Snacks in new ways – Every traditional snack that you can think of (potato chips, cookies, etc.), seemed to have a newer and healthier competitor at this year’s show. Most of the chips at the show weren’t made from potatoes. They were made from beans, lentils, pasta, kale, rice, falafel, seaweed, pumpkin, or coconut, just to name a few. There was hummus made from carrots and beets instead of chick peas, and bacon in the form of a spread to upgrade your crackers or sandwich. Popcorn was on a new level, featuring interesting flavours like fudge, Thai coconut curry, sriracha, cranberry, almonds, salted caramel, and even crab seasoning along with clean and sophisticated packaging.
Fun, upscale desserts – The desserts featured at the show were all about being upscale, yet fun. There was wine ice cream in flavours like cherry merlot, chocolate cabernet, and peach white zinfandel. Chocolate was not featured in bars so much, but rather as “bark” or brilliantly mixed with bourbon as a topping on peanut brittle. Also on display were pie pops which brought rich, delicious pie concepts to life on a stick. Some of the flavours included key lime, banana cream, and caramel apple crumble. Also of note was the abundance of gelato and sorbetto. There was every type imaginable from agave nectar-sweetened to organic in all kinds of interesting flavours like strawberry balsamic, peanut butter stracciatella, cool limone, peanut butter pretzel and Vietnamese iced coffee.
Food truck inspiration – There were many products inspired by the food truck craze at the show. There was even an exhibitor in the “what’s hot, what’s new” area that featured an actual food truck distributing samples to attendees. Also spotted were food truck packaging, packaged Korean tacos (similar to Chef Roy Choi’s famous taco trucks in Los Angeles), on-the-go fusion food like lemon grass curry and sweet ginger enclosed sandwiches, and bagged mini samosas.
Grown-up beverages – From carbonated soft drinks, to healthy juices, there was an abundance of drinks targeted at adults. Upstairs I spotted Nostalgia soda and downstairs soda with the tag line “soda for grown-ups” in flavours like dry meyer lemon, dry pomegranate, and cranberry lime. Another interesting find was all-natural soda with interesting flavours like ginger-apricot-allspice and pineapple-coconut-nutmeg. Other grown-up beverages included “drinking vinegar” with flavours like spiced beet and Thai twists, BBQ Bloody Mary mixers, craft cocktail mixers with lavender bloom and sriracha margarita, waters with only a hint of flavour, and kombucha soda.
Bring the heat – There was heat everywhere throughout the show. Snacks, sauces, sides, and even drinks were getting in on the spicy craze. Chili lime and sriracha seemed to be the most popular flavours across many categories at the show. Heat even showed up in confectionery products with craft chocolates in flavours like raisin-Vietnamese-cinnamon-walnut, Chipotle peanut and black pepper walnut. Also of note were spicy tomato herb pasta chips, white cheddar jalapeno popcorn, red habanero mustard, wasabi pretzel balls, roasted raspberry chipotle sauce, pistachio and roasted pepper dip, yuzu citrus red chili sauce, and much more.
In the UK food industry, food waste is estimated to cost a staggering £5 billion per year. While some chefs may have a cavalier attitude to organic waste, Douglas McMaster, a chef with 12 years experience in international kitchens such as St. John, Greenhouse by Joost in Melbourne, and Quay in Sydney, has returned to the UK to open the first zero-waste restaurant in a monochromatic warehouse in Brighton.
Silo, owned by British chef Douglas McMaster, will offer just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one “wild card”.
In addition to this, all produce will be delivered “package free”, flour will be milled on site, toilets will be flushed using waste water from coffee machines, and the chefs will be serving the food as well as cooking it.
“People might criticise the fact that we use electricity of course, but it’s all relative – we need to be able to see and cook the food,” said Mr McMaster.
Mr McMaster has already sought permission to fit solar panels on the roof and has invested in a £22,000 compost machine to compress any unwanted food scraps.
“Getting around the initial 95 per cent of typical waste was surprisingly simple,” Mr McMaster said. “The secret is to deal with the sources of the ingredients – local farmers and growers who work in a way we respect. We also use vessels that are endlessly reusable – to put it bluntly: things without a packet.”
Mr McMaster’s desire to serve only locally grown, seasonal food comes from his belief that the food industry is “traumatised”.
“We live in a world where we expect avocados and pineapples all year round – foods which aren’t natural to our environment,” he said. “Then there are all the chemicals and stabilisers in our food, which are not natural to our diet and which our bodies don’t know what to do with. It’s no surprise that so many people are developing intolerances to food groups.”
Silo will open in September 2014.
Liquid Brussels sprouts, an edible cheese board and a ‘Christmas dinner in a pie’ are all set to adorn the festive table this year.
Marks & Spencer is banking on an appetite for Brussels sprouts with the launch of not just a juice but also a coleslaw made from the vegetable as part of its festive food range, announced six months ahead of Christmas Day.
The retailer claims the coleslaw makes the “perfect accompaniment to turkey sandwiches and Boxing Day buffets”, while the juice means the Brussels sprout has “gone gourmet”.
It has also turned Christmas cake into a liqueur, which it describes as “literally the taste of the festive season in a glass”, and Bucks Fizz has been given an upgrade with the addition of cranberry, pomegranate and Clementine.
Even the humble prawn will receive a festive makeover with a dousing of the classic cocktail Whisky Mac.
And following the fish and chip pie, the retailer has developed a Christmas dinner in a pie complete with turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce, while a cheese board is made from crackers to be broken off as you eat.
The ‘gold G&Tea’ is gin infused with tea and speckled with gold flakes, a Christmas cake comes trimmed with LED lights and a chocolate cake has been decorated with five gold rings to create “a decadent pudding”.
M&S said a team of 40 product developers began working on the range in September last year, visiting locations such as New York, Barcelona and Paris for inspiration.
M&S head of product development Sandra Ziles said: “At Christmas we all want to wow our family and friends with delicious food and surprise them with interesting new discoveries.
“What could be a better taste of Christmas than Christmas cake liqueur? And for those willing to be a bit more adventurous you can’t beat our Brussels sprout juice – we hope it will convert a few non-sprout eaters to the green side.”
The range will be in stores from early October.