By Fraida Simon

Every year, the food industry’s largest show and tell days bring together the biggest, well known brands and the newest, bright and shiny startups at the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show.

This year, the Summer Fancy Food Show took place in New York’s Javits Center and included over 6000 different companies. Walking the aisles, it was fantastic to see the growing number of kosher certified products, and equally growing awareness of the importance of kosher certification, as opposed to just knowing that ingredients are ‘all kosher’.

Trends carried over throughout the past year include clean labeling and an accountability by companies to consumers. Simple wording and quickly identifiable images on the front of packaging – see Sensible Foods’ crunch-dried fruit chips- enables the consumer to make a fast and informed decision.

Let’s be honest; nobody wants to look too hard/travel too far. ‘Buy local’ is a trend which has always been encouraged and has grown stronger as consumers continue to demand faster and easier access to products they have heard of but may not be available in their grocery stores. As young companies get smarter with packaging design and on-trend product USPs such as dairy free, gluten free, organic etc., it has gotten easier to upsell as premium, locally sourced products which help strengthen the resident economy.

Are you sick of the word ‘superfoods’? The products associated with it are not going away (chia seeds, acai berries etc.), but use of the term itself has lessened as consumers grow more educated and look out for the product names, signs of quality and kosher certification rather than catch-all phrases.

As the SIAL product trends called it – little luxuries. Artisan products, such as OK certified Madyson’s Marshmallows, well packaged and each playing up their unique qualities, are appealing to consumers as small touches of indulgence. Splurging on these products helps balance frugality in dieting trends.

How do you like your coffee lately? If you answered cold with a touch of nitrogen, that would be right on trend. Bottled cold brew concentrates and RTD cold brew cans have been around, the latest varieties adding milk, or introducing new flavors to a growing sector.

Talking of milk – it’s not very trendy. With dairy free or vegan friendly products popping up all over the place, dairy companies are having to keep up by innovating with low sugar levels (check out the new YQ by Yoplait line, not sweeter, very much kosher), simple ingredients, modern nostalgic packaging and lactose-free options, as well as branching off into dairy alternatives.

‘Let me do it MYSELF’. A phrase familiar to any parent and a growing trend in consumer wants/needs. The satisfaction experienced from preparing or finishing your own food, as well as the education available on the health concerns in fast food or packaged processed goods has pushed the market in this direction. Single serving, quick prep vegetables with seasoning included, such as Dole’s Slawesome salad mixes or Green Giant’s new vegan meal bowls join the large number of plant-based options available.