Five leading trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show

Five leading trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show

NEW YORK — Plant-based variety, the citrus flavor yuzu and upcycled were among the key trends identified by a panel of “trendspotters” assembled by the Specialty Food Association to review innovation exhibited at the Winter Fancy Food Show, held Jan. 21-23 in Las Vegas.

“The Winter Fancy Food Show gave participants an advance look at the year ahead in specialty foods,” said Bill Lynch, president of the Specialty Food Association, the organizer of the show. “Thanks to our trendspotters, as well as many other experts and influencers who joined us in Las Vegas, our show provides crucial insights and forecasting at the start of the food industry’s annual cycle.”

A wide variety of plant-based prepared foods featuring international flavors were on display at the show. Specific products called out by the trendspotter panel included Aki Foods’ plant-based pork tonkotsu, Jayone Foods’ plant-based spicy bulgogi and a black truffle koji pate from Prime Roots and Three Little Pigs.

The panel also said the Japanese citrus fruit flavor yuzu was “everywhere” at the show.

“Everyone loves lemon and citrus,” said Clara Park, a chef who participated in the trendspotter panel. “But how you make it new again is with the Japanese citrus, yuzu.”

Yuzu was used to flavor beverages, frozen novelties and condiments, notably kosho, a Japanese seasoning.

The upcycling trend also appeared to accelerate at the show as more companies showcased products featuring ingredients sourced from byproducts and side streams. Products called out by the trendspotter panel included the Pressed Juicery’s cold pressed juices, Rancho Meladuco’s date products and Wheyward Spirit’s whisky.

Jonathan Deutsch, a professor with and director of the Drexel Food Lab at Drexel University and a member of the panel, said the focus on upcycled products is only the beginning.

“For upcycled brands, the packaging will ideally match the sustainability-focus of the product,” he said. “As sustainable packaging gets more sophisticated and affordable, brands can align their better-for-the planet mission beyond the product to include the packaging.”

Two additional trends highlighted by the panel included fruits as snacks and new takes on classics. As more people learn about ultraprocessed foods, there is interest in innovative less processed products. Applications at the Winter Fancy Food show that caught the panel’s attention included candied citrus peels, guava butter and frozen grapes.

Product applications that fell under the new takes on classics trend included Acme Smoked Fish’s Lox in a Box, Tempesta Artisan Salumi’s wagyu pastrami and Unha Asian Snack Box’s spicy carbonara tteokbokki.