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Food Trends Offer Surprises for Industry Participants, Foodies

For those in the food industry and foodies everywhere, some interesting new trends were highlighted in a recent gathering of specialty-food purveyors.

The top five food trends for 2012 were identified by a panel of trend spotters at the recently closed 37th Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. It is the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages on the West Coast, with 80,000 products on display from 1,300 exhibitors from the U.S. and 35 other countries.
First on their list was pickling, which is exhibiting a rebirth and included:

  • Unbound Pickling: Pickled Peas and Carrots
  • Boat Street Pickles: Pickled Golden Raisins
  • Sonoma Brinery: Raw Sauerkraut

In terms of liquid refreshment, drinks are going nuts (and Seeds and Grains).  Highlighted at the show were:

  • Victoria’s Kitchen: Almond Water
  • Simpli: Chocolate Oat Shake
  • Chill Drinks: C+Swiss Hemp Iced Tea

The continued growth in gluten-free products, which some experts said were “growing up.” Here they cited the following:

  • Cup4Cup: Gluten-Free Flour Blend From Thomas Keller
  • Stonewall Kitchen: Gluten-Free Herbed Pizza Crust
  • Love Grown Foods: Sweet Cranberry Pecan Granola

No longer limited to candies and piña coladas, coconut is starting to appear everywhere.  Some samples:

  • Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss: Ginger Cookie Caramel Coconut Ice Cream
  • Noh Foods of Hawaii: Coconut Pudding Mix
  • Hey Boo Jams: Hey Boo Coconut Jam

With new research showing the importance of grain throughout history, ancient grains are appearing more and more in foodstuffs.  Some examples:

  • Culinary Collective Zocalo Heritage Grains: Pink Amaranth
  • Al Dente Pasta: BonaChia Pasta
  • Origen Chilean Gourmet: Quinoa Puffs

Other trends identified at the Winter Fancy Food Show include savory sweets such as bacon brittle, mindful snacks such as raw bars, bean chips and seaweed, cocktail-mix makeovers, new takes on chai and everything fig. Read more about these trends and their related products on

The trend spotters are Stephanie Dean, Sunset Magazine; Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker; Nancy Wall Hopkins, Better Homes & Gardens; Kara Nielsen, CCD Innovation; Evan Orensten, Cool Hunting; Jennifer Pelka and Ruth Reichl, Gilt Taste; Denise Purcell, Specialty Food Media; Kalena Ross, Blackboard Eats; Stephanie Stiavetti, contributor to NPR, KQED, and Huffington Post; Susie Timm, Girl Meets Fork; and Joanne Weir, PBS television host, cookbook author and chef.

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