It's only been a week, but it seems like months since retailers, manufacturers, journalists and curious epicures subjected themselves to the edible excess that is the Summer Fancy Food Show. I did my part and braved heavy traffic on the show floor to feast on samples and deliver, just one day after the floodgates opened, my top three food trend predictions. I'm happy to say, my flavor forecasts weren't too far off. Yesterday, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, which hosts the tradeshow, released the "official" top 5 summer food trends. The NASFT worked with 11 trend spotting food editors from publications including The Washington Post, O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and The New York Times to zero in on what consumers are looking for. Retailers can expect to see products with these influences throughout the year and into 2012. Do you carry products like these? Send the message that your store stays on the cutting edge but creating an endcap that highlights "hot products from the Fancy Food Show."
Your store may not have been impacted by the spike in alcohol sales that many liquor stores saw during the recession, but now you can reap the bottom-line benefits by carrying alcohol-infused foods. These flavors are spilling over into the grocery aisle as manufacturers appeal to shoppers looking to relax and escape at mealtimes. Products to stock: Anette's Chocolates Chili Lime Tequila Tortilla Brittle, Happy Goat Scotch Caramel Sauce, Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce
Give it a try kits
Consumers want the self-fulfillment and sense of accomplishment that comes from making something from scratch—they just don't have the time. The latest food kits allow shoppers to whip up a soufflé or throw together a pie in minutes. To encourage customers to give these kits a try, demo finished products in your store. Products to stock: Back to the RootsGrow Your Own Mushroom Garden, Roaring Brook Dairy Mozzarella Cheese Making Kit, My Cup of Cake Warm Belgian Chocolate Soufflé Kit
Who doesn't want a snack food that offers great flavor without much fat? Popped foods have become consumers' new favorite snack foods for doing just that. For manufacturers, popped products are inexpensive to produce and provide the perfect blank canvas for layering seasonings. Create an endcap of popped food products in your store and display them as better-for you snacks. Products to stock: 479 Degrees Popcorn Black Truffle & White Cheddar, Metropolitan Bakery Bourbon Infused All Natural Popcorn, Mini Pops Air-Popped Sorghum Grain
Health and wellness is also a primary driver behind Americans growing interest in Asian cuisine. These flavors are exotic while at the same time approachable and often don't have a lot of fat. Consumers under 35 are picking up products with Japanese influences and manufacturers, eager to reach these shoppers, are introducing foods with miso, wasabi and yuzu flavors. Products to stock: Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier Yuzu Gummy Pandas, Argo Century Tonton Hibachi Japanese Steak and Barbecue Sauce with Sake, Rishi Tea Matcha and Sencha Teas
Rather than South America and Asia, the local movement has lead consumers to seek healthful fruits in their own backyard. Cherries are emerging as the new super fruit. Cherries are rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate. Retailers can use shelf talkers to communicate these benefits on cherry-infused products throughout the store. Products to stock: Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries, The Gracious Gourmet Spiced Sour Cherry Spread, Honest Tea CocoNova Cherry Cacao