Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel Reveals Nine Trends From 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show

Overhead shot of 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show. Photo by Patrick Sasso for Loop Seven.

After more than two years apart, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Trendspotter Panel gathered in person to search the aisles for the Show’s hottest trends at the 46th Winter Fancy Food Show. Running February 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Show featured thousands of products from around the world, with companies ranging from established to startup.

“Health, comfort, and sustainability are threads throughout several trends coming out of the Winter Fancy Food Show,” said Denise Purcell, SFA’s vice president, content & education. “We continue to see the effects of the pandemic through the popularity of comfort food and snacks, innovations in environmentally conscious products like upcycled foods and hemp are increasing, and plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are going strong as are global flavors across categories. We’ll be looking for these to show their prominence at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June.”

The Winter Fancy Food Show Trendspotters included Artisanal Foods, chef Jon Batista, co-owner Jinelle Batisa, chef Jordon Dunewood, chef Juan Montano,@artisanalfoods (Las Vegas); Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, associate director, food and drink, Mintel,@melanietastestheworld (Chicago); chef Osei Blackett, Chef Picky, Brooklyn,@chefpicky (Brooklyn); Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS, IFT Fellow, principal, Corvus Blue LLC, @Kanthashelke (Chicago); V. Sheree Williams, executive director, The Global Food & Drink Initiative, editor, Cuisine Noir,@CuisineNoir (Oakland).

Hemp in the Spotlight
As plant-based products and foods with benefits continue to trend, hemp emerged as a star ingredient rich in protein, healthy fats, and essential fatty acids, as well as a sustainable crop. Hemp was included in alternative burgers, in dressings, and as a better-for-you ingredient in chocolate.

  • Hemp Love Coconut Milk Chocolate Bars
  • Planet Based Foods Hemp Burgers
  • Queen of Hearts Superfoods Dressings

Tea and Coffee Innovations
At-home tea and coffee preparation spiked during pandemic-influenced stay-at-home mandates, raising consumer interest and opening new product opportunities. An abundance of teas and coffees in new formats were on display at the Winter Show. 

  • Circles Coffee single-serve pour over coffee in which everything including the filter is compostable
  • FigBrew, a coffee alternative made with figs
  • iLola Tea Discs, loose-leaf teas bound with proprietary probiotics into a disc for one-cup use
  • Maury’s Hive Tea combines tea and crystallized honey in one tea bag for a one-step cup of tea
  • Taika Coffee and Matcha made with adaptogens

Dates Proliferate
Fiber- and antioxidant-rich dates are popping up as snacks on their own, in sweet treats, or in rich spreads.

  • Cucina and Amore / Kitchen & Love combines almond stuffed dates with a chocolate covering for a simple but elegant confection
  • Rancho Meladuco produces premium Medjool dates in California’s Coachella Valley
  • Sepoli Datehini combines two ancient products, dates and tahini, into an alternative to chocolate spreads

Snacks with Benefits
From nutrient-rich chocolate bars to pizza crust made from carrots, better-for-you snacks that boast health benefits, are trending. “Snack makers are tapping the best of both worlds to appeal to snackers who also want benefits for justification and to assuage guilt. Snacking grew enormously during the pandemic lockdown with a twist…and snacks had to deliver more than just taste,” said Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS, IFT Fellow, principal, Corvus Blue LLC. “‘Snacks with benefits meant dropping sugar and calories and upping protein and fiber, adding vegetables and upcycled ingredients innocuously, swapping starchy potatoes and corn with nutritional powerhouses like mushrooms and root vegetables, providing lactation-supporting nutraceuticals in cookies for nursing mums, and generally doing away with guilt or concerns about the additional calories without compromising taste.”

  • Better Brand Bagel, low-carb high-protein bagel
  • Chia Leah Maple & Olive Oil Quinoa Sprinkle, high in fiber and antioxidants and made with flax meal, these organic quinoa flakes can be added to yogurt, salad, soup, or used as a breading
  • Hardbite Root Vegetable Chips, traditional chip alternative
  • The Lactation Cookie Company, Lactation Cookies reported to boost nursing mother milk production
  • Pasokin Peanut Butter Bites made with toasted quinoa
  • Pizzeria Fasce Black Carrot Pizza Crust
  • ROAM Mushroom Crisps, mushroom-based chip alternatives high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients
  • That’s It Snack Bars made with dried fruits
  • Vine to Bar Dark Chocolate Bars are made with spent grape leftovers from winemaking that are reported to increase heart and gut health

Alternative Comfort Foods
This pick for a top trend of 2022 by the Trendspotter Panel is going strong with plant-based and dairy-free options in savory and sweet categories. “I loved the innovation of using chickpeas for butter created by Field Trip,” said V. Sheree Williams, executive director, The Global Food & Drink Initiative, editor, Cuisine Noir. “Very creative and aligns nicely with those wanting a plant-based butter that packs protein and flavor.”

  • Bold Palate No Cows on This Ranch Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
  • Coyotas Tortillas made with cassava flour are vegan, grain- and gluten-free, and paleo
  • Field Trip Chickpea Butter
  • Hope and Sesame Chocolate Sesamemilk
  • Rebellyous Foods plant-based chicken nuggets
  • RIND carrot-based vegan cheese slices
  • Spero cream cheese spreads made from sunflower seeds
  • Whoa Dough plant-based cookie dough bars

Sustainable Options
More food products are hitting the market that incorporate upcycled ingredients, but the trend extends to nonfood products and packaging as well.

  • Big Picture Foods Wild Foraged Organic Capers, regeneratively grown and wild foraged
  • Ficacci Olive Co., new paper recyclable packaging for the olive industry
  • Foraged & Found pasta sauces made with wild harvested Alaskan bull kelp
  • IncrEDIBLE Eats edible straws and sporks
  • Irvins Salted Egg Salted Salmon Skins, a crunchy and sustainable chip that reuses salmon skins

Peppers Are Hot
Another 2022 Top Trend pick, the Trendspotters continue to see a variety of peppers as ingredients in sauces and condiments from around the world.

  • Saba’s Awaze Sauce, an Ethiopian spice made with berbere, a spice mix made with chiles, garlic, fenugreek, and other spices
  • Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Chipotle Topper Sauce to use in sandwiches, tacos, pasta, and more
  • Chingonas, Salsa Macha, Mexican chili condiment created by a chef
  • Don Chillio Chile Crisp, a crunchy chili sauce now packaged in to-go cups for restaurants and meal kits
  • Runamok Chile de Arbol Infused Honey, with a heat level similar to cayenne
  • Manitou Trading Company Suya Spice based on a Nigerian recipe that contains cayenne and crushed chiles
  • Terrapin Ridge Hot Habanero Bacon Jam, a hotter version of Hot Pepper Bacon Jam for increased spiciness

The Fully Stocked Bar
Mixers and concentrates in tropical flavors and uncommon garnishes continue to dress up at-home cocktail preparation.

  • The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley Caramelized Pineapple Concentrate
  • Root Elixirs Pineapple Passionfruit Mixer for craft cocktails
  • Wild Hibiscus Flower Co. Lotus Root Slices in a ginger and hibiscus syrup, for a cocktail garnish

A World of Snacks
Sweet and savory snacks capturing recipes and local ingredients are bringing global flavors to U.S. consumers’ home pantries.

  • Angela’s Dominican Cake Mix, made from a traditional family recipe
  • Aussie Select Lamb Charcuterie Meats made from pasture-raised Australian lamb
  • Omnom Chocolate Bars, made by Iceland’s reportedly only bean-to-bar chocolate maker using single-origin cacao, Icelandic milk powder, and sea salt from Westfjords
  • Yishi Oatmeal in flavors like Taro Bubble Tea and Black Sesame

Source: Specialty Food Association

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