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SEPC 2023 Show Floor Finds

sepc show floor finds

ORLANDO – Walking a trade show floor like the one at the Southeast Produce Council’s BB #:191194 Southern Exposure is an environment ripe for new products and innovation.

I saw quite a few trends that we’ve been watching develop over the past few years, from functional foods like immunity-boost “shots,” and items targeted toward enhanced flavor, and convenience.

Here’s a handful of the items that caught my eye:

I didn’t have a chance to attend Fruit Logistica this year, but that’s ok because the Innovation Award-winning product was an easy sample at Southern Exposure. Rijk Zwaan’s Tatayoyo bell pepper was a delightful mix of tropical flavor, with a big crunch.

Keeping with the seed company theme, Syngenta’s new Ideal melon may be on to something.

Consumers have gotten away from melons because the flavor can be, let’s face it, a little bland. Ideal were developed to balance flavor and logistics. They had a bit of a crunch, but the taste was definitely there.

Spice World, of TikTok “jarlic” fame, has expanded its selection with a new version of its “Easy Onion,” or, as I’m going to call it, “J’Onion.” Designed for ultimate convenience, it offers consumers the ability to add minced onions in almost the same way they’d use jarred garlic. The 1-pound jar retails for around $4.99.

Blueberry consumer preferences over the past few years have rewarded larger berries, and this one from OZBlu was fit the bill in size, but also in texture and flavor. Who would have thought we’d be entering two-bite blueberry territory?

It wouldn’t be a show in the Southeast without something from Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice. This year’s innovation combined the company’s famous tangerine juice with orange, aloe, pineapple and sweet basil. It definitely had a kick of “different,” that was quite appealing.

Fresh Innovations LLC just launched this new Bean Dip a few weeks ago, so this was my first time trying it. It reminds me so much of that delicious guilty pleasure bean dip that’s merchandised in the chip aisle, but with a fresh kick and no guilt.

We were in the peak of Florida strawberry season, so it seemed fitting to highlight one of the newer berries on the market. While certainly not the only pink strawberry out there, I hadn’t seen this Blush-i-licious branding from Always Fresh Farms on display yet.

Now, I love boiled peanuts, but the ones I typically encounter out in the wild are from a can, swimming in suspicious black watery goo. This pack from Luray Farms was much, much more appealing. I’m told they sell quite well at a ball game. I’d definitely be game.

And, finally, one of many immunity-boost shots, but this one from Suja had an angle that I haven’t seen before in the produce department: coffee, with lion’s mane mushrooms. Lion’s mane is super trendy right now, so adding it to one of these functional juices is a sure hit with that crowd.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.