Occurring annually in San Francisco, the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show highlights emerging trends in the country’s packaged foods space. Beyond its role as a snack sampler’s wet dream, the Winter Show is a barometer of the nation’s relationship with food—its packaging, properties and portability.
Like kale and quinoa before them, superfoods are paraded at the Winter Show for wholesaler discovery; their packaging designs conceived to marry the American consumer values of transparency and convenience. With the nation’s eating fads ripe for discovery, The Winter Fancy Food Show is not just another cheesy trade event, but it is an incubator for eater experimentation.
This year, keep an eye out for:
Tired of potato chips? Try cassava, a South American starchy tuber (sound familiar?) that can be fried or air-popped at 30-70% less fat than its competition.
Once relegated to end-of-ingredient-list anonymity, plant proteins have emerged front and center as naturally-occurring supplements, particularly for children’s snacks. Ruby Rockets snack tubes—soon to be sold at Whole Foods—feature a mix of fruits, veggies and plant proteins sourced from chia seeds, coconuts or peas.
While jerky continues to be all the rage, bakkwa, a salty-sweet dried meat snack popular in China and Southeast Asia, has quietly gained a following on the West Coast. The moist and tender slices come in beef, pork and turkey varieties.
PROBIOTICS, NOW SPREADABLE
Move aside, coconut water—Sapp birchtree water is full of minerals, low-sugar and organic. Sourced from saplings in Ukraine, Sapp will make its U.S. debut this summer on the East Coast.