What's Hot in Food And Beverages

WebMD explores the latest trends in food and drink at the National Restaurant Show

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

The aroma of mouth-watering food wafted in the air along with the sounds of thousands of people, clanging equipment, demonstrations, ice carvings, and even demos of dancing waiters and waitresses profiling the latest in designer uniforms on the exhibit floor of the National Restaurant Association show.

The show was held May 20-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and boasted 73,000 attendees and more than 2,100 exhibitors, education seminars, and special events. President Bush was a highlight -- addressing the attendees on Monday morning. Veteran newscaster Ted Koppel provided the opening address Sunday afternoon.

Equipped with my pedometer, comfortable shoes, and an empty stomach ripe for tasting, I set out in the enormous exhibition space in search of the latest food trends. The challenge was finding the innovations in food amidst the sea of exhibitors featuring everything imaginable for food service operators.

Peppadew

It looks like a cross between a cherry tomato and a red pepper with a crisp, hot, spicy, and sweet taste. The intriguing little Peppadew made its debut last year at the show and has been wildly successful in the past year -- showcased in products such as salsa, cheese, Bloody Mary mix, bread, hot sauce, olives, veggie burgers, chips, or simply as Peppadews in a jar. Native to South Africa and protected by international growing rights, this versatile fruit is nutritious and delicious. If you can find it, use it in salads, pastas, soups, egg dishes, pizza toppings, or filled with low-fat cheese as appetizers.