This year marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Fancy Food Show, the largest specialty food and beverage trade show on the west coast. About 1,400 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions showcased the latest in specialty food from January 11 through 13 at the Moscone Center.
With so many exotic, new foods under one roof, we spotted the following burgeoning food trends during the past three days:
Coconut: You see it everywhere and in almost everything at the show—from water, flour, cookies, chips, caramel, granola, syrups, vinegar, and even beer. Coconut products are clearly this year’s new darling of food producers. It is mind-blowing to learn that coconut, a food rich in calories and laden with saturated fat, has many health benefits ranging from cholesterol reduction to healing, hydration, and even blood plasma replacement in an emergency.
Nut Cream: Like peanut butter? You get a lot more choices here: walnut butter, chestnut butter, hazelnut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, and macadamia butter. It seems more and more food producers and consumers alike are exploring creative ways to utilize the rich nutrients of nuts, even in the form of cream. Why not? Considering nuts are rich in unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and Vitamin E.
Southeast Asian Flavors: The flavors of Southeast Asia pervades the show in delightful ways—taste of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore show off from caramel corns to savory spreads, and from barbecue sauce to dried fruits. Is this an indication of this year’s new fad with ethnic food? We’ll see in the next few months.
Seaweed snacks: Seaweed turns up in multiple snack products, such as seaweed chips in flavors of Texas BBQ and Chili Lime, almond seaweed crisps, and onion seaweed crunch. A healthy and sustainable food, seaweed’s exotic tastes make it a great ingredient for snacks.
Lastly, there is veggie bacon. Veggie bacon reminds us of fads that just won’t die—vegetarian diet. Veggie bacon is not a huge surprise considering the skyrocketing popularity of eating green in recent years. What is so special here is that it is offered in so many varieties—snack foods, desserts, appetizers, salad mixes and so on. Meat loving foodies can’t get enough of it, or at least it so seems.
The show has been eye-opening and palate-inspiring. As to whether the above will become the trend in the coming months—you’ll be the judge.