We are foodies through and through. We love to try new foods and experiment with different preparations of products we already know and enjoy. We keep up on what is trendy, but also refer back to classics. Both of us have been involved in the restaurant business and have attended food and restaurant tradeshows. It is a great way to get an overview of the industry and see what is up and coming.
Most recently, we attended the 2014 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York (http://www.internationalrestaurantny.com/Content/16.htm), sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association and produced by Urban Expositions. The annual event celebrated its’ 21st year at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The event showcases new products, ideas, and solutions for restaurant and foodservice industry professionals to integrate or supplement into current practices.
The tradeshow presented an exciting array of events to fit the needs of all attendees. Throughout the three day event, many educational sessions and forums were held. The exhibit hall presented over 550 venders highlighting food and restaurant equipment and supplies. The show also hosted the 25th Annual United States Pastry Competition (which was visually stunning!)
Although it was fantastic to see all of the new and innovative restaurant supplies, we were naturally drawn to the food and beverages. Cooking demonstrations were dotted throughout the exhibit floor. Certain themes were highlighted, including food and products from New York State and Japan. There was also a dessert and coffee section.
We definitely noticed some new trends being featured. Within the Japan Pavilion, there was a special area dedicated to “umami”. Umami is also known as the “fifth flavor”. It is a new trend for chefs to add this “savory” taste to dishes. We also observed many organic products being showcased. A favorite of ours was Steaz (www.steaz.com), a beverage company featuring delicious organic, natural, fair trade green tea based drinks. Gluten free products were also plentiful throughout the floor. Since we frequently dine out, we noticed a huge trend in restaurants is to feature tapas style menus. This was noted at the show as well. Many vendors presented foods geared toward this style of dining, including various cheeses and cured meats.
In all, the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York was a fabulous experience. We personally know the restaurant industry is difficult. However, events such as this reignite enthusiasm for the business and provide ideas for improving and streamlining business practices. We got to see new trends in the industry and be in the midst of several thousand attendees who share our passion for food and beverages.