While most of the U.S. was blanketed in wintry weather this January 2015, people from around the world descended on sunny San Francisco for the largest Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in its 40-year history. Vendors from 31 countries showcased 80,000 of the latest specialty foods on the market–enough to fill four football fields–at the Moscone Center.
With last year’s trends of gluten free foods, ancient grains, coconut, sriracha, and kale still going strong, trend experts scoured the show’s offerings to identify 2015’s top trends. According to Specialty Food Media Editor Denise Purcell, consumers’ cravings for “food with taste appeal, a sense of adventure, and a decided healthy glow” drove this year’s five identified trends.
First up: Cheese Twists. This isn’t limited to woven tendrils of mozzarella or fanciful cheddars; WFFS featured treats including Manchego-Style Cheese Flavored Olive Oil (Silva Regal Spanish Food) and Caramel & Cheddar Popcorn Mix (Angie’s Boomchickapop).
Gone are the days when you had to swing by IHOP/Denny’s/Norm’s for pancakes or cook eggs at home to eat breakfast at a non-breakfast time. Breakfast Served All Day is a hot subject this year. Chuao Chocolatier launched new bar flavors, including Strawberry Waffle Wild Milk Chocolate– and yes, they even had a pillow fight at WFFS. Uncle Andy’s Jerky brought espresso into our lives with Bandito Loco Spicy Coffee Beef Jerky, and maple-inspired goods weren’t limited to syrup (think tea and candy). Salty bacon remains a strong player in sweet treats such as chocolates, pastries, and ice cream.
Move over, kale: it’s Time for Turmeric. Knowledge about the earthy plant–bitter, peppery, and mustardy all at once–and its health benefits is catching like wildfire, and turmeric was found in drinks (Rishi Tea, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale), rice (HealthVerve), and almonds (Navitas Naturals) at the show.
While Laughing Giraffe Organics sells fragrant coconut-based Snakaroons, I’m sure their spokesanimal wouldn’t be adverse to embarking on a Cruciferous Crusade. From Genuine Grub’s spicy pickled cabbage (kimchi) to Creative Snack’s broccoli chips to Wonderfully Raw Gourmet’s Tamarind Almond Crunch Brussel Bytes, there were plenty of leafy vegetable-based products to please the herbivore in all of us.
Finally, a Vanilla Bean-anza took over WFFS. Nielsen-Massey’s beans, extracts, and pastes featured vanilla in its purest form. Single-origin ice creams (Choctal), cookies (Dancing Deer Baking Co.), cheeses (Heber Valley Artisan Cheese), milks (Drink Daily Greens), and chocolates (Milkboy Swiss Chocolate) galore adopted vanilla as either the spotlight ingredient or an enhancing feature.
Additional trending edibles that the panel discovered at the show included kombucha, peanut butter in grown-up flavors, and chickpea and seaweed snacks. None of these quite up your alley? No worries, as there were many more sights to take in, aromas to smell, and bites to munch on; just check out the following gallery.
Catch the next Fancy Food Show this summer in New York during June 28-30, 2015!