When it comes to exploring and tasting the next big food trends, I was thrilled to attend the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in San Francisco, California last week. With over 1400 exhibitors around the world, thousands of new products and networking with the industry’s most innovative minds and businesses, trendspotting at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2019 is fun and delicious.  Let’s explore the top three trends that caught my attention. 

The Top Three Trends

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Elevated On-the-Go Snacking  

Consumers live a fast and busy lifestyle. While being health conscious they are gravitating towards purchasing “grab and go” options, including breakfasts, snacks and mini-suppers.  A few new innovations that caught my eye included mushroom snack bars and jerky; fodmap lactose and gluten-free snack bars and cauliflower pretzels (made with cassava and cauliflower flours).

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The ever expanding coffee to go market has a huge opportunity for single serve artisan baked goods. There is an entire consumer group looking for an elevated experience beyond traditional quick serve donut shops. This trend was obvious at the show, so stay tuned for my March 2019 Bakers Journal Column highlighting this opportunity.

Remember when you had to prepare a salad by washing, peeling, chopping, tossing and perhaps cooking eggs or chicken. Not anymore, salads-to-go were prominent at the show. Including seaweed, quinoa and calamari based varieties in single serve refrigerated containers.

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Plant-based Eating

This should be no surprise!  More people who are following a flexitarian dietary pattern are exploring plant-based options. The shift in plant-based eating is leading to more products with plant-based seeds, nuts and pulses including granolas, bars, bites, butter/spreads and better -for-you cookies. My colleague and friend Donna Berry recommends It’s Time to Get Seedy in her Berry on Dairy WFFS Blog.

Plant-based beverages have come a long way since the introduction of soy milk 20 years ago. New and popular innovations including oat-based drinks were on hand at the show.  This category continues to fly off of the shelves. And expect to see more plant-based drink innovations in 2019.

Consumers are becoming more adventurous with their palates and are trying savoury umami flavours from plant-based ingredients like mushrooms and seaweed in the snack and mini-meals categories. Fish-free tuna, jackfruit, dairy-free cheeses and plant-based deli slices were on display as vegan options. Cauliflower flour was popular along with other fruit and vegetable flours for grain-free alternatives.

Specialty Cheeses – the ultimate Fancy Food

Cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses from all over the world were on display and ready for tasting. I was in culinary heaven. I’m a cheese lover from a way back. In fact one of my first food memories is of cheese.  Delicious, award-winning cheeses with history, smooth, aged, soft, hard, created with wine, whiskey, fruit and other inclusions including mustard seeds. You name it; the WFFS had a cheese for everyone and every occasion!

I’d love to speak at your upcoming event to share more exciting food trends.
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