Megatrends Spotting At The 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show
Candy & Snack TODAY Trends Editor Joan Steuer reports on candy and snack megatrends spotted at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, held January 19-21, and featuring more than 80,000 products in 212,000 sq. ft.
ONE. Cracker Chip Crossover —
Crunchy, crispy and often oven-baked vs. fried, dozens of new snack crackers made with ancient grains, super grains and heritage grains and marketed as “chips” were spotted at the show.
Leading the way in innovation were:
Vintage Italia Pasta Chips, LLC’s Vintage Italia Pasta Chips, made with durum semolina flour, in Italian flavors including Marinara, Alfredo, Spicy Tomato Basil, Garlic Olive Oil and Mediterranean Sea Salt.
Simply 7 Snacks’ Simply 7 Quinoa Chips, with high fiber and more than eight grams of protein in each 20-chip serving, in four varieties that take a cue from potato chip flavor favorites including Sea Salt, Cheddar, Barbeque and Sour Cream & Onion.
Live Better Brands, LLC’s Way Better Snacks Pita-ahh Chips, made with sprouted red fife (a heritage wheat) and spelt, in Toasted Garlic, Smoked Havarti and Pinch of Sea Salt.
TWO. Popcorn Mania —
Sweet and salty kettle corn as well as savory, classic and ethnic, especially Indian curry, tandoori and garam masala, plus a variety of do-it-yourself popcorn kits proved the popcorn revolution is in full swing.
Dozens of caramel corn, kettle corn and savory cheese popcorn types were spotted, with authentic Indian spices on numerous new savory offerings.
On the sweeter side, Angie’s Artisan Treats LLC’s Holidrizzle Candy Corn and Iced Gingerbread Kettle Corn will have an Easter seasonal addition to the line: Cupcake Frosting with Sprinkles Kettle Corn.
The more outrageous popcorn blends and flavors tasted included Masala Pop, LLC’s Tamarind Sesame Popcorn with Papadams (bits of lentil chips), Pop Art Snacks, LLC’s Tandoori Yogurt Popcorn, Dishoom Foods, Inc.’s Cobra Corn with Bombay Seasoning (garam masala) as well as kettle corn with wasabi and ginger and kettle corn with anise, both from Lehi Valley Trading Co.’s Crave Canyon brand.
Fun Popcorn Fact: Americans consume the most popcorn of any country in the world: 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually, translating to 51 quarts per person every year. — The Popcorn Board
THREE. Sriracha And Chili Cha-cha-cha —
We like our sweet heat in candy and snacks. From candy canes and brittles to caramels and seasonal novelties, traditional treats and salty snacks, including chips and pretzels, are adding chilis to heat up the candy and snack aisles all year long.
Sugar Plum Chocolates featured an entire line of Sriracha confections and snacks including 72% Sriracha dark chocolate bars and Sriracha dark chocolate peanut bark, Sriracha cinnamon toffee peanuts, and Sriracha dusted milk chocolate and white covered pretzels and potato chips, as well as Sriracha seasonal solid chocolate bunnies, ghosts and Santas. J&D’s Foods, Inc. has added Sriracha candy canes to its line that also features Sriracha popcorn. Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch introduced a line of Authentic Southwest Brownie Crunch brittles in Jalapeño, Chile Pepper and Chipotle flavors.
Sea Salt Candy Co.’s new Salty Sisters Chile Verde Salted Caramels feature chili oil and chili-infused sea salt with a honey vanilla caramel; Anette’s Chocolates by Brent featured new Chili Lime Tequila Tortilla Brittle with roasted pumpkin seeds and their award-winning Firey Beer Brittle made with Red Tail Ale, chile de árbol and salted Spanish peanuts.
Rhythm Superfoods, LLC offered new Jalapeño Lime Superfood Chips alongside its kale chips with added heat in Mango Habañero and Bombay Curry flavors in addition to new Pineapple Coconut Kale Chips.
Weirdest product spotted: Hope Foods, LLC’s Hope Spreads Dark Chocolate Chile, a 6-Cs hummus made with chickpeas, chilis, chocolate, cardamom, cumin and cinnamon.
On-The-Go Jerky Snacks —
From active sports fanatics, to protein snack seekers, to convenience-minded grab-and-go millennials, natural beef, turkey, pork and salmon jerky snacks are expanding in both mass and specialty channels.
Provisionaire & Co.’s Field Trip Jerky brand has added Traditional and Crushed Pepper Turkey Jerkies to its current line of beef jerkies. Vermont Smoke and Cure, LLC showcased one-ounce natural Turkey Ancho, Turkey Honey Mustard, and Turkey Pepperoni RealSticks jerky snack sticks in dispenser boxes, and Krave Pure Foods, Inc.’s Black Cherry Barbecue Pork Jerky, launched last year, remains a fan favorite.
Ocean Beauty Seafoods, LLC, one of the largest seafood processors in the U.S., launched a wild salmon jerky in Original, Teriyaki and Black Pepper flavors in three-ounce reclosable packages.
Other Noteworthy Sustained Trends:
Chia and Quinoa still on-trend and going strong — The most innovative chia snack product hailed from Australia. The Chia Co.’s Chia Shots — small, 8-gram, single-serve shots of high-protein, high-fiber, omega 3-rich black and white chia seeds — are offered in a range of retail-friendly 10 packs and counter display boxes.
Enjoyed by the handful, sprinkled on salads, or added into beverages, chia seeds are a superfood snack that’s here to stay.
Two of the more intriguing new quinoa snack products were Good Groceries Co.’s Suzie’s brand Quinoamilk Beverage and Cocoa Parlor’s 70% dark chocolate bars with popped quinoa.
We continue to be nuts for Coconut — One of the most natural pairings launched at the show was Dang Foods, LLC’s milk chocolate- and dark chocolate-covered toasted Coconut Chips; other products spotted included organic gluten-free nut and fruit bars with shredded coconut from Ginny Bakes, coconut-sweetened cocoa nibs from Extreme Health USA, coconut crème-filled chocolate bars, coconut oils, coconut-infused teas, coconut palm sugar and the weirdest combo ever — raw Brussels sprouts and coconut, with chili and pumpkin seeds too, in Wonderfully Raw Gourmet’s Brussel Bytes snacks.
Peanuts and Peanut Butter are having a rebirth — The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg launched a line of savory and sweet milk and dark chocolate bars including varieties with habañero- and jalapeño-seasoned peanuts and peanut butter-filled bars.
Pacific Beach Peanut Butter’s Gourmet Flavored Peanut Butter Spreads seem unique as the peanuts and particulates for the various flavors are ground together: cinnamon baking chips for CinnaYum Peanut Butter, toffee bits for its signature Toffee Peanut Butter, and others.
Veggie Chips and Granola continue to be popular — More than 30 new veggie chips and granola brands and product lines were spotted at the show.
Creative Snacks Co.’s Broccoli Flavor Super Veggie Chips with White Cheddar joined the line of more mainstream vegetable chips, including sweet potato and odd flavors such as Green Bean Chips and Okra Chips.
More traditional granola cereal with updated on-trend twists and fun names such as Bad Monkey, with peanut butter, banana and chocolate from Oat My Goodness (OMG), LLC; granola trail mix with dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, almonds and pecans from Nature’s Habit, a div. of Tulocay & Co.; and honey-sweetened granola clusters and granola cookies with coconut and dried fruit highlighted the revival of granola as a go-to anytime snack.
Note on Chocolate — As an inveterate Chocolate Theorist, I've identified three primary groups of chocolate lovers — Chocolate Purists, Chocolate Traditionalists and Chocolate Adventurers — and tasted my way through hundreds of chocolate items to test my theory that the innovative chocolate products that appeal to all three groups and are priced well will also gain the greatest retail traction, with particular favor among millennial foodies: the 18- to 34-year-old specialty consumer demographic that purchases the most chocolate.* From Eclipse Chocolate's classic Caramel Rocky Road, transformed with sea salt caramel and a bit of chili heat to a pure chocolate adventure, to Xocolatti's delicate chocolate bar squares with a velvety smooth pure chocolate side and a side scattered with tiny fruit or nut particulates designed for a unique melt-in-your-mouth experience, Chocolate Innovation continues to thrill chocolate lovers everywhere. CST
*Source: Today's Specialty Food Consumer 2013. Specialty Food Association/Mintel