The Specialty Food Association (SFA) held its 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show June 23-25 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
“It’s fascinating to observe the ever-evolving specialty food marketplace, which has grown into a nearly $150 billion industry,” said Denise Purcell, director of content for the SFA. “From the uptick of members showcasing West African products to the blossoming of foods and beverages addressing sustainability and social concerns, the Fancy Food Show always reveals inspiring companies and products to our trendspotter panel.”
The panel included Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, global food analyst, Mintel; Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., professor, Drexel University Center for Food and Hospitality Management; Tonya Hopkins, founder, Food Griot; Vallery Lomas, founder, Foodie in New York; Kara Nielsen, VP-Trend Practice, CCD Innovation; and Victoria Jordan Rodriguez, director of sponsorships, James Beard Foundation.
The top 10 trends from the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show are:
1. Upcycled Foods
2. Mission-Driven Companies
3. New Sources of Protein on the Go
4. West African Foods in the Spotlight
5. Global Hot Sauces
6. Raising the Cocktail Game
7. Frozen Dessert Renaissance
8. Water Everywhere
9. Nutritious Grains
10. Mushroom Love
More on the trends
“With consumers learning more about food waste and the power of upcycling, we’re seeing some interesting applications of otherwise discarded ingredients,” said Bartelme.
• Assured Edge Solutions/Healthier Way Sweet Potato Flour, made from 100 percent USA sweet potato flour, no added sugars or salt
• Avocado Leaf Tea, made from discarded avocado leaves
• J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works’ Dr. Dickinson’s All-Natural Liquid Nigari, made from a by-product of the salt-making process where 74 trace minerals are left over after the salt is harvested
• Scraps Frozen Foods Pizza, made with upcycled sauce and toppings from vegetable scraps like broccoli leaves, and imperfect, ugly produce
• Super Frau Walk This Whey, a waste product from the cheese-making process made into a beverage good for digestive health
Companies and products powered by environmental and social concerns were visible throughout the show.
• Afia Foods, Falafel and Kibbeh, a woman-owned company that supports Syrian refugees
• Luv Michael Granola, gluten-free and nut-free granola made by a nonprofit organization that trains and employs people with autism
• Sindyanna of Galilee, Za’atar Peace Mix, a female-led nonprofit that promotes fair trade and access to education and economic opportunities, agricultural and financial advice, to Arab women
New sources of protein on the go
The protein and convenience trends converge in new innovations.
• Choopoons Simply Free Wellness Yogurt, plant-based yogurt made with cucumber seed protein, and cacao fruit pulp as a natural sweetener
• Crepini Egg Thins, refrigerated crepes made of egg and cauliflower
• The Perfect Bite Co. Egg Bites, gluten-free individual egg bits that can be baked for a high-protein snack
• Purely Elizabeth Collagen Protein Oats, cup of instant oatmeal enhanced with collagen protein and a squeeze pack of Nutzo nut and seed butter
• Speka Cottage Cheese Bar, thick cottage cheese transformed into a snack bar enrobed in chocolate or caramel coating
West African foods in the spotlight
“Glad to have witnessed signs of what I hope are a growing variety of artisanal products from West Africa and their continued influence in New World regions and food cultures in the Americas, i.e. United States, Caribbean/ West Indies, Central and South America,” said Hopkins.
• Hapi African Gourmet Sunbutter Sauce, an allergen-free take on classic African peanut sauce
• Yolele Foods Fonio Chips, made from an authentic grain that’s a staple in West African cooking
• Zena Exoticfruits SA, Cashew Apple Butter, made from the fruit of the cashew nut
Global hot sauces
Hot sauces touting flavors from around the globe—many based on family recipes—were prevalent at the show.
• Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen, Lime Leaf Sambal Sauce, Malaysian hot sauce from family recipe
• Cantina Royal hot sauce, a line of Mexican-inspired hot sauces from Cantina Royal Restaurant & Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• SD Sauce, Nam Jim by Sutta, Thai hot sauce from a family recipe
• Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce, Oooohmami, celebrates the flavors of Barbados and New York City, and is inspired by the creator’s Bajan mother and grandmother
• Volta West African Foods, Sheto West African Hot Sauce, from Ghana. Through its blog, the company connects consumers with West African food, music, and culture
Raising the cocktail game
A slew of new mixers, tonics, and garnishes helps consumers make bar-quality cocktails at home.
• Bittermilk LLC’s Bittermilk No. 2 Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops, bar mixer
• Gray and Co. Peninsula Premium Cocktail Cherries, American grown and made not-too-sweet garnish
• Q Drinks Elderflower Tonic Water, bar mixer
• Root Crafted Cocktail Mixers, in six flavors
• Straightway Cocktails’ Straightway Old Fashioned, pre-mixed cocktails
• 1pt One Part’s 1pt, a floral tisane-like cocktail infuser for alcohol that blends with gin, vodka, and other spirits
Frozen dessert renaissance
A 2019 trend named by the Trendspotter Panel, frozen desserts’ makeover began with ice creams offering high-protein varieties, dairy alternatives, and international flavors. It has since expanded to include cakes, cobblers and other treats.
• Belgian Boys Cheesecakes & Lava Cakes, heat-and-serve or thaw-and-serve single style cakes
• Mama Biscuits’ Comfort Cobblers in a variety of flavors, including Peach and Blueberry Lemon
• Whipped Urban Dessert Lab’s Oate, an oat-milk ice cream that is nut- and allergen-free
• Peekaboo Organic Ice Cream’s Cotton Candy With Hidden Beets, ice cream with a full serving of vegetables
• Scoop by Spot Dessert Bar, Misugaru Ice Cream, East Asian flavors with an umami/grain taste in ice cream
• Sweet Nova, Superfood Freeze, frozen non-dairy smoothies made of bananas and added nutrient-rich superfoods churned into ice cream form
According to the SFA’s State of the Specialty Food Industry report, 2019-2020 Edition, specialty water is the top category forecast to grow over the next five years.
• Alkazone Antioxidant Alkaline Water, contains a high pH level and electrolytes, enriched with potassium
• Flow Alkaline Water, naturally alkaline spring water in a boxed ecopack
• Formula Four Beverages Oxigen Water, water containing proprietary O4 oxygen molecules
• TapDrops, a collection of liquid concentrates that can be added to purified water to recreate profiles of the world’s regional waters such as Paris, Rome, and New York City
Grains are being hailed for their nutrients, including sprouted varieties that offer activated nutrition as well as fiber-rich options like barley and buckwheat.
• Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Crisps, cracker/bread crisps made with sprouted grain blends
• Lil Bucks Clusterbucks, sprouted buckwheat snack for high fiber and activated nutrition
• Living Intentions Superfood Cereals, high-fiber cereals made with sprouted ingredients
• Second Brain Foods, Barley Crunch and Barley Bar, snack mix and bar that showcases prebiotic-friendly barley, which is high in beta glucans
Interest continues to grow in mushrooms for their taste and flavor as well as nutrition and medicinal benefits.
• Chaga Island beverages made from slow-brewing Chaga mushrooms
• Leep Foods’ Leepin’ Blended Burger, a partially plant-based burger made of 30 percent organic mushrooms blended with 70 percent grassfed beef
• The Mushroom Benefit Ltd. Cuisine Bags, flavorful blend of mushrooms in a sachet that is used in soups, stews, and marinades, and Umamis Crunchy Snack, dried crunchy mushroom snack
• South Mill Mushrooms’ Shroom Splits, Filet Mignon + Portabella, meat snacks that pair slices of grass-fed beef with meaty portabella mushrooms
The SFA is a membership-based trade association with members being specialty food artisans, purveyors, importers and entrepreneurs, as well as distributors, retailers and others involved in the specialty food trade. Overall specialty food sales in the U.S. totaled more than $127 billion in 2016. The SFA owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows and presents the annual sofi Awards honoring excellence in specialty food.