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SFA Discusses Nine Trends From 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show


The Specialty Food Association  Trendspotter Panel gathered in person at the 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show. Running Feb. 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, SFA’s show featured thousands of products from around the world, with companies ranging from established to startup.

“Health, comfort and sustainability are threads throughout several trends coming out of the Winter Fancy Food Show,” said Denise Purcell, SFA VP of content and education. “We continue to see the effects of the pandemic through the popularity of comfort food and snacks, innovations in environmentally conscious products like upcycled foods and hemp are increasing, and plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are going strong as are global flavors across categories. We’ll be looking for these to show their prominence at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June.”

Trend highlights included:

  • As plant-based products and foods with benefits continue to trend, hemp emerged as a star ingredient rich in protein, healthy fats and essential fatty acids, as well as a sustainable crop. Hemp was included in alternative burgers, in dressings and as a better-for-you ingredient in chocolate.
  • At-home tea and coffee preparation spiked during pandemic-influenced stay-at-home mandates, raising consumer interest and opening new product opportunities. An abundance of teas and coffees in new formats were on display at the SFA Winter Show.
  • Fiber- and antioxidant-rich dates are popping up as snacks on their own, in sweet treats, or in rich spreads.
  • From nutrient-rich chocolate bars to pizza crust made from carrots, better-for-you snacks that boast health benefits, are trending. “Snack makers are tapping the best of both worlds to appeal to snackers who also want benefits for justification and to assuage guilt. Snacking grew enormously during the pandemic lockdown with a twist…and snacks had to deliver more than just taste,” said Kantha Shelke, principal, Corvus Blue.
  • This pick for a top trend of 2022 by the SFA Trendspotter Panel is going strong with plant-based and dairy-free options in savory and sweet categories. “I loved the innovation of using chickpeas for butter created by Field Trip,” said V. Sheree Williams, executive director of The Global Food and Drink Initiative and editor, Cuisine Noir. “Very creative and aligns nicely with those wanting a plant-based butter that packs protein and flavor.”
  • More food products are hitting the market that incorporate upcycled ingredients, but the trend extends to nonfood products and packaging as well.
  • Another 2022 Top Trend pick, the SFA Trendspotters continue to see a variety of peppers as ingredients in sauces and condiments from around the world.
  • Mixers and concentrates in tropical flavors and uncommon garnishes continue to dress up at-home cocktail preparation.
  • Sweet and savory snacks capturing recipes and local ingredients are bringing global flavors to U.S. consumers’ home pantries.

The Specialty Food Association is a trade association and source of information about the $170.4 billion specialty food industry. Founded in 1952 in New York City, the SFA represents manufacturers, importers, retailers, distributors, brokers and others in the trade.

The SFA is known for its Fancy Food Shows; the sofi Awards, which honor excellence in specialty food and beverage; the Trendspotter Panel Show reports and annual predictions; the State of the Specialty Food Industry Report and Specialty Food Consumer research; the new e-commerce enabled SFA Product Marketplace; SFA Feed news outlet and the Spill and Dish podcast.

For more information, visit specialtyfood.com.

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