Organized by the Specialty Food Association, the Fancy Food Show, is a highly anticipated trade show that brings together specialty food companies, buyers, and media outlets. With over 2000 vendors from all around the world, the show offers a platform for showcasing new products, engaging in discussions, and providing samples to attendees. In recent years, a notable cultural change has occurred among consumers with many adopting a more mindful approach to their well-being. This shift has clearly led to an increase in non-alcoholic beverages, attention-grabbing food packaging, and vegan alternatives. This year’s show also reflects the rise of plant-based foods and the industry’s commitment to sustainability through food recovery initiatives. Our attendance at the Fancy Food Show helped us to stay informed about industry trends, make valuable connections, and contribute to the continued growth and success of the specialty food sector. Here’s what stood out to us.
Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Mocktails
The natural consumer packaged goods industry has been at the frontline of the zero-alcohol revolution, catering to the desires of the consumers for cleaner labels, organic ingredients, and sophisticated taste. The show floor featured an abundance of high-quality mixers for mocktails as well as alcohol-free ready-to-drink beverages. Brands like Abstinence Spirits and For Bitter For Worse provide alternatives for those who decide not to consume any alcohol or prefer low-alcohol options. These brands focus on delivering intricate textures and flavors while also avoiding any potential risks that are associated with alcohol consumption. We’re predicting a continued rise in popularity here!
Standout packaging and health benefits are essential factors for success in the current marketplace. Brands like The Saucy Ladies and Five Stars have gained attention with their attention-grabbing packaging, original solutions, and ingredients. It’s more important than ever for brands to differentiate themselves and offer unique selling points to thrive in this competitive environment. Exhibitors have become more selective in their trade and marketing spending, realizing that passive strategies are no longer effective. To attract potential buyers, companies invest in eye-catching corner booths, LED-backlit displays, pristine sample packaging, neon lights, and attention-grabbing presentations.
Meat Alternatives and Plant-Based Foods
Plant-based foods continue to dominate the market, and the Fancy Food Show reflected this trend with a dedicated “Plant-Packing District” showcasing meat alternatives and plant-based innovative solutions. Mushrooms played a significant role in many products, such as ready-to-drink mushroom broth and shiitake snack chips from Two River Mushrooms. Non-dairy cheese alternatives, such as American-style cheese that’s made from almond milk or Cashew Parm that’s shelf-stable, were also on display. Prime Roots stood out with its line of sliceable deli meats made from koji. This is an Asian fungus that’s used in the production of miso and soy sauce.
The Summer Fancy Food Show 2023 concluded with a generous donation of over 94,000 pounds of specialty food to City Harvest. This is a nonprofit organization that distributes rescued food to various community programs in New York City. The Specialty Food Association (SFA) has been partnering with City Harvest for its food recovery program since 1997, reflecting the industry’s commitment to sustainability and community service. Exhibitors at the show contributed surplus food to designated containers or indicated their readiness for donation, further emphasizing the industry’s dedication to minimizing waste and making a positive impact.
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