Top Trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2017
The 42nd edition of the Winter Fancy Food Show took place in San Francisco last week, bringing together 33,000 industry professionals and showcasing over 80,000 specialty foods and beverages from around the globe. These niche food and beverage products are defined by the Specialty Food Association as being “of the highest grade, style, and/or quality in their respective categories.”
In 2015, specialty food sales amounted to about $120 billion and that number has been steadily on the rise. According to Phil Kafarakis, President of the Specialty Food Association (which owns and produces the WFFS), specialty food sales are “exploding right now.”
“We’re seeing millennials and men emerging as key consumer groups, food service sales are experiencing impressive increases, while on-line shopping and retail serve as key consumer sales channels. People are very interested in high quality, great tasting food and specialty foods offer both.”
Of the specialty food market, chips, pretzels and snacks are the third highest selling category in the Specialty Foods market. However, these foods may be inching their way to the top as evidenced by the WFFS. “The better-for-you snacking trend is still really going strong,” says Denise Purcell, Head of Content for the Specialty Food Association. “We are seeing a lot of chips with added protein and potato alternatives.”
Sure enough, several of our favorite Hubba snack brands were present at the WFFS. Ocean’s Halo, known for their great-tasting, vitamin and mineral-packed seaweed chips introduced their line of first-of-its-kind dark chocolate seaweed strips.
Arctic Zero is expanding their assortment of guilt-free (read: lactose-free, gluten-free and low-glycemic) frozen desserts with three new delicious flavors: Peanut Butter Swirl, Rocky Road Trip, and Cherry Chocolate Chunk. They’ve also revealed a new Cake Batter bar.
Better Than Water
Not to be overshadowed of course, many beverages made an impression at the Fancy Food Show as well. One insider felt that Coconut Water is on the brink of being knocked off its throne by none other than… Maple Water. That is, water tapped straight from maple trees. And as if cold brew couldn’t possibly get any cooler (pun intended), Bay Area-based startup brand Fogdog introduced the industry’s first-ever hydrodynamic cold brew. The company uses a patent-pending hydrodynamic cold extraction process to that preserve the natural aromas, flavors, and textures of cold brew coffees and teas while eliminating any unpleasant bitterness.
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