2018 SF Fancy Food Show: Fulfilling those Healthy Resolution

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It was our 5th year at the San Francisco Fancy Food Show and new products were on full display for distributors, retailers, the press/media, and consumers. We were pleasantly surprised by the healthy ingredients infiltrating into mainstream products. Last year, we started cleaning up our eating habits by mostly eliminating processed sugar and reducing gluten in our diets.

This year, we were on a mission to find products that fit our foodie lifestyle choices. Whether you are a vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, paleo or you pretty much eat anything, here are 5 food products that are nutritional and full of flavor: Salute Santé! (grapeseed oils), MELT Organic (vegan butter), Fresh Origins Microgreens, Pacific Flake Sea Salt, and Just Date Syrup.

Multi-Purpose & Flavored Grapeseed Oil Salute Santé!

While living in NYC in the mid-1990s, founders Valentin and Nanette Humer became fascinated with all the wonderful health and cooking benefits of grapeseed oil, so they accessed their network of premier chef to do a taste test. The results are the same oil produced way back then and to this day under the Salute Santé! label – which is now COLD PRESSED! Through a gentle filtering process, what’s left is a light, delicate tasting oil with a slightly nutty flavor. Grapeseed oil has a high cooking point of 485 degrees, making it extremely versatile. You can use it for grilling, roasting, baking, stir fry, marinades, dressings or as a finishing oil.

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Their original goal was to produce a high quality grapeseed oil of their own in the United States. By the late 90s, they moved to Napa. Unlike olive oil, which is pressed and harvested once a year, the grapeseed oil can be pressed year round. It is made by separating the seeds from the grape pomace (within 24-48 hours of the wine pressing) then dried, and stored in a grain bag for pressing fresh year round.  Salute Santé! uses many different varieties of grapes, like: Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Merlot. Concerned about quality control, Salute Santé! sends their oils a third party laboratory to verify that their oil is 100% pure grapeseed oil. It is the high level of linoleic fatty acid (over 70%) that improves heart health, fights diabetes, and is an anti-inflammatory, plus it has half the saturated fats of olive oil. Their company services the top 200 San Francisco Bay Area chefs, and their product line has expanded to extra virgin cold pressed, infused – lemon, garlic, chili, rosemary, basil, and white truffle grapeseed oil – and grapeseed flours. Being a popcorn addict, I particularly love their white truffle oil mixed into homemade popcorn!

Taste Just Like Butter MELT Organic

Since 2009, MELT Organic has been spreading out their vegan butter products in regional and national supermarkets. MELT Organic began when the founder developed digestive issues, so she switched to a dairy-free and gluten-free diet. With very few options available, CEO Meg Carlson explained that making a high quality, product was a top priority. Meg insisted their products excel in taste and texture.

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MELT Organic began bringing in extra virgin coconut oils from all over the world and narrowed it down to just 2. The extra virgin coconut oil is a superfood because it is heart/gut healthy and is the main ingredient in both in their vegan spreads and butter sticks. The spreads are soft in texture, like margarine, while the butter stick has a 1:1 ratio to dairy butter, plus it’s ideal for high-heat cooking and baking.

MELT Organic even has added a probiotic to one of their spreads which has about 1 billion active cultures in 2 tablespoons. Also, newer in their product line, is a chocolate spread which pairs well with fruit, and their honey spread is an enticing glaze when brushed onto salmon just before cooking or grilling. Well, well, MELT Organic delivered a vegan butter spread and sticks that are delicious and nutritious for those who are both lactose tolerant or intolerant.

Superfood BrightFresh® Microgreens

We were awestruck by the shear, natural, beauty of BrightFresh® colorful variety of microgreens and edible flowers. The business started in 1995 by farmer, David Sasuga, and it quickly got on the radar with chefs across North America. It is a chef’s dream ingredient because it can be used to garnish appetizers, soups, side dishes, main course or added to salads.

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Located in San Diego, the temperate climate and sunny weather, is an ideal place to grow microgreens and edible flowers. With a shelf life of 5-7 days, the microgreens are pre-cut and shipped to grocery stores and markets on the west coast. Unlike most microgreen businesses, they are able to grow year round in their greenhouse and take advantage of all that natural light. It just takes 2 weeks to mature into a stems that are 1 to 1 ½ inches tall. Microgreens are delicate yet powerful in nutrients compared with their more mature herbs and vegetable counterparts.

Their first crop was micro-basil and their product line grew when they added cilantro, and arugula. With their microgreens, like kale, broccoli, radishes, or pea shoots, you could hardly get bored with their vast selection. Furthermore, the flavor profile is concentrated with a bit of a spiced kick. BrightFresh® Microgreens has set their sites further with a goal toward getting their superfoods to the east coast.

Hand-Harvested, Pure Pacific Flake Sea Salt

Admittedly, we are salt groupies, and we collect high quality sea salts from around the world. Lo-and-behold, we found an artisan salt maker located about a ½ day’s drive from San Francisco. Pacific Flake sea salt, founder Bryon Duty’s interest started 4 years ago because his mom was having health issues, and Bryon couldn’t find a clean salt to add to her new diet.

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Bryon explains that commercial salts are so unhealthy because it is scorched at 2,600 degrees which destroys the purity. While researching for opportunities on how to make high mineral content salt, he found nothing, so through trial and error, Bryon was able to create a proprietary blend that became a household hit. Pacific Flake retrieves salt from the seawater in Northern California, and it goes through 3 filters leaving behind a pure brine. Bryon then crystallizes it so the end product is balanced, clean, light, and bitter-free. Health-wise, the salt reaches a boiling point to retain minerals like magnesium and potassium.

Presently, Pacific Flake is sold in high end restaurants, in places like: Beverly Hills, Napa, and Sonoma as well as independent co-ops and retailers in Northern California. Bryon suggests taking 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, drizzle 1 TB of EVOO, and sprinkle some of their Pacific Flake sea salt on top. Whether you are adding a pinch, dash, or shake, a simple ingredient like salt can make all the difference in elevating the tastiness of your food.

Just Date Syrup Has Just One Ingredient

Syvlie Charles, a Psychiatrist, has a keen interest in how healthy foods affect mental and physical health. Through her research, she has seen how refined sugar has led to diabetes. Her goal is to make Just Date Syrup available as a sugar alternative for high risk communities, and she donates 2% of their profits to diabetes education and research.

Syvlie uses organic Medjool dates sourced from southern California. To retain most of the nutrients, it takes 9 hours at a gentle simmer for the syrup to be ready. The shelf life is 12 months on the counter and doesn’t need to be refrigerated after being opened. Dates are a superfood that is 42-46 on the glycemic index, which makes it high in electrolytes, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and antioxidants. Dates are only 45% fructose vs. Agave which is 70-90% fructose.

Syvlie’s favorite use is in chai or matcha tea and in coffee. Some other uses include mixing it with spices on roasted vegetables (carrots, butternut squash, or brussel sprouts), and it also goes well with Asian flavors. When using Just Date Syrup in baking, it has a 1:1 ratio with dry sugar, but you’ll have to reduce liquids in the recipe by 10-20%. For now, Just Date Syrup can be found in selected specialty markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the word was already getting out on day 1 of the Fancy Food Show with 20 new retailers lining up to carry her product.

Wanting more to chew on? Check out our 2018 Fancy Food Show Pinterest Board for more tasteful healthy foods.

Written by — Debbie Sultan


  1. Heard quite a bit about this show. Know a top establishment local to me, Zingerman’s, was there. It’s so great to see more and more healthy options, covering a wide spectrum, available every day, Have gotten into various salts recently when cooking and serving so I am entrigued especially about the Pacific Flake Sea Salt. Cheers!


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