The Fancy Foods Show might sound precious. But it's actually pretty intense: Every summer, makers of specialty foods from across the globe convene in New York for a massive trade show of their wares, all vying for the attention of buyers from grocery stores and markets. A purchase from Whole Foods, for example, can make or break a brand.

African flavours

African food has finally been getting more popular in the restaurant scene, so it's only natural that those flavours would make their way to packaged goods. Serious Foodie has a "West African Paradise" rub, made with grains of paradise, a spice that is also referred to as alligator pepper and has a lemon-pepper flavour. Woodland Foods' Manitou Trading Company is making a North African Chermoula seasoning, another trendy flavour - traditionally, chermoula is a Moroccan herb sauce that plays well with seafood. They also have berbere spice from Ethiopia, dukkah from Egypt, Libyan pilpelchuma, and North African ras el hanout. Spice Hunter, another brand, has an African spicy garlic blend. Iya Foods, based in Illinois, sells African spice mixes and jarred sauces for dishes like jollof rice and pepper soup.

Drinkable veggies/"souping"

Because juicing isn't just for fruit. What makes these drinkable fruit juices different from V8? Branding. Drinking vegetables is no longer juicing, it's "souping." Vegetable soups are being packaged as ready-to-drink portable beverages. Tio Gazpacho comes in six flavours: classic, "Del Sol" (yellow tomato, carrot, and pepper), green (kale, spinach, avocado, mint), "Rosado" (watermelon, cilantro, cayenne), corn and "fresa" (strawberry, basil and romaine). Züpa Noma (slogan: "Souping is the new juicing") has a Whole 30-approved range of soups, from carrot coconut lime to yellow pepper turmeric. Beautifully packaged Fawen soups use organic vegetables and come in beet and cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, and sweet potato and red lentil. And Bonafide Provisions mixes vegetables with another trend of yesteryear: bone broth. Their "Drinkable veggies" soups combine chicken bone broth with herbs and spices in five flavours: spring pea, roasted butternut squash, beets, roasted red pepper, and carrots. As much as you might roll your eyes at the idea of "souping," these cool, drinkable veggies would be pretty refreshing alongside a salad for a summer lunch break.

Birch water

What, you haven't heard of birch water? Because coconut water, aloe water, maple water and cactus water are so passe, there were several companies at Fancy Foods hawking water made from the sap of birch trees. Companies like Absolutely Wild claim that the water is rich in antioxidants and electrolytes, has "detoxifying and restorative properties" and "strengthens your body's immunity." It's lower in sugar than coconut water, and tastes less sweet, too: Earthy, grassy flavours are more predominant. Some companies try to enhance it by adding flavours. Absolutely Wild has a matcha birch water, while Treo offers four flavours: peach mango, blueberry, coconut pineapple and strawberry. Säpp birch water also comes in rosehip and nettle.  

The Washington Post