This week I am just back from the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco via the confectionery and snack show in Cologne and six Cotswold Fayre launch events. Who said January was quiet? I thought you might like to know this week what trends are happening in California as they inevitably happen here next. You know the old saying, “USA catches a cold and the UK sneezes”! Overall, the time lapse that there used to be between food trends in the USA and the UK is considerably shorter than it was 10 years ago. This is due to the prevalence of social media channels such as Instagram, which tend to spread trends further and quicker than before. However, there is still an element of trend following from US to UK, so let’s have a quick look at what is going on there.
Juicing continues to be massive, with some outlets selling you two days’ worth of meals in juice form for $40. Of course, you could do all this yourself, but many don’t and drink their weight in vegetable and fruit pulp making a tidy profit for those retailers with juicing machines. The plant-based convenience snacking category continues to grow exponentially and at the show there seemed to be more new start-ups in this area than any other. Any crisp manufacturers not also making other plant-based snacks might struggle as these will tend to erode the crisp sector here too. All things vegan, in fact, are in huge growth, with mushroom-based snacks, such as mushroom jerky coming in for the first time – also mushroom crisps and mushroom-based soups.
Functional food of all kinds is very big in California, in particular. Moringa seems to be the “new kale” with this vitamin-mineral-protein rich super food being added to smoothies, teas and breakfast cereals. Drinkable vinegars also seem to be expanding. Cider vinegar as a health-giving dose has been popular for a while, but other variants are now coming to the fore, and some of them taste OK. So, if you tried them and hated them in the past, give them another go. Nut butters with more and more wacky ingredients are also still in a high growth phase.
One new trend in California, that I did not taste at the show this time is pot-based food. With the legalisation of cannabis on Jan 1st this year in California, there is an emergence of pot-based foods, some of which, no doubt, have been sold in brown paper bags for a few years previously. It remains to be seen how far these will spread, but may make for a very different Fancy Food Show in future years!