Dairy food and beverage formulators looking for the next big thing in flavors and flavor combinations can find them by walking the aisles of the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this week.
A panel of trendspotters selected by the show organizer named chocolate teas, seaweed chips, and truffle ketchup as representative of a larger trend towards "thoughtful indulgence."
According to a press release from the Specialty Food Association, sriracha (a fiery Thai chili sauce) was one of the biggest flavor trends. It is used in snacks, chocolates and jams.
Mint has made a comeback as a popular flavor in a number of treats, reflecting a turn towards the revival of simple, familiar tastes.
Consumers can also look forward to more low-sugar beverages, according to the association, which called this trend "a surprising twist given the trend in recent years towards alternative sweeteners."
"These trends capture the creativity of specialty food producers, and the care they put into crafting exciting taste experiences, whether they are reinventing familiar products with unexpected flavors or opening an audience to lesser-known ingredients," said Denise Purcell, Senior Director of Content for the Specialty Food Association, and one of this year's trendspotters.
The trends were identified from a review of more than 1,350 specialty food producers who took part in the 39th Winter Fancy Food Show held at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Exhibitors showed off the latest in artisanal cheeses, chocolates, vinegars, sauces, healthful foods, and more.
In addition to Denise Purcell, this year's panel of trendspotters are Ashley Koff, RD, founder of The AKA List; Nancy Hopkins, Better Homes and Gardens; Kara Nielsen, food and beverage consumer strategist; PBS host Joanne Weir; and blogger Jerry James Stone ("Cooking Stoned.")