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Specialty sector showcases rebound at Fancy Food Show

The $63 billion specialty food industry is on the rebound after two years of tightened spending, according to the latest consumer research from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc. (NASFT), which owns and produces the Winter Fancy Food Show. The Winter Fancy Food Show runs through today in San Francisco and featured more than 80,000 specialty foods and beverages from 1,300 exhibitors. The show is expected to attract more than 17,000 retail and restaurant buyers, NASFT reports.

Beverage innovations on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show include several new teas, carbonated drinks and more. Numi Organic Tea unveiled its new packaging that showcases the 100 percent real ingredients used throughout its product line. The Republic of Tea featured 14 new full leaf teas, including Coconut Pu-erh, Sencha Kyoto, Keemum 1110 and Milk Oolong varieties.

Ito En re-launched its Teas’ Tea line with a three-tier approach that includes Unsweetened, Low-Calorie and Classic varieties. The new Low-Calorie segment includes Teas’ Tea Blueberry Green, Lemon Black and Mango Oolong flavors. The flavors have 8 to 9 grams of natural cane sugar and 40 calories in each serving, the company says. The Teas’ Tea Classic varieties have 70 calories in each serving and are available in Crispy Apple and Country Peach flavors.

In the carbonated category, Fizzy Lizzy added its first new flavor in two years – Tangerine Passion Fruit – to its line of all-natural fruit juice with sparkling water. Hint also previewed its Hint Fizz line of lightly carbonated unsweetened essence waters. Sampled in Blackberry and Watermelon flavors, Hint Fizz is expected to launch later this year, the company says.

The show also hosted a number of beverage-makers across several categories. Ex Drinks LLC featured its line of Ex Aqua Vitamins at the show. The line is available in Lemon Lime, Raspberry and Peach Mango flavors that is sweetened with FruitUp, a low glycemic sweetener made from fruit. Powell & Mahoney Ltd. announced the expansion of its line of cocktail mixers at the show. The company added Peach Bellini, Red Sangria, Sour Mix with Bitters and Classic Simple Syrups varieties to its line of all-natural, vintage-style mixers.

Natural and organic made an impression with more than 100 exhibitors featured in the pavilion devoted to natural and organic products. In addition, International exhibitors had their largest presence yet at the Winter Fancy Food Show with a 20 percent increase in exhibit space from last year’s show, the association says. The show featured new pavilions from Mexico, Wales, Turkey, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

The Winter Fancy Food Show also hosted a New Brands on the Shelf Pavilion featuring some of the industry’s newest producers and their specialty creations. In addition, the hottest trends were on display at its What’s New, What’s Hot! Showcase. The NASFT also honors specialty foods and beverages in 33 categories in its Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation Awards Showcase for Outstanding Products of 2010.

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