Last week, sunny San Francisco hosted the 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show (Jan 19th-21st), one of the largest specialty food expos in the world. Among the 1,000+ exhibitors, we at Sugimoto America had a booth within the Japan Pavilion. At this year’s show, we showcased our Organic Matcha and an as-of-yet unreleased product, Drip Tea.
Matcha is by no means a new tea variety; it’s been consumed in Japan for at least 800 years. However, Matcha used as an ingredient is still a practice in its infancy, particularly in the US. We offered show attendees Matcha Cookies prepared by a Seattle bakery, Fresh Flours, using our Organic Matcha. The cookies were well received, with many people even telling us we should sell the cookies! We merely wanted to provide people with one idea of the many creative ways one can enjoy the taste and health benefits of Matcha besides drinking a whisked cup.
Our other showcased product, Drip Tea, made its American debut at the show. The idea is simple: open a package already sealed with tea leaves inside, unfold the filter, place on your cup, and pour hot water! Many people marveled at the novel idea of “pour-over” tea. Similar products exist for coffee, but no other cup-mountable tea infuser of the sort exists thus far in the US. We are still in the test-marketing phase, but expect Drip Tea to be hitting store shelves by the end of the year!
Some of the interesting products we saw form American companies include Yuzu Ginger Mints (Sencha Naturals), Edamame Sea Salt chocolate bars (J CoCo), and Matcha chocolate bars (Vosges Haut-Chocolat)! Japanese flavors and ingredients are becoming more and more prevalent in the American marketplace. Could it have something to do with Japanese cuisine’s recent designation by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage?