PB&J (Peanut Butter & Jelly) is an iconic, American classic. The first written peanut butter and jelly sandwich recipe was published by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901. Today manufacturers are getting creative and launching new PB&J applications for kids and adults alike to enjoy. It’s PB&J 2.0.
Hormel Foods’ dropped Skippy P.B. Fruit Bites, a line of bite-sized real dried fruit snacks covered in peanut butter. Described as “portable and poppable,” they are offered in two variants: Strawberry-flavored Dried Cranberry and Dried Grape. In the frozen aisle, Hormel Foods’ introduced Skippy P.B. & Jelly Minis, bite-size buns filled with Skippy Peanut Butter and Grape or StrawberryJelly in White Bakery Bread or Whole Grain Bakery Bread.
Smucker’s has upped the peanut butter ante with a variety of new Jif launches. Jif Power Ups Chewy Granola Bars feature peanut butter and granola in five flavors: Creamy Peanut Butter, Chocolate Flavored, Salted Caramel Flavored, Strawberry, and Banana. Jif Power Ups Creamy Clusters highlight a peanut butter center rolled in toasted oats in three flavors: Creamy Peanut Butter, Apple Cinnamon, and Strawberry. Jif Poppers are a new Peanut Butter Coated Popcorn snack in three varieties: Peanut Butter Coated Popcorn and Dried Strawberries, Peanut Butter Coated Popcorn and Pretzels, and Peanut Butter Coated Popcorn and Chocolate Covered Pretzels.
Bobo’s just launched Stuff’d Oat Bites, which are snack-size whole grain oat bars filled with organic fruit jam in Apple Pie and Peanut Butter and Jelly flavors. The products are gluten-free, vegan and non-G.M.O. Halo, the cult-followed ice cream maker, even joined the cause and launched Peanut Butter and Jelly ice cream made with peanut butter ice cream, a strawberry swirl and cannoli bites. Theo Chocolate introduced PB&J Chocolate Clusters, which are organic, Fair Trade, non-GMO, and free of soy and gluten while Kraft Heinz has partnered with The Hershey Company to offer a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup whipped topping.
The humble PB&J sandwich is so well-liked that it has trickled its way into hair color and has inspired the “Peanut Jelly Hair” treatment, a golden brown and purple balayage.
For those that enjoy celebrating food holidays, you’re in luck because April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Go ahead, mark your calendars!
It’s the end of the year and all of the marketers and trend forecasters have weighed in on their 2016 flavor, food & beverage trend predictions. Here is a comprehensive list I compiled of trend predictions for what food & beverages we’ll be eating in 2016…
Some of the trends are on-going and the evolution of an earlier food or beverage prediction. I’m most excited about African and Cuban cuisine and their culinary influences. I foresee unique flavor profiles in new consumer packaged foods & beverages inspired by these multicultural, ethnic cuisines.
I’ve never been a fan of organ meat, bone marrow or oxtail soup, but it seems like ’tis the season for bone broth soup. Bone broth soups are known to be nutritious and aren’t new. For example, Hakata Tonton in NYC’s West Village, has been serving ‘collagen cuisine’ with dishes based on pig’s feet since 2010. However, thanks to the popularity of nose-to-tail cooking, bone broth soups are hot now.
Enter Brodo from NYC’s Hearth restaurant; it’s a take-out window focused on sippable bone broths. Bone Deep & Harmony is another new player, which is subscription based. Similar to other subscription services, customers can purchase monthly, seasonal, or annual subscriptions for their soup.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that ‘Locally sourced meats and seafood’ and ‘New cuts of meat’ are two of the ‘Top 20 Food Trends’ from the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2015” Culinary Forecast. Additionally, ‘Artisan butchery’ appeared as #23 on the ‘new top trends in 2015’ list. Get your spoons ready, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing more bone broth soups this winter.
You’ve got to love NYC because it’s truly a melting pot. According to the latest 2012 Census figures, the Hispanic population in the US grew to 53 million and is expected to more than double to 128.8 million by 2060.
With this is mind, if you’d like to visit Mexico, Spain, Brazil, or Chile and you don’t have a passport or a plane ticket, you can visit 5 specialty shops* without leaving NYC.
Las Palomas Mexican Grocery Store & Deli is a tiny grocery that features a variety of Mexican goods such as espazote, dried chilies, spices and fresh-made tamales on weekends.
219 West 100th Street (Amsterdam & Broadway)
New York, NY 10025
Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery is a bodega stocked with authentic Mexican ingredients and a Mexican restaurant, which serves tacos along side a wide selection of imported beer.
215 Avenue A (13th & 14th Street)
New York, NY 10009
Despaña SoHo is part market and part tapas café with an endless array of Spanish specialty items including Iberico and Serrano ham and 50+ specialty cheeses.
408 Broome Street (Centre & Lafayette)
New York, NY 10013
Buzios Boutique sells an eclectic range of Brazilian products from groceries and drinks to souvenirs and beauty products.
20 West 46th Street (Fifth & Sixth Avenue) New York, NY 10036
Puro Chile features a variety of Chilean products including handicrafts, jewelry and gourmet products with a sister wine store next door.
221 Centre Street (near Grand)
New York, NY 10013
So what are you waiting for? Go on, take a trip to Latin America by way of NYC. Know of any other Hispanic specialty shops? Please share.
*Trendincite LLC has no affiliation with any of these shops.
When I was planning my family weekend trip to Baltimore from New York City to attend the Digital Family Summit (an interactive conference for young digital media creators and their parents) in early October, I was asked if I’d like to test drive a Chevrolet Equinox. I’m a big fan of experiences and trying something new. I would not describe myself as a car person, but thought, sure why not?
My business’ tagline is “Inspiration For Creation” and the core values are to capture inspiration from unexpected places and enjoy the creative process. To facilitate creativity, I often tell my clients that you need to be in tune with your senses at all times. My most acute sense is smell, which is fueled by my work in the fragrance and flavor industry for the last 20 years. Fragrance is such an integral part of my daily experiences, but I think for many its overlooked or an afterthought. Everything I do is a sensory journey, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or weekend getaway. I approached my Baltimore visit as a fragrant sensory experience, while I assume many of techies and professional bloggers who attended the conference had an analytical and logical perspective.
I was excited and curious to explore the Chevrolet Equinox car that was dropped off on Friday morning before we headed to Baltimore. The first thing I did was open the car door and was delighted to get a whiff of the “new car” smell, which had a masculine, leather like scent. I expected it and would have been disappointed had the smell not been there. For those marketers and brands out there, don’t underestimate the power of scent. After I futzed with the navigation system and pressed some buttons, I was done exploring. The car would meet my immediate needs for the weekend.
In our typical fashion we hit the road an hour and a half later than planned and spent five hours in traffic driving to Baltimore. The weather was chilly, foggy, humid and misty that evening – it rained on and off. While driving with the windows rolled down after it had rained, the air smelled a bit dirty, it was wet with damp, earthy nuances. My daughter liked the scent and thought it was reminiscent of East Hampton after it rains, where we spend our summers.
Being a native New Yorker, without fail whenever I drive on the New Jersey turnpike by exit 13, this industrial, putrid metallic smell of factory waste permeates the car. Visually the landscape of the factories spewing dark clouds of waste looks like a page right out of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax book best described by my late father as “robot vomit.” The rest of the ride was scentless except for a quick stop for gas (I happen to like the smell of gasoline).
We finally arrived at the Hilton Baltimore at 10:30pm. My kids were particularly fascinated with the large and wide revolving door, which they circled multiple times. Besides, observing a few guests clumsily bump into the glass revolving door because it was awkwardly designed and not intuitive, I was intrigued by the scent of the lobby. At first, it smelled citrusy and reminded me of bug spray, which lead me to think it was a hotel guest wearing Jessica McClintock perfume. However, it was an ambient scent that lingered. There’s a trend for public spaces such as hotels, casinos and retailers to scent the air to create positive experiences for their guests. In hindsight, I realized that the Hilton is known for its “olfactive branding” program and I’m guessing the fragrance I smelled, which was fresh, citrus and green tea-like was the “Eau de Hilton.”
Knowing we had a busy day ahead we went to bed. Although exhausted on Saturday morning, I felt compelled to wake up motivated by the loud and cheerful applause I heard outside. Blurry eyed and a bit confused, I looked down from 16 floors. To my delight I saw a sea of brightly colored fluorescent shirts, which belonged to the marathon runners gearing up for the Baltimore marathon. Go runners! I wondered if the air smelled like sweat yet and giggled to myself remembering the scene in The Lonely Guy movie when Steve Martin jogs into a dinner party wearing fake spray-on sweat to pretend he had just worked out.
Slowly making my way to the bathroom, my senses were enlivened by the diffusive scent of Peter Thomas Roth’s Mega-Rich Shampoo (exclusive to Hilton Hotels) that my daughter was lathering in her hair. The aroma was also fresh, citrusy and green. Keeping up with the citrus theme, I showered and then spritzed myself with my new favorite fragrance Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine, which is a bright and juicy scent. It smells just like a fresh-squeezed orange – pithy and rindy.
We made our way to the 2nd floor to attend the Digital Family Summit. I joined my eight year old daughter for a Food Blogging, Styling & Photography workshop with Laura (Lolli) Franklin of Better in Bulk and Robin Zachary of Prop Closet. This class was as aesthetically appealing as it was sensorially stimulating.
Fresh-baked unfrosted chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were the foundation for our hands-on session. I expected the room to smell like the cupcakes had just come out of the oven, like the vanilla-like baking scent that is pumped into NYC’s Crumbs bakeries, but because we were in a hotel conference room and not a kitchen, they had been prepared earlier and the room was missing the aroma. However, the brown and yellow cupcakes were neatly placed on a tray in rows by flavor waiting to be iced, decorated, photographed and eaten. Single colored sprinkles of red, pink, orange, green, blue, yellow and white were individually cupped and lined up monochromatically next to the unfrosted cupcakes. After a brief lesson about the do’s and don’ts of food blogging, styling and photography we broke up into small groups. Using a simple recipe, each group got to craft their own colored frosting using food dye. My daughter’s group created a muted lavender colored icing while other groups created slate blue, Kelly green, turquoise and hot pink colors. The smell of the freshly whipped icing was palpable. It tasted even sweeter than it smelled – sugary sweet, cavity inducing sweet. The kids unleashed their inner designers and decorated their cupcakes with sprinkles, flags, confetti, and polka dotted candles. Using props such as solid-colored napkins, cupcake stands, baking utensils and backdrops cleverly made of patterned wrapping paper glued to foam core boards, they styled their cupcake creations for a fabulous, fashionable and flavorful photo shoot. Practically salivating, the kids could finally reap the rewards of their hard work and taste the long anticipated, tantalizing and tempting results of their masterpieces. Proud, ecstatic and sugar-buzzed, the creative kids and parents left the session on a super, satisfying sugar high.
On Sunday we had a little downtime and opted for a little R&R by visiting the hotel pool. The minute I stepped off of the elevator my nostrils tingled from the pool smell. As I approached the entrance to the pool area, the smell intensified and my nose was assaulted by the overpowering Chlorine odor. I wonder if a fragrance house can create an odor neutralizer to combat Chlorine or fragrance it to create a better scent. My acute reaction to the scent didn’t stop me or my family from enjoying splashing and playing in the pool.
I typically like to visit off the beaten path restaurants and sites when traveling in another city. But when attending a conference, it doesn’t matter where you visit; you rarely get to experience anything but the inside of the hotel. I knew that my family would spend most of our time at the Hilton Baltimore. However, before we left I wanted at least one meal that was representative of Baltimore. Baltimore is known for crabs, which I enjoy eating, but rarely order because they require too much work and the payoff isn’t worth it. Mo’s Crab & Pasta Factory in Little Italy was close by and recommended. As a grand finale to our trip ten of us went there for dinner. We feasted on Crab Cakes, Crab Imperial and Crab Dip in addition to other local dishes. The two things that struck me when we entered the restaurant were the old fashioned cigarette machine with the pull handles and the alluring and distinct aroma of fresh crabs seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning. Since savory scents are kitsch and on trend such as Pizza Hut’s “Eau de Pizza,” White Castle’s Original Slider scented candle and most recently Yankee Candle’s Turkey and Stuffing candle, Old Bay Seasoning should consider creating a signature scent.
We had a great, educational and interactive experience in Baltimore during the Digital Family Summit. Luckily our drive home was smooth and only took three hours with no rain and no traffic. Our visit to Baltimore was brief, but intense. I definitely would like to go back to explore the local flavor and discover unique restaurants and shops adding new scented, colorful and flavorful memories to my sensory journey.
Thanksgiving is around the corner with Christmas on its heels and soon it will be a new year. Here is a list I compiled of some interesting predictions for what food & beverages we’ll be eating in 2014…
As a board member of Women in Flavor & Fragrance Commerce (WFFC), I recently organized our sixth annual sensory trend excursion with my colleague Jeanine Pedersen of Takasago. We chose Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In my industry career, this by far was the most challenging tour to design. The biggest obstacle was finding local retailers to participate. For more details, read my recent Fuhgeddaboudit! post.
However, the five retailers that did participate are gems! Without a doubt, add them to your must do list when visiting Williamsburg.
For our first stop, 29 attendees gathered outside Fabiane’s Cafe & Pastry. Fabiane greeted us as we delighted in an iced coffee or tea and homemade Yucca cake, a gluten free pastry made with Yucca, coconut milk, milk, sugar, eggs, and coconut flakes. Fabiane addressed each guest and discussed her Brazilian background with her French culinary training and gave a little background about her cafe. Additionally she surprised us with a bag of granola as a parting gift, which took her 10 years to perfect the recipe.
We mosied on over to Juice Press, a growing chain of cold-pressed juice bars; this location was brand spanking new, it opened in May. Liz shared the company’s history and explained the cold-pressed process. Then we sampled the Watermelon Super Cleanser, Mother Earth, Dr. Green, and Almond Butter Cup Smoothie, all which only contain “organic calories.” The Watermelon was the group’s darling and my personal favorite. It tasted just like you placed a straw in a fresh watermelon. The Almond Butter Cup Smoothie was tasty with a creamy, nutty banana flavor and hint of cinnamon, but some couldn’t get past the gritty texture. The two green drinks were more of an acquired taste, a bit bitter and astringent, but nonetheless fresh, flavorful and healthful.
Moving to the fragrance side, our third destination was Woodley & Bunny. If you like niche, hard to find beauty products, look no further. Devon, Zeek, and Summer graciously hosted us as we explored, smelled and tried a variety of fragrances, skin care, bath and body care, and hair care products as well as candles. An aside, I often read and write about indie brands, but because of limited distribution I don’t always get to experience them. I’ve never seen so many products that I’ve read about or written about in one place. It was like a curated, indie beauty emporium.
By now our group had worked up an appetite, so we headed to Allswell restaurant. Based on the farm to table concept, the menu changes daily and is dependent on what’s in season and locally available. If you’re looking for a quaint, comfortable and warm restaurant with fresh food you’ve come to the right place. We started with a Ginless Wonder mocktail crafted with fresh squeezed lime, honey syrup, ginger syrup, club soda, cucumber, fresh strawberries and Oro Blanco. I learned that Oro Blanco (white gold) is a type of grapefruit. Let’s see if this becomes a trend. For a starter, we feasted on homemade olive bread with house-made Ricotta cheese and a crisp, hearty beet salad. For lunch I had their signature crispy chicken sandwich. Others enjoyed their proprietary burger made with Vermont Quality Meat or their homemade sourdough flatbread with Ricotta, kale, and fried egg. As if we weren’t full enough, we concluded our meal with a strawberry rhubarb slab pie with fresh whipped cream. Delicious!
The perfect finish to our sensory excursion was a final stop at Mast Brothers Chocolate. The overwhelming, raw smell of chocolate wafts through your nostrils as you approach and enter the artisan shop. Meghan explained that the shop only uses two ingredients – cocoa and cane sugar; hence the wide array of dark chocolates. We sampled the limited edition Vanilla Smoke and Maple Cream bars as well as other flavors such as Olive & Sinclair Sea Salt, Stumptown Coffee and Chile Pepper. I’m a sweet, cheap chocolate fan (Oh Henry candy bars are my favorite) and my palette is not sophisticated enough to get past the bitterness of the dark chocolate to taste and appreciate the subtle sweetness nor the smoke of the vanilla and maple flavors. My personal favorite was the sea salt. That combination worked for me because the salt alleviated some of the bitter flavor. Regardless of my preferences, for chocolate fans, this shop is a no-brainer.
Our WFFC guests experienced a truly unique sensory trend excursion in North Williamsburg where their senses were engaged and tickled as they left full and satiated.
A very big thank you to all of the retailers who participated! I look forward to returning; I know I’ll be back and I’m pretty sure others will too.
I am organizing a sensory trend excursion in Williamsburg for a large group of people and I recently called a few independent coffee roasters with retail shops and bakeries to arrange a store visit. I wanted to purchase an iced drink and a pastry for 25 people and have the owner speak about the history of the shop and what makes it unique. One would think this is a great business opportunity; a shop owner could introduce interesting products to potential new customers.
To my surprise, apparently I was wrong. Not 1 but 7, independent retailers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn turned me down. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief that they walked away from guaranteed business.Their reasons were:
“We can’t accommodate you since we cater to our local customers and it would be disruptive to our shop.”
“We can’t accommodate you; it just doesn’t work. Our local customers get upset if we reserve tables.”
“We can’t accommodate you. It will interfere with our business flow and we are not staffed for that many customers, but you can come in and order independently.”
“We are too small and we can’t fit you.”
“We always keep the focus on our loyal clients and maintaining their shopping experience and don’t want to detract them.”
“We work very hard to accommodate and please our neighbors and it is not in our capacity to be able to please the market.”
I thought for sure in this economy and competitive business environment, finding an independent retail store to accommodate us would be an easy task. I’m not sure what the store owners’ long term business growth strategies are, but from a business perspective, I think these store owners are shortsighted for multiple reasons:
I am guaranteeing the shop business for 25 people without the business owner having to chase business or market their company; I came to them.
The shop has a captive audience of 25 people for twenty to thirty minutes. The business owner has the opportunity to talk about their business and show their products.
Their business is being exposed to people who have no idea their business exists.
Business 101 – we all know word of mouth travels, good and bad.
Although it may inconvenience the store’s local customers and be a little more disruptive than normal for thirty minutes, it’s a short finite period of time during a week day. In the big picture it’s thirty minutes out of a full day and will not negatively impact their business.
Additionally, one would think that local customers would be happy and supportive to see the store is doing well and attracting business.
If locals pass the shop and see a large group of people, their curiosity might be piqued and they might want to stop by to see what’s going on. Bonus, more customers.
I understand these indie shops aren’t designed to fit a large group of people at one time, but work with me. I suggested taking shifts and having half the group go in and the other half wait outside and then switch.
I believe these stores have missed an opportunity and are thinking small. Think small and be small. Although I am intrigued by their store concepts and executions, I’m disappointed in their customer service. I’m not inclined to rush back to support their local businesses nor recommend them. I think I’ll fuhgeddaboudit!