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Top 2014 Specialty Food Trends Unveiled at Winter Fancy Food Show

The specialty food industry is once again leading the charge in new trends and flavors, all on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show. A panel of trendspotters named chocolate teas, seaweed chips, and truffle ketchup as just a few of the products that were all part of a larger trend towards thoughtful indulgence.

Sriracha, the fiery Thai chili sauce, was one of the biggest flavor trends – showing up in snacks, chocolates and jams. Mint has made a comeback as a popular flavor in a number of treats, reflecting a turn towards the revival of simple, familiar tastes. Snacks have evolved well past the common potato chip as the specialty food industry continues to seek out and deliver exciting flavors and unexpected ingredients for more mindful snacking choices. In a similar move towards healthful consumption, consumers can also look forward to more low-sugar beverages – a surprising twist given the trend in recent years towards alternative sweeteners.

“These trends capture the creativity of specialty food producers, and the care they put into crafting exciting taste experiences, whether they are reinventing familiar products with unexpected flavors or opening an audience to lesser-known ingredients,” said Denise Purcell, Senior Director of Content for the Specialty Food Association, and one of this year’s trendspotters.

The trends were identified from a careful review of more than 1,350 specialty food producers who took part in the 39th Winter Fancy Food Show held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Exhibitors showed off the latest in artisanal cheeses, chocolates, vinegars, sauces, healthful foods, and more. This year’s panel of trendspotters, comprised of top food media and personalities, carefully explored the show’s thousands of products to determine the most promising trends of the coming year for this $86 billion industry. Here are the trends:

Sriracha’s Homecoming

  • The Jam Stand, Not Just Peachy, Sriracha Jam
  • Hope Foods, Hope Hummus Organic Sriracha Hummus
  • Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Simply Spicy Sriracha Tortilla Chips
  • The Popcorn Factory, Lite Works Popcorn! Sriracha

 Crunch Time

  • Vintage Italia, Pasta Chips, New Brands on the Shelf
  • Simply 7, Quinoa Chips
  • Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Pitaaah Chips
  • 479˚ Popcorn, Toasted Sesame + Seaweed Popcorn
  • Rhythm Superfoods, Super Food Chips

Low-Sugar Beverages

  • Califia Farms, Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Xumma, Xumma Semi Sweet Cola, New Brands on the Shelf
  • Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale “66”
  • Numi Organic Tea, Indulgent Tea, Chocolate Earl Grey
  • Big Tree Farms, Coco Hydro

Mint

  • Torn Ranch, Dark Chocolate Mint Mélange
  • Silk Road Soda, Cucumber with Mint, New Brands on the Shelf
  • GoodPop All-Natural Frozen Pops, Hibiscus Mint
  • Seely Mint, Mint Patties
  • Victoria’s Kitchen, Mint & Licorice Almond Water

Condiments Dressed Up

  • Victoria Amory, Fine Herbs Mayonnaise
  • Stonewall Kitchen, Truffle Ketchup
  • Fischer & Wieser, Salted Caramel Mustard Sauce
  • Amoretti, Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Kalamata Olives
  • Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs, Ivory

In addition to Denise Purcell, this year’s panel of trendspotters included Ashley Koff, RD, founder of The AKA List; Nancy Hopkins, Better Homes and Gardens; Kara Nielsen, food and beverage consumer strategist; Joanne Weir, host of PBS’s “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence”; and Jerry James Stone, blogger at Cooking Stoned.

The Specialty Food Association will be hosting a Foodie Chat with some of the trendspotters on January 27 from 8-9:30 PM EST that can be followed along via the #foodiechats hashtag.

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