January 15, 2015
I have to be upfront and tell you that for the first time in years I didn’t actually make it to this year’s Fancy Food Show in San Francisco held earlier in the week. It wasn’t from lack of trying though! Unfortunately my flight ended up being delayed 4+ hours because fog shut down San Francisco airport and by the time I could have gotten out of Seattle I would have been showing up as the doors to the show were closing. I was incredibly disappointed as this show is usually one of the highlights of my year and I’ve learned my lesson about not trying to do it all in one day but rather break it into two or more days so that in case the fog rolls in, I still have a chance to see the show.
The good news though is that I put out the word that I wasn’t going to make it to the show and asked folks I know who were there to keep an eye out and report back with the trends they were seeing on the show floor. So, with a huge thank you to everyone who helped out, here are the trends from the 2015 Fancy Food Show:
1. Seaweed chips are the new kale chips. Dried and topped with a variety of flavoring, seaweed exploded on the scene this year promising consumers a great taste along with a power punch of vitamins that are naturally found in this truly sustainable food.
2. Speaking of chips, other veggies are getting in on the game too. Poor kale, it had its run as being the sole ‘veggie chip’ on supermarket shelves but other vegetables noticed all the attention and got jealous. So they’ve gussied themselves up and were at the show promoting themselves to retailers. Soon you might be seeing parsnip and brussel sprouts chips next to your seaweed and kale chips.
3. Toast is having it’s moment. Last year toast – yes, bread with butter, popped up in hip cafe’s as a ‘comfort food’ competitor to the cronut. This year, food manufactures took advantage of toast’s newfound popularity by adding it to their products. This comes in the form of cinnamon toast-flavored tea and crunchy toasted bread making its way into chocolates for added flavor and texture.
4. Coconut is getting into everything. As coconut water takes over more and more marketshare in the beverage category, it should come as no surprise that this trend would soon jump into food products as well. This year that was evident with coconut water being a key ingredient in (and being heavily promoted in) everything from caramels to cookies to peanut butter to beer.
5. Turmeric is the spice de jour. Every year it seems as though one spice or another comes front and center and this year almost everyone I talked to said that they kept seeing products with turmeric. This is actually in line with two key trends that have been building over the last few years and was still going strong at this show. 1. Ethnic spices have been heating up American palates over the years and Turmeric, an Indian spice traditionally used in curries, hits that mark and 2. this spice is often credited in helping with disease prevention and having natural anti-inflammatory properties so its inclusion in foods also plays well in the continued ‘health and wellness’ trend of foods.
Want to know what else to expect in 2015? Check back next Tuesday when Small Food Business will release the 2015 Plate of the Union report that looks at the economy, the food industry, food consumer trends, and anything else that may impact small food producers in the coming year.