Conference Beat™ – Winter Fancy Food Show, San Francisco, January 2018

The Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show is 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 1,400 exhibitors from more than 20 countries, 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

Diets are out and culinary lifestyles are in.  Lifestyle diet choices are driving innovation.


Trend Spotting

Popped Perfection – popped and puffed snacks offered crunchy, salty flavor satisfaction.


Healthful Infusions – teas and herbal infusions offering health benefits made a wide range of claims including energy, detox, digestion and weight reduction.


Elevated Everyday – collections of premium condiments were suggested to elevate hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches.


Alternative Sweeteners – minimally processed cane sugar, honey, stevia and maple are trending as sweeteners. The appeal of maple continues to grow for this uniquely North American ingredient.


Turmeric – Golden lattes, sauces and specialty beverages promoted the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant benefits of this root.


Jerky Mania – from gourmet meats to meatless vegan jerky, the appeal of this leathery snack seems endless.


Super Food Snacks – nuts, seeds and dried fruits offered cravable flavor and captivating packaging.


Pleasure and Pain – ice cream and confections were irresistible indulgences. Hot sauces fed the tastes of rebellious consumers promoting the pain inflicted by gochujang, habanero & harissa sauces.


Beverage Bitters – handcrafted beverages and cocktails were all the rage. Collections of bitters in exclusive packaging were alluring.


Industry Highlights

U.S. Specialty Foods sales hit $127 billion in 2016. 15% of retail sales are specialty food, and the industry has grown 15% since 2014, compared to 2% for all foods. Foodservice sales have
grown 14% since 2014.


High Tech Artisan Touches

3-D printing techniques are enabling chefs to create intricate pieces of culinary art and replicate it at will using this new technology. It is possible to see a commercial pilot available for bakery later this year.


Implications for Food Marketers

Single Sensations – single servings in all types of product categories continue to thrive.


Ethical Claims are a Global Trend – according to Innova, ethical claims are up 59% globally. According to a Y-Pulse® Mindful Dining Study, millennial consumers are most interested in ethical claims.


Broadening Definition of Healthy – consumers are looking for food made with real ingredients that is good for them and makes them feel good about how it was produced.


Taste Talk Tweet

#fancyfoodshow tweets:

  • Plant-based food takes over
  • Nut butters continue to expand
  • Innovative sustainable seafood gains attention
  • Mushrooms are the new ingredient, from jerky to kombucha

Follow us on Twitter @Olsoncomm


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