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Archive for the ‘Healthy Snacks’ Category

The start of the fall season means planning time for 2012 PR and marketing programs, so I’m pleased to release our 2012 event schedule of media events.

Click here to download the 2012 Food Fete Brochure.

2011 was a record year for Food Fête on several fronts, so we’re keeping with the health-focused events launched earlier this year, with one slight modification. Our regular Winter and Summer Events in San Francisco and New York City, respectively, will continue, as will the Allergen-Free event and Food Fête Chocolat.

The main change for 2012 is the “Healthy Foods for Kids” event will become a broader “Health & Nutrition” event, encompassing not only healthy foods for kids, but also glycemic-friendly foods for diabetics and heart healthy foods, for example.  The goal is to make the event accessible to more brands that are launching new, healthier foods in 2012.

The online exhibitor application for all of our 2012 events is also up, and can be accessed at http://fs19.formsite.com/foodfete/FoodFeteApplication2012/.

Drop me a line at jeff@foodfete.com with any questions.

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(UPDATE 9/27/10: We’re offering a $250 “early bird” discount off the exhibitor fee at our San Francisco event. Deadline to qualify is Nov. 15)

I announced our 2011 event plans a couple of weeks ago (see press release), which involve producing a total of five media events, three which are brand new and have a specific health focus. Four of the five events next year also will be held in New York City.

The brochure with information on each event is now ready for download by clicking here. Pricing and tentative dates are also included.

We’re now accepting exhibitor applications for all of our 2011 events. A single exhibitor application can be accessed at http://bit.ly/foodfete2011.

Favorable comments and feedback from the food press and PR agencies indicate we’re headed in the right direction, so I’m personally very excited about lies ahead.

I hope you are too.

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I’m very excited about what’s been keeping me busy for the past couple of months–namely, pulling together our 2011 event schedule, which I’m happy to announce includes three completely new events, each focused on a specific health issue.

Here’s a link to the official press release: http://pitch.pe/84484

Since 2005, Food Fête has produced two press events annually — one in January in San Francisco, and the other in June in NYC — each timed alongside that big trade show known for “fancy” foods (Disclaimer: Their lawyers prefer I refrain from mentioning their name).  The one exception was last fall when I added a regional food event by taking a small collection of artisanal food products from Oregon to New York, which press attendees loved by the way.

That got me thinking.

Healthy eating and foods aimed at specific health conditions are flooding the pages of food magazines and blog posts, so maybe it’s time to create a platform for products that address specific health issues.  So, that’s what we’re doing. While we’ll continue producing our annual January and June events next year, we’re adding three new health-focused events in New York City, which will showcase:

  • food products for people with food allergies
  • healthy foods for kids
  • glycemic-friendly foods for diabetics

If you follow the specialty food industry, you probably already know the aforementioned food trade show is temporarily moving from New York City to Washington, D.C. in 2011 and 2012.  Based on my informal research with NYC-based media who regularly attend our events, there’s a good chance many won’t make the trip to D.C. due to tight work schedules and travel budgets.

That’s why our flagship summer event will remain in New York City for 2011 and 2012.  The San Francisco event is already scheduled for Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, and we’re still finalizing the date for the New York event in June.  By the way, our January and June events will not be themed, and open to all product categories.

If you’ve done the math, that means Food Fête is producing five events in 2011.

A couple of other changes are also in store for next year, which I’m anticipating could get mixed reviews.  First, we’re saying goodbye to the media gift bag as you’ve come to know it.  We’re a very lean operation, and given our expansion plans, I must commit every resource to producing the most meaningful events possible.  That means not spending time and manpower managing the logistics of receiving hundreds of cases of food products, then sorting and stuffing 175 bags in a matter of hours.

As Food Fête has grown, so have the challenges of creating the gift bag.  This past summer, we even tried outsourcing the gift bag assembly to a fulfillment house.  It sounded good on paper, but in trying to accommodate far too many exhibitors who missed the fulfillment shipping/delivery deadline, what should have been a time and resource-saver turned into, well, let’s just say the opposite of that.

I’m the first to recognize the sample distribution component of the gift bag is important to companies without the resources to do it themselves, so I am looking into alternatives that meet the same objectives, but without physically creating a bag.

For the past two summers, the gift bag has actually grown into two bags, which the media have commented are heavy and  cumbersome to deal with as they leave our venue.  We’re also attracting a growing number of perishable products at our events, which obviously cannot be added to the bag, so “schwag” gets substituted in their place — something I don’t want the gift bag to become.

On the positive side, exhibitors and their agencies will no longer have to deal with the cost and hassle of shipping cases of product, hoping it arrives on time and in tact — because sometimes it doesn’t.

We’re also eliminating the “Networking Level” participation option.  We typically have only a few participate at that level each event, and after evaluating the pros and cons, I’ve decided it no longer supports our growth strategy.  Since we’re eliminating the gift bag, the stand-alone, gift bag-only option is also gone.

My hope is all the positive changes will outweigh any perceived negative ones, and that everyone is looking forward to our new health focus in 2011. The media have already indicated they’ll support multiple themed events, so we’re anticipating a record year.

The 2011 event brochure will be available soon, at which time we’ll also be accepting applications for all of next year’s events.

Use the comments section to tell us what you think about our plans for 2011.

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I’ve already gone on record that snack chips are one of my weaknesses.

That said, one of my long-standing issues with Frito-Lay brand products, in particular, is that they taste excessively salty. I know they are called “salty snacks” for a reason, but for my palate, it’s often too much.

Good news for me and like-minded snackers. Frito-Lay recently launched a lower sodium version of its more popular products called “Pinch of Salt.”

I recently tried the Ruffles and Fritos varieties, and was happy to taste a noticable difference between the regular and lower salt varieties. They also make Pinch of Salt Tostitos.

According to the company, the Pinch of Salt chips have 30-50% less salt than their original counterparts. By comparison, a 1 oz serving of Lay’s Classic potato chips contains 180mg sodium, while the lower salt version has 75mg. That’s pretty significant.

Flavorwise, there is a slight difference, but one that I welcome–especially when eating chips the way they were intended — swooping them into a bowl of dip that also probably has more salt than you’ll admit to your doctor.

Thanks Frito-Lay.

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On any given trip to the grocery or specialty food store, you can’t help but notice all the different health bars that are getting more and more difficult to classify; energy bars, protein bars, wellness bars, fitness bars, nutrition bars…or whatever you choose to call them.

Each boasts its own health and nutrition claims, making you wonder how they can cram all that stuff into a little bar that’s supposed to be a healthy dietary choice.

And while I’m the type who will at least try most of them out of curiosity, I’ve increasingly found that the healthier the bars claim to be, the worse they tend to taste.

But that’s not the case for a line of wellness bars from Attune Foods, a San Francisco company that has incorporated probiotic bacteria into its products. Probiotics (as well as prebiotics and other good bacteria) are a current nutritional trend that promote healthy digestive and immune systems. Attune claims its bars have five times the live active cultures found in yogurt, and contain less sugar than most yogurts.

While some so-called health bars I’ve tasted are “just okay,” (or at least not nasty enough to spit out), Attune’s bars taste really good. Marketed as probiotic wellness bars, their fruit flavored granola bars are natural tasting, with a soft, chewy texture that leaves you wanting more. The fruit flavors include strawberry, wild berry, lemon and mango peach.

Attune also makes several chocolate probiotic bars that are thinner than the granola varieties, and deliver the classic “snap” you find when eating a properly-tempered, premium chocolate bar. The chocolate flavors include chocolate crisp, dark chocolate, mint chocolate and blueberry vanilla.

Nutritionally speaking, Attune’s chocolate probiotic bars range from 80-100 calories, while the granola varieties have 170. None of them have more than 10g of sugar and total fat ranges from 6-8g. You can review all the Nutrition Facts here.

Unlike most energy or wellness bars, Attune bars need to be refrigerated to safeguard the probiotic cultures. They can, however, be kept unrefrigerated long enough for you to take them on the go.

If I had one negative comment about Attune (and it’s minor), the granola bars were a bit sweet for my personal taste, but not so much that it ruined the experience. If you’re wanting to take in probiotic cultures as part of your health regimen, I found Attune bars to be a good way to make that happen.

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I had never heard of cassava until I sampled some snack chips recently from Arico made from this rather exotic root vegetable.

Following some quick research, I learned cassava is one of the most common sources of carbohydrates in the world, originating the Amazon basin, but recently making its way to the U.S.

The first thing I noticed about Arico’s cassava chips is the natural, but subtle, sweetness that you do not find in regular potato chips. I checked the sugar content on the nutrition panel and was pleased to see only 1 gm of sugar per 1 oz. serving in the original flavor.

According to Arico’s website, its cassava chips are gluten-free, casein-free and have twice the fiber and 40% less fat than regular potato chips.

Another point that Arico scored with me personally was their chips were not over-salted — one of my biggest complaints about most mainstream “salty snacks” on the supermarket shelves.

Arico’s Cassava Chips are currently available at Whole Foods, with additional retail outlets coming soon. For the socially conscious, Arico is teaming with American Forests, an organization that plants trees to help maintain a balance between human existence and nature.

Arico will plant a tree for every new store that carries its products, and expects to plant at least 196 trees this fall on Sumatra for the habitat preservation of the endangered Orangutan.

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Crispy Green, which makes a line of really good freeze-dried fruits, has added Crispy Pears to its line-up.

(Disclosure: Crispy Green is a past Food Fete participant).crispy_pears.jpg

I’m a huge fan of fresh pears and some pear-flavored products, and was not disappointed in Crispy Green’s new freeze dried pears.

They taste like natural pears (made from Asian varieties), and are not overly sweet, yet met my craving for a sweet(-ish) snack.

And as someone who is making an effort to eat healthier, a single-serving (10gm) bag of Crispy Pears only has 39 calories, 9 total carbs, 8g sugar and only 4 mg of sodium — hardly enough to matter.

Like their other products, there’s no added sugar, preservatives, or anything other than fruit for that matter.

Crispy Green’s freeze drying method also retains most of the nutrients and natural fiber.

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