Specialty Food Association Trendspotters Reveal Winter Fancy Food Show Trends

Feb. 1, 2019
Sustainability and Social Good, Functional Foods, and Protein Innovations Top the List

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Doing good for the planet and its people led the trends as the Specialty Food Association's Trendspotter Panel emerges from the 44th Annual Winter Fancy Food Show, held in San Francisco, CA, January 13-15. Armed with the 2019 Trends Preview, the Trendspotter Panel combed through over 90,000 products to identify the current and emerging trends within the $140 billion specialty food industry.

"Sustainability and social good, through upcycling, ethical sourcing, diverse crops, and cause-related products, are growing ever more in popularity. We saw this emerging at the Summer Fancy Food Show this past June, and it's really come to life here at the Winter Fancy Food Show," said Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association. "Combine this with more traditional trends like single serve on the go, and jerky, and we're seeing a whole new way of eating and snacking. Innovation is happening very quickly within the industry and it's exciting to see how these trends will evolve over the next few months."

The Winter Fancy Food Show Trendspotters included: Polly Adema, PhD, director & associate professor, Master of Arts in Food Studies, University of the Pacific San Francisco Campus, San Francisco, CA; Reem Assil, chef/owner, Reem's California, partner, Dyafa; Andrew Freeman, founder, af&co.; Lawrence Jacobs, specialty and grocery buyer, Oliver's Markets; Kara Nielsen, vice president, Trends & Marketing, CCD Helmsman, Emeryville, CA; Tu David Phu, chef/owner, AN - a Vietnamese Dining Experience; Wendy Robinson, buyer, Market Hall Foods; Melina Romero, manager, Trend Practice, CCD Helmsman, Emeryville, CA.

1. SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL GOOD Many companies and products powered by environmental and social concerns were visible throughout the show.


  • Believe in Bambara, Beans and Flours, bambara is known as a "complete food"
  • Terviva, Pongamia, a long-living tree that producing seeds similar to soybeans
  • Yolélé Foods, Fonio, gluten-free ancient African supergrain

Ocean Harvest

  • Barnacle Foods, Kelp Salsa and Kelp Pickles
  • Blue Evolution, Kelp-based pasta and salad
  • New Frontier Foods, Ocean's Halo kelp-based superfoods drink


  • Render Foods LLC, Bryner, vegetable drink upcycled from leftover pickle juice; Weyla, sparkling fruity beverage upcycled from whey
  • Renewal Mill, Extra Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie, made with okara, a superfood harvested from the pulp of organic soybeans that is created during soymilk production
  • Ugly Juice LLC, Good Use Ugly Juice, cold-pressed juice from imperfect fruits and vegetables


  • Kuli Kuli, Organic Moringa Greens and Protein Smoothie Mix, sourced directly from family farmers and women's' cooperatives in rural areas
  • Roam Free, Bison Bites, regenerative bison operation on 300 acres in Western Montana
  • This Bar Saves Lives, buy a bar, send life-saving food to a child in need

2. FOOD AND BEVERAGE - WITH BENEFITS Often referred to as functional foods, these diverse products correlate to a variety of health interests: energy and recovery, detoxing, stress, gut health, antioxidants. CBD products in particular have seen tremendous growth.


  • Agate Smart Honey, CBD Infused Honey
  • Buddha Teas, CBD Ginger and Turmeric Tea
  • Engage Organics, Popcorn Mix, whole plant hemp flower spice blend
  • New Age Beverages, Marley, Marley+CBD Mellow Mood

*More states have legalized sales of hemp-derived CBD products. The segment has its challenges as cannabis is still illegal at a federal level.


  • Anya's Apothekere, Jalapeño Fermented Honey Sauce
  • Purely LLC, Q-Soo Sparkling Fruit Tonic, fruit-infused drinking vinegar (shrub) and sparkling water
  • Wild West Ferments, El Curtido, Central American-style condiment


  • Lumen, Hemp Elixer, with adaptogenic and Ayurvedic herbs
  • Numi Tea, Daily Super Shot, with adaptogenic plants and herbs
  • The Republic of Tea, SuperAdapt Burnout Blocker Herbal Tea Supplement

3. PROTEIN INNOVATIONS With the growing popularity of protein-rich diets, plus the plant-based alt protein phenomenon, this trend isn't fading anytime soon. Innovation and new applications continue.


  • Maruden Co. Ltd., Cod and Salmon Jerky
  • Shima's, Jerky Chips
  • True Jerky, Jerky Trail Mix
  • Bovino, Crispy Beef Jerky


  • Don Bugito, Chile-Lime Crickets with Pumpkin Seed
  • Good Catch, Fish Free Tuna
  • Trois Petit Cochons, Sous Vide Egg Bites


Everything's Coming Up Roses The Trendspotter Panel named Edible Beauty as a top trend for 2019. Rose, noted for antioxidant and hydrating properties, is the latest edible beauty ingredient to emerge.

  • Deep Rose, Deep Petal Lemonade
  • Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc., Rose Water
  • Petal, Sparkling Botanical Blend beverage

Fruit and Vegetable-based Flours The latest expansion in plant-based foods is an array of produce-based flours for baking or blending into smoothies.

  • AvoLov, Avocado Powder
  • Kaibae, Organic Baobab Fruit Powder
  • Hearthy Foods, Flours, including apple, banana, spinach, and broccoli

Nuts and Oats as plant-based dairy alternatives, in bars, and butters

  • Elmhurst Milked LLC, Elmhurst 1925 Milked Oats, Barista Edition
  • Kotatsu, Cashewmilk Cheese
  • Purely Elizabeth, Coconut Cashew Bar

Single Serve, On the Go 

  • Lotus Foods, Rice Ramen Noodle Soups, individual cups
  • Rustic Bakery, Pecan Shortbread 3-Pack, snack pack
  • Split Nutrition LLC, Almond Butter and Strawberry Spread, individual split fast pack

About the Specialty Food Association The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs.  Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,800 members in the U.S. and abroad the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at specialtyfood.com.

For information on the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show being held in New York from June 23-25, click here.


Plant-based food is a popular trend in food.

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