, and durian?

End of the Brand?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

National vs Private Label Food Brands

We’ve been reading a lot lately about stores cutting back on national brands to make room for more private label goods. And perhaps the greatest impact will be that made by Wal-Mart. When one manufacturer generates a significant portion of your annual sales, it becomes a bit worrisome, to say the least.

But is this a long-term trend, or a short-term reaction to our current economic situation? The current private label boom can be directly attributed to the economy. Food prices went up…personal finances went down. We all looked at our own carts and said, “Well, maybe we’ll try the store brand this week.” I know I did.

There are stores dedicated to private label brands – Loblaw’s No Frills, Trader Joe’s and Aldi. But the idea of entire sections in traditional markets, converting to private label, may be a bit much for consumers to handle.

There are just some loyalties that consumers are not willing to give up. You know what brands you cannot live without. Personally, I make no exceptions when it comes to my favorite peanut butter. If a store is out of stock, I’ll go to another. And at our Innovation Roadshow®, keynote presenter Doug Palmer of A&P noted a store brand laundry detergent that beat the brand-name leader in blind tests, but couldn’t keep up in sales.

Our favorite brands aren’t going away. They’re in for the long haul. But it will take some time and recovery to win back customers that have strayed in favor of lower prices. In the meantime, some U.S. manufacturers are looking to fuel growth with emerging overseas markets.

But that doesn’t mean an end to private label either – far from it. Private label brands have won over unbelieving consumers with quality and price. Moving forward, competition between the two will be intense, as national brands fight for space on the shelf.

The Case of the King’s Fries

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

To say it’s been snowy around here lately would be, well, an understatement. Hit by two blizzards in five days, the Philadelphia area has been immobile.

Snowy Branches in Philadelphia

Before cabin fever sets in, most of us deal with this imprisonment with food. After all, we have to get all that shoveling energy from somewhere, right? And eat we did – hearty meals like turkey chili, turkey meatloaf, sausage & peppers, and from-scratch pancakes.

But the morsels that we were most looking forward to were two little impulse items I grabbed while stocking up for the Snowpocalypse – Burger King’s frozen fries in King Krinks™ and King Wedgez™, from ConAgra (launched Fall 2009).

Burger King King Krinks and King Wedgez

Housed in this oversized wedge-shaped cardboard container is a single serving of microwaveable French fries. The instructions are easy – Shake, Vent, Zap, Tap, Rip. First, shake the container to equally distribute the fries, then vent by opening on each side of the package where indicated.

Burger King Microwavable French Fries

Microwave for three minutes, then rip off the top. Presto – they’re ready to eat! Burger King branded fries fresh from the microwave, in a handy dandy FRYPOD®.

Burger King King Krinks Microwavable Fries

Burger King King Krinks Fries

Burger King King Krinks Closeup

The verdict? Pretty tasty! Both versions were well seasoned, if not a bit overly so (but frankly, on French fries, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!). The Wedgez were definitely the spicier of the two. Both tasted great on their own, and with ketchup. They had a nice texture – crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside, similar to an oven fry.

But, there were a few drawbacks in the process. The recommended three minute cooking time appeared to be way too long. For the Wedgez, this meant fries stuck to the interior packaging. And for both, the desirable texture quickly turned chewy and hard.

Burger King - King Wedgez

And how about the price? I found them on sale for $0.77 each, a bargain compared to the drive-thru (I believe non-sale price varies from $1.20 – $1.77, depending on the store). Maybe not comparable to the cost savings on a family-sized bag of oven fries, but worth it for the novelty, or for kids who are not allowed to use the oven.

So, would hubby and I buy them again? Certainly! (Of course, we’d reduce the cooking time a bit.) Maybe next time we’ll try the unseasoned Kolossalz™ too!

T.G.I.Friday’s Test Markets Pizzas

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

T.G.I. Fridays PizzasWhen we drove to the local T.G.I.Friday’s yesterday for lunch, the last thing we were expecting was to try an exclusive new menu item – but that’s exactly what happened.

If you’re not in the food industry, this may not be very exciting. But for me, a self-proclaimed food nerd, it was the highlight of my day!

Our local Bensalem, PA location is the only one testing the new pizzas thus far. Offered in four varieties – Margherita, Pepperoni, Rustic Italian Sausage, and Tuscan Veggie – the restaurant started serving them on Monday.

The ingredients are fresh – fresh cheese, fresh veggies – and the sauce and dough are both made in-house. They’re smaller than a traditional pie, and oval, with a gourmet pizza look. We ordered the sausage, and shared it as an appetizer between the four of us.

At a price point of $8.99 for the margherita, $10.49 for pepperoni and sausage, and $11.99 for the veggie – it’s a little steep. Certainly more expensive than a pizzeria pie, and smaller to boot. But cheaper than a sampler platter. Great as an appetizer – although each one is suggested as an entrée.

TGI Fridays Pizza Taste Testing

A new oven was brought in to accommodate the pies (which required a little kitchen revamp) – our server (who was fabulous, by the way) compared it to a conveyer oven you would find at a Quiznos.

Our thoughts – the dough was fabulous, as was the cheese, but the sauce could use a little something. (Each pie is served with red pepper and oregano shakers.) Call it spice or flavor – it was a tad too sweet.

If it works though, the pizzas would be a great addition to the Friday’s menu. (They’ve even got little pizza boxes to accommodate to-go orders).

Famous Flops

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Change is good…isn’t it? As food product developers, we’ve learned to tread carefully, with cautionary tales of New Coke and Crystal Pepsi. But sometimes, change just takes time, and a few cautious toe dips in the pool.

Over the weekend, hubby ran across this article outlining 10 famous food flops. Maybe it’s the optimist in me, but I saw most of these products as ahead of their time.

Take the coffee flavored Jell-O for example. Coffee, cappuccino and espresso flavors are extremely dominant now – in fact, according to Mintel, cappuccino is one of the fastest-growing sauce flavors on entrée menus. Maybe it would have been more successful in pudding…

Reddi-Bacon, while a fire hazard, looks like a predecessor to now beloved ready-to-serve bacon. Pepsi A.M. paved the way for any number of energy drinks. Gerber Singles may have been an early inspiration for adult nutritional beverages. And, “I Hate Peas?” Hello, TGI Friday’s String Bean Fries!

Sometimes great ideas are shelved simply because they are ahead of their time. Sometimes it’s the product that needs more development. (Ever hear of McDonald’s Hula Burger? In the 1960’s, this pineapple on a bun topped with cheese was Ray Kroc’s answer to consumers who couldn’t eat meat on Fridays. A year later, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich was born.)

But other times, consumers just need more time to warm up. It’s risky to be innovative. No one wants to come to market second. Then again, it’s even scarier to be first.

By the way…I hear Crystal Pepsi is making a comeback…

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