Winter Fancy Food Show

January 17, 2019

At the Winter Fancy Food Show this week in San Francisco, there was a session hosted by Mintel on the Future of Specialty Foods. As specialty foods are growing faster than any other food segment, it’s fascinating to follow along with the trends and predictions. We’re covering some of the highlights.

Four characteristics of specialty foods:

  1. Quality and authenticity of ingredients
  2. Integrity of product creation (artisan, hand crafted, small batch)
    • Makers need to tell story and then retailers can retell story
  3. Unique and relevant packaging – biodegradable, edible, natural material
  4. Cause related passion and ethos for doing good (people, community, sustainable practices)


Why do Buyers purchase specialty food?

  1. Interesting or unusual tastes
  2. Clean labels
  3. Superior quality and taste
  4. Authentic ethnic


Where do Buyers go for inspiration?

  1. Food shows
  2. Trade communications
  3. Restaurant menus – trends start in food service
  4. Cooking magazines (what ingredient is appearing again and again)


Specialty Food Stats:

Snacks are 27.6% of specialty foods


Plant-based items make up a third of specialty foods


Future Opportunities:

Millennialis and iGen are most likely to be serial dieters (whole 30, paleo, keto). This serial nature provides new opportunities for food manufacturers.


Lots of growth in the perimeter of stores. Prepared foods have seen major growth and retailers are reporting shoppers coming in the store for one meal, maybe a snack and a drink. Shopping patterns have greatly changed.


Retailers are seeing a big opportunity with consumers actually buying local. Not just saying it as lip service as previous generations might have.


Honesty and authenticity still rule supreme. You have to have a story and live by that story through and through.


Customers are looking for brands and retailers to be connected to their community.


Functional foods are a big trend on the product landscape.


Future Threats:

Ecommerce is changing the way we go to market and the online market is the biggest threat to the grocery industry. They are focusing on experience to drive consumers into the store.


Major labor issues with the food industry – less chefs and back of house than ever before, lots of problems with drivers and trucks.


In the current landscape, you HAVE to move quick. Trends are changing faster than ever and the competitive market has never been so crowded.


Next big enemy of the food business is plastic.

Tags: fancy food show, food trends, specialty food, winter fancy food

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