The heat is (still) on, as Sriracha, the fiery Thai chili sauce, shows up in snacks, chocolates, hummus, and jams at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, one of five top trends noted by a select group of consumer food writers and journalists.
More than 1,350 specialty food producers took part in the Specialty Food Association’s 39th Winter Fancy Food Show, held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center on January 19-21st. Exhibitors showed off the latest in artisanal cheeses, chocolates, vinegars, sauces, and healthful food, revealing the latest offerings for this $86 billion industry.
With the snackification of the American diet, the simple potato chip will no longer suffice for today’s consumer. No surprise that snacks lead in new product introductions, reports the SFA, with companies looking to flavor old favorites with unexpected ingredients to delight the palate and open the wallet. Seaweed popcorn, anyone?
The overarching trend was “thoughtful indulgence,” played out in chocolate teas, seaweed chips, and truffle ketchup.
The top five trends at the show:
- Mint, making a comeback as a popular flavor in a number of treats, reflecting a turn towards simple, familiar tastes updated for the modern appetite. Examples include dark chocolate mint mélange, hibiscus mint all-natural frozen pops, and mint & licorice almond water.
- Low-sugar beverages, revealing perhaps a trend away from drinks with alternative sweeteners. On hand were unsweetened almond milk, semi-sweet cola, and chocolate Earl Grey tea.
- Dressed-up condiments, flavored with new ingredients for a fresh twist. On the show floor were fine herbs mayonnaise, truffle ketchup, and salted caramel mustard sauce.
- The return of Sriracha, found in everything—from jam to tortilla chips to Bloody Mary mix, popcorn and hummus.
- Crunch time, with chips and popcorn blended with the ingredients consumers crave, bringing to market pasta chips, quinoa chips, super food chips, and toasted sesame and seaweed popcorn.
“These trends capture the creativity of specialty food producers, and the care they put into crafting exciting taste experiences, whether they are reinventing familiar products with unexpected flavors or opening an audience to lesser-known ingredients," says Denise Purcell, senior director of content for the Specialty Food Association.
By Joann Whitcher