Frozen Confectionery Affectionately Refreshing in Hot NYC

Some things new, some things old, some things bold, and plenty of sweet things freezing cold. Such was the scene at the recently concluded Summer Fancy Food Show in sizzling hot New York City, where ice cream, frozen ready meals, ready-to-bake Chinese delicacies, Italian beef sausage patties, kosher gourmet burgers, Bosnian-style burek baked goods and much more were in high profile.

On the frozen confectionery front, Gelato Fiasco’s Ripe Mango Sorbetto was a big winner. As previously reported by FrozenFoodsBiz.com, the Brunswick, Maine-based producer received a 2016 Sofi Award for the retail product in the Ice Cream, Gelato and Frozen Treat category. The Specialty Foods Association, organizer of the competition and the show, handed out 28 top prizes across as many categories.

Not in the official running were plenty of other sweet treats that were winners among show-goers, judging by the smiles on faces of satisfied samplers who lined up to try innovative ice cream, other frozen desserts, gluten-free Asian entrees, bagel balls, gourmet biscuits and numerous other menu pleasers.

The Brio dairy dessert team came to New York with aloha, new packaging and a number of recently received industry accolades, including the National Restaurant Association’s FABI Award and Engredea’s 2016 NutriAward for Best Finished Product.

“We’re thrilled to see Brio recognized for its cutting-edge, better-for-you ingredients,” said Arnie Koss, co-founder of Honolulu-based parent Aio Foods, which has a second office at the premises of sister company Nutricopia, Inc. in Montpelier, Vermont.

Brio 2The Brio range, now available in 3.6-ounce single-serve units and four-cup multipacks in addition to pints, includes Dark Chocolate, Very Strawberry, Vanilla Caramel, Madagascar Vanilla, Café Latte and Tropical Mango flavors.

Promoted as “indulgent yet guilt-free satisfying desserts or smart snacks,” the premium products are made with organic whole milk from pasture-raised cows and non-GMO ingredients. Brio’s calorie count is “20% less than most brands and contains half the fat,” according to Koss. At the same time, the offerings are rich in antioxidants, protein probiotics, micronutrients and calcium, while delivering balanced Omega 3-6-9s in the bargain.

joels ice cream slidersJoel’s Outrageous Ice Cream Sliders debuted at the show. The product is described by the Midland Park, New Jersey-based manufacturer as a winning combination of its popular butter-based chocolate chunk gourmet cookies stuffed with vanilla ice cream and dipped in chocolate.

“We want people to be able to enjoy one of the most quintessential summer treats in a guilt-free and easy version,” said founder Joel Ansh.

Joel’s Outrageous is a brand of the Fatboy Cookie Company, which markets nine flavors of ready-to-bake, pre-cut frozen cookie dough squares distributed in 25-pound wholesale cases and 12-box retail configurations. Among the offerings are Dutch Chocolate Chunk & Walnuts, Oatmeal Raisin and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk.

EatPops Sophie MilromHot on the heels of receiving Best New Frozen Product accolades at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, EatPops were popping hits with juicing-on-a-stick fans at the Summer Fancy Food Show.

The refreshing product line, which is certified vegan, makes fresh juices more accessible to the masses because of its extended shelf life and affordability.

Among seven low-calorie flavors in the “good for you frozen treat” range are: Green Detox, featuring kale, spinach, apple, pineapple, lemon, ginger and cayenne; Cleanse, a refreshing blend of tart lemon, cayenne and organic raw agave; Activate, a mélange of beet, apple and carrot; and Glow, featuring carrot, tropical mango, pineapple, beta carotene and vitamin C.

EatPops were created by a former law student who found herself craving sweets while studying for the New York City Bar exam late at night and into the wee small hours of the morning.

“I was constantly snacking. There were no juice stores near me, so I ended up freezing juice to make it last longer,” said Sophie Milrom, founder of the East Brunswick, New Jersey-headquartered company.

GoodPop Coconut LimeAnother frozen pops specialist, GoodPop of Austin, Texas, brought a new tropical treat to the trade show floor with its latest Non-GMO Project Verified Coconut Lime flavor. Distributed in four-packs that retail from $5.49 to $5.99, each dairy- and gluten-free stick weighs in at 2.75 fluid ounces and has 120 calories.

The GoodPop enterprise was started in 2009 by then-college student Daniel Goetz at a farmers’ markets in the Austin area. Inspired by tasty frozen fruit paletas produced in Mexico, he created a range flavor combinations that include Watermelon Agave, Strawberry Lemonade, Hisbicus Mint, Banana Cinnamon, Coldbrew Coffee and Chocolate Milk.

“Coconut Lime is a fresh, new flavor that is perfect for the summer,” said Goetz. “As consumers demand more wholesome and clean products, we’re proud to offer frozen treats with only the finest and freshest ingredients.”

The GoodPop range is now available at over 750 grocery stores as well as natural food and specialty retailers in more than 40 states across the USA from the West Coast to New England.

nekkid espresso revolutionYou say you want a revolution? Well, you know, luxurious dairy-free Revolution Gelato is promoted as a “have it all, delicious, healthier, planet-friendly dessert” for those who may or may not want to change the world.

Six flavors are currently available in single-serve cups and pints, as well as in bulk containers for foodservice customers: Cardamom Kiss, Chocolate Fantasy, Majestic Mango, Orange Dream, Triple Vanilla and Nekkid Espresso.

In March Nekkid Espresso took first place among entries in the Flavor of Georgia dairy category competition. The annual contest is conducted by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

The single-origin coffee is called "Nekkid" because it is processed using a natural “unwashed” method that retains the beans’ inherent sweetness. Full-bodied and flavorful, the coffee comes from an Atlanta micro-roaster whose family has been growing the beans sustainably in the mountains of Nicaragua for six generations.

While most gelato is milk-based, Revolution’s recipes primarily rely on organic cashew butter and coconut cream to replace traditional dairy ingredients. Founder Jared Olkin, who was a strategy and operations consultant at Deloitte for several years before starting the Atlanta, Georgia-based company in 2015, specifies only sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients for use in the product line, which is made by co-packers in Georgia and Florida.

berry nataHaving conquered the UK market, David Birkinshaw of Santa Monica, California-based Casa de Nata, a sister company of Galeta, an East London bakery, is on a mission to popularize Portuguese Natas in the USA.

“Passionate about spreading the word about this Portuguese egg tart delicacy, which originated in Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery during the 18th century, we believe our natas are amongst the very best in the world,” he told FrozenFoodsBiz.com.

Recipes featuring free range-sourced eggs and milk, zero trans fats and zero high fructose corn syrup are used to make an assortment of products ranging from Classic Pastel de Nata to tarts featuring fillings including mixed berries, passion fruit, chocolate and matcha tea.

Birkinshaw, who chose the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York to launch the line in the United States, is targeting both retail and foodservice wholesalers. Among Casa de Nata’s points of distribution in Britain are the Whole Foods Market chain of retail outlets, Selfridges department store, and Fortune & Mason, which is London's oldest surviving fine food emporium and holder of a Royal warrant to the Queen of England.

Where’s the Beef? Ask Jack

Jacks sweet italian grandeBrooklyn, New York-based Jack’s Gourmet Delicious and Kosher Facon Burger, Sweet Italian Beef Sausage Patties and Spicy Mexican-style Chorizo Beef Sausage Patties were well received at the show.

Distributed frozen in 16-ounce four-packs that sell for $10.99, each offering contains no gluten or MSG. Furthermore, there are no fillers, byproducts or artificial flavors in the ingredients.

Beginning as a small producer of authentic handcrafted deli meats and sausages in 2010, Jack’s Gourmet has grown to become a leader in minimally processed, superior quality kosher meat products.

“Our products are gluten-free, not because it’s trendy, but because we don’t use any fillers,” said CEO and Co-Founder Jack Silberstein, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. “From premium cuts of beef and poultry to fresh garlic to whole spices, our belief is that what you use is as important as what you don’t use.”

Grilled Reuben, Sans Grill

Reuben with Sauerkraut Mini Crescents, brand new from Giorgio Foods, were unveiled at the show. In addition to corned beef and cabbage, the pastry dough crescents are accented with Swiss cheese and mayonnaise.

Among other appetizers showcased by the Temple, Pennsylvania-based company were Asian Sesame Chicken Bites, Classic Italian Mini Pretzel Crescents and Rojo Fiesta Pizza.

The Taipei, Taiwan-based Namchow Group rolled out ready-to-bake Chinese Radish and Spring Onion delicacies at the show. Other frozen products in the company’s line, which is promoted in the USA by Astoria, Queens, New York-based Water Lilies Fine Asian Cuisine, include an extensive range of noodles, cooked rice and dough.

Café Spice of Life

While most of the ready meals made by Café Spice Global Cuisine are distributed to retail outlets as refrigerated heat-and-eat products, the New Windsor, New York-based company also offers signature dishes in frozen bulk form to institutional and other foodservice operators. Its latest offerings, created by Culinary Director and Chef Hari Nayak, are three Thai treats: Beef Massaman Curry, Yellow Tofu Curry and Red Chicken Curry, each accompanied with fried rice.

Meanwhile, Coconut Chicken Curry is new to the Café Spice Artisan Indian Cuisine assortment. Simmered in a South Indian-style sauce paired with basmati saffron rice, the free-range chicken dish is gluten free.

If it’s Feel Good, Eat it

Gluten-free Asian entrees were front and center at the Feel Good Foods stand. The line features five 225g to 304g dishes ranging from Vegetable Fried Brown Rice and Stir-Fry Chicken & Vegetables to Mongolian Beef with Asparagus & Scallions, General Tso’s Chicken, and Broad Noodles with Chicken & Chinese Broccoli.

The New York City-based company, founded by Chef Tryg Siverson and restaurateur Vanessa Phillips, also serves up gluten-free egg rolls and dumplings.

Five years ago, after frozen dumpling samples sent to a Whole Foods Market store were favorably received, the entrepreneurial husband and wife team started a frozen food production and marketing business. Today their growing product line is available in over 45 states and more than 2,500 locations nationwide.

Mini Bagel Balls, Belgian-style

Oostende, Belgium-based Frima NV rolled into New York with Mini Bagel Balls stuffed with Apple Caramel. Twelve 25g pieces come per retail pack, while larger tray packs and bags are available for cash and carry stores.

“We are now targeting the United States market with this product, which is already selling well in Europe,” said Isabel Lein, key account manager.

Also on the stand was Isabelle Nojac, co-president of the company, who believes that Frima’s Belgian Chocolate-filled Toasted Pastries could fare well with US consumers. Featuring a leak-proof wheat-based wrapper, the heat-and-eat treat can be prepared in a home toaster as well as in a conventional oven.

With a frozen food pedigree that dates back to 1947 – including more than 20 years under ownership of McCain Foods before being sold to two independent entrepreneurs in 2009 – Frima’s wide assortment of products ranges from panini and pizza to molleux au chocolat, waffles, soups, pastas, chicken curry, seafood ready meals and more.

Gourmet Biscuits from Mama

Mama biscuits chicken pot pie jpg“Bringing a northern flair to a southern classic” is the way Lesley Riley describes the Mama Biscuit’s Gourmet Biscuits she offers in a wide assortment flavors ranging from Chicken Stuffed Pot Pie and Cherry Blossom to Amaretto Red Velvet with Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache and Kahlua Stuffed Brie with Brown Sugared Pecans.

Based in the Washington, DC area, her online bakery business features 50 sweet and savory heart-shaped buttermilk-based biscuits. In addition to a thriving e-commerce distribution platform that ships frozen biscuits to customers throughout North America, the product line is available at select retail stores including Whole Foods Markets and Wegmans in the US Mid-Atlantic region.

CEO Riley, affectionately known at the “Biscuit Boss,” says that the Mama Biscuits crew “believes in getting back to the basics by making premium all-natural foods with only the finest, freshest ingredients that taste good. Period!”

Djerdan Burek Sticks, Pies and Rolls

Djerdan Burek SticksSpinach, Cheese and Beef-stuffed Burek Sticks in 30-count retail packs were introduced at the Summer Fancy Food Show under the Djerdan brand name. Produced at a factory in South Hackensack, New Jersey, they are among numerous traditional ethnic Balkan savory and sweet hand-stretched fillo dough pie and roll offerings now distributed to retail as well as long established foodservice clientele in frozen, ready-to-bake form. Fillings run the gamut from chopped Angus beef to feta and ricotta cheese, potato, cabbage, apple and more.

The family-owned company, started by Bosnian refugees who brought “old country” recipes to their welcoming new home in the USA during the 1990s, operates several restaurants in New York and New Jersey as well as the industrial bakery.

“Our mission is to introduce fillo dough Burek pies, a main staple food of the Balkan region for centuries, to mainstream national food markets,” said Selma Medunjanin-Ismajli. “Using traditional methods of production and the freshest ingredients, we intend to establish burek pie as a healthy and unique option for all – adding to our melting pot a bit more flavor, one fillo dough layer at a time.” 

Record-breaking Event

With 2,670 exhibitors from 56 countries filling the halls of the Jacob Javits Center, the 2016 edition of the Summer Fancy Food Show was the largest since it was established in 1954. More than 47,000 specialty food professionals and visitors toured the premises, which spanned the equivalent of six football fields. – Reported by John Saulnier