The Holidays may be a time for feasting, but January is time for the annual Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Foodies both rejoice and have to control themselves. It was like Disneyland for me and over 12,000 of the event’s attendees. I mean, where else could you see a rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night done in jelly beans?
This is where food trends are born. Remember sun-dried tomatoes? Or jalapeno flavored everything? How about when all the foods you bought seemed to be “antioxidant-rich”? Before they hit a supermarket shelf, they made their debut here.
There were over 1200 specialty, name brand, international, and local food makers and manufacturers all vying for your attention.
This year, it felt like the economy affected the trends. There wasn’t anything outrageous or attention grabbing, but that’s perfectly okay. It was trendy this year to take what already worked and give it a newer spin.
Chinese, Japanese and Thai food aren’t new, but Indian and Korean foods seemed to be the big trend. Items like marinades, frozen entrees and meal kits made a push for space on the American dinner table.
I also saw a lot of snacks that are popular in foreign countries, like China, Japan and South America, being highlighted as something “new” for the American market. Things like rice crackers, freeze dried Asian pears, crispy garlic flavored plantain chips, and black sesame candies all showed up on the expo floor.
Coffee and energy drinks took a backseat to teas. How does Honey Apricot sound? Or Milk Oolong? How about Blackcurrant and Cardamom? There were a lot of herby, fruity, and intriguing fusions making their debuts.
Candy, in general, is a perennial favorite food, but there’s always something new in the sweets world. This year, many of them had herbs, energy boosting power, or even health benefits. I tried Ginger, Yuzu and Lemon flavored gummy bears, pumpkin seed candies covered in dark chocolate, and even “Sport Beans” which are jelly beans that give you a quick pick-me-up.
Regardless of what interesting items showed up at the event, it’s still up to the American public to decide which of these trends gets to stay and which go. Besides, I’m sure there will be a whole new crop tasty trends for next year.