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The Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel walked the recent Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco for three days, armed with their professional expertise and earlier predictions for Top 2020 food trends, to select eight notable specialty food and beverage Show trends. 

The Winter Show Trendspotter panel included: Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, analyst, Mintel; Monifa Dayo, consultant, chef, The Supperclub; Andrew Freeman, founder, af&co.; Illyanna Maisonet, Puerto Rican Food Columnist; Chef Tu David Phu, Top Chef Alumni, TDP Enterprises LLC; Wendy Robinson, buyer, Market Hall Foods; Leith Steel, Carbonate; Bryant Terry, author, educator, and Chef-in-Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora SF (MoAD).

Here are the panel’s picks for the top trends of the Winter Show. Go here for product examples of each trend

Regional Cuisines of Asia. Sauces, seasonings, instant noodles, and snacks reflecting the foods and ingredients of Asia’s varied regions were in the spotlight at the Winter Show.  

Oat Milk Takes Dairy-Free Center Stage. Dairy alternatives continue to grow, with oat milk dominating as new products were introduced in cheeses, creamers, butters, confections, and RTD beverages. 

Plants as Plants. As one of its Top Trends of 2020, the Trendspotter panel predicted a renewed consumer interest in whole fruits and vegetables as part of a plant-based diet and that trend was visible at the Winter Show. 

Prebiotic-Rich Functional Beverages. According to SFA’s annual State of the Specialty Food Industry research, functional beverages are part of the overall rise in popularity of specialty beverages that is helping spur specialty sales. Beverages with prebiotic benefits specifically, emerged at the Winter Show.

Sparkling and Global Teas. From antioxidant-rich and digestive-friendly varieties, to products based on indigenous tea leaves, new teas and tisanes are widespread. 

Charcuterie and Deli Meat Makeover. From grass fed, to plant based, to traditional preparation methods, charcuterie and deli meats were prevalent.  

Mocktail Culture. Mocktails, or ingredients for nonalcoholic beverages that offer sophisticated alternatives to alcohol, were on display. 

Sustainability-Driven Product and Packaging Development. More food products are working to build a stronger future for their community and the planet, whether through plant-based foods, regenerative agriculture, upcycled ingredients, or sustainable packaging.