- On June 29, 2023
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SFA Summer Fancy Food Show 2023 Trends!
As our team returns from an incredible experience at the 2023 Specialty Food Association (SFA) Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York City, we are completely blown away by the level of innovation, quality, and delicious products featured at the show. Here at Softengine, we are continuously working to expand our food and beverage industry knowledge, and what better place to get caught up on the latest and greatest trends than at the largest specialty food show in North America!
The Specialty Food Industry is set on a continuous path of growth year after year, and despite economic changes such as inflation, consumers are still making the effort to purchase specialty food products. With the future of the industry looking bright, let’s dive right into the 16 biggest trends and products we spotted at this year’s SFA Summer Fancy Food Show!
1.Salty Snack Prevalence: Salty snacks remain a beloved indulgence for many consumers. Whether it’s the satisfying crunch of potato chips or the addictive taste of pretzels, the demand for savory snacks persists. To cater to changing preferences, the industry continues to introduce new flavors, experimenting with global seasonings, and developing healthier alternatives. Baked and air-popped snacks have gained traction, offering a lower-fat option without compromising on taste. This trend showcases the industry’s ability to cater to consumers’ snack cravings while adapting to their desire for better-for-you options.
2.Consumers Analyzing Ingredient Lists: Consumers are paying greater attention to ingredient lists and becoming more careful of the foods they select. They look for goods with clear, unambiguous labelling that support their dietary and health objectives. Brands are responding by offering comprehensive ingredient information, highlighting natural and organic sources, and accommodating certain dietary choices and requirements. Not only are consumers paying attention to the front labels of packaging, they are becoming more informed on specific ingredients that they do not want to see listed in the ingredient list on the back. This development demonstrates the sector’s dedication to openness, building consumer confidence, and promoting a more knowledgeable and responsible attitude to food consumption.
3. International Flavors: Global flavors continue to captivate adventurous palates. Consumers are seeking culinary experiences that incorporate international flavors, expanding their taste horizons. From Thai curries to Mexican salsas, brands are infusing their products with bold and diverse taste profiles. Bringing the international flavors into the homes of consumers has become a growing trend as people want to recreate their culinary travel experiences in their own kitchens.
4.Mocktails: The rise of the wellness movement and the desire for alcohol-free options have fueled the popularity of mocktails. Mocktails offer a sophisticated and refreshing alternative to alcoholic beverages, appealing to those who prefer non-alcoholic options for various reasons. The industry has embraced this trend by developing creative flavor combinations, using fresh ingredients, and presenting visually appealing mocktails that rival their alcoholic counterparts. Mocktails not only cater to individuals looking for unique flavor experiences but also contribute to inclusive and enjoyable social gatherings. Being able to enjoy a tasty canned cocktail without alcohol is an experience that many consumers are opting into.
5.Functionality Friendly: The industry has responded to consumers demanding increasingly functional products by incorporating ingredients known for their specific health benefits, such as adaptogens, probiotics, and superfoods. Functional products target various aspects of well-being, including cognitive function, gut health, and immune support. Consumers are looking to get the most benefits out of each singular product they eat at a time. By infusing functionality into food and beverages, brands are empowering consumers to make choices that not only satisfy their cravings but also contribute to their overall wellness.
6.Upcycled Ingredients: Sustainability is a growing concern, and the specialty food industry has been actively addressing it by utilizing upcycled ingredients and companies becoming upcycled certified brands. Upcycling involves repurposing food by-products or ingredients that would typically go to waste, reducing overall waste and supporting a circular economy. Brands are creating innovative products using upcycled grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as finding creative solutions for surplus food. This trend highlights the industry’s commitment to minimizing environmental impact while simultaneously offering unique and eco-friendly food options. Learn more about the upcycling on our website!
7.Better-for-You: There has been a noticeable trend of consumers seeking ‘better for you’ products and ingredients within the specialty food industry. With a growing focus on personal health and wellness, consumers are prioritizing nutrition, transparency, and clean eating. Brands are responding by offering transparent labels, organic and plant-based options, and reduced sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats. This trend also drives the exploration of innovative ingredients and superfoods, providing additional health benefits and unique flavors. By embracing this movement, specialty food brands can meet the demands of health-conscious consumers and contribute to a healthier future.
8.Granola: Granola has become a culinary sensation and a staple in the specialty food industry. Its popularity has skyrocketed as consumers seek healthier, on-the-go options that don’t compromise on taste. What sets granola apart is its versatility—it can be enjoyed as a cereal, a topping for yogurt or smoothie bowls, or as a convenient snack. This trend has paved the way for a wide range of granola-based products, from energy bars to granola clusters and even granola-infused desserts. With the added flexibility to cater to various dietary preferences, such as gluten-free or vegan options, the granola revolution is delighting health-conscious consumers and inspiring creativity in the specialty food industry.
9. Matcha Teas: Matcha teas have become a sensation, capturing attention throughout the specialty food industry with their vibrant green color and distinct flavor. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, matcha is known for its high antioxidant content and natural energy boost. As consumers seek healthier alternatives to traditional caffeinated beverages, matcha has gained popularity against coffee-based beverages. This trend has prompted the industry to introduce a wide range of matcha-based products, such as matcha lattes, ice creams, and even baked goods. Additionally, exploring unique flavor combinations and incorporating matcha into other food and beverage categories has expanded its reach.
10. Energy / Meal Supplement Bars: Energy and meal supplement bars are revolutionizing the specialty food industry, providing busy individuals with a convenient and nutritious on-the-go option. Packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, these compact bars offer sustained energy and balanced nutrition. With options for various dietary preferences, they have become a go-to option for fitness enthusiasts, professionals, and anyone seeking optimal nutrition during their busy days. Being able to consume the vital nutrients and dietary requirements from one product is becoming more desirable for individuals in the busy world.
11. Shelf Stable: With shelf stable products, consumers can enjoy the convenience they crave while savoring the deliciousness and artisanal craftsmanship that defines the specialty food experience. These products, which can be stored at room temperature for extended periods without spoiling, are transforming the way we approach food storage and consumption. From pantry staples like sauces, condiments, and ready-to-eat meals to gourmet snacks and artisanal treats, the array of shelf stable options is expanding rapidly. The specialty food industry has embraced this trend, leveraging innovative packaging techniques and preservation methods to ensure that shelf stable products retain their freshness, nutritional value, and exceptional taste.
12. Crunchy Snacks Variety: The specialty food industry is buzzing with the rise and popularity of crunchy snacks. These irresistible treats, such as chips, pretzels, and lots of popcorn, offer a satisfying crunch and a burst of flavor, captivating snack enthusiasts everywhere. Moreover, this trend has sparked culinary innovation, introducing new flavors and ingredient combinations, while also embracing dietary preferences with gluten-free, vegan, and allergen-free options. The crunchy snacks variety trend shows no signs of slowing down, promising snack lovers a satisfying and flavorful journey with every bite.
13. Seasonings Galore (Grilling): The grilling season and outdoor parties have people finally getting back to a sense of normalcy since the pandemic. This return of gatherings has ignited a demand for an array of seasonings to enhance the flavors of grilled meats, vegetables, and seafood. From smoky BBQ rubs to zesty marinades, seasoning blends have become a staple for grilling enthusiasts. Brands have capitalized on this trend by offering unique and bold flavor combinations inspired by global culinary traditions. This trend allows consumers to elevate their grilling experiences, infusing their dishes with tantalizing flavors and adding a touch of creativity to outdoor cooking.
14.Spicy Flavors: The specialty food industry has witnessed a remarkable rise in the popularity of spicy foods, sauces, seasonings, and snacks, igniting taste buds and captivating adventurous palates. Spicy flavors have transcended cultural boundaries and become a global sensation, with consumers seeking bold and fiery sensations in their culinary experiences. This trend reflects a growing appreciation for the complex flavors and heat levels that spicy foods offer, as well as the desire for new and exciting taste experiences. As consumers embrace the thrill of spice, the specialty food industry continues to push boundaries, delighting spice enthusiasts and adding a fiery flair to their culinary journeys.
15. Nutrient Dense: The specialty food industry is experiencing a significant trend towards the rise and popularity of nutrient-dense products. These products are carefully crafted to deliver a powerhouse of essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds, offering a concentrated dose of nourishment in every bite. From superfood-packed smoothies to plant-based protein alternatives, nutrient-dense products have captured the attention of individuals striving to fuel their bodies with wholesome, high-quality ingredients. This trend not only reflects a growing awareness of the connection between food and well-being but also showcases the industry’s commitment to providing innovative, functional, and better-for-you choices that support a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
16.Plant Based: The popularity of plant-based goods and ingredients has increased dramatically within the specialty food sector. The demand for plant-based solutions has increased as more customers switch to plant-based diets or look for alternatives to animal-based items. Since plant-based goods are frequently viewed as healthier, more environmentally responsible, and cruelty-free alternatives, this trend symbolizes a shift towards ethical and sustainable eating choices. In response, specialty food companies have innovated and produced wide varieties of plant-based products, such as plant-based snacks, dairy substitutes, and meat substitutes.
We hope you enjoyed this recap of the hottest trends that our team spotted at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show! We had such a fantastic time visiting our customers, tasting incredible products, and learning the best and most up-to-date insights about this exciting specialty food industry.
Here at Softengine, we take these trends and insights and apply them to our food and beverage specific solution, Food One powered by SAP Business One, to better serve the SMB food and beverage industry. With decades of experience, our solution is tailored to the specific needs of this industry and we take pride in helping our customers run their businesses with greater efficiency, accuracy, safety, and automation.
Learn more about our solution tailored to food and beverage organizations and contact one of our experts today for more information: email@example.com.
Take a look at the trends we spotted at previous trade shows that our team has attended this year!