It was after attending two seemingly separate trade shows—the National Restaurant Association Show and the NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo—that I sat to absorb the similarities and impact of each. From the flavors, cuisines and technology displayed on the foodservice end to the ingredients and packaging trends in confectioneries, each has a lasting effect on the specialty food marketplace. The products, conversations and companies ran the gamut, but the community involvement was one in the same—and the crossover evident. It's not one section of gourmet food that makes this food industry great, it's our ability to explore every food channel and adapt, create change, and welcome an intersection of commerce. The greater the diversity of an industry, the greater the push for perfection amongst peers.
From craft beers and Southeast Asian flavors to non- GMO ingredients and even 3D printing, trends seen in the foodservice channel were right in tune with the state of specialty food. And that's one unifying factor of this gourmet food industry that I find most impressive: our advocating of others; our acceptance of other channels and brands that, though maybe not gourmet and fine foods, represent the fundamentals on which we were built: a focus on the story and people behind the brand, the use of better ingredients, and the reach for superior quality.
You'll find those fundamentals across the pages of our Summer Fancy Food Show Issue. The nostalgia of baking is back, and with a specialty mix for just about every flavor, Tasty Treats in No Time (page12) is inevitable. The Summer Fancy Food Show gourmet gift guide (18) is sure to have you cultivating specialty items before the show even begins. From an unwrapping of new chocolate favorites (23) and a display of powerful condiments (26) to an expansion of jam and jelly offerings (28), we're here to get your summer market season revving.