Last year, the food on offer at the National Restaurant Show was dominated by massive displays of plant-based protein, a food category with a lot of marketing dollars behind it that arguably overshadows consumer demand. More of that will be at the show this year, with new chicken analogs from Impossible Foods and others, such as Myrtle Greens, as well as a fully cooked meatless burger from Impossible, whole muscle meat substitutes from Beyond Meat, and new and improved versions of meatless pepperoni from Beyond the Butcher, fish-free tuna from Current Foods and similar items in that category, plus Yo Foods’ expanded line of eggless eggs that mimic runny yolks.
But apart from plant-based protein, there also will be value-added plants that aren’t disguised as anything else, such as McCain Foods’ line of V’DGZ (pronounced “veggies”), which are a line of breaded and fry-able vegetables, including Corn R’bz, which is corn on the cob sliced vertically to create meatless spears suitable to be slathered in barbecue sauce or treated like elote. Also on-hand will be Cutting Vedge’s artichoke balls, and a variety of fungus-based meat analogs from companies such as Meati that are capitalizing on the growing popularity of mushrooms.
You can expect to see a growing selection of algae this year, too, in the form of more seaweed.
Other exhibitors will be showing premium products that tend to be recession resistant (wealthy people who might delay their overseas vacations will splurge instead on luxurious meals, if their activity during previous recessions is any clue).
So Nounos Creamery’s small-batch whole milk yogurt is likely to be a hit, as will European veal and wagyu beef from both Australia and Japan, all of which will be exhibited at the show.
On the beverage front, there will no-doubt be new coffee and tea solutions, and plenty of drinks promising to enhance your beauty, clarify your thinking, or make your body more basic (i.e. less acidic), while also hydrating you, of course. But the standout drinks will probably be those in the spirit-free cocktail category, with an array of premium mixers, substitutes for gin, bourbon and tequila (some convincing; others not), as well as some surprisingly good alcohol-free wine.
Tequila is the hottest alcohol category in the country now, with the possible exception of hard seltzer. There will no-doubt be plenty of both to go around.
There will also be many new condiments, including a miso mustard from Great Eastern Sun, truffle honey from Sabatino Truffles, and soy-free soy sauce and organic gochujang from Sempio Foods Company.
New value-added solutions will include premium mason jar desserts from Taste It Presents, fully cooked and carved pork belly from Tyson Foods and pre-made veggie frittatas from Veggies Made Great.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]