7 top food trends from the latest Summer Fancy Food Show

by | Jun 30, 2022 | News

Expert trend-spotters go hunting for foodie highlights and products in the booming specialty food industry. 

After two-years operating remotely, New York’s Summer Fancy Food Show returned in June to the city’s Javits Center. During the past pandemic years, comfort has been an overriding theme, with consumers seeking out “familiar and comforting foods and beverages, but often with a twist for some excitement, or with specific diets and health concerns in mind”, says Denise Purcell, vice president, content and education for the Speciality Food Association. The SFA is the industry body hosting the food show.

Back in person again from June 12, the 66th Summer Fancy Food Show featured more than 1,700 exhibitors offering specialty foods and beverages from around the world. The show gives a snapshot of where the $170.4 billion specialty food industry is in 2020 plus lots of clues as to where it might head next. We see what some of the experts are spotting.

Two emerging retail trends:

Industry heavyweight Progressive Grocer identify a number of ongoing general trends, including plant-based items of all kinds, better-for-you foods and beverages and sustainability, as well as plenty of traditional foods spanning meats, dairy products, sauces and snacks. Two emerging trends were identified as:

  • an increase in food products and ingredients from Africa, including Ayo Foods’ spicy sauces and Yolélé’s Fonio Chips made with fonio, a nutritious ancient grain similar to a rice or couscous
  • novel flavours, as with Schuman Cheese’s Cello Mayan Cocoa Coffee Fontal Cheese, described as a blend of sweet and spicy Mayan spices, cocoa, and coffee, perfect for melting, snacking and sandwiches; Heritage Kulfi’s Cardamon Chai Ice Cream, made with steeped tea and spices; and Daily Crunch’s Cinnamon Java Sprouted Nut Medley, made with dried black currants, coconut flakes, cinnamon and sea salt enhanced with coffee-infused sprouted almonds and cashews



Five 2022 Specialty Food Association trend-spotter panel predictions:

After extensive investigation by his team, Purcell also identified five trends likely to drive growth.

1. Pasta’s comeback. A category that slowed in recent years by keto and low-carb diets, the COVID-influenced comfort food surge has revived the pasta category.  Shapes are making an appearance that are less familiar to the US market, or are brand new, like cascatelli, a collaboration between Sfoglini and Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast, along with a resurgence of gluten-free and alternative-grain options. Black rice, pumpkin, red lentils, and purple carrots are bringing “new spins on traditional pasta in Instagram-friendly ways,” said trend-spotter Jonathan Deutsch.

Cascatelli are a short pasta shape with a flat strip and a pair of parallel ruffles sticking out at a 90-degree angles, creating a “sauce trough”. This modern pasta shape was developed in the 2010s by American food podcaster Dan Pashman. It is a hybrid of the bucatini and mafalda pasta types, highlighting the half-tube components and ribbon-shaped ruffle pasta respectively, and was designed to meet Pashman’s preferred characteristics in a pasta shape. Source: Wikipedia


2. Plant-based comfort food. More plant-based options of nostalgic favorites are coming to market, making comfort food more accessible to those who follow alternative diets. Plant-based patties, pea-protein based crumbles to use in tacos, and tenders and nuggets made with Chilean seaweed were among the latest innovations seen at SFA digital events like Fancy Food 24/7.

3. Wide world of snacking. For the past 18 months, global flavors have been offering consumers culinary adventure in lieu of traveling. Their growing prominence has inspired innovation in snacks and treats categories. Fancy Food 24/7 revealed snack bars that deliver Thai flavors while being keto-friendly and high in prebiotic fiber; potato chips from Spain in foie gras flavor; and peanuts flavored with turmeric and chili, “like the spicy peanut snack from hawkers on street corners in Bangkok that I relished as a child,” says trend-spotter Kantha Shelke.



For the sweet-toothed there were ice cream flavours that gave a nod to Latin American coffee and dessert combos; a twist on classic panettone featuring traditional Sicilian pistachios in the bread and as a filling; and from the Philippines, Auro’s white chocolate moringa-infused bar topped with pinipig, a traditional ingredient of pounded and toasted young glutinous rice.

4. Peppers are hot. Consumers getting more savvy on the right peppers for recipes, snacking, and condiments, thanks to a preponderance of regional chili peppers, chili crisps, dried peppers, and pepper flakes hitting the market. Add to that flavour innovations like a cooking oil that paired coffee with spicy chilis were on display at the show. “Ajvar is a lesser-known red pepper and eggplant condiment that’s made in Turkey and is vegan,” says trend-spotter Jenn de la Vega. “Dua Lipa mentions ajvar on Hot Ones and recommends it with Albanian cooking.”

5. Foods with benefits. Consumers are taking immune system health seriously in the wake of the pandemic, but the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of some functional foods and beverages are also increasing in appeal thanks to their reported anti-aging benefits. Products include functional gummies; oils marketed as cosmetic oils to drink or use topically for the complexion; drinks that paired mango with collagen for protein and potential beauty benefits, and turmeric for anti-inflammation; and a butterfly pea flower extract, high in anthocyanins, which are linked to anti-aging for the skin.


Other notable products and trends include:

• Upcycled ingredients
• Cookies made with whey protein for a “better-for-you” treats
• Hot sprouted almonds
• Scandinavian-style rice porridge (Risengrød or Risgrynsgröt), served warm with milk, sugar, and cinnamon
• Simmer sauces for consumers following the FODMAP diet, which avoids sugars that the small intestine absorbs poorly
• Upgraded sour creams in new flavors to use as dips or as the base for tasty sauces

Speciality Food Association


About the Author


Related Posts

Winter carboot-wine market set to be a royally good time

Winter carboot-wine market set to be a royally good time

Hawke’s Bay’s inaugural winter Carboot Wine Market for independent growers will take place at Ash Ridge this King's Birthday weekend. Six small wine producers, including Ash Ridge, Junction Wines, Alchemy Wines, Zaria, Collaboration Wines, and Known Unknown Wines will...

New reports highlight food recall system at work

New reports highlight food recall system at work

A new report by New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) identifies Salmonella in imported sesame seed-based products as the most significant food safety event of 2023, resulting in 14 recalls affecting 65 food products. The Consumer-level Food Recalls Annual Report for 2023,...