Last year’s food trend predictions, so far, have been on-point — from a skyrocketing number of plant-based foods and meatless options to an increasing amount of milk alternatives. But today, Specialty Food Association has 10 more food trends to add to list, including an uptick in West African food products and upcycled foods.
The Specialty Food Association (SFA), comprised of a large community of 3,800 food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs, attended the 65th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show last month in New York City, poring over 200,000 specialty foods and beverages on display. And after scouring the exhibits, SFA’s Trendspotter Panel of six food professionals, including James Beard Foundation Director of Sponsorships Victoria Jordan Rodriguez, has determined the top 10 food trends from the show.
Let’s dig in.
Upcycled foods was one of the more interesting trends. At the show, the panelists spotted sweet potato flour, avocado tea leaf made from discarded avocado leaves, and frozen pizzas made with upcycled sauce and topping from vegetable scraps, like broccoli leaves, and more.
“With consumers learning more about food waste and the power of upcycling, we’re seeing some interesting applications of otherwise discarded ingredients,” said Trendspotter and Mintel Global Food Analyst Melanie Zanoza Bartelme.
New sources of protein on the go
Forget everything you thought you knew about protein bars. Companies like Choopoons, Crepini, The Perfect Bite Co., Purely Elizabeth and Speka are creating protein-packed snacks with more unexpected ingredients. Think plant-based yogurt made with cucumber seed protein, crepes made of egg and cauliflower, and instant oatmeal enhanced with collagen protein.
West African foods
From Hapi African Gourmet’s sunbutter sauce to Yolele Foods’ fonio chips made from an authentic West African grain, West African food is expected to become more mainstream, if the food show is any indication.
“Glad to have witnessed signs of what I hope are a growing variety of artisanal products from West Africa, and their continued influence in New World regions and food cultures in the Americas, i.e. United States, Caribbean/ West Indies, Central and South America,” says Trendspotter and Food Griot Founder Tonya Hopkins.
Global hot sauces
Many hot sauces featuring flavors from around the world — including Malaysia, Thailand, Barbados and Ghana — were prevalent at the show. So expect dishes to heat up.
Mushrooms continue to be in the spotlight, and companies are coming up with new ways to use the fungus, be it in drinks, burgers, snacks or stews.
Why bake from scratch when you can pick up sweet treats from the frozen aisle? According to the Trendspotters, the frozen desserts craze has expanded from high-protein ice cream varieties to include cakes, cobblers and more.
Other trends include an increase in specialty water (think alkaline water), nutritious grains, new mixers, tonics and garnishes to help consumers make bar-quality cocktails at home, and mission-driven nonprofits powered by environmental and social concerns.
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