It was pouring in San Francisco this past weekend, but inside the Moscone Center thousands were dry, happy and psyched to taste the newest gourmet products launching at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Hosted by the Specialty Food Association, this event was purportedly the largest in its 42-year history. From cheese and meat to beverages and grocery, New Hope Network put boots to ground on the show floor to spot several trends that stood out—and may have traction in the natural foods industry.
Here, find the top food and beverage trends we identified at the show.
Robust, sweet and especially craveable during the colder months, maple made an appearance in myriad forms, from the pure tree sap in the form of maple water to floral-infused maple syrup and maple sugar.
Sap On Tap Maple Water with Yerba Mate
Go ahead, have a little caffeine with your slightly sweet maple water (the sap that flows directly out of the tree). Just maple water, yerba mate and yerba mate extract are in this USDA Organic bottle of goodness.
Runamok Maple Hibiscus Flower Infuse
Hailing from Vermont forests certified by Audubon Vermont as Bird-Friendly, this beautifully packaged bottle contains top-notch maple syrup infused with organic hibiscus flowers. In a word, it’s outstanding.
Raaka Maple & Nibs
Single-origin, organic cacao and organic maple sugar are a match made in heaven in this cool chocolate bar. Toasted cacao nibs deliver added crunch and nutty flavor.
Tropical fruits are packed with antioxidants and fiber—but they’re not necessarily practical to eat fresh. (When was the last time your produce section carried fresh baobab or acerola berries?) Several neat brands utilized fruit powders to boost nutrition, flavor and texture of packaged goods.
R.e.d.d. Mint Chocolate Superfood Energy Bar
It’s hard to believe that a nutrition bar tasting like the minty Girl Scout cookie staple contains a whopping 11 fruit powders, including acai berry, amla, goji berry, maqui, mangosteen and more. But it does!
Blue Planet Chocolate Baobab Superfruit Bites Baobab Peach Mango
Organic baobab fruit pulp powder boosts these chocolate rounds, which also include apple, peach and mango fruit concentrates. Chocolate coating drenches the entire fruit mash, making this one delicious nosh.
Teranga Baobab Love Potion
A brand new, tart beverage made with the pulp of the baobab fruit. This lip-smacking “Love Potion” also contains red hibiscus and a pronounced hit of mint. Teranga prioritizes conscious sourcing, too.
Herbs add value
From meal replacement beverages infused with maca to Ayurvedic spice “shots,” brands at Fancy Food added value and functional nutrition to beverages and condiments by including botanicals like maca, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, licorice and more in consciously crafted natural products.
TruVibe Eat Clean Organic Superfood Meal Berries, Maca & Chia
TruVibe’s first foray into a beverage line was a success! Designed as a better-for-you, whole-food meal replacement, this 300-plus calorie drink contains a nourishing blend of organic juices, pureed strawberry, pureed blueberry, hemp seeds, reishi mushroom, chaga mushroom and maca.
Pranayums Daily Super Spice Shots
An interesting delivery system for spice blends, each packet has a masterful blend of Ayurvedic spices such as turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, licorice root, cinnamon and more for wellness. Sprinkle a packet into warmed almond milk, over oatmeal or add into stews or salad dressings.
Fire Brew Beet Energy Booster
This potent potion is made with red beets, cinnamon, raw organic apple cider vinegar and a litany of pungent add-ins like horseradish, onion, habanero pepper and garlic—time-tested ingredients that may boost immunity.
These new brands challenge the long-held assumption that an end-of-meal sweet treat is sinful. Rather, these products contains whole-food ingredients, consciously sourced add-ins and cleaner sweeteners to make them better options.
Snow Monkey Superfood Ice Treat Cacao
Less ice cream substitute and more post-workout treat, this rich, creamy frozen pint is made with a healthful blend of bananas, apple puree, maple syrup, hemp seed protein, cocoa powder, sunflower butter and acacia tree gum and guar bean gum. 5 grams protein and just 12 grams sugar (mostly from fruit) per serving.
Good King Cacao Whole Bean Love
We never realized how wonderfully whole cacao beans can satisfy intense chocolate cravings. Just a few of these shelled, spiced beans are enough for chocolate addicts. The "Love" version contains warming cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom. Bonus: They’re not too sweet, either.
Foodstirs Modern Baking Organic Chocolate Lovers Brownie Mix
A simple brownie mix elevated with consciously sourced ingredients and a slew of certifications. Here, Wholesome!’s Demeter USA-certified biodynamic cane sugar, organic wheat flour, Equal Exchange certified organic cocoa powder, organic sunflower oil, organic vanilla and sea salt comprise this mix. Add (preferably pasture-raised) eggs, non-GMO oil and water, and bake.
Frozen steps up
Not so much "speed scratch" as an easy way to experience delicious but hard-to-make specialty food items, we spotted ample innovation in the frozen food category. Here, ethnic foods made an appearance, as did novelty products perfect for appetizers or finger food.
Brazi Bites Brazilian Cheese Bread Cheddar & Parmesan
Delicious, gluten-free bites of cheese bread traditionally made with tapioca flour and found in Brazilian restaurants everywhere. Straight-forward ingredients like eggs, milk, tapioca, cheddar and parmesan cheese make a surprisingly delicious snack.
Grillies Halloumi Cheese
These are refrigerated, but the concept is the same. Designed to replace meat, Greek halloumi cheese provides a savory, creamy alternative for burgers and sandwiches of all ilk. Halloumi is traditionally grilled, roasted or fried, which adds crunch and toasty, roasty flavor to dishes.
Bantam Bagels The Classic
Most everyone loves the New York combo of bagels and cream cheese. Bantam Bagels are delightful bites of doughy bagel with a burst of velvety schmear inside, and come in classic flavor combos like poppy, onion, everything and even stuffed with strawberry or veggie cream cheese.