The Fancy Food Show is put on by National Association for the Specialty Food Trade two times per year; a summer show in New York City and a winter show in San Francisco. With over 17,000 attendess and 80,000 products from 1300 vendors, it is a chance for retailers, restaurants and food service professionals to sample some of the best products on the market. For the vendors, it's a way for them to connect with those people, in hopes of future sales. It's also a good way to be "in the know" as new products come out. Some vendors are already established and some are brand new, hoping to be picked up by small or large grocery stores. Either way, there is always something new.
Last year, there were more new gluten-free products. Whether it's not quite the right venue or there are less new-comers, it was surprising there were not as many. Last year, gluten-free was a top trend. One reason might be in the labeling.
Some manufacturers are hestitant to call their products gluten-free because they worry about giving the right information to the public. One owner of a spice company said he doesn't put gluten in any of his products but he can't be sure a pallet of flour wasn't sitting on top of his spices before he got them. It's interesting to note that he receives 2-6 calls per week, from people asking whether or not his products are gluten-free or not. He said he hoped to have an answer later in the year.
Depending upon your level of sensitivity, it's always a good idea to check with the manufacturer to get the most up to date information. Some food producers think that if the product does not have gluten, assuming they know what foods gluten is in, it's naturally gluten-free. They may not understand the complexities of how a gluten-free food can be contiminated from being run on the same line without proper cleaning or how having flour in the air can be just as detrimental as the flour itself. You can usually tell pretty quickly which vendors "get it" and which ones don't.
Here's a list of some of the products that were there that you might be able to find in your local grocery store soon or which may already be there:
- San-J sauces like tamari soy sauce, thai peanut, orange and teriyaki sauces.
- Iveta is now carrying gluten-free scone mixes. If you can't find them in a store, you can always visit them since they are located just down the road in Santa Cruz.
- Pamela's Products is always coming out with something new. Now it's their line of Whenever Bars; oat blueberry lemon and oat chocolate chip coconut. If you can tolerate oats, this might be a new staple for you. They are very tasty and not too sweet.
- Wine Country Kitchens sauces are gluten-free and all natural. This line of very flavorful sauces was created by local Napa chef James Apatkin. He is dedicated to quality and good flavor.
- thinkThin is a snack bar that has many gluten-free varieties. Bars are low in sugar and high in protein. New products include a cherry and mixed nuts bar as well as a white chocolate dipped mixed nuts bar. With 8-10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams or less of sugar, this is something to check out.
- Food Should Taste Good's line of crackers all seem to be gluten-free. One suggestion was to make this more prominent as some people might assume the multigrain cracker is not. They have a new line of sweet potato crispy chips that are quite good.
- You might have seen Saffron Road in your grocer's freezer. Did you know they also make gluten-free chicken tenders and nuggets? One distinction of this brand is humanely raised, natural chicken. Not everything they make is gluten-free but they are certified GF and their products are tasty.
- A new brand in the snacking world is 180 Snacks. They provide nut cluster-type snacks that are not too sweet and have a good amount of protein.
- Bob's Red Mill has been around a long time. They continue to release new products. Look for a new type of oats coming out later in the year.
- Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden is naturally gluten-free, fun and local!
- The folks from Snikiddy have brought a new line of snacks called Eat Your Vegetables which are all gluten-free and have a full serving of vegetables in each ounce.
- Not everything that Village Harvest Rice creates is gluten-free but it is flavorful and healthy. You will need to check with them about their gluten-free status.
- Aunt Gussie's has been making cookie and crackers for over 30 years. 5 years ago they came out with a gltuen-free line which is very good. The facility where the cookies are made is dedicated gluten-free and the cookies are made with whole grains. They sell mostly on the east coast but will hopefully make their way out here soon.
- Another local company, tru Roots, has many varieties of grains like quinoa, sprouted green lentils, and chia seeds. Their mung beans make a delicious hummus.
- Try something new with Filipino-style frozen foods, Kusina ni Maria. Their chicken adobo is labeled gluten-free but they do make other foods with gluten so it's best to check. However, it was quite tasty!
- Wok Mei sauces are not labeled but are certified gluten-free. If you miss hoisin or oyster sauce, you've found the right brand.
- Contes Pasta creates delicious pizza, ravioli and gnocchi.
———————- Author Information: Amy Fothergill, San Francisco, CA Amy Fothergill is the mother of two and owner of The Family Chef. She teaches cooking classes and provides consultations. She blends her culinary techniques with delicious ingredients to create gluten free, healthy dishes that the whole family enjoys. Website: http://www.amythefamilychef.com Blog: http://thefamilychef.blogspot.com (a food blog which is a blend of gluten free and regular recipes) Email: Amy Fothergill Gluten-free recipes: http://www.examiner.com/x-13910-SF-GlutenFree-Food-Examiner