2019 Summer Fancy Food Show Food Trend Highlights: Seaweed, Hemp & HopTea

Summer Fancy Food: Food Trend Highlights

Marketing Guy Alert!

My June 29, 2019, post put a spotlight on Summer Fancy Food brands feeding the low-carb Keto craze. But like I saw last year, in an NYC convention that showcases over 2,500 food companies in the Javits Center, there were a lot of other food trend highlights.

What qualifies to be in included in our food trends highlight?

The NewPoint team keeps a finger on consumer trends which drive food trends.

An example of a “shiny thing” brand. Everyday nut products with highly developed, polished branding.

A decade ago, it was “certified organic.” Even though a core group of farmers has always practiced organic growth processes, it wasn’t until consumers demand drove the push for cleaner, more sustainable produce farming practices. Cue the supermarket “fresh” disruption. Now that category has matured – and for the most part – stabilized.

Walking the show, it’s hard not to be distracted by “shiny things” – highly polished, well developed branded food products that catch the eye.

So we dig a little deeper. What are things driving micro or growing consumer interest and trends? What new products are adjacent to maturing categories? How about an age-old long-time simmering food product that may be ready for their spot in the sun? I am pretty sure I got eyes on the majority of the 2500+ food company brands at the show, and my camera only had a handful of pictures.  One area deserved a sperate post: 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show Food Trends Spotlight: Keto Diet Brands. Just google KETO, and you’ll see why. The other areas? They are…

 HopTea Sparkling Water

There were plenty of sparkling water and kombucha brands at the show—different flavors, styles, and effects. One that stood out from the pack is one that took a page from everyone’s favorite maturing category, craft beer.

Appropriately quirky, beautiful branding aside, Hoplark’s HopTea (@drinkhoptea) took me by surprise – in the right way.

The Hoplark site says:

“We’re what happens when you
brew tea like a craft beer.”

I am a craft beer fan, but I admit to harboring a little skepticism when I heard the pitch: Just three ingredients: Hops, Tea, and Water.

The result is an insanely tasty and refreshing beverage for which I had an instant affinity.

Craft beer is the first thing that popped in my mind. The product comes in retail-friendly cans/case packs, and like many kombucha brands, the Hoplark product line is positioned for food service, institutional and hospitality channels with bulk and keg offerings.

Hemp is on everyone’s radar this year.

Hemp is Riding High

Sorry for the headline but hemp is on everyone’s radar this year. Although this product will never get anyone high, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods (@manitobaharvest) is a maturing brand that is tied to “mind space” of the hot topic of marijuana legalization.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods showcased their consumer-friendly brand, Hemp Yeah! Granola and bars product lines. The product lines boast shelf-ready packaging with 10g of plant protein and 5.8-6g of Omegas 3 & 6 in every bar that delivers clean, powerful, grain-free nutrition.

The Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods booth had several other hemp product lines including hemp seeds, hemp extract, and hemp protein powders and blends. Available at Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon, Manitoba Harvest is positioned to be the go-to brand for hemp affectionados.

Seaweed snacks in consumer-friendly packaging

Seaweed Crunch makes a Splash

Once again, sorry for that headline. But as demand for roasted seaweeds is increasing in the US, and appealing to consumers as a healthy snack is this age-old category ripe for growth?

Seaweed is packed with vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Looking at the nutrition label with very low carb and virtually no sugars, seaweed brands would do well to promote their products as a Keto diet-friendly snack products.

With sales at Costco, Walmart, and Amazon, Yemat Foods‘ C-Food Snacks-branded Seaweed Crunch led the pack at 2019 Fancy Food Show where several companies were promoting seaweed food and snack products. The C-Food Snack booth had a range of products mixing native Korean and Americanized branding; Seaweed Crunch has American consumer-friendly packaging with shelf appeal.

Honorable Mention: African Influence

It’ not jerky, it’s Biltong. Ayoba-Yo is a traditional South African jerky-like product that is Keto-certified, paleo, and gluten-free. Made in the US.


Yolélé Fonio is a gluten-free ancient African super-grain. Grown in central Africa and the brand is based in Brooklyn.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how to capitalize on trends for your food brand, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out my book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.