Cheese Cake, anyone?
The 35th Winter Fancy Food Show is underway in San Francisco, and the topic is a Food Channel favorite: trends.
With 20,000-some attendees, 250,000 products, and 1300+ exhibitors, how do you look at them all? This is the place where new products are released, awards are showcased and retailers make their buying plans for the coming year.
What happens at this show, in other words, impacts what you’ll find in restaurants and on store shelves for years to come.
The Food Channel actually had the chance to assist in judging the top trends of the show. Here’s what we found along the way.
Making Good For You Foods Even Better
Yogurt, already a healthy food, is getting new flavors and new ingredients, like the whole grains found in Lowell Dairy’s new European Style Yogurt. They keep the whey inside, adding to the benefits, and offer it in a new apple pear flavor that was delicious. We liked the Fage yogurt, too, with its separate honey section to add flavor to taste. We found vitamins in Activate, with unique packaging that releases the benefits when you are ready to drink. And Justin’s had an all-natural nut butter that was worth tasting.
The Home Gourmand
Gourmet has gone home, where the home cook can show off his or her skills and knowledge. We tasted a new cottage cheese from the Mozzarella Company that is made from mixing the curds with crÃƒÂ¨me fraÃƒÂ®che and cream. Landane had a cheese pesto that dresses up anything.
Flavor Grows Up
We saw a lot of prominence given to pure flavor—from the vanillas of Nielsen-Massey and Rodelle, to the Scharffen Berger and Republica del Cacao chocolates. Cypress Grove has a cheese called Purple Haze that will spark a new feeling toward appetizers. Smoky flavors are noticeable, too, particularly from the new Smoky Olive Oil in three distinct California flavors, including Sonoma and Napa.
We saw lots of coffee paired with everything—coffee, coconut, citrus were all identified as strong flavor trends. Perhaps that’s why you’ll see TCHO organic chocolates and Hint’s Blackberry water sold at Starbucks.
Fun With Food
Hagensborg has something called “Truffle Pigs” that are pure fun. J & D is still having a delightful time with bacon, particularly with the introduction of its bacon-flavored envelope. The Candy Basket is rolling peanut butter truffles in, of all things, bread crumbs. And get your Pomegranate ice cream in a can from Sheer Bliss.
We are seeing stronger flavors, with pickling, Indian influences, and adult snacks moving up in prominence. Gluten free remains big, and nostalgia foods are getting some attention, too.
We’ll be bringing you interviews and more information from the show, with links and more highlights coming up. Follow us on Twitter (@foodchannel) or Facebook for hour-by-hour updates and ideas, too.