I just returned from FMI Connect, which is the new name for the Food Marketing Institute annual meeting. FMI is the trade organization for food retailers — so basically every type of grocery store, supermarket and other food retail outlet you visit. The show is billed as a global food retail experience, with 12,500+ retailers, wholesalers and partners. FMI just released its trend report, and I’ll be back soon writing about that. In the meantime, here are some of my observations walking the exhibit floor this afternoon.
Lots of produce for kids — new innovations to make fruits and vegetables more appealing and convenient for children.
Fresh was a major trend, with beautiful displays of fresh produce.
The desire for fresh was really brought home with the trend of “living” vegetables.
Vegetables were showcased from all parts of the world, including Mexico and Latin America. Could cactus be the new kale? I loved the big Mexico pavilion (where avocados were celebrated big time). And I’ve already predicted the trend of prickly pear, or cactus pear (a fruit that’s also popular in Lebanon, where I’ve picked them off the tree).
There were innovative packaging for vegetables, including these products from Fresh Cooked — which were among the finalists for best vegetable product. The precooked products included chickpeas, quinoa, beets, kale and yams. Great idea.
Heat was hot — Sriracha showing up in spice blends, and various hot sauces and other condiments were frequently spotted.
Protein remains a big trend, and these new products caught my eye. These high protein beef bars are attempting to blend beef jerky with protein bars.
In the category of fats, here’s a brand new product of dried coconut chips from Tang’s Market (tasty). Exhibitors from Turkey showcased hazelnut oil and hazelnut butter. The nut butter was delicious — although they need to understand that the ground nut + honey spread is not really “sugar free.” I corrected them. Couldn’t help myself.
Popcorn was popular.
And I thought this was fun – S’mores kits, making it convenient to pick up everything you need in one handy kit.
For meats, it was all about quality attributes, flavor and convenient packaging. Here’s grass-fed beef — promoted as good for you, good for the animal, good for the earth.
Rebel Fish makes it easy to prepare salmon with these skinless filets with various flavor packets — described as “from fresh to finished in as little as 90 seconds.”
Let me know if you attended FMI Connect and what you spotted. I’ll be back soon with more insights from the meeting.