The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drink

Superfood seaweed snacks
Thanks to new SHØRE Seaweed Puffs, all the amazing health benefits of seaweed can be enjoyed in a tasty and bite sized puff. As moreish as crisps, but at less than 100 calories per 22.5 g bag and packed with nutrients, antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, SHØRE Seaweed Puffs contain the equivalent over 6g of fresh Scottish sustainable seaweed in one bag. The range consists of four delicious flavours to suit all taste buds: Sea Salt & Balsamic, Sweet & Smoky, Lime, Chilli & Coconut and Thai Chilli.

Seaweed is something of a nutritional powerhouse – it is much more nutrient dense than just about any land vegetable and is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein, as well as being low in calories, high in soluble fibre and a great source of antioxidants.

Seaweed is also a great source of iodine, a nutrient that is missing in almost every other food! Iodine helps regulate hormone levels and thyroid function, as well as supporting a healthy metabolism and maintaining energy levels.

The Lime, Chilli & Coconut variant was a big hit with the Taste Test team – not that they didn’t appreciate the other flavours, but the Lime, Chilli & Coconut really hit the spot. “I can’t tell these are seaweed (the Sweet & Smoky was a bit too ‘seaweedy’ for me) and I liked the chilli kick and the coconut sweetness. The puffs have a good texture, and totally fill the crisps gap in my lunch box with a much healthier alternative.”

A British take on a classic
Premium blackcurrant liqueur, British Cassis – part of the White Heron Brands portfolio – has secured its first national listing with Waitrose, a year on from its successful rebranding.

British Cassis is a British take on a classic French crème de cassis, made with pressed juice from Herefordshire blackcurrants. British Cassis is made using a technique particular to White Heron, which draws on classic winemaking in order to capture the intensity of the freshly picked British blackcurrants. Once the blackcurrant juice has fermented naturally with champagne yeast, it is blended with a little vodka to fortify and sweeten in order to accentuate the rich, fruity flavours. The liquid is then bottled, ready to be enjoyed.

Jo Hilditch, MD of White Heron Brands and creator of British Cassis comments: “Provenance, heritage and sustainability are crucial for us and these are values shared by Waitrose. As a British brand, we’re obviously thrilled to be available in its stores.”

“We always enjoy a Kir Royale at Christmas and the family was very impressed with the British Cassis – it had a great blackcurrant hit and while sweet wasn’t sugary – the tartness of the currants shone through.”

Say cheese!
A fresh mozzarella-style cheese perfectly presented in a nutritious, calcium-rich peel-able cheese stick; Pik-Nik was recently recognised at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards where it won the 2018 Gold Award for Children’s cheese.

Sales of Pik-Nik have also received a valuable winter boost following a recently introduced product enhancement that has increased the Vitamin D content. Deficiency in this vitamin can occur during winter months, a situation that can be addressed through diet. Each Pik-Nik now provides a valuable source of Vitamin D alongside calcium and Vitamin A. All these nutrients play a role in enabling our body fight off ailments such as colds, the winter-blues and even dry skin.

“This was a great little addition to my lunch box every day!” said our tester. “I liked how they came in a pack of four, and the portion size was perfect. The cheese was fun to peel so I am sure kids would enjoy it too. It was very mild in flavour but made a satisfying snack and I would buy these again.”

A taste of history
Langley’s England has officially launched its version of the classic 19th century gin, Old Tom. Langley’s Old Tom uses an original gin recipe that dates back to the 1891 with an added twist that ensures it sits well on modern day palates; with notes of orange peel candy, nutmeg and juniper.

Langley’s England brand ambassador, Jonathan Zammit-Tabona noted that the Old Tom remains very true to the original recipe but has also been refined for a more contemporary setting. “It is already celebrated by the bar community and we were keen to bring to life this unique style for drinkers who enjoy a gin with an intriguing back story and complex flavours,” he said.

“I liked the back story of Old Tom and I found it had a sweeter, and slightly spicy side that made it particularly suitable for this time of year – it felt festive and warming. The flavours were very well balanced, and while it may have an original recipe, it still feels very modern.”

Water with benefits
Following on from the success of Skinny Water’s original three variants, Pomegranate, Raspberry and Orange, the experts at Bio-Synergy have added three new flavour variants to the mix: Skinny Bellini, Skinny Mojito and Gym Tonic.

These unique flavours aim to give consumers the feeling of being naughty without the actual nasties. In fact, each drink is made of the finest UK spring water and contains zero sugar, zero calories and have been fortified with a unique blend of vitamins and minerals, proven to curb sugar cravings and improve energy levels and wellbeing.

Made from still British spring water, lemon and lime flavour Gym Tonic has added 27L-glutamine and L-leucine. These important amino acids contribute to the protein needed to repair and grow muscles after strenuous activity.

“I am always the one to volunteer to test drinks for after a workout – I love something flavoured but don’t want any sugar and appreciate any additions that can boost the benefits of going to the gym! The taste of the Gym Tonic was subtle and not overpowering and the fact it was still rather than sparkling makes it easier to drink post-run. It was an easy and tasty way for me to up my daily water intake, too!”

Yo, ho ho and a bottle of rum
A range of quality, authentic spirits made using only natural ingredients, CUT RUM delivers a portfolio that includes CUT SPICED (a premium Caribbean rum infused with real spices); CUT OVERPROOF (a 151 Proof rum that is typically used in cocktail making and cooking) and CUT SMOKED (a three-year-old Jamaican rum infused with Arabica coffee beans, oak chip smoke and tobacco and boasting a naturally smoked infusion.)

Each product combines premium blends of rum from Trinidad and Jamaica that are crafted in copper pot stills before being infused with only natural ingredients including; aniseed, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, coriander seed, lemon and vanilla to produce authentic, unique tasting liquids.

The CUT RUM brand has already created a buzz across the on trade. A number of smokehouses around the UK are food pairing CUT SMOKED on their menus and Living Ventures have been experimenting with CUT SMOKED, crafting and serving smoked cocktails including; Smoky Mary, Smoked Negroni and a Smoked Old Fashioned.

The team was very interested in these new rums – 2018 has been the year of the gin, and we’ve been hearing interesting things for 2019 and rum! The premium nature of the rum was immediately apparent, and both the Spiced and the Smoked had very distinctive and individual flavour profiles. “I found the spiced version had a vanilla and caramel note I wasn’t expecting, and the coffee note of the smoked version came through with quite a complicated mix of smokiness. These are sophisticated rums that I think are on a new level of quality – very impressed.”