Trend Spotting

Conference Beat™ – SIAL: Paris, October 2016



SIAL (Salon International de l’Alimentation) is the largest food innovation conference in the world, housing over 7,000 exhibitors throughout five consecutive days. Every two years, the Parc des Expositions de Paris-Nord Villepinte (just outside the city limits) is transformed into a city of culinary exploration. Leaders in foodservice, retail grocery and food ingredient businesses come to present their latest product innovations and anticipate future industry related trends.… More

Conference Beat™ – Institute of Food Technologists Expo: Chicago, July 2016



The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual conference attracts over 17,000 experts from scientific, academic, foodservice and technological communities. Professionals gather to explore industry trends, innovations in technology and applications which affect the global food system.… More

Conference Beat™ – NACUFS: Anaheim, July 2016



The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) conference allows foodservice directors to discover new products that will attract lifetime customers and uncover trends that will be important to foodservice consumers over the next decade.… More

Conference Beat™ – SNA National Conference: San Antonio, July 2016

K-12 School Foodservice Professionals gathered in San Antonio for the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) Annual National Conference (ANC). These experts honed in on topics surrounding new products, services and programs to gain further education on their school’s meal curriculum.


Global Tastes

School Foodservice Directors from across the country discussed the challenges of how to deliver satisfying and culturally relevant meals to a diverse student body. A few suggestions included: featuring a food specific culture each week, engaging parents, providing lots of choices and sampling products.… More

Conference Beat™ – NeoCon: Chicago, June 2016



NeoCon is widely recognized as one of the most influential trade shows for commercial design. This 48th annual conference temporarily houses over 500 leading companies within the commercial design industry, and attracts over 50,000 design professionals and business consultants. It is an important show to spot cutting edge trends in workplace design.

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Conference Beat™ – National Restaurant Show: Chicago, May 2016

NRA Show Photo


The National Restaurant Association (NRA) annual International Foodservice Marketplace is an annual event where 2,000+ companies showcase their work to more than 63,000 chefs, buyers, designers and operators. This year’s show was a great place to see enduring trends.


Industry Highlights

The foodservice industry is poised to grow 3.2% in 2016, according to the NRA Economic Forecast. Retail platforms and hospital/nursing foodservices can expect to see the highest growth in 2016 at 5.8% and 5.2% respectively.

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Conference Beat™ – Sweets & Snacks Expo: Chicago, May 2016



The Sweets and Snacks Expo is a mesmerizing experience as professionals wander through the McCormick Center with their bag of sweet and tasty snacks. This year’s show continues to grow with nearly 17,000 attendees and 750 exhibitors from around the world, a 20% increase from the previous year. It’s an exciting place to spot emerging trends in the sweet and savory snacks industry. Buyers representing supermarkets, mass merchandisers and specialty retailers all attend the show.


Business Dynamics

Confectionery items account for $35 billion in retail sales according to the National Confectioners Association. Most U.S. Consumers eat candy about twice a week and average 40 calories a day from candy.

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Conference Beat™ – Edible London, May 2016

Les Dames d’Escoffier London create a bi-annual culinary symposium and tour of the London and international food scene exclusively for members of Les Dames d’Escoffier.  The event offers the opportunity to experience, discuss and debate emerging global food trends.

Modern Cooking

Today’s over-scheduled, over-programmed families appreciate meals made at home, but also crave the convenience of meal kits, simple and flavorful recipes, and speed scratch ingredients.  In the UK, chilled meals that can be picked up on the way home from work provide quick and delicious meal satisfaction.… More

Conference Beat™ – NAMA: Chicago, April 2016

This is the meeting where vendors and suppliers in office coffee service, micro-marts, and vending come together to build relationships and grow their hospitality business.  The lingo is somewhat different in this segment, where operators act as distributors and consumers are everyone who populates workplaces nationwide.  NAMA is the association representing the $25 billion U.S. vending and refreshment service industry, with more than 1,250 companies.


Business Dynamics

Refreshment services range from small businesses providing packaged snacks and drip coffee, to large corporations offering sophisticated specialty coffee brewing systems and catering service to keep employees engaged and in the workplace.


Micro-marts are gaining momentum in lieu of traditional vending, allowing for more consumer choice, fresh foods, and flexibility of payment and product selection.… More

Hot Spots & Hidden Treasures – Chicago Restaurant Recommendations 2016

The Bird is the Word

From hot to honey, restaurants dedicated to crispy, brined and juicy fried chicken are emerging all over Chicago. Focused menus highlighting the bird and not much else are to be expected at most of these hot spots.


“Fried chicken is the next comfort-food favorite to be swept up in our food renaissance…New concepts focused around fried chicken as a flagship item differentiate with signature touches and affordable price points.” – Sharon Olson, Culinary Visions