It was great to see new trends during the virtual event of ECRM Baking & Breakfast, Condiments, Sauces and Spreads Winter Program in February 2022. Categories included baking mixes, flour, frostings, oils, spices, seasonings, nuts & chips, breakfast syrups, cereals, granolas, pancake and waffle mixes, sauces and spreads such as gravy, marinades, jams, jellies, preserves, pasta sauce, nut butters, honey, dessert toppings, hot sauce, and condiments, such as BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, relish, salad dressing, toppings, vinegar, specialty condiments and more. These brands bring innovation, nutrition and sustainable practices to the table.
ECRM covers such a wide range of categories, and according to Deven Carter, Co-Owner of Blanket Pancakes & Syrup, “Breakfast foods are the fastest growing category of foods and waffles are the fastest growing segment.”
When it comes to snacks, apparently there is a short supply of potato chips on the market. “We have taken up a number of robust, new customers because we have invested in new production lines during the pandemic, so we are in the fortunate situation that we can supply both old and new customers with potato chips of different kinds.” said Michael Hansen, owner of SnackCo, a private label manufacturer of snack foods.
Julie Funderburk, Founder of 680 Foods LLC with the brand, Olokoi, sauce from the Pacific Island in Micronesia, is noticing international products being the focus right now. She said, “I have heard it from multiple buyers that a lot of international condiments are on the up and up, mostly due to people cooking.”
Sharing insight about the olive oil market, Benedetta Conti, Area Manager at Olitalia, told us, “Our new ‘Best with’ range olive oil, the first selection where the blends have been studied to be the perfect match with food, was very well received by buyers. The olive oil shelf looks very complicated in its high-end tier: regions, terroir, PDOs and PGIs may be difficult to navigate, therefore consumers may get overwhelmed in front of such a ‘big wall’ of items. On the other hand, entry level tier has quite a poor offering with undifferentiated items that look all the same. Our ‘best with’ range makes life easier for international consumers.”
Buyers and potential customers were asking about production capacity, prices and certification. Only six months ago, everyone was asking for unique flavors. Thom King, CEO of Icon Foods, said, “Buyers seem to be going after retailers with keto friendly condiments, but southeast buyers are not into keto lifestyles because keto trends where education is highest. Some buyers are embracing keto carnivore which are people who only eat meat.”
There weren’t really any surprise comments or reactions from buyers at ECRM. “Many grocery chains have had their PL contracts closed and are looking for alternative suppliers,” said Hansen. “I believe it will take time before the market finds an equilibrium of supply and demand.”
Tom Margeson, President and CEO of Superfruit Purée, recalled that the most interesting response he got from buyers was the fact that Superfruit Purée is able to produce a shelf-stable puree with a long shelf life with no additives or preservatives. “That is so important for consumers looking for the ‘better for you’ products,” he shared. “Consumers are really starting to understand that what they eat affects their health and the less ingredients there are in products we consume, the better it is for us…just the way Mother Nature intended.”
Some are noticing trends such as healthy options with single ingredient items, clean label, all natural, and sugar reduction. “During the pandemic, people realized that sugar drives metabolic disease and metabolic disease was the number one for driving COVID mortality rates,” said King of Icon Foods, which distributes no added sugar chocolate chips and is one of largest supplier of clean label sweetening systems. “People saw diabetes and obesity, which some call ‘Diabesity,’ actually killing people.”
Speaking to clean label: “Manufacturers often hide preservatives with ‘natural sounding’ ingredients like citric or ascorbic acid, which can be called lemon juice, or celery juice is a nitrate,” says Margeson. “These types of natural preservatives still can cause health issues and are even used in organic items like baby food. Why would you want to give your baby ascorbic acid when a 100% all natural puree like Superfruit Puree is so much healthier? To create a healthy and fantastic tasting salad dressing, just add our Puree to olive oil, shake and pour. Healthy salad dressing you will love–it’s that easy!”
The one big trend Hansen picked up on, overshadowing all others, is higher prices. “The grocery chains have seen steep increases in price for well-founded reasons. Therefore, many of them are desperately looking for new suppliers which may be able to sell their products at yesterday’s prices. All food is going to become more expensive in the coming years. We have all easily had cost increases of 30%. The consumers will have to get used to the new price levels, because there is a new reality out there.”
Check out more of the trends we spotted:
Vibrant, Distinctive Sauces
680 Foods LLC believes that understanding the stories behind what we eat strengthens our connection to food and to each other. Their mission is to share the stories behind the food while creating products with unique flavors and cultural influences. 680 is the country code of their beautiful Pacific Island in Micronesia, which is where their first product, Olokoi, originated from. Olokoi sauce combines citrus, soy sauce, and spice in a perfect balance that will make any meal an adventure. They also have 74 Wild Game Sauce, which as a spicy and citrusy kick that enhances the flavor of venison, boar and other wild game. This company hopes to put vibrant and distinctive foods within your reach whether at home or dining out.
Nutritious and Economical Food
GF Brands, LLC came about in 2004 when a group of businesspeople were sensitive to the needs of the Mexican market. They decided to invest in a solution to the lack of a supply of healthy and nutritious food at low prices, thus founding Cereales y Pastas, SA de CV (CEPSA) with the mission of manufacturing and commercializing modern, practical, fast-consuming, nutritious and economical foods.
Fast & Healthy Breakfasts
Home Food, LLC offers Blanket Pancakes & Syrup, which was started in 2012 to package their families’ recipes. These recipes went back to the basics, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, low sodium, and always all natural. Their mission is to provide a healthier alternative to fast food and quick meals, to show people that food can taste good naturally.
Icon Foods was founded in 1990 by CEO Thom King and is one of the world’s largest suppliers of Stevia products. Their purpose is to deliver clean label, all natural, healthy sweetening solutions to help food companies deliver innovative, naturally sweetened products. They say knowing how to use sweeteners singly or synergistically to replace sugar and/or reduce calories is instinctive, whether in bars, beverages, confections or desserts. They partner with food scientists to deliver cost-efficient, innovative, great-tasting foods that will keep consumers coming back for more.
Sustainable & Biodegradable Materials
Olitalia group is a leader in Italian condiments producing and commercializing both edible oils and vinegars through its two facilities in Italy, and exporting its products to more than 120 countries both as branded and private label (among them primary U.S. retailers and club stores). OBRC, IFS and Kosher certified; AEO approved, Sian full traceability, Non GMO and gluten free upon request, and organic products are available. They also have temperature controlled storage and filtration for Evoo. All electricity comes from renewable resources.
SANTE A. Kowalski Sp. J is a family company established in 1992, marketing healthy foods in Poland and worldwide. The line includesbreakfast products, cookies, bran, wheat bars, groats, nuts and dried fruit, vegetable spreads and terrines, vegetable beverages and more. Among the unique products offered by Sante are high fiber oat bran, low-sodium sea salt, Granola, Fital, Musli Lo, Smart Teens – breakfast cereal for children, and the GO ON! brand nut butters. Another element of Sante’s activity is pro-health education. Sante organizes conferences and lectures on proper eating, as well as nationwide events and meetings with experts and authorities on health, including outstanding doctors, therapists, trainers, spiritual guides or artists. The company regularly publishes health-promoting materials based on the latest research in the field of nutrition and medicine.
SnackCo USA is a family-owned business providing premium alternatives to mainstream products. They produce a range of snack products in many well-known brands and stores all over North America and Europe. Some of their products include Pioneer Chips, Lantchips and Joyful Conscious Popcorn.
Superfruit Purée has a tried-and-true saying: “nothing added, nothing taken away.” Their goal is to have a product that is simple, fresh tasting, with no additives and a process that would retain the high levels of antioxidants and nutrition found in wild blueberries grown in the Atlantic Canada. Their TekMash technology is unique; the process allows them to use the entire berry. Superfruit Purée is dairy free, gluten free, vegan, kosher, Non-GMO Certified, low in calories and carbs, making it keto friendly as well.
Gluten-Free & Rice-Free Baking
Lindsey Braham, spent several years mastering the perfect blend of wholesome, gluten free flours to create a finished product with superb taste and texture. XO Backing Co. uses organic coconut flour in every product. After Braham was diagnosed with celiac disease, she was determined to create baked goods that tasted like it contained gluten, just like the ones she used to have growing up.
Beef Jerky With No Sugars
Slap Shot Jerky provides high-quality beef jerky using premium ingredients. Their jerky cuts have no sugars or added sugars, and are low in carbs and high in protein, as well as 100% made and manufactured in the Lancaster County, PA.
Tootsi Impex Inc. aims to be the go-to food source destination for snacks and ingredients from around the world. Elan and Yupik are their organic food retail brands. This family-run business started in a cash-and-carry store in Montreal in 1986. Since then, they have evolved to become one of the major importers and manufacturers supplying the food industry worldwide. They have over 1,500 food products, including nuts, dried fruit, seeds, grains, organic food, and more. They also supplywholesale food services based on vertical integration, including co-manufacturing, sourcing, logistics, custom packaging and warehousing at their facilities in Canada and the U.S. Their facilities hold organic, kosher, and gluten-free certifications.
Twin Peaks Ingredients is the mission of two veterans of the United States Marine Corps seeking to enhance health and fitness nutrition by revolutionizing protein consumption. They develop healthy snacking products that taste great without the guilt and are powered by clean, natural sources.
Dessert Snacks On The Go
Evergreen USA is a family-owned business based out of U.S. Their mission is to serve food industries globally. One of their brands, Just The Fun Part, was created with the idea that the best snacks were the ones that distinctly brought back memories of childhood.