This year's Winter Fancy Food Show was held January 21-23 in San Francisco. Food Business News has outlined certain topics and eight trends that were prominently showcased.
One big topic is the grocery store of the future. Think about this - your items being digitally ordered, gathered and delivered robotically based on a customer preferences. They are described by Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association, as being "almost like Netflix", with recommendations being made to you based on those preferences.
Plant-based foods are one of the biggest trends in many different categories. Nut milk based and plant based convenience foods and snacks are on the rise. Other emerging trends include cannabis cuisine and foods tinted with activated charcoal that are dubbed "goth" foods. The latter being seen so far in black ice cream and pizza crusts.
- This trend is driven by umami flavor and is popping up foods like mushroom chips, jerky, chocolate bars, matcha tea and kombucha.
- They're being used in non-dairy desserts to add flavor and help create creaminess. Sweet and savory banana snacks are on the rise. No more plain banana chips - now there are flavors such as buffalo, nacho, garlic parmesan and tomato. One company is up-cycling bananas that would have been considered waste, and turning them into chewy banana bites and brittles.
- Popular as an ingredient to add texture and sweetness to smoothies, medjool dates are now being made into a lower-glycemic, nutritious syrup and used as a sugar substitute. It can be used in tea, coffee and baked goods - basically wherever you'd use sugar, honey or maple syrup.
Premium quality condiments
- These portable single serve salad dressing tubes and pouches feature "clean ingredients" and "chef inspired" flavors. They're not your run-of-the-mill flavors - think blood orange poppy, lemongrass ginger, spicy Thai, sesame ginger and miso. There were also small squeeze packs of olive oils, as well as gourmet flavored honeys in small take-away packs.
- Nutrient dense Moringa, which comes from a plant native to parts of Asia and Africa, is the next superfood. It's coming to us in the form of powders, beverages, snack puffs and nutrition bars. It's said to be rich in protein, fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin A.
- Salt water taffy is making a comeback with artisanal flavors such as salty mango lassi, bergamot, caramel apple, honey peanut, and sea salt caramel. Another sweet treat is upscale cotton candy in unexpected flavors including salted chocolate peanut butter, matcha green tea latte, habanero pineapple, and peanut butter and jelly.
Middle East inspired foods
- An old Persian recipe was the inspiration for a line of sparkling sodas for one company. Flavors such as pomegranate with mint, pear with mint and cucumber with mint make them unique. Pistachio brittle that's sweetly seasoned with cardamom and saffron comes from another brand launched by the son of Iranian immigrants.
Small portion bites and bars
- Small cookies, muffins and chocolate bars with interesting ingredients and delicious flavors are popular for keeping those indulgences in check with just a little treat.
Check out Food Business News
to see some of the new products and companies that were showcased at this year's event.