Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel Selects Top Trends at 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show

NEW YORK — The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel scoured six football fields of exhibits at the 65th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show. The show, which took place June 23-25 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, had over 200,000 specialty foods and beverages on display. Building on previous findings and predictions, the panelists tasted their way through the show, identifying products currently attaining prominence in the specialty food industry.

“It’s fascinating to observe the ever-evolving specialty food marketplace, which has grown into a nearly $150 billionindustry,” said Denise Purcell, director of content for the SFA. “From the uptick of members showcasing West African products to the blossoming of foods and beverages addressing sustainability and social concerns, the Fancy Food Show always reveals inspiring companies and products to our Trendspotter Panel.”

The Summer Trendspotter Panel included Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, global food analyst, Mintel; Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., professor, Drexel University Center for Food and Hospitality Management; Tonya Hopkins, founder, Food Griot; Vallery Lomas, founder, Foodie in New York; Kara Nielsen, vice president, Trend Practice, CCD Innovation; and Victoria Jordan Rodriguez, director of sponsorships, James Beard Foundation.

Top Trends from the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show
1.  Upcycled Foods
2.  Mission-Driven Companies
3.  New Sources of Protein on the Go
4.  West African Foods in the Spotlight
5.  Global Hot Sauces
6.  Raising the Cocktail Game
7.  Frozen Dessert Renaissance
8.  Water Everywhere
9.  Nutritious Grains
10.  Mushroom Love


Upcycled Foods
“With consumers learning more about food waste and the power of upcycling, we’re seeing some interesting applications of otherwise discarded ingredients,” said Trendspotter Melanie Zanoza Bartelme.

  • Assured Edge Solutions/Healthier Way, Sweet Potato Flour, made from 100% USA sweet potato flour, no added sugars or salt
  • Avocado Leaf Tea, made from discarded avocado leaves
  • J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, LLC, Dr. Dickinson’s All-Natural Liquid Nigari, made from a by-product of the salt-making process where 74 trace minerals are left over after the salt is harvested
  • Scrap Frozen Foods, Pizza, made with upcycled sauce and toppings from vegetable scraps like broccoli leaves, and imperfect, ugly produce
  • Super Frau, Walk This Whey, a waste product from the cheese-making process made into a beverage good for digestive health

Mission-Driven Companies 
Companies and products powered by environmental and social concerns were visible throughout the show.

  • Afia Foods, Falafel and Kibbeh, a woman-owned company that supports Syrian refugees
  • Luv Michael Granola, gluten-free and nut-free granola made by a nonprofit organization that trains and employs people with autism
  • Sindyanna of Galilee, Za’atar Peace Mix, a female-led nonprofit that promotes fair trade and access to education and economic opportunities, agricultural and financial advice, to Arab women

New Sources of Protein on the Go
The protein and convenience trends converge in new innovations.

  • Choopoons, Simply Free Wellness Yogurt, plant-based yogurt made with cucumber seed protein, and cacao fruit pulp as a natural sweetener
  • Crepini, Egg Thins, refrigerated, crepes made of egg and cauliflower
  • The Perfect Bite Co., Egg Bites, gluten-free individual egg bits that can be baked for a high-protein snack
  • Purely Elizabeth, Collagen Protein Oats, cup of instant oatmeal enhanced with collagen protein and a squeeze pack of Nutzo nut and seed butter
  • Speka, Cottage Cheese Bar, thick cottage cheese transformed into a snack bar enrobed in chocolate or caramel coating

West African Foods in the Spotlight
“Glad to have witnessed signs of what I hope are a growing variety of artisanal products from West Africa, and their continued influence in New World regions and food cultures in the Americas, i.e. United States, Caribbean/ West Indies, Central and South America,” said Trendspotter Tonya Hopkins.

  • Hapi African Gourmet Sunbutter Sauce, an allergen-free take on classic African peanut sauce
  • Yolele Foods Fonio Chips, made from an authentic grain that’s a staple in West African cooking
  • Zena Exoticfruits SA, Cashew Apple Butter, made from the fruit of the cashew nut

Global Hot Sauces
Hot sauces touting flavors from around the globe—many based on family recipes—were prevalent at the show.

  • Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen, Lime Leaf Sambal Sauce, Malaysian hot sauce from family recipe
  • Cantina Royal hot sauce, a line of Mexican-inspired hot sauces from Cantina Royal Restaurant & Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • SD Sauce, Nam Jim by Sutta, Thai hot sauce from a family recipe
  • Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce, Oooohmami, celebrates the flavors of Barbados and New York City, and is inspired by the creator’s Bajan mother and grandmother
  • Volta West African Foods, Sheto West African Hot Sauce, from Ghana. Through its blog, the company connects consumers with West African food, music, and culture

Raising the Cocktail Game
A slew of new mixers, tonics, and garnishes helps consumers make bar-quality cocktails at home.

  • Bittermilk, LLC, Bittermilk No.2 Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops, bar mixer
  • Gray and Company, Peninsula Premium Cocktail Cherries, American grown and made not-too-sweet garnish
  • Q Drinks, Elderflower Tonic Water, bar mixer
  • Root, Crafted Cocktail Mixers, in six flavors
  • Straightway Cocktails, Straightway Old Fashioned, pre-mixed cocktails
  • 1pt One Part, 1pt, a floral tisane-like cocktail infuser for alcohol that blends with gin, vodka, and other spirits

Frozen Dessert Renaissance 
A 2019 trend named by the Trendspotter Panel, frozen desserts’ makeover began with ice creams offering high-protein varieties, dairy alternatives, and international flavors. It has since expanded to include cakes, cobblers, and other treats.

  • Belgian Boys, Cheesecakes & Lava Cakes, heat-and-serve or thaw-and-serve single style cakes
  • Mama Biscuits, Comfort Cobblers, in a variety of flavors including Peach and Blueberry Lemon
  • Whipped Urban Dessert Lab, Oate, oat-milk ice cream that is nut- and allergen-free
  • Peekaboo Organic Ice Cream, Cotton Candy With Hidden Beets, ice cream with a full serving of vegetables
  • Scoop by Spot Dessert Bar, Misugaru Ice Cream, East Asian flavors with an umami/grain taste in ice cream
  • Sweet Nova, Superfood Freeze, frozen non-dairy smoothies made of bananas and added nutrient-rich superfoods churned into ice cream form

Water Everywhere
According to the SFA’s State of the Specialty Food Industry report, 2019-2020 Edition, specialty water is the top category forecast to grow over the next five years.

  • Alkazone, Antioxidant Alkaline Water, contains a high pH level and electrolytes, enriched with potassium
  • Flow, Alkaline Water, naturally alkaline spring water in a boxed ecopack
  • Formula Four Beverages, Oxigen Water, water containing proprietary O4 oxygen molecules
  • TapDrops, a collection of liquid concentrates that can be added to purified water to recreate profiles of the world’s regional waters such as Paris, Rome, and New York City

Nutritious Grains
Grains are being hailed for their nutrients including sprouted varieties that offer activated nutrition as well as fiber-rich options like barley and buckwheat.

  • Angelic Bakehouse, Sprouted Crisps, cracker/bread crisps made with sprouted grain blends
  • Lil Bucks, Clusterbucks, sprouted buckwheat snack for high fiber and activated nutrition
  • Living Intentions, Superfood Cereals, high-fiber cereals made with sprouted ingredients
  • Second Brain Foods, Barley Crunch and Barley Bar, snack mix and bar that showcases prebiotic-friendly barley, which is high in beta glucans

Mushroom Love
Interest continues to grow in mushrooms for their taste and flavor as well as nutrition and medicinal benefits.

  • Chaga Island, beverages made from slow-brewing Chaga mushrooms
  • Leep Foods, Leepin’ Blended Burger, a partially plant-based burger made of 30% organic mushrooms blended with 70% grass-fed beef
  • The Mushroom Benefit, Ltd., Cuisine Bags, flavorful blend of mushrooms in a sachet that is used in soups, stews, and marinades, and Umamis Crunchy Snack, dried crunchy mushroom snack
  • South Mill Mushrooms, Shroom Splits, Filet Mignon + Portabella, meat snacks that pair slices of grass-fed beef with meaty portabella mushrooms

Functional Foods and Beverages
Foods and beverages with added functionality or health attributes continue to be a priority for many consumers.

  • Makfa, Livingood Pasta, made with beta-glucan, a soluble fiber found in oats to fight cholesterol
  • Woodland Foods, Organic Moon Milk, shelf-stable coconut milk made with turmeric and ashwagandha, an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine

Plant-Based Snacks
Plant-based ingredients continue their reign not only in alternative meats and dairy but in categories like snacks.

  • ALO, ALO Snacks, dried aloe vera paired with dried ginger, mandarin or mango
  • Münki Food Company, Tropical Kale Superfood Granola, non-GMO, vegan, free of gluten, refined sugar, dairy, peanut, and soy.


  • The Forest Farmers, New Leaf Maple Birch Syrup and Maple Walnut Syrup, new takes on syrup that promote biodiversity
  • Old Arthur’s, Barbecue Sauces and Dry Rubs, based on a 160-year-old recipe developed by an enslaved man, Arthur Watts, who was emancipated at age 27. The family has maintained the recipe for five generations.
  • Omnom Chocolate hf, Black n’ Burnt Barley, bean to bar chocolate made with barley for a dark, toasty flavor, from an Icelandic company
  • RISE Brewing Co., Oat Milk Latte, no-sugar-added latte in a can, a concept that appears to be growing in the mainstream U.S. market
  • Rösti, a hand-held filled potato snack based on a traditional Swiss recipe
  • SoulBee, Honey Flakes, sweet honey in flake form for coffee and tea
  • Sweet Tahini Spreads, ground sesame seed spreads in flavors such as Date, Cacao and Halvah
  • Wackym’s Kitchen, The Temptress Cookie, co-branded, bite-sized cookie made with Imperial Milk Stout beer from Lakewood Brewing Company

About the Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,800 members in the U.S. and abroad the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food.

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