Tastes of Tomorrow at the Winter Fancy Food Show

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The best part of being at the seasonal Fancy Food show, which last took place this winter in San Francisco, is hearing the stories of the brands. Whether it’s a healthy ingredient, an “aha” moment, a family legend, a new convenience, an age-old indulgence — there are hundreds of reasons to want to try all the delicious and mostly nutritious treats at the show.

“This is an exciting time in specialty food,” said Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association. “We’re seeing innovation everywhere, from specific ingredients to flavor profiles. There are new spins on classics, as well as brand new categories emerging. International flavors and culture are also playing a huge role in shaping the category. This growing market is anything but boring at the moment.”

I was excited to see that Specialty Foods had a “Trendspotter Panel” scouring the over 90,000 products assessing and noting a variety of products that indicated new or emerging trends including plant-based proteins, middle eastern flavors, infused foods, specialty waters among others.

Here are some of the trends we spotted.  

Inspiring Founders

Every brand gets its start from dedicated founders. Disturbing the food market is no easy task, but these innovators sure did it with grace and a little attitude too.

Fusion Jerky Founder, KaiYen Mai, began her search for flavorful, nutritious and protein-rich bars while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Stemming from an Asian jerky family tradition, Mai set out to make a more healthy and appetizing jerky for the world to enjoy. Fusion Jerky is all natural, high-protein, gluten-free, low sodium, low fat, and has no preservatives, nitrates or msg! With flavors like lemon pepper and chipotle lime, you’ll always be coming back for more!

After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, founder of Cali’flour Foods, Amy Lacey knew she needed to adopt healthier habits. She set out to create healthy food options that everyone would enjoy. On her quest she developed the most nutritious, best-tasting, cleanest cauliflower pizza crust on the market with only 180 calories! Destined to dazzle the taste buds, five different cauliflower pizza crust flavors are available, including original Italian and spicy jalapeño.

The mother daughter duo over at Alexian makes, what I’ve been told, the most delicious pâté! This women-owned enterprise is committed to providing completely natural specialty meat products without preservatives, additives and unnecessary fillers. From traditional country style pâtés and creamy spreadable mousses to vegetable and vegan terrines, there’s a pâté for everyone!

Have a new, interesting, and innovative food product but not sure how to get started? Founder & CEO of PCS Gourmet Foods, Ken Kellerhals, knows exactly what to do next! Ken started his distinguished career getting cutting-edge food products to market by building Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatiers from a small local store to a nationally recognized brand. Now PCS Gourmet Foods represents the most groundbreaking brands from squeezable sauerkraut to real yogurt you can make at home!

Hearty Healthy Soups + More

The best way to make comfort food more comfortable is to mix natural ingredients with incredible spices. These soup based brands creatively concocted downright scrumptious comfort food and then some.

Ladle & Leaf is seamlessly stirring natural ingredients with innovative flavors! These totally delicious soups use fresh, seasonal and local ingredients to provide you with “comfort in a bowl.” Their menu has expanded to not only include tasty soups, but also incredible salads, healthy grain bowls and stuffed sandwiches that include low fat, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options!

Sierra Foods Company is known for their tasty all-natural soups and salad dressings. With nine different hearty Sierra Soups and four fruity Meadow Lakes Dressings, this company screams flavor! Vegetarian and gluten-free soup options can even be made into salads too! Just pour the soup package over some greens and now you have a completely different healthy meal!

Trendy Snacks

Who said snacking can’t be trendy? These hip new munchies are here to prove just that.

Zee Zee’s have landed on planet Earth and are ready to bring fun to wholesome, nutritious food, nationwide! Introducing cute Zee Zee characters to every flavor, the brand grabs both children and adult attention. These healthy school snacks range from fruity flavorful applesauces to whole grain nutrition bars, perfect for on the go or a healthy addition to any packed lunch! The flavors are endless and the ingredients are unbeatable. Zee Zee’s are sure to ZOOM off the shelves and into satisfied tummies everywhere!

I judge a store by the brands they sell, and when they have Route 11 Potato Chips on the shelf, I know they know food. Since 1992, Route 11 has been producing high quality products with high quality taste. Taking advantage of its small size, Route 11 strives to show consumers how much of an art form chipping can be. With a fan-taste-ic array of flavors like Dill Pickle and Sweet Potato, it’s a crunch that can’t go wrong!

First of its kind, Barnana organic plantain snacks are the super banana treat with incredible flavor! Barnana has three different banana snacking alternatives including banana brittle and plantain chips. Say goodbye to cramps and hello to this delicious potassium-rich crunch.

Better beverages

What you drink is becoming a big statement about your health, even if it’s just water.

Grady’s Cold Brew was the first to introduce cold brew coffee concentrate, changing the way we consume America’s favorite morning beverage just by adding water, with a smooth flavor, less bite and fewer jitters.

WAIĀKEA Hawaiian Volcanic Water is naturally filtered down porous volcanic rock making it electrolyte rich and naturally alkaline. The brand aims to provide healthy, sustainable and ethical conscious water to its consumers in order to emphasize the importance of people and the planet. They believe in providing positive change for the environment and people in need around the world. For every liter of water sold, Waiakea generously donates one week of clean drinking water to those in need.

Farchioni, a well-known EVOO brand from Italy is launching its first line of organic beers! The first beer from the fields of Umbria to a glass near you is pioneering the natural beer market. Farchioni works hard every day to select the perfect raw materials in order to concoct the most natural and tasty oils and now beer!

An Oprah favorite’s list native, Rare Hawaiian Honey is naturally made by the happiest of bees and a perfect addition to any boiling mug of tea! This organic, raw honey is used by singers and rock stars nationwide to soothe their hardworking throats. With over ten different flavors, you’re sure to find one suitable for your taste buds!

Frozen but fresh

Just because food is frozen doesn’t mean it’s not fresh. Straight from family owned farms, to your freezer, frozen has never tasted so good. In fact, it’s actually scientifically fresher than fresh.

An Oregon family owned farm is changing the way we think about frozen foods. Stahlbush Frozen provides the freshest frozen food in the market! By freezing immediately after harvest, Stahlbush is able to seal in flavor to the most natural ingredients. Providing fresher than fresh frozen foods with incredible sustainability, Stahlbush knows how to keep the fresh in frozen.

Traditional Indian family meals are now as simple as heating them from the freezer. Indianlife’s founders, the Raniga family, began preparing delicious vegan and vegetarian foods fresh from their own farm. Instilling the dire need for fresh food to their young ones, the family has passed down these delicious natural recipes for generations. These Indian entrees range from simple samosas to roti wraps, they even have their own line of spices and cooking sauces!

The next Fancy Food Show will take place in New York’s Jacob Javits Center, Saturday, July 30 to Monday, July 2, 2018.


Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting Nancy Trenttrend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles. 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 trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at nancy@trentandcompany.com. You may also visit http://www.trentandcompany.com.

NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific brand or product. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before adding a dietary supplement to (or removing one from) your daily regimen. The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher.

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