Winter Fancy Food Show: A Taste for New Gourmet Categories


Things are getting fancier in the food industry as household staples get makeovers. The trend was evident at Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, January 15–17. This season’s event was full of surprises.

Brownie Madness
The news is brownies—different types of chocolates, different health benefits and a range of sizes. Still, there is a dazzling array of cupcakes by the ton and the varieties in sizes and shapes continue to increase.

Is This My Local Health Food Store?
Pre-packaged smoothies and power drinks used to be reserved for the health food market, but they’ve crossed-over into gourmet circles. Gourmands see smoothies as a way to survive big meals and using them between meals has become a conventional survival strategy.

You Don’t Have to Sugarcoat to Go Mainstream
Chai is becoming the new granola. What I mean by that is we need to stop manufacturers from pumping this healthy, delicious treat with sugar to disguise it to mainstream consumers.

Traditional Grains, More Exotic Flavors
Rice is coming in from all over the world in a variety of colors, which can turn classic dishes into indigenous feasts. Cous cous and quinoa are the latest choice of vegetarians and the flavors are expanding.

Packaged As Your Own
Anything homemade-style will sell, especially hand-churned butter.

French Prepped
Francophiles would be delighted. Cooking “en papillote” with a sampling of parchment options make it easier.

Tea Wars
Tea companies are duking it out in a more Zen way than the colas with sourcing as the point of difference. Teas are focusing on functionality versus flavor, whether that is giving back and social responsibility or teas to heal every condition and ailment. Look for single-garden direct.

The Biggest Meal of the Day
From old-fashioned pancakes or grains, to cookies or muffins with added antioxidants, breakfast is becoming a focal point. You can have a three-course meal for the calories of a traditional breakfast bagel.

Brush Up on Your Condiments
Salt varieties are rivaling Baskin Robbins flavors and Hummus alternatives are not far behind. But the star condiment at the show was olive oil. Americans are going to start learning about its distinctions. Expect to meet olive oil sommeliers and get invitations to oil tastings.

Consumer tastes are getting more sophisticated and their time is limited. Those are some hot new categories that gourmet retailers should keep an eye on.


Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health nut, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and tradeshows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 20 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212)966-0024 or through e-mail at You may also visit




  1. Winter fancy food show is one
    Winter fancy food show is one of the best store, where you can find good stuffs great taste with different flavor. The gourmet retailer should also keep a watch on the taste and demand of the consumers. All the guys must visit winter fancy food show and enjoy the ultimate taste and can will surely find good surprises there.

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  2. I also noticed that things
    I also noticed that things are getting fancier in the food industry nowadays. I also went to a food show before and noticed the same environment. You have pointed out a lot of important facts here and for that, I admire you. Your concerns are also my concerns especially now that most of the foods we eat are not that healthy anymore. Like the smoothies for example. People used to create it using organic fruits but now, a lot of additives and artificial sweeteners were added. But still, I prefer to make my own smoothies. In fact, my kids love my avocado smoothie sprinkled with chlorella powder and sweet love! 🙂

  3. Now this is a good article.
    Now this is a good article. As people are becoming more and more conscious with what they eat, the food industry recognizes this and retailers/manufacturers are coming up with ideas to offer their consumers. Likewise, Reply


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