Over 200,000 products awaited the Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel at the 64th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show. Held June 30 to July 2 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, the show encompassed six football fields worth of specialty food and beverages. Members of the panel were armed with predictions from earlier in the year as they tasted their way through the show, confirming some current, and identifying new and emerging trends.
“The specialty food industry has grown to over $140 billion. Innovation is a key growth driver, and we definitely saw that at the Summer Fancy Food Show,” said Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association. “We’re seeing new flavors and new formats of food. Plant-based foods are growing from a trend into an overall movement, and upcycling is huge. Spins on classics continue to surprise us, and flavors from around the world continue to grow prominent in the marketplace. No matter where you look, something exciting is happening.”
The Summer Trendspotter Panel included Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, global food analyst, Mintel; Kenneth Blanchette, quality assurance director, fresh departments, Center of Excellence, FreshDirect; Massimo Bottura, chef and restaurateur, Osteria Francescana; Eleonora Cozzella, writer and lecturer; Jonathan Deutsch, Professor, Center for Food and Hospitality Management and Department of Nutrition Sciences, Drexel University and founder of the Drexel Food Lab; Melina Romero, manager, Trend Practice, CCD Innovation; Kriti Sehgal, CEO, Pure Fare; Stan Sagner, Writer, Marketing & Content Consultant; Alison Tozzi Liu, vice president of marketing, communications, and editorial, James Beard Foundation.
As awareness of food waste broadens, the SFA Trendspotter Panel predicted more products coming to market made with upcycled ingredients—food scraps or leftovers that would otherwise go to waste being repurposed into a new product.
Plant-based foods are a top 2018 trend, according to the Trendspotter panel, and are visible across categories. At the Summer Fancy Food Show, cassava emerged as a new plant-based snack food.
Hidden, or Unexpected, Fruits and Vegetables
Tied to the plant-based and the overall better-for-you trends, producers are blurring the lines in treats and snacks. Options for eating vegetables are even more diverse and fun, with the added value of their nutrients sneaking in as an unexpected ingredient.
This cruciferous vegetable was another emergence in the plant-based trend. In the quest for the “next kale”, cauliflower has appeared with increasing frequency on restaurant menus. More cauliflower-based packaged products are hitting retail shelves, and are hailed as a carb substitute and beneficial source of vitamins and nutrients.
Flavors of Africa
The SFA Trendspotter Panel pointed to regional Middle Eastern foods as growing in prominence. This remains true, however notable products at the Summer Fancy Food Show indicate that flavors from Africa are gaining notice, and establishing more of a presence in the mainstream marketplace.
According to SFA research, The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2018, beverage categories collectively have grown 18 percent in retail sales between 2015 and 2017—faster than food categories. Sparkling beverages, particularly, were prevalent at the show and have been gaining prominence as alternatives to soda, mixers for cocktails, as well as cocktail alternatives altogether.
Producers continue to bring products to market that incorporate principles of sustainability, and environmental and ethical awareness.
ONGOING TREND WATCH
2018 SFA Trendspotter panel predictions that are ramping up in packaged foods.
ON THE RADAR…
The following trends emerged at the Summer Fancy Food Show:
Single-Serve Condiment Pouches
Packaging innovations for on-the-go eating are becoming more prominent.
The familiar and humble egg is becoming a hero ingredient, delivering protein without carbs with mainstream appeal.
Spicy and Infused Maple Syrup
Maple syrups infused with spices and teas are starting to pop up. Examples:
For information on the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show being held in San Francisco from January 13-15, click here.