The show is massive, with 15 aisles of food vendors, distributors, and manufacturers displaying and sampling their product to everyone in the trade -- from small restaurateurs looking for a few unique ingredients to play with, to major supermarket chains seeking out new items to stock on their shelves.
We were pleased to see many small business owners looking to catch the eye and palate of a major distributor. And though there were many companies offering junky convenience food (we counted a half dozen ramen noodle companies), we did find some unique offerings. So, without any delay, here are the ten products we predict you'll be scarfing down in 2013.
10. Hey Mon Caribbean Sauces
According to this show, the Caribbean is poised to be the next breakout star in the food business. Which is no surprise, considering these islands are all about blending sweet tropical fruit with head-blowing hot peppers to create a meal that's one part feast/one part sweat lodge. These Hey Mon sauces are made in Florida and sold in Miami at various festivals and online. Good on shrimp, chicken and in a bloody Mary (really)!
9. Wow! Skewers
Moms may have Lunchables, but dads will lay claim to these Wow! prepackaged skewers. Available in beef, chicken, and pork, they're already marinated. Just pop them on the grill (not available in Miami yet). We see huge potential in the tailgating arena.
8. Yu Casabe Crackers
Yu Casabe yuca crackers are vegan and gluten-free. They're also low in calories, sodium, and ingredients. In fact there's only one ingredient listed -- yuca. That's it. Maybe not the biggest in flavor, but when the afternoon munchies come your way, these guys are a guilt free way to satisfy your oral fixation. Available online.
7. Don Juan Sauce
Don Juan makes his chimichurri sauce in Kendall. He also grills from a vintage Chevy Belair that he customized (there's a fridge under the hood). We give him props for the best display (and the sauce is really good too). Coming soon to markets in Miami.
6. Shark Bite Energy Drink
Sure, sharks bite -- but it's time you fought back. This energy drink is the number one seller in Asia. Plus--sharks can kick a (red) bull's ass. Swimming to a convenience store near you any day.
5. Southern Pecan Ale
We just love this small batch craft ale made in Mississippi. Its rich honey and nutty notes would go great with some fried chicken. The ale is already available at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and it's soon to be sold in Miami liquor stores and markets.
4. Baby Clam Snacks
Here's a snack for when you're tired of potato chips. Crispy baby clams are salty and sweet. Sure they look like bugs, but just close your eyes and grab a handful. Available at Asian markets.
3. Coaster/Bottle Opener
OK, this was just a promotional item to go with the Singha beer -- but it's completely awesome! A combination coaster/bottle opener. Why didn't we think of this?
2. Kiss Mix Cosmo in a Can
Cosmo in a can. For when Carrie Bradshaw tailgates at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. $2.99 each, available at major liquor stores.
Bravo Mexico in a can!
All photos by Laine Doss
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1. Bravo Mexico Energy Drink
Bravo Mexico. Finally, we know what La Raza tastes like. Available at select stores in Redlands, Cutler Ridge, and Homestead right now. Soon to be mass distributed.