The Winter Fancy Food Show is one of the most exciting and interesting conventions in the gourmet food industry. It’s only shadowed by its larger big sister Summer Fancy Food Show held in NYC every year. I was lucky enough to attend again this year and visit the thousands of exhibiting food producers at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
I met some great people, tasted some innovative products, and got to see where the food industry was headed for 2015. Here are some of the trends and interesting products I saw.
The wave of gluten free products is still going strong. Another big trend were organic and non-gmo products, as well.
There was also a slew of artisan jerky producers, including Uncle Andy’s who had some fun packages and flavors.
Last year was marked by a wave of aloe beverages. This year was a lot of coconut water (and coco aloe drinks), like the selections from Taste Nirvana.
Another trend among food producers was the addition of smoke flavors, liquid smoke or just plain smoking the product, like the smoked olive oil and sugars from Californian producers, The Smoked Olive.
Some of the great new fun flavors were the innovative, sugar-free gums from Project 7. Birthday Cake gum, anyone?
There were several producers making snacks and other things from toasted coconut chips. Made in Nature had some interesting flavors like the Vietnamese cinnamon swirl, maple Madagasgar vanilla and ginger masala chai.
Another category of products that were prevalent this year were the various cocktail syrups and beverage mixes. Look at the beautiful labels on these tea mixers from Finest Kind.
Food mash-ups are always fun, like these Guinness flavored thick-cut, hand-cooked potato chips from Burt’s.
Ketchup is already one of the world’s favorite condiments, but Traina took is up a notch not only by making it with sun-dried tomatoes, but by adding Sriracha. It was a burst of flavor, but not too spicy.
I was happy to see a selection of food products from Indonesia for the first time. They haven’t yet started importing to the United States, but I hope they do soon.
Another product that hasn’t quite made it to our shores yet were these salty black sesame seeds from Japan. It was delicious on just plain old vanilla ice cream, but would be great on rice or as a finishing condiment for a lot of Asian dishes.
Lee’s Coffees, a Vietnamese coffee company, had a portable pour-over coffee package, which looked like it would be great for road trips and backpacking.
I stopped by Nancy Silverton’s booth to try her new line of gelatos and sorbetto’s. If you’ve ever had the gelato pie at Pizzeria Mozza, you’ll know why the frozen concoction will be popular.
There were some interesting new products and some nicely designed packages and logos, like this fun chai package from Tipu’s.
It should be no surprise that one of the most popular areas of the show was the Brewers Association, a group for craft beer makers.