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Fancy Food Show's top trends include DIY food, pickles


The recent Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco offered a look into the trends in specialty food.

USA Today noted the following trends from the trade show:

Salt: it’s in everything, and a finishing touch to multiple dishes. At the SaltWorks in Woodinville, Wash., they sell Black Hawaiian sea salt, Bolivian Rose salt, Merlot-infused crystals and Yakima apple wood smoked sea salt.

Artisan chocolate: small producers who carefully source their cocoa beans are turning out chocolate bars that are all-natural and use exotic flavour combinations like lemongrass, lavender-blueberry or French toast. Poco Dolce Confections produces olive oil with sea salt chocolate or Mayan chili.

Korean is the new Thai: spicy, robust tastes of Korean cuisine are the latest Asian food trend. At Mother-in-Law's Kimchi in Brooklyn offers kimchi, a spicy-hot Korean signature pickled cabbage.

QR's on packaging: Quick Response codes are popping up on food packages because it’s away for the industry to get more info out to consumers than they can fit on a package.

Seaweed: Nori seaweed (called laver in England where it grows on the west coast) is roasted, salted, flavored and sold in lunch-box sized packages that keep it crisp like a potato chip. Ace Farm USA sells the seaweed in wasabi, sesame and olive oil flavours.

Gluten-free is tastier: The gluten-free craze is resulting in better-tasting products. Star chef Thomas Keller launched a multi-purpose gluten-free flour blend called Cup4Cup, while Carbon's Golden-Malted pancake and waffle flour offers a gluten-free version.

DIY food: Do-it-yourself food kits contain all the ingredients and detailed instructions, making the novice a pro in the kitchen as more and more people want to understand how their food is made. Roaring Brook Dairy in Chappaqua, N.Y., sells kits to make mozzarella and butter that require only the addition of whole milk or cream. There are also Apple Pie Kits that contain a pie tin, crust, spice pack, sliced apples and a pop-up pie timer.

Comeback of the butcher: There’s a trend for heritage pig and cattle breeds making butchers cool again to educate people on how to prepare these meats.

Food trucks: Food trucks are the hot across America and have gone high end acting as gourmet kitchens on wheels that sell crème caramel, Thai food and hand-made creations at a lower price point. Popular food trucks coming up with products to bottle and sell in supermarkets.

Drugstores as food stores: Eating on the go is commonplace so drug stores are becoming a food source with some like Duane Reade in New York have specialty food areas in their stores, and Walgreens is branching out with more fresh and prepared foods to go.

Good-for-you snacks: Snacks not only have to taste good, they have to be good for you with chips and other snack foods are featuring healthier ingredients. For example, there are sweet potatoes and lentils in the form of crisp cakes. Or crunchy kale chips made by Kaia Foods in Oakland.

Pickle is king: The American pickle is big in the East and South: pickled peppers, pickled burdock root, pickled golden raisins, with artisan sauerkraut are especially hot. Producers are using high-quality vinegar, artisan salts and organic produce.

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