Archive for the 'Trends' Category

The Perks of Probiotics

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

If you have any interest in the world of food (that extends beyond eating to survive) then you’ve likely heard some buzz lately about probiotics. Simply put, probiotics are essentially a “good” bacteria made up of live microorganisms that naturally occur in the human gut and intestines. Probiotics have some lofty responsibilities in our bodies including aiding with digestion, battling the “not so good” bacteria, strengthening our immune system and overall safeguarding the health of the gastrointestinal tract.

So it’s not hard to see why these little guys are getting so much of the limelight lately. But if probiotics are naturally found in our guts, should we also turn to other sources of probiotics – such as supplements and live-culture-containing foods like yogurt – to complement what’s already there? The short answer for most of us is that it wouldn’t hurt!

Even if you’d  categorize yourself as “healthy” or if you actively try to take good care of yourself, there are so many things that affect probiotic levels that you might not take into account. For example, taking antibiotics frequently or for an extended period of time can really throw off the balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut. So can a poor diet, stress and alcohol consumption – things that almost all of us are guilty of at one point or another. For many of us, this time of year can be especially tasking on our bellies, bodies and our overall stress levels. 

But before running out and buying your probiotic supplements or stocking up on yogurt and kefir, do your research! When it comes to supplements, do some digging to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Because probiotics are living organisms, they have to remain alive in the supplement before they reach your belly in order to be effective. There are also so many different types of strains and cell counts to be aware of. When it comes to yogurt and other forms of food and beverage containing live, active cultures, there are things to consider too; if you’re regularly slurping down a high-sugar yogurt, you may be doing your gut a disservice rather than helping it.

There are certainly a lot of potential health benefits in jumping aboard the probiotic train, but like with so many other things, it’s best to do your homework first!

A Glimpse of the Sweet Side of the 2013 Summer Fancy Food® Show

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

It’s that time of year again…the sun is shining, birds are chirping and the sweet smell of innovation is in the air. It can only mean one thing: another Summer Fancy Food Show is upon us! Last week’s NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Summer Fancy Food Show was held in NYC and was attended by foodies from around the globe. Check out some highlights below of show sweets that really stood out.

These Swiss Colony/Jelly Belly co-brand Cake Bites were absolutely delicious and super indulgent. The Blueberry & Pomegranate were my personal favorite. There were a lot of products throughout the show that were seemingly inspired by petits fours…keep an eye out for this glimmer of a trend.

My absolute favorite use of florals that I saw at the show. The candied rose and candied violet pieces were so amazing and flavorful on their own, but completely well-balanced in the gourmet chocolate bars by Sucré. They really are as delicious as they are beautiful.

Was able to snag a bag of these to bring back to the office and share (although the sharing part is hard with these addictive treats). This is exemplary of the trend of formats merging. Here, the cookie meets the chip and the result is a crunchy, chocolatey, satisfying snack that truly does taste like a cookie but eat like a chip.

When chocolate meets art you get the unparalleled beauty of Zoë’s Chocolate. The packaging is extremely minimal because it just obstructs the aesthetic genius of these bars. From coffee-shop inspirations to floral flair and holiday themes, these candy concoctions are a work of art.

Where there’s flavored salt, flavored sugar can’t be far behind. The black currant flavored sugar mixed in cool whip and served with a miniature Nilla wafer cookie really hit the spot.

These functional gummies were almost too tasty to be functional, but they were! These Beauty Sweeties fruit jelly hearts contained 20% fruit juice, 6% fruit pieces, vitamins, aloe vera and collagen, all on a base of yogurt cream!

Since we showed Salted Vanilla at this year’s Innovation Roadshow® in May, I did a double-take when I saw these Vanilla Sea Salt Creamy Caramels. Just further proof that Innovation Starts Here® at David Michael & Co.!

Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll share a couple of more sweets and my favorite savory products from the show with you!

 

“The Great Escape to Innovate” Summer Tour

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

As a global leader and an innovator in the food and beverage industry for more than a hundred years, David Michael has decided to take our innovation on the road! In May, our Great Escape to Innovate™ Tour Bus began its east coast swing to both share and gather unique and relevant ideas surrounding the latest flavor and product trends in the industry.

Our beautiful, 34-foot, state-of-the-art tour bus comfortably seats ten and is customized with several flat-screen TVs, an outside awning and a kitchen equipped for culinary presentations! With Vermont and Maine already in the books, The Great Escape to Innovate will visit ten more Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states by summer’s end!

The Great Escape to Innovate takes our annual Innovation Roadshow, an industry-wide event, on tour, with added opportunities and surprises! The Great Escape will be visiting everything from farmers’ markets and specialty shops to chef’s kitchens and R&D centers throughout the 2013 summer. While on tour, we’ll be sharing new food and beverage trends, gathering insights and searching for the “next big idea.”

For fun updates and news about The Great Escape’s summer journey, follow us on twitter @DMFlavors. If you’re on the Northeast coast, keep an eye out for the tour bus and send any sightings our way!

We’re Getting eXcited for Roadshow X!

Monday, February 25th, 2013

We can hardly believe it ourselves, but our Innovation Roadshow® is ten years old! What started as an idea to share our innovations with the world, has blossomed into an international, industry-recognized, must-attend event.

Each year, the Innovation Roadshow® highlights our best ideas in technical creativity, new flavor development and cost-saving technology, in addition to thought-provoking and timely discussions from some of the brightest minds in the food and beverage industry.

We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate our 10th anniversary with timely trend-spotting, amazing innovative products and an insightful keynote presentation.

As we near David Michael’s 2013 Innovation Roadshow®, keep up on the latest developments by following us on Twitter @DMFlavors.

Register Here!

Move Over Pumpkin, Here Comes Candy Cane

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

This fall we’ve seen a noticeable rise in pumpkin-flavored food and beverage launches, both on American restaurant menus and on retail shelves. As fall fades out and winter storms in, we expect the pumpkin parade to be replaced with another seasonal comfort food flavor, candy cane.

Candy cane and peppermint flavors are already making their presence known on popular social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter. Recipes are surfacing for minty, festive seasonal treats like peppermint fudge, candy cane cookies, peppermint candy cupcakes, candy cane bark, peppermint cake pops and of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without a wide array of candy cane cocktails.

If you’re in the market for making peppermint goodies this season, there are plenty of recipes to pick from, and if you’re in the supermarket for peppermint goodies – there’s no shortage there either. Here are some of the standouts to hit shelves so far this season:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pepperidge Farm Milano Minis Candy Cane Crispy Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burnett’s Candy Cane Flavored Vodka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pringles White Chocolate Peppermint Flavored Potato Crisps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archer Farms Peppermint Crunch Milk Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Rods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Peppermint Bark Premium Baking Bar

Candy cane is winter’s “it” flavor this season but the trend doesn’t start and end with food and drink; from candy cane striped manicures to peppermint bath and body products (and a whole lot in between), this winter, America’s painting the town red (and white stripes)!

 

Beer Gets Crafty

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Small versus large.  Independent versus commercialized.  Traditional versus mainstream-modern.  We’re talking about the David of beer versus the Goliath of beer – and David is growing.

According to the figures released by the American Brewers Association for the first half of 2011, dollar sales for America’s craft brewers were up 15 percent.  In tandem, the amount in volume of craft beer sold grew 14 percent.  (In case you’re wondering, that “volume” we’re referring to is about 5.1 million barrels).

Craft breweries epitomize how the old can become new again; they are innovators of historic traditions – following conventional methods and practices while searching for a unique spin to bring their brew to uncharted territories.

What’s behind this trend?  It’s as simple as what’s happening with menu and produce trends – more Americans are choosing to “go local.”  And with that, making a choice to support craft breweries in their own backyards.  There’s a connectedness that happens, a bond that forms between the brew of choice and the chooser.  It’s like eating a vegetable from your own garden – it’s better because it’s “yours.”  Part of what makes a craft brew “yours” is that the options and varieties of flavors are so abundant.  From barrel-aged to saison, from basement-breweries to renovated church alters, there’s an element of individuality and exclusivity that comes with drinking a craft beer that can’t be replicated by indulging in a commercialized, mass-produced brew.

And that’s exactly why there are currently 725 breweries in planning in the US compared to 389 a year ago.  Unfortunately they won’t all survive the cut, but the ones that do will join the ranks of the existing 1,740+ American craft breweries.  So don’t expect this trend to fizzle out in 2012, the pint glass is at least half-full.

Reflections on the Roadshow

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

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It’s hard to believe that another Innovation Roadshow® has come and gone. With 18 months of planning, our annual event was over quicker than you can even say the word “Roadshow.”

Throughout 26 booths, our global technical staff showcased almost 100 new concepts, flavors and technologies that got our attendees’ creative juices flowing.

All that noshing built up energy for presentations on food & beverage trends, alternative natural sweeteners and new EU flavor legislation. And the day culminated with a keynote presentation from Mary Wagner, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Research & Development/Quality for Starbucks Coffee Company. Her presentation educated our attendees on how to remain authentic to your brand, yet appeal to the local market to which you are selling.

But back to the food! When it comes to the products we show at our Innovation Showcase, the tabletop exhibit mentioned above, everyone has their favorites – based on personal preference, uniqueness and applicability – but let me share with you some of mine….

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  • Varietal Mint Ice Creams – Inspired by chewing gum, we explored the use of spearmint (paired with blackberry) and wintergreen (paired with vanilla) in ice cream, as well as a new texture. Utilizing David Michael’s Michtex® technology, we were able to replicate the “stretchy” texture of Turkish-style ice cream, also known as dondurma.

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  • Fortified Fruity Chicken Nuggets – For the picky eater in need of a nutritional boost, these nuggets boast vitamins and minerals, or deliver a serving of fruit. Choose from Cherry Lime or Apple Pie a la Mode (coated with real pie crust and vanilla ice cream flavored icing!).

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  • Aloe Beverages – Each year at the Fancy Foods Show, the number of vendors showing aloe beverages grows and grows. With their sweet taste and flavorful adaptability, why haven’t these taken off? One theory is the large pulp. Our beverage group addressed this with three flavors with varying degrees of pulp. And the flavors! The beverages were shown in Borojo Rooibos Tea, Old Fashioned Lemonade, and Spiced Peach (with cinnamon, vanilla and mastic).

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  • Mood Truffles – As in get-in-the-mood truffles. We’ve spotted some trends lately pointing toward aphrodisiac foods gaining favor with baby boomers. Anti-aging foods that enhance energy and vitality, are going a step further. The flavors also test our level of comfort, another emerging trend, with oyster and uni (sea urchin roe).

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  • Maghreb Fruit & Almond Smoothie – Not only does this fruit and almond milk smoothie highlight dairy alternatives, and North African flavors (honey fig, and honey fig with orange blossom and cumin), but it’s also a multi-purpose beverage. The smoothies can also be used as sauces for meats.

But these are just a few of the amazing items showcased this year. To learn more about the Innovation Roadshow, click here. To taste samples from this year’s show, or get copies of the presentations, please contact your account manager.

Sometimes, I just get a feeling…

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

There’s a lot of research that goes into predicting trends – reading through countless new product reports, tracking new articles, examining non-food trends for societal influences. All of these things fit into a big puzzle that is constantly changing.

But sometimes, it just comes down to a gut feeling.

Recently, I’ve spotted some announcements for a free Malaysian food truck in New York, sponsored by the “Malaysia Kitchen for the World” organization. This organization sponsored other food-focused events earlier this year as well, bringing traditional Malaysian foods to the residents of New York City.

And today, CNN’s Eatocracy blog (always a fun read, by the way) featured a video on Malaysian street food.

I know…it’s only two mentions…but I’ve got that feeling. Malaysian food is strongly influenced by neighbors Indonesia and Thailand, as well as China, India and Portugal, due to early settlers. Some of these countries’ flavors are currently on-trend, as well, which only adds to the intrigue.

So, it may not be tomorrow. It may not even be next year. But at some point in the not too distant future, I’d say to expect a bit of attention on Malaysian flavors…. I’ve just got a feeling.

Savory Cocktails – Trend or Fad?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Blogs are exploding with reports of meaty cocktails on the menu. I’m not going to lie – my first reaction is “ewwww.” I want bacon with my morning OJ, not in it.

But then I let it simmer a little (sorry, it was one of the only puns not taken), and thought about the savory drinkables that have been around for a while. There is, of course, the Bloody Mary, with its sweet, spicy and savory components. Then there is the age-old Chelada cocktail that uses Clamato juice – a product that has always made me run away (but then again, I don’t exactly like clams). And recently, modern bartenders (a.k.a. bar chefs or mixologists) have reverted to hand-crafted cocktails from real fruit, herbs and spices, rather than relying on mixes (admittedly moreso in higher-end establishments and independents).

Considering these elements makes the savory cocktail seem like a no-brainer – so why the buzz? Oh, maybe it’s the term “fat-washing” that has us talking. Mixologists are adding fat (as in, bacon fat) to whiskey, popping it in the freezer, then cutting out the solidified fat. Bacon flavor infused – greasy fat in the trash.

And ok, I’ll admit it. With the extreme love for bacon I see on a daily basis, and the versatility we’ve been opened up to in the past few years, maybe this could work. After all, bacon is amazing in chocolate, so why not in my chocolate martini?

But how about salmon-flavored vodka? Now you’re cringing, right? Yes sir, one distiller has added a salmon flavor to their line-up. I’m all for shaking things up, but…

So, the question remains – is this a growing trend, or just a fad? Well, the thing about a fad is that most of the time, it has some basis in a functional long-term trend. Take leg warmers for instance – a fashion fad, but not for those in the dancing world. And in food, fads may fizzle, but they tend to stick around in one way or another. In other words, while the liquor store of the future may not stock the makings for a Philly cheesesteak cocktail, what we are seeing is a slow move away from overly sweet, candy-coated cocktails. We’re scaling back the sweet for a more balanced drink, be it savory, fruity or otherwise.

There are elements in the meaty drink craze that are shaping the future of drink. And focusing on those nuances, the driving forces, will help us determine future flavors for this category. Just please, don’t let it be salmon…

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.

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