Conference Beat™ – Fancy Food Show: San Francisco, January 2017


The Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show is traditionally the first major food industry forum of the year where buyers and sellers come to see the newest foods, flavors and ingredient trends.  With over 80,000 products on display from 1,400 companies, this show attracts a wide range of food business segments including: specialty and gourmet retail, supermarkets, mass merchandisers, foodservice operators and distributors.


What’s In And What’s Out

Super ingredients with healthful benefits are trending.  What’s out are GMO’s, gluten, added sugar and artificial ingredients.


Trend Spotting

Medicinal Notes – tonics, elixirs and foods with ingredients offering health benefits are available in almost every category.


Single Origin – especially in coffee and chocolate categories, the allure of an exotic origin with limited supply is irresistible.


Small Batch Production – the new term for artisan-made is small batch production; focusing on passion for quality and exquisite attention to detail of technique.


Hot Ingredients – chick peas, coconut, matcha and an expansive variety of grains are the focal point of many new products.


Comfort in A Jar – Classic comfort with a twist is perennially on trend.  The container du jour is the mason jar, and its creative presentations range from breakfast to cocktails.


Serious and Playful – Recognizing the diversity of consumers, there are products positioned as wicked and rebellious as well as virtuous and vegan – all have an audience.


Avoidance Behavior

Modern consumers are dieting less but avoiding particular ingredients like sugar and gluten. A recent Culinary Visions Panel study found that 56% of consumers surveyed said they were limiting certain ingredients from their diets.


Industry Highlights

U.S. Specialty Foods sales hit $120.5 billion in 2015, up 21.2% from 2013.  Foodservice is growing faster than retail in specialty food sales: 27% versus 19.7%.


Implications for Food Marketers

Tradition with A Twist Appeals – even new age snack foods often appear with traditional flavors updated just a bit, like pink salt, honey spiced barbecue and peppercorn ranch.


Convenience without Compromise – foods and beverages that are convenient and hassle free without any compromise in flavor or authenticity, charm consumers.


Wellness is Multi-faceted – whether it is energy, detoxing or relaxation, the power of foods and beverages to enhance life continues to gain momentum.


Taste Talk Tweet

Twitter chatter included:

  • Seaweed snacks in unique flavors like chocolate almond
  • Macadamia is the hottest new nut based milk
  • Mayo made from coconut and avocado oil takes over
  • Brazilian cheese balls are the latest trending treat
  • Digestive drinks like vinegars & probiotic coconut water

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