Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fancy Food Show Trends 2006

I'll have lots of posts in the coming weeks about products I saw at the Fancy Food Show, but here is a summary of the trends:

Tea. The number of teas just seems to increase every year and this year the herb and essences used in tea got even more obscure--osmanthus, hawthorn, rosella, wolfberry etc. I saw more rooibos teas and blends in hot and cold varieties. Green tea and white tea beverages are also on the rise. Lots of Yerba Mate this year too.

Water everywhere you look. While bottled water has been a trend for a while, this year there was more focus on beneficial ingredients such as calcium, aromatherapy, green tea, etc.

The flavored salt trend shows no sign of stopping. And the varieties just get more exotic, vanilla, coconut lime smoked, Andes desert, Australian pink, Indian black. One company featured no fewer than twenty types of salt!

In the chocolate world there are more single origin bars and focus on varietals from places like Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Columbia and higher and higher cocoa content.

Flavored oils are big too. Use them for cooking or for finishing a dish in every flavor under the sun--ginger, basil, garlic, ruby grapefruit, meyer lemon...

Wasabi is being used as a flavoring agent in more and more snack foods. I saw less chile products this year than in past years. But all the products that had chile now have wasabi, salad dressings, peanuts, potato chips etc.

Some flavors I noticed gaining momentum include lemongrass, lemon verbena, loquat and black currant (cassis). Black currant showed up in syrups and even vinegars this year. Good news since research shows it may have many health benefits.

Fair trade and organic are stronger than ever and are being integrated into lots of products and product lines. Did you know that even McDonald's now features fair trade coffee? Now that's going mainstream!