PlantBased Solutions CEO David Benzaquen just left the Specialty Food Association’s 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show, one of the top trade shows in the food world. Here are some highlights and musings from a business-minded plant-based food enthusiast joining thousands of foodies to check out the newest and hottest specialty foods.


russell jackson

Celebrity chef Russell Jackson and PlantBased Solutions CEO David Benzaquen.


Jam-packed with jams, olive oils, chocolates, salsas, snacks, and so much more, the Winter Fancy Food Show had over 18,000 attendees and over 1,300 exhibitors sharing their food products from across the world.  The show focuses on specialty foods, rather than natural products. However, a quick scan of the new products showcase shows that the industry is clamoring to meet consumer demand for healthier and more sustainable foods. Countless products boast their greenest and cleanest attributes, from vegan and gluten-free ingredients to recycled packaging. Here are a few of our favorite products from the show.


PlantBased Solutions’ Top 5 Products (that we had never tried before) from the Winter 2014 Fancy Food Show

1. Masala Chips from Indian Life (

masala chips

These Non-GMO Project-verified, MSG-free, vegan chips are packed with authentic Indian spices (you can see and taste the powerful cumin seeds) and just the right amount of crunch. Low in sodium and delicious.


2. Carmelina ‘e…San Marzano Organic Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes


It’s not often that one reviews the top products at a packaged foods convention and highlights canned produce as a star of the show. And yet, that is the testament to the experience this reviewer had when tasting the Carmelina San Marzano tomatoes for the first time. This product carried enough flavor to single-handedly transform any sauce or dish and will quickly become in a staple in our home.


3. Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips


We heard incredible things about these chips while at the Natural Products Expo East trade show back in September, but we were too swamped handing out samples of another incredible product at the Treeline Cheese booth. Fortunately, we finally got to try these, and they did not disappoint. Conveniently packed in beautiful, compostable 1 and 3 ounce bags, these chips are 100% gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, MSG free and never fried. We strongly recommend the Sea Salt and Chili Lime flavors. Words of caution: these chips are NOT recommended for nori newbies; their powerful flavor is best enjoyed by seaweed aficionados.


4. Green Walnut and Grappa Preserve from The Preservatory at Vista D’oro


When tasting this preserve, one is immediately hit by the distinct, yet beautiful, pairing of green walnuts and wine.  Vista D’oro never clarifies or filters their wines, avoiding the animal byproducts sometimes used in wine processing.


5. Lotus Foods’ Organic Forbidden Rice Ramen


Boasting a somewhat nutty texture, Lotus Foods’ Forbiden Rice Ramen is somewhat similar to soba noodles, but less gummy. Perfect with a dash of tamari sauce, these noodles are 100% certified organic, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, non-GMO verified, fair trade, and delicious!