10 Trends From The Summer Fancy Food Show

The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel scoured six football fields of exhibits at June’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. Building on previous findings and predictions, the panelists identified products currently attaining prominence in the specialty food industry. 

In addition to plant-based ingredients, alternative dairy, and functional foods and beverages, which continue to be strong, the Trendspotters report new innovations and expanding categories in sustainability- and mission-focused products; protein, and global flavors among other trends. 

Here are the panel’s selections: 

Upcycled Foods
“With consumers learning more about food waste and the power of upcycling, we're seeing some interesting applications of otherwise discarded ingredients,” said Trendspotter Melanie Zanoza Bartelme. Examples include sweet potato flour; tea made from discarded avocado leaves; a digestive-health–friendly beverage made from whey, a waste product from the cheese-making process; and pizza sauces made from vegetable scraps. 

Mission-Driven Companies 
Companies and products powered by environmental and social concerns were visible throughout the show. Examples include falafel and kibbeh made by a woman-owned company that supports Syrian refugees; granola made by a nonprofit organization that trains and employs people with autism; and a female-led nonprofit that promotes fair trade and access to education and economic opportunities, agricultural and financial advice, to Arab women.

New Sources of Protein on the Go
The protein and convenience trends converge in new innovations. Examples include a plant-based yogurt made with cucumber seed protein, and cacao fruit pulp as a natural sweetener; crepes made of egg and cauliflower; cups of instant oatmeal enhanced with collagen protein and a squeeze pack of Nuttzo nut and seed butter; and cottage cheese transformed into a snack bar enrobed in chocolate or caramel coating.

West African Foods in the Spotlight
"Glad to have witnessed signs of what I hope are a growing variety of artisanal products from West Africa, and their continued influence in New World regions and food cultures in the Americas, i.e. United States, Caribbean/West Indies, Central and South America," said Trendspotter Tonya Hopkins. Examples include sunbutter sauce, an allergen-free take on classic African peanut sauce and chips made from fonio, an authentic grain that’s a staple in West African cooking.

Global Hot Sauces
Hot sauces touting flavors from around the globe—many based on family recipes—were prevalent at the show. Examples include a lime leaf sambal Malaysian hot sauce and a Thai hot sauce, both made from family recipes; a sauce celebrating the flavors of Barbados, inspired by the makers Bajan mother and grandmother; and a West African hot sauce from Ghana.

Raising the Cocktail Game
A slew of new mixers, tonics, and garnishes helps consumers make bar-quality cocktails at home. Examples include not-to-sweet premium cocktail cherries, elderflower mixers, and floral, tisane-like cocktail infusers for alcohol.  

Frozen Dessert Renaissance 
A 2019 trend named by the Trendspotter Panel, frozen desserts’ makeover began with ice creams offering high-protein varieties, dairy alternatives, and international flavors. It has since expanded to include cakes, cobblers, and other treats. Examples include heat-and-serve cheesecake and lava cake; oat milk ice cream; ice creams with East Asian flavors and umami tastes; and non-dairy smoothies made of bananas.

Water Everywhere
According to the SFA’s State of the Specialty Food Industry report, 2019-2020 Edition, specialty water is the top category forecast to grow over the next five years. Examples include alkaline water, with high pH levels and electrolytes; high-oxygen water containing proprietary O4 oxygen molecules; and liquid concentrates that can be added to purified water to recreate profiles of the world’s regional waters.

Nutritious Grains
Grains are being hailed for their nutrients including sprouted varieties that offer activated nutrition as well as fiber-rich options like barley and buckwheat. Examples include sprouted buckwheat snacks; high-fiber cereals made with sprouted ingredients; and snack mixes and bars that showcase prebiotic-friendly barley, which is high in beta glucans.

Mushroom Love
Interest continues to grow in mushrooms for their taste and flavor as well as nutrition and medicinal benefits. Examples include beverages made from slow-brewing Chaga mushrooms; partially plant-based burgers made of mushrooms and grass-fed beef; flavorful blends of mushrooms in sachets that are used in soups, stews, and marinades; and dried crunchy mushroom snacks.

You can learn more about the panel’s picks here. Have opinions about the trends or ideas of your own? Tell us your thoughts in the Q&A forum.
Posted by Denise Purcell on Sep 30, 2019 11:30 AM America/New_York