Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Winter Fancy Food Show: What's New? What are the trends for 2016?


I spent yesterday at the Winter Fancy Foods show in San Francisco. Every year, I attend at least one day of this 3-day exposition.

I attend mainly to see what trends there are for the coming year. To determine what's trending, I spend the entire day tasting cheeses, sweets, crackers, sauces, teas, and more.

From what I observed, kale is on its way out and beets are the new super-vegetable. I tasted packaged cooked beets in all shapes and cuts, beet crackers, beet chips, and beet juice.

I even picked up recipes for beet smoothies and beet cocktails.

The main cheese trend that I saw was flavored cheeses, particularly flavored cheddars. My favorite was Rogue Creamery's La-Di-Da Lavender cheddar.  Jarlsberg is even making a line of crackers with its cheese.  They are quite tasty.


Packaged Tuna that is low in mercury showed up at the booths of several vendors. As one who would eat a tuna salad sandwich every day of the week, given the choice, I sampled several tuna salads at the show.  I am very impressed with Safe Catch in Marin County who tests every one of its fishes to assure that its Skipjack and Albacore tuna is even more mercury free than the levels required by the FDA.

The newest of the ancient grains, Freekeh is competing with Quinoa as the go-to supergrain. Could this be because many people don't know how to pronounce Quinoa?
One Quinoa vendor has named its product with the grain's phonetic pronunciation. While Freekeh has its intrigue and undisputed nutritional benefits, I still prefer quinoa or farro as my supergrains of choice.
Hemp turned up in drinks and as a grain to add to salads, soups and other dishes.
Coconut Sugar and Oil turned up in numerous foods as a more healthful alternative to cane sugar.  Several popcorn and snack vendors are using coconut oil in their products.

As for tea, each year brings more and more new flavors as well as the old standards like Earl Grey and English Breakfast.  The Japanese powdered tea, Matcha is one of my favorites (If you've ever eaten Green Tea Ice Cream, its color and flavor is that of Matcha).  This year, several vendors were offering Matchas in single-serving packets.


Teas that claim to "cleanse" or "reduce weight" have been around for awhile.  This year at Fancy Foods, it seems that the big companies are now offering supplemented teas.

And, to go with tea, cheese, dips, or just to eat by themselves the variety of crackers, biscuits, and cookies continues to be infinite.

I particularly enjoyed tasting Effie's Homemade Oatcakes and Ryecakes and would have either of them with a cup of tea or a cocktail.


Ice cream and gelato remains ever-popular.  For Fancy Foods, Choct├íl had tastings of 4 single-origin Vanilla ice creams and 4 single-origin Chocolate ice creams.  For each of the two tastings, they had a special plate and tasting notes.  My favorite Vanilla was the Indonesian Vanilla and my favorite Chocolate the mocha-y Dominican Chocolate.


I didn't see as many barbecue sauce vendors at the show as I have in past years, but did see more spice vendors.  Perhaps spice rubs will be replacing the sweet sauces as a flavoring for meats, poultry, and fish as well as adding salt-free seasonings to vegetables and grain dishes.

Organic and gluten-free products are still numerous.

Even Jelly Belly has introduced jelly beans and other confections made with organic fruits.

Attending the Winter Fancy Food Show is always an interesting and fun day.  The Winter show is usually in San Francisco and the summer version is in New York City.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So yummy! You should be in charge in photographs -- every one gave me an appetite!