Back to Specialty Food News

On the Radar at the Winter Fancy Food Show: Elevated Convenience, Crunchy Snacks, Global Flavors

As the Specialty Food Association opens its Winter Fancy Food Show today at the Las Vegas Convention Center, several food trends are in the spotlight. The SFA Trendspotter Panel identified many of these as the top trends that will fill retail shelves and restaurant menus in 2024, while some are informed by category forecasting in SFA’s latest State of the Specialty Food Industry research and consumer responses collected as part of SFA’s recently released Today’s Specialty Food Consumer research.

The Trendspotter Panel, made up of retailer and foodservice buyers, chefs, food writers, market researchers, and other food industry professionals, will be working during the Show, reporting on both strengthening and new, emerging trends. Members of the Trendspotter Panel will participate in a session on Tuesday, January 23 at 1 p.m. to discuss more trends they have uncovered at the Winter Show.

Following are examples of products that fit trends currently on the radar. You’ll find more examples throughout the exhibit hall and by searching the SFA Fancy Food Show App.

Crunchy, Salty Snacks

For the first time, salty snacks like chips, pretzels, and popcorn topped the list of highest-selling categories at retail at $6.1 billion, according to the State of the Specialty Food Industry research which forecasts this trend will continue into 2024 as consumers reach for easy indulgences, often with better-for-you ingredients and global flavors. 

• Chipoys line of rolled tortilla chips in flavors like Spicy Ranch. Booth 2729

• Maine Crisp/Better With Buckwheat gluten- and grain-free snacks made with buckwheat, which is rich in vitamins and protein and acts as a prebiotic. Booth 2535

• The Saucy Ladies Italian-inspired kettle-cooked potato chips in flavors like 5 Cheese, Arrabbiata, Marinara, and Tomato Basil. Booth 1336

Breakfast Foods
According to SFA’s Today’s Specialty Food Consumer research, breakfast, along with snacking, is a growing meal for specialty food purchases. Expect more breakfast mixes, granolas, and frozen items on the market designed for convenience and, in many cases, added nutrition through their ingredients.

• Barlow Foods 3 in 1 mix makes pancakes, biscuits, waffles, and is named after the owner’s grandfather who was a farmer and U.S. Army vet. The company donates a portion of the purchase price to Feed Our Vets. Booth 2312

• Heavenly Waffles healthy waffle mix uses ingredients like dry yogurt for added protein and digestive health. Booth 2737

• Tempo Granola line of high-protein, low-sugar granola marketed for breakfast and snacks in flavors like Apricot & Coconut Booth NEW NOW NEXT, IV13

Environmental Impact
Interest in environmental-based purchasing and ethical product attributes is driven largely by younger shoppers—Gen Z and Millennials—who comprise the core specialty food consumer groups. Sustainability, food waste, upcycling, and regenerative farming are in the forefront of product characteristics that resonate with consumers, who are increasingly expressing that the values of the company are as important as the food itself.

• Nutraberry upcycles berry seeds, a byproduct of puree making, and turns them into berry seed flours and oils that are sources of nutrients and fiber. Booth 457B

• Snacktivist vegan baking mixes are created with farmers who practice regenerative farming to help promote soil health, conserve water, and decrease chemical usage. Booth 455A

• TMK Creamery upcycles whey from the cheesemaking process and turns it into vodka. NEW NOW NEXT, Oregon State Food Innovation Center

• Traina Foods' line of dried and sun-dried fruits are the product of sustainable farming and the brand uses solar panels in its packaging and reprocessing plant. Booth 1066

Non-Alcoholic Beverages
This trend continues with mixers, sparkling beverages, and alcohol alternatives for people who can’t or choose not to drink but still seek interesting and sophisticated options. 

• MiddleBar Bloody Mary Mocktail, can be consumed with or without alcohol. Booth 2608

• Mixly Cocktail, a women- and LGBTQIA-operated company, offers a line of mixers including Bunny Mary, a new take on a Bloody Mary made with carrot juice. Booth 4007

• Tost Beverages sparkling non-alcoholic beverages in flavors like rosé.Booth 2417

Global Flavors in Snacks and Cooking Staples
Globally inspired snacks, condiments, sauces, and seasonings continue to let people upscale the everyday while often enjoying cultural experiences via food, says the Trendspotter Panel.

• Donika Olive Oil is an Albanian-based company with organic extra virgin oil from the native Kalinjot variety olive sourced from the makers' hometown in Vlore. Booth 1866

• Eric’s Nopales pickles the pads—nopales—of the prickly pear cactus, a staple in Mexico to create a low-calorie, high-fiber, and anti-inflammatory snack or ingredient. Look for Eric’s Nopales as a contestant in the Fancy Face Off Pitch Competition as well. Booth 2233

• Local Sweets Hawaiian company offers dried mango covered in li hing powder comprised of dried, salted, plum, to add a subtly sweet and savory flavor. Booth 2753A

• RIND by Dina and Josh Lapsang and Herbes de Provence vegan cheese. Booth 554

• Sun Tropics is a first-generation Filipino-American family-owned company that transforms childhood favorites into shareable sweet and savory snacks and authentic street food-inspired sauces and meal kits. Products include Mochi bites in flavors like Thai Bird Sriracha and Golden Curry, puddings, nectars like Soursop and Calamansi lime. Booth 2319

Elevated Convenience
Consumers are looking for ways to maximize flavor, quality, and pleasure, while minimizing stress and mess. They are open to shortcuts, kits, frozen but with high quality and taste.  

• Manicaretti Funghi Porcini in Polvere - Porcini Mushroom Powder which can be as a flavor enhancer for soups, marinades, gravies, and sauces. Booth 2817

• My Cooking Box meal kits containing all the ingredients exactly portioned for cooking Italian dishes at home. Each recipe is signed by a chef and is explained step-by-step. The ingredients inside the box are all made in Italy and have a long shelf-life. Booth 2268

• Ottogi Co. Ltd. line of Korean staples from ramen to kimchi, sauces, and more to help create Korean recipes easily. Booth 2433

• Shingi Co. offers frozen Ekiben Onigiri, frozen freshly cooked rice balls and bentos each with different local Japanese ingredients and recipes. Booth 1272

• Todo Verde Taco seasonings are plant-forward and inspired by regional flavors to help home cooks create chef-curated meals. Booth 2316 (included)

Snacks that Pair with Specific Alcoholic Beverages
A subtrend in snacks is emerging with chips, crackers, and cookies developed with flavors that specifically pair with beers, wines, or spirits.

• The Drinks Bakery Drinks Biscuits pair with specific drinks. For example, Pecorino, Rosemary, Scottish Seaweed pairs with gin and tonic, gin cocktails; Mature Cheddar, Chili and almond pairs with Malbec or Belgian beer. Booth 1134

• Wine Chips potato chips come in three collections: Cheese collection, Charcuterie collection, that includes flavors like dry aged ribeye and spicy Calabrese, and Salt of the Earth like Hawaiian Red sea salt to pair with sparkling wine. Booth 3105

• The Sweetery Bourbon Buddies, Wine Sticks, and Beer Buddies. Booth 1305

Peach Fuzz was recently named color of the year by the Pantone Institute and the SFA Trendspotters see this applying to foods and beverages that will revisit this classic flavor with new pairings and applications.

• Cibo Vita Nature’s Garden Peach Mango Yoggie, a new flavor in the probiotic rich line due out in quarter 2. Booth 3003

• Dutch Village Creamy Gourmet Syrups in Peach Cream. Booth 2546

• Hot Mama Salsa Peach Habanero Hot Sauce with Lavendar, Booth NEW NOW NEXT, Oregon State Food Innovation Center

• Mary Mack’s Scoot Frozen Lemonade in peach. Booth 2501

• The Republic of Tea, Inc. Thanks You're a Peach Gift Tea and Peach teas. Booth 2001

Other trends identified by the Trendspotter Panel and expected to be prevalent at the Winter Show include mushrooms, Calabrian chilies, soups, and beverages overall from hot to cold to sparking to functional.

Related: Charcuterie Enhancements to Debut at the Show; Craveable Snacks to Debut at Fancy Food Show.