The 39th Winter Fancy Food Show took place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. on January 19 – 21. Over 1,300 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions featured 80,000 products at what is considered the West Coast’s largest specialty food and beverage trade show.
Five food trends were identified among the numerous products on display. Sriracha, the spicy Thai chili sauce, made an appearance in everything from jams to chocolate. Crunchy snacks that go beyond basic potato chips were another hot item with quinoa chips, vegetable chips and a variety of popcorns taking center stage. Low-sugar drinks without artificial sweeteners were among the most popular beverages on display, including milks, teas, herb-infused waters and colas. Mint is making a comeback in flavorings for sodas, chocolate and frozen treats. Condiments were also high priority with herb mayonnaise and ketchup with truffles as favorites among attendees.
The sofi™ Awards, formerly known as the NASFT Product Awards, honor the most outstanding specialty foods at the Fancy Food Show. This year’s Gold Winner in the USDA-Certified Organic category was Runa® Hibiscus - Berry Guayusa Tea by Pro Ecuador, a tea made from the guayusa leaf native to the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Gold Winner in the category of Non-Food Specialty Item was the EcoTaster® by EcoTensil®. These mini tasting utensils are certified compostable with a breakdown time 180 days in a landfill.
A long tradition of the fancy food show is the specialty food and beverage donations that go to local soup kitchens and food pantries in partnership with the international antihunger organization, LeSEA Global Feed The Hungry. This year over 100 volunteers collected enough food from exhibitors to feed 5,000 people in need.
With the Winter Show in San Francisco and the Summer Show in New York City, these Specialty Food Association events bring in more than 40,000 attendees from more than 80 countries each year. The Summer Fancy Food Show will take place in New York City on June 29 - July 1.