The 44th Annual Winter Fancy Food Show took place January 13-15 in San Francisco, California. The show’s Trendspotter Panel looked at over 90,000 products to identify the current and emerging trends within the $140 billion specialty food industry.

“Sustainability and social good, through upcycling, ethical sourcing, diverse crops, and cause-related products, are growing ever more in popularity. We saw this emerging at the Summer Fancy Food Show this past June, and it's really come to life here at the Winter Fancy Food Show,” says Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association. “Combine this with more traditional trends like single serve on the go, and jerky, and we're seeing a whole new way of eating and snacking. Innovation is happening very quickly within the industry and it's exciting to see how these trends will evolve over the next few months.”

Sustainability is key with consumers, and that’s why many companies and products are powered by environmental and social concerns. For example, kelp-based foods and beverages are on the rise. Upcycling is another important factor. The Panel highlighted vegetable drinks upcycled from leftover pickle juice; cookies made with okara, a superfood harvested from the pulp of organic soybeans that is created during soymilk production; and cold-pressed juice from imperfect fruits and vegetables.

Other trends of note:

  • CBD-infused food and beverages, due to their health benefits
  • Fermentation of foods
  • Alternative proteins like cod and salmon jerky, jerky trail mix, and fish-free tuna
  • Rose, noted for antioxidant and hydrating properties, is the latest edible beauty ingredient to emerge.
  • Fruit and vegetable-based flours for baking or blending into smoothies
  • Nuts and oats as dairy alternatives

The 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show will be held in New York from June 23-25. With the specialty food world rapidly changing, it is a wonder what trends will be prevalent at that time.