There was no shortage of food and beverage choices at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago last month.
From desserts to plant-based options and frozen cocktails, the foodservice industry once again proved that innovation is one of its strong suits. The following is a list of 12 companies and their products to keep an eye on in 2023.
Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery
Founded more than 30 years ago, Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery claims to be the largest scale fresh bakery concept in the U.S. and is composed of "the finest bakers from many wonderful and exotic countries around the world." All products are made by hand, including strawberry cheesecakes, chocolate fudge cakes, parfait cups, patries, pies, and several more. The company makes direct-to-store deliveries with its own fleet 365 days per year throughout the Midwest. It also ships nationwide through LTL, FTL, and broadline distrubtors.
Aromitalia's Bake Gelato
The Italian company's bake gelato—which it calls "a warm emotion enclosed in a fresh dessert" was on display at the National Restaurant Association Show. The hot and cold dish is topped with whipped cream, followed by gelato, variegato (mixture of different sauces and purée), and a hot cake. Aromitalia provides business customers with tools to make bake gelato immediately, including a gelato portioner, spatula, mixer, glasses, hand guards, and spoons.
Adela's Country Eatery
Adela's Country Eatery uses Hawaiian-grown produce to create fresh noodles in six forms—breadfruit (a type of vegetable with a good source of protein, fiber, and potassium,) Moringa (plant that's rich in vitamin C and antioxidants), Okinawan Sweet Potato (a sweet potato with a denser texture and a honey-like taste), Taro (root vegetable that's a good source of fiber and carbohydrates), Hawaiian Saimin (a noodle and soup dish known widely by native Hawaiians), and Avocado.
The company hand dries the produce before combining it into a flour used to make the noodles. Once packaged, the noodles can stay on the shelf for one year. Adela's reduces its carbon footprint by partnering with local farmers.
Hormel's Cup & Char Sausage
Earlier this year, Hormel unveiled the Fontanini Cup & Char Sausage, which features Italian flavors and crispy and caramelized edges. The company called it a "first of its kind" in the pizza topping industry.
“We are continuously innovating our product portfolio to wow our customers and consumers across the globe with items that have been crafted over generations, using only the most premium ingredients,” says Carson Williams, brand manager for foodservice at Hormel Foods. “We make sure our pizza toppings are distinctive, delicious and have the appeal you can only get from generations of craft and care.”
Motif's mission is to empower operators in delivering a satisfying plant-based dining experience for customers. They strive to enhance flavor, texture, and versatility, ensuring a truly meaty encounter. Additionally, the company aims to craft the future of environmentally conscious food, devoid of any compromises. The commitment lies in developing products that cater to the operator, consumer, and the planet's needs.
Motif BeefWorks and Motif PorkWorks products are currently in stock and ready to be shipped.
Maria and Ricardo's Tortillas
Maria and Ricardo's, founded in 1986 by cousins Maria and Ricardo, makes tortillas using simple and wholesome ingredients that don't involve artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, hydrogenated oils, dairy, and eggs.
The company was founded after Maria and Ricardo came to Boston via Mexico. Upon arrival, they felt the local tortillas crumbled easily and came with a sour taste. With an idea to fix tortillas in America, the cousins traveled back to Mexico to learn more about the product. Maria and Ricardo then set up a small tortilleria in Jamaica Plan (a Boston neighborhood), which was met with success and customer demand.
Kelvin Slush Co.
The Kelvin Slush Co. features organic cocktail mixes specifically for frozen cocktails. The flavors are frosé, frosé blanc, citrus, coffee, cola, ginger, grapefruit, margaritas, piña colada, strawberry, and tea. The company said these base flavors can be used to craft almost any cocktail in frozen form, like a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Zombie, Paloma, Moscow Mule, Bellini, and French 75.
Starry from PepsiCo
Back in January, PepsiCo launched Starry to rebrand its Sierra Mist line in the always crowded lemon-lime soda universe. Starry contains no caffeine and arrived in regular and zero sugar versions. PepsiCo said demand for the lemon-line category has accelerated since 2019, and “there's a significant opportunity now to give people a choice in an area that's been dominated by one brand for years."
"STARRY Hits Different," was the initial tagline, which gained headlines at the NBA All-Star Game.
The Better Fish's Barramundi
As explained by The Better Fish, Barramundi is a tropical saltwater fish from the Indo-Pacific Ocean that's known for its taste, nutritional benefits, and versatility. Some characteristics to note—mild, buttery taste, half the calories of salmon, substantial source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and no traceable levels of mercury, antibiotics, chemicals, or contaminants. Better Fish said its product is capable of being featured in upscale casual, bar and grills, fast casual, or catering.
David's Cookies was founded by David Liederman in Manhattan in 1979. Afterward, the company grew to more than 200 stores worldwide. By 1987, the company moved from a retail franchise to a mail-order company. Throughout the 1990s, David's Cookies expanded into other desserts, like cheesecakes, crumbcakes, and brownies.
Baked goods are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU) and certified by the Safe Quality Food Institute.
J&J Snack Foods
J&J Snack Foods, which is the owner of several popular concepts such as ICEE, Dippin' Dots, Hola Churros, and Superpretzel, is currently leveraging a new tagline, called "LET THE KID OUT!"
The promotion will be displayed across social media sites like Tik Tok and Instagram, customer partnerships with convenience stores, movie theaters, quick-service channels, and billboards.
J&J Snack Foods has been in business for more than 50 years and oversees 17 production facilities and three distribution centers across the U.S. It earned more than $1.4 billion in revenue last year and has more than 4,500 employees.
Nortera, a leading processor of frozen vegetables, introduced its Arctic Gardens brand to the foodservice market in the U.S. Arctic Gardens offers a variety of pre-washed, pre-cut and ready to cook frozen vegetable products. The company's goal is to make the food preparation process less of a headache by saving busy chefs and foodservice professionals invaluable time and labor.