Armed with predictions for 2018, released by the Specialty Food Association in November, the West Coast arm of the Trendspotter Panel attended the recent Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Scouring over 90,000 products, the panel assessed and noted a variety of products that either reflected the predictions, or indicated new or emerging trends.
- Plant-based Foods. Plant-based foods cut across many categories and algae, which was predicted to take off in 2018, continued to appear.
- Functional Mushrooms. Originally on the 2018 emerging trend list, mushrooms are taking off as both a snack and a functional ingredient.
- Alternative Sweeteners. Consumer interest in reducing refined white sugar has led to alternatives.
- Deeper Middle Eastern Flavors. Prominent flavors and ingredients broadened to include Central and South Asia, and North Africa.
- Collagen-Infused Foods. First appearing in snack bars, it is now showing up in beverages.
- Moringa. A plant native to India, it is being touted as a new superfood.
- Black Rice. Used as an ingredient in solid and liquid form. The pigments that give the rice its color are rich in antioxidants and other health benefits.
- Snack Puffs. Nut and vegetable updates to the classic cheese puffs.
- Specialty Waters. The category is expected to grow 111.5 percent by 2021, according to Mintel category forecasting research for SFA.
- Turmeric. Native to Southeast Asia and India, it is being used as an ingredient in more categories, especially snacks.