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Top 2014 Specialty Food Trends Unveiled

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The specialty food industry is once again leading the charge in new trends and flavors, all on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show, which wrapped up Monday in California. A panel of trendspotters named chocolate teas, seaweed chips and truffle ketchup as just a few of the products that were all part of a larger trend toward thoughtful indulgence.

Sriracha, the fiery Thai chili sauce, was one of the biggest flavor trends—showing up in snacks, chocolates and jams. Mint has made a comeback as a popular flavor in a number of treats, reflecting a turn toward the revival of simple, familiar tastes. Snacks have evolved well past the common potato chip as the specialty food industry continues to seek out and deliver exciting flavors and unexpected ingredients for more mindful snacking choices. In a similar move toward healthful consumption, consumers can also look forward to more low-sugar beverages—a surprising twist given the trend in recent years toward alternative sweeteners.

“These trends capture the creativity of specialty food producers, and the care they put into crafting exciting taste experiences, whether they are reinventing familiar products with unexpected flavors or opening an audience to lesser-known ingredients,” said Denise Purcell, senior director of content for the Specialty Food Association and one of this year’s trendspotters.

The trends were identified from a careful review of more than 1,350 specialty food producers who took part in the 39th Winter Fancy Food Show held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Exhibitors showed off the latest in artisanal cheeses, chocolates, vinegars, sauces, healthful foods and more. This year’s panel of trendspotters, comprised of top food media and personalities, carefully explored the show’s thousands of products to determine the most promising trends of the coming year for this $86 billion industry. Here are the trends:

Sriracha’s homecoming

• The Jam Stand, Not Just Peachy, Sriracha Jam, Booth 5610A

• Hope Foods, Hope Hummus Organic Sriracha Hummus, Booth 1473

• Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Simply Spicy Sriracha Tortilla Chips, Booth 1388

• The Popcorn Factory, Lite Works Popcorn! Sriracha, Booth 446

Crunch time

• Vintage Italia, Pasta Chips, New Brands on the Shelf (Aisle 200)

• Simply 7, Quinoa Chips, Booth 1654

• Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Pitaaah Chips, Booth 1388

• 479 Popcorn, Toasted Sesame + Seaweed Popcorn, Booth 431

• Rhythm Superfoods, Super Food Chips, Booth 2633

Low-sugar sips

• Califia Farms, Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk, Booth 5406

• Xumma, Xumma Semi Sweet Cola, New Brands on the Shelf (Aisle 200)

• Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale “66”, Booth 246

• Numi Organic Tea, Indulgent Tea, Chocolate Earl Grey, Booth 884

• Big Tree Farms, Coco Hydro, Booth 2521

Commit to mint

• Torn Ranch, Dark Chocolate Mint Mélange, Booth 645

• Silk Road Soda, Cucumber with Mint, New Brands on the Shelf (Aisle 200)

• GoodPop All-Natural Frozen Pops, Hibiscus Mint, Booth 5415

• Seely Mint, Mint Patties, Booth 240

• Victoria’s Kitchen, Mint & Licorice Almond Water, Booth 5507

Condiments dressed up

• Victoria Amory, Fine Herbs Mayonnaise, Booth 2508

• Stonewall Kitchen, Truffle Ketchup, Booth 624

• Fischer & Wieser, Salted Caramel Mustard Sauce, Booth 1470

• Amoretti, Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Kalamata Olives, Booth 2710

•  Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs, Ivory, Booth 5200

In addition to Denise Purcell, this year’s panel of trendspotters included registered dietitian Ashley Koff, founder of The AKA List; Nancy Hopkins, Better Homes and Gardens; Kara Nielsen, food and beverage consumer strategist; Joanne Weir, host of PBS’s “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence”; and Jerry James Stone, blogger at Cooking Stoned.

The Specialty Food Association will host a “Foodie Chat” with some of the trendspotters from 8-9:30 p.m. (ET) Jan. 27 that can be followed along via the #foodiechats hashtag.

Featured Photos

Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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