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Jan 23

Top Trends of the 2013 Winter Fancy Food Show

There’s several Fancy Food Show trend articles already out there, but some of the trends they spotted leaves us scratching our heads wondering if these folks were actually at the show.

Granted, it’s a huge show, so its easy to miss some things. But our definition of a trend is not the one booth among thousands of exhibitor that showcases something odd. An example that comes to mind is the “miracle” noodle that was 90% water whose remaining 10% was comprised of the fiber from a Japanese yam. It had no calories, therefore in my mind isn’t even a food (and had the WORST texture ever, I’m looking at you Miracle Noodle).

No, our definition of a trend in this context is finding a batch of products that, taken as a group, have characteristic(s) that may create, capture or reflect a new consumer interest.

Gluten Free

The first trend we spotted was the massive increase in products with Gluten Free as a primary or new benefit. Gluten free options were everywhere this year. Interesting to note that gluten free diets are not considered automatically healthy by nutritionists. A food can be gluten free, and not good for you. Celiacs, a group of people that are allergic to gluten must abide by a gluten free diet to reduce or eliminate the terrible side effects of the allergy. But people who have celiac disease represent less than 1% of the population, and of those people over 40% have no symptoms.

Regardless of the facts, it was very evident that consumer demand was pushing this trend, and manufacturers were responding strongly.

Intense Popcorns

Another trend we saw was intensely-flavored popcorn. White truffle with cheddar. Chipotle and chocolate. Some were so flavored and combined with so many other ingredients, it was barely popcorn anymore. 479° offered some great flavors – a favorite was Chipotle Caramel with Almonds.

Esoteric Olive Oils

Crazy flavor combinations were everywhere. Boasting flavors that sounded more like juice blends (see Botanical Beverages below), olive oil was taken to new heights of creativity. An example? Cherry Seed Olive Oil from OilsStöger  (Neuruppersdorf, Austria).

Goodbye Organic?

Sometimes a trend is about something dropping from the consumer conversation. We noted that while many products were still touting organic origins, a massive decline in organic as a differentiation tactic was in evidence.

Botanical Beverages

Lots of very intriguing (and delicious) flavor combinations dotted the beverage offerings this year. Flavors like chili, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, and basil were paired with fruit anchors to make some interesting taste combinations. Wild Poppy offered a Chili Blood Orange flavor that was terrific.

– Bradley Fitzhenry, Brand Manager MJR Creative Group
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  • By Lisa Braithwaite on January 24, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I totally agree that the panel missed the boat on gluten-free. GF products have been part of the show for some time, but this year, they were actually GOOD! More whole-food products not loaded with gums and starches, and more products with flavor and texture that belied their gluten-free nature. I also spotted a big trend toward vegan products, a category that used to be reserved for the Natural Products Expo.

  • Thanks for your comment Lisa, and yes, the fact that the gluten free products were actually delicious was a big difference as well.

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