Feast! is the premier packaged food trade show in southern Minnesota, taking place annually in late November/early December at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN. There are always innovative new locally-made products at Feast, with some attending their first-ever trade show. Here are three trends I saw coming to life in fun and tasty, locally-based food products.
- Vegetarian & Vegan
Millennials who aren’t vegetarian or vegan still see Veg products as part of their portfolio of better-for-you choices; one reason for strong growth in Veg categories. At Feast, Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet brought ‘Meatless Balls’ like Original Veggie and Jalapeno Mustard, as well as ‘Meatless Burgers’ in Pepper and Cheese flavor to Feast. These items still bring the protein but also have associated plant-based benefits like no nitrates, are soy free and at least one SKU is vegan. Ruth’s is located in Two Harbors, MN.
Coconut Whisk is a vegan baking mix company out of Mankato, MN that brings “gluten free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, cruelty free” baking mixes such as chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies, chocolate muffins and pancake/waffle mix. They also leverage the growth trend in coconut and I’m interested to try them.
2. Ethnic Snacking
Snacking has been stealing stomach share from main meals for several decades. Increasingly exotic ethnic snacks continue to come to market with their unique set of benefits. Nami Chips out of Viroqua, WI brings Japanese-inspired “koji umami” grain snacks with flavors like Sunny Garden and Shiso Tomato, marketed as a “superfood meal in a chip”.
Atlas Provisions of Minneapolis, MN is the Midwest’s only producer of lotus seeds in the Midwest. They market as a better-for-you verison of popcorn with benefits such as high potassium and magnesium.They also bring tasty flavors like Chocolate Sea Salt, Truffle Salt and Chipotle Lime.
3. Booze Infusions
A recent article from CNBC highlighted the current trend of booze infused baked goods. A couple of items in line with this trend at Feast included B&E’s Trees Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup, and a favorite from the Minnesota State Fair in packaged and frozen form, Sara’s Tipsy Pies. Tipsy Pies combines pie with flavor infusions from beer, wine and spirits. There are four flavors such as ‘Boozy Blueberry Lemon’ made with a Rose’ wine from Chateaux St Croix (a Minnesota winery), and ‘Irish Whiskey Pecan’ made with Dubliner Irish Whiskey. (full disclosure: I love this company so much I am a part-owner of it).
Thanks for reading my trends from Feast 2018. WGM offers more complete trade show reviews targeted at your categories of interest; contact for more info.