I once again had the pleasure of attending another Food Fête event here in New York City yesterday evening. While the previous fête I attended focused on gluten-free and food allergy-related products this one was about healthy foods and snacks for kids. I am always a bit leery when the focus is not on gluten-free, wondering what will I be able to try and share with my readers, but I am very happy to report that the majority of items were in fact fine for Celiacs. No, I do not have any little ones of my own yet but sometimes you just want to feel like a kid again while keeping your pulse on what’s next on the food horizon.
One thing that is consistent across all of the fêtes is that Jeff Davis, the producer of Food Fête, really has a knack for bringing together an exciting group of products aligned with the larger event theme that never disappoint and there are always some great surprises that pop-up.
At this event there was a range of products from baby food to frozen yogurt (more on that later) and pretty much everything in between. I will delve more deeply into some of the products in the coming weeks here on my blog but here’s a brief overview of some of the products that caught my attention. First up was some figs, chocolate-dipped and in other kid friendly serving options (one of my personal favorite fruits) from the California Fig Advisory Board who gave me a quick crash course in figs which was fascinating. Moving on I made my way toward the Dole table and was happy to learn that they now float their fruit cups (Real Fruit Bites) in 100% natural fruit juice…nice.
Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods was on hand and I was happy because I always had trouble identifying what products in their line were gluten-free. This is no longer a problem because I found out I just need to look for the gluten-free designation that is easy to find on the front of their boxes. They were sampling their Spinach Littles product which were sort of a potato/spinach pancake cut into fun kid-friendly shapes and were really very good and I would guess a great way to get kids excited about eating their veggies. Another favorite of mine Applegate was also on hand with a sampling of their products, including one of my all-time personal favorites – their gluten-free chicken nuggets.
Next up was a brand that is actually one of my clients, GoGo Squeez. Yes, in full disclosure they are a client but in all honesty you will always find a package (or two) in my bag when I am on the go. I became obsessed with these sweet (and healthy) little pouches even before we began working with them. Their portable applesauce and applesauce fruit blends are re-sealable and perfect for those with an on-the-go lifestyle (read adults and kids alike). Just toss and go.
Another one of my favorite sort of cultish obsessions was also in attendance – enter the Grāpple (“Grape – L”). Think apples that taste like Concord grapes. This seasonal favorite is always a welcome site in my market though they can be tough to track down sometimes. I was informed by the brand that they’ll be around a little longer this year – into June – due to an extended growing season. Great news indeed. Jarlsberg cheese was also on-hand and was serving-up their cheeses in surprisingly gluten-friendly presentation styles – on cucumber slices and a new gluten-free cracker I had not yet tried (but will definitely be following up on).
A new (to me) company Sustenex was sampling their probiotic chewy vitamin gummy and chews for kids (though a serving of four is an adult-dose). The gummies are in fact gluten-free but the chews are not. I am looking forward to giving these a try as I am pretty much a fan of all things in gummy form.
My last stop was with an old favorite that sort of fell of the radar, TCBY. Yes, that TCBY who is back on the scene with its Super Fro-Yo offerings that are low in calories and high in fiber. I tried their White Chocolate Mousse variety and it was love at first bite. You’ll definitely be hearing more about this from me in the near future. As a note, their soft serve line is gluten-free but their hand scooped varieties are a no-go as they do have cookie mix-in varieties and therefore cross-contamination is an issue. Their representative was very knowledgeable on gluten-free needs and fingers crossed that their parent (Mrs. Fields) will soon have some gluten-free options.
All in all it was another great evening and I love it when more and more mainstream products are either adding gluten-free extensions or have formulations that are naturally free from gluten.