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Association Predicts Top 2023 Specialty Food Trends

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 The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel has predicted what will be popular trends in specialty food for 2023.

“Specialty food consumers are looking to make their meal prep easy but exciting, and that is driving many of this year’s trends regarding convenience, packaging improvements and global flavors,” said Denise Purcell, VP of resource development.

“At the same time, they continue to care about how their food is grown and the health benefits it offers, giving rise to evolving sustainability, plant-based and better-for-you trends.

Here are the trends the panel anticipates for 2023:
  • Convenience is king – After honing their skills during stay-at-home mandates, many consumers have ambitions of continuing to cook, but collectively are tired. “Brands will focus on helping consumers go simple in their preparation and cooking routines, and assure would-be cooks that taking shortcuts is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Melanie Bartelme.
  • Environmentally friendly foods – If convenience is top, sustainability and environmental concerns is a close runner up. “With growing unrest over climate issues and their impact on the future food supply, products that feature some aspect of sustainable ingredients, upcycled ingredients or environment-friendly packaging are trending,” said Jonathan Deutsch.
  • Alternative seafood – “The awareness of the meatless category is driving consumers to look for alternatives in seafood, too. Key to acceptance is aligning nutritional values, texture and flavor to those of traditional fish,” said Patsy Ramirez-Arroyo. New patents and technologies are populating the space, marine farming is rising as an option to traditional agriculture and some specialty food brands are getting people to rethink seaweed and algae.
  • Pantry without borders – A crop of globally inspired condiments, sauces, oils and seasonings will champion everyday meal adventures. “From main dishes to condiments, in 2023 we will see a lot more international flavors,” said Osei Blackett.
  • Nuanced heat – “What began in the hot sauce category is exploding into honey, spreads, confections, beverages and snacks, snagging new markets like younger consumers, especially, and inspiring specialty food companies to introduce heat and spice into existing product lines,” said Mikel Cirkus.
  • Naturally occurring sweeteners – Real food ingredients are pushing back against natural sugar alternatives that undergo processing. The association panel says to expect more dates, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, fruit juices and honey.
  • International fruits – “Enter international fruits – alternative citrus, melons and stone fruits wildly colorful and in extraordinary shapes and flavors – to invoke a sense of faraway destinations, new flavors, textures, colors and possibilities,” Cirkus said.
  • Packaging for new forms and functions – Trendspotters at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June highlighted packaging meant to provide increased portability and decreased mess. Look for trends to continue with “a heightened emphasis on packaging design to communicate sustainability, introduce creative ways to consume and decant well-established consumer products and telegraph aspirational consumer values and price point,” said Stan Sagner, founder, We Work for Food.

The Winter Fancy Food Show features thousands of specialty food and beverage products from around the world. The show, to be held Jan. 15-17 in Las Vegas, is open only to qualified members of the specialty food trade, industry affiliates and journalists. The Trendspotter panel reports annual predictions and trends for the upcoming year.

For more information, click here.

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