When it comes to exploring and tasting the next big food trends, I was thrilled to attend the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, California in January. With over 1400 exhibitors around the world, thousands of new products and networking with the industry’s most innovative minds and businesses, this trade only event is the perfect location to find out what is trending in the specialty food industry. Trendspotting at the Winter Fancy Food Show was an interesting experience. Let’s explore the top three trends that caught my attention.
The Top Three Trends
Plant-based products including Vegan Snacks and Beverages
- The range of plant-based food continues to grow and nowhere is this more evident than in the snack category. Granolas, bars, bites, butter/spreads and better -for-you cookies. Marrying the plant-based and the protein trend are snacks made from lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, seeds, nuts and grains. I loved the taste and texture of the Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Bites from start-up company Siren Snacks.
- Kite Hill has adapted traditional cheese making techniques for their nut-based spreads to achieve a better taste and consistency to set them apart in this plant-based category. I look forward to connecting with them again to discus vegan baking applications for May’s Baker’s Journal column.
- Gluten-free ingredients were a popular ingredient in the gluten-free options, as the “free-from” category continues to grow in this specialty food industry.
- Ever expanding grains and nuts are evident in traditional, heritage and new varieties are being cultivated with purpose expanding choices, applications and flavour in the baked goods, snacks and plant beverages such as the tasty peanut “milk” from Elmhurst 1925.
Products with a Purpose (transparent social awareness and community giveback)
- Moving from consumption based on value to consumption based values. Food waste reduction continues to be part of a larger sustainability theme of how to decrease all environmental inputs across the entire food value chain. It is important to consider the many pieces of that equation including water usage, farming practices, carbon footprint, packaging, and recycling.
- Consumers, particularly millennials, are attracted to mission-based companies committed to sustainability, high animal welfare standards and transparent business practices. It is vital for the food industry including manufacturers, retailers and restaurants to implement products with purchase to appeal to this demographic.
- Over the past five years, food fraud has become a topic on the minds of consumers. Companies like Calvisius Caviar, whom I met at the show, are actively asking consumers to “know the source” and they offer full traceability and transparency to their clients.
- To keep up with Big Data, robots and the 24/7 news cycle, consumers seek out potent energy with high quality carbohydrate sources to power their brains in the form of snacks including granola, bars, bites and on-the-go breakfasts such as overnight oats. Start-up company Bite Fuel has a grass feed whey protein based granola mix with 12 grams of protein per half cup serving to keep you energized on- the-go.
- There were a number of hot sauces, while not a new product, very interesting flavours including creamy garlic jalapeno – that is sure to excite the taste buds and keep us alert!
Thank you for joining me for my Trendspotting at Winter Fancy Food Show!
I’d love to speak at your upcoming event to share more exciting food trends.
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