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UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hospitality Students Reveal Top Three Trends from Specialty Food Association 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show

Specialty Food Association Junior Trendspotter Panel

NEW YORK, NY (February 22, 2024) The Specialty Food Association hosted eight graduate students and three professors from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), William F. Harrah College of Hospitality during the 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show. Featuring more than 1,000 companies and thousands of products from around the world, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Winter Fancy Food Show ran from January 21-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Specialty Food Association in Las Vegas and it is a valuable learning experience to connect with the people and companies who contribute to the innovative trends that are happening in the industry today,” said Joseph Lema, Ph.D, Professor, Doctoral Program Coordinator.

The Winter Fancy Food Show Junior Trendspotters identified the following top three trends exemplified by many exhibitors at the Show:

1. Environmental Impact - Burroughs Family Farms regenerative organic nut butters; Nutraberry seed powders; IBIDEN Bussan Co., Ltd. plant-based animal-free shrimp; SoMeat Aburiyaki Karaage Mince; Hiddenfjord sustainably farmed salmon; upcycled Confetti Black Truffle Mushroom chips.

2. Beverage Innovation - Club Mate low sugar energy drinks; Bolero & Co. Ltd. watermelon-flavored drink mix; TÖST Rosé Alcohol-free sparkling beverage; White Coffee Snickers, Twix and M&Ms coffees; Unity Wellness Co. organic energy drinks; Artly robot coffee maker.

3. True to Culture - Fukuroya Co., Ltd. low-salt miso; SR Foods Corporation Avocado Fritter Garlic Tempura; Vandersterre Prima Donna cheese; Miscela d’oro Italian coffee; Caplansky’s Deli mustards; Donika olive oil from Albania; Macoritto Valentino S.r.l. breadsticks.

The SFA 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show Junior Trendspotter Panel was composed of nine UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hospitality participants, under the guidance of Professor Lema and Seyhmus Baloglu, Ph.D. Professor, Associate Dean of Research:

• Angelika Bazarnik

• Dennis Baloglu

• Sooyeon Lee

• Inyoung Jung

• Xinyue (Cindy) Hu

• Yuze (Crystal) Ji

• Niansong (Harry) Zhang

• Wai (Sunny) Sun

• Samuel Lee, Assistant Professor in Residence

"It is exciting to network with industry professionals, share cutting edge ideas, and to participate in recognizing trends to help inform our research in a real life setting that is like no other considering the large scale and size of this unique event,” said Yuze (Crystal) JI, Hospitality Doctoral Studies. 

A full Trendspotter Panel report from the Winter Fancy Food Show can be found online here

The next Fancy Food Show will be held June 23-25 in New York at the Javits Center. Open only to the trade, the Summer Fancy Food Show requires registration and qualification. For additional information visit

About the Specialty Food Association

The Specialty Food Association (SFA) was founded in 1952 and is the not-for-profit trade association of the $194 billion specialty food industry. Representing more than 3,000 businesses worldwide, SFA champions industry participation and success for a diverse community of makers, buyers, importers, distributors, and service providers by developing resources, information, education, and events that celebrate innovation and inclusivity. SFA owns and operates the Fancy Food Shows—which are the largest specialty food industry events in North America—as well as the sofi™ Awards—which have honored excellence in specialty food and beverage annually since 1972. The SFA also produces the e-newsletter SFA News Daily, the Trendspotter Panel annual predictions and Fancy Food Show reports, the State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, Today's Specialty Food Consumer research, and the Spill & Dish podcast. Find out more online and connect with SFA on FacebookXInstagramLinkedIn, and TikTok.

Press Contact: [email protected]

About UNLV Harrah School of Hospitality

The UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality is consistently ranked as one of the top hospitality programs in the world (#1 in the nation and #2 globally by QS Top Universities). Studying just blocks away from the epicenter of the hospitality industry -- the Las Vegas Strip, Hospitality College students enjoy unparalleled access to hands-on, industry-relevant professional experience. Each year the college helps organize nearly hundreds of internships, welcomes more than 100 national hospitality brands to recruitment events, and pairs an average of 175 industry mentors with students. And with the completion of the college's state-of-the-art academic building Hospitality Hall, students are ushering in a new era of excellence in hospitality education. Visit to learn more.