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Trendwatch at the 2016 Summer Fancy Food Show

The Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show is a gigantic affair, and one that no single person can fully encapsulate. I was lucky enough to spend a good portion of my day yesterday attending the show, and over the course of a few hours, I was able to meet a variety of specialty food producers, try some interesting new products and even spot a few trends that seem to be on the rise.

As we’ve reported in the past, flavor combinations are becoming incredibly popular, and the Summer Fancy Food Show was not an exception. Some of the more interesting products I got to try included a mango-habanero cheddar (think sweet meets savory meets sharp), a delicious Thai chicken paella and even jalapeno popper popcorn. These flavors were all unique and interesting, a trend that’s been evolving within the specialty food sector and the greater food industry for years.

Gourmet potato chips also had a strong presence at the show; it seemed every time I turned the corner, I found another vendor with a portfolio of delicious chips. Some relied on interesting flavors (pineapple-buffalo, for example) while others relied upon cooking techniques. There was no shortage of “healthy” options either, including snacks made from potatoes the conventional way and others using different vegetables to create crisps.

Continuing a trend we noticed last year, kombucha producers were abound at the show. Both cold and hot versions were available, and I remember particularly enjoying a cold coconut-lime-mint variety. Cold brew coffee was also a popular product at the show, with a number of producers offering their take on the emerging beverage.

Like I said earlier, the Summer Fancy Food Show is too big for one person alone to review. Although I spent a few hours on the floor enjoying the wares, I feel like I could have spent another day fully exploring every vendor. Were you at the show? What products do you think will be the next big thing?