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Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel Reveals Top Five Trends; Bill Lynch Comments

Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel Reveals Top Five Trends; Bill Lynch Comments

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

Leaders from Whole Foods Market, Market Hall Foods, and more recently convened during the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) Winter Fancy Food Show Trendspotter Panel. Navigating thousands of specialty food products showcased by more than 1,000 exhibitors, five top trends were chosen.

Bill Lynch, President, Specialty Food AssociationThe Winter Fancy Food Show gave participants an advance look at the year ahead in specialty foods. Thanks to our Trendspotters, as well as many other experts and influencers who joined us in Las Vegas, our show provides crucial insights and forecasting at the start of the food industry's annual cycle,” said SFA President Bill Lynch.

The Trendspotters included Cathy Strange, Ambassador of Food Culture at Whole Foods; Wendy Robinson, Program Manager and Senior Buyer at Market Hall Foods; Patsy Ramirez-Arroyo, food and sustainability consultant, PG Consulting Group; and many more industry pundits.

At the 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show, the Trendspotter Panel revealed the top five trends driving product innovation this year

The top five trends they chose include:

  • Plant-Based Passport: Flavor innovations abound as global comfort foods appeal to vegan and vegetarian audiences with plant-based ingredients
  • Yuzu: Japanese citrus fruit yuzu was “everywhere” at the Winter Fancy Food Show, flavoring foods from a variety of categories
  • Upcycled and Upscaled: Ugly fruits and byproducts that would otherwise end up in landfills are getting a glow-up in upcycled specialty products
  • Fruits as Snacks: Whether enjoyed on their own, elevated with an indulgent ingredient, or used in an inventive way, nature’s candies are breathing new life into snacking
  • New Takes on Classics: Many of the new products on the Fancy Food Show floor combine innovation with a classic twist

Trends that are continuing this year include:

  • Non-Alcoholic Comes of Age: Spirit-free cocktails and mixers with sophisticated flavor profiles in upscale vessels are elevating dry drinking occasions
  • Nuanced Heat: “Consumers are getting a lot more nuanced when it comes to how they’re using heat,” said Trendspotter Jonathan Deutsch
  • Mushrooms: “Mushrooms! Mushrooms! Mushrooms! An ancient clean label flavor booster for the specialty food aisle,” said Trendspotter Kantha Shelke

These trends and more will be on full display at the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show, which runs June 23–25 at the Javits Center in New York.

We hope to see you there with a bevy of new trends in hand!

Specialty Food Association