Top 10 Food Trends in Specialty Food for 2016

New York / NY. (sfa) Move over meat. Vegetables will get a seat at the table in 2016, rejected produce will find new life, and fat will look good again. These are some of the trends predicted for 2016 by the editors of Specialty Food News, the daily newsletter from the Specialty Food Association.

The 109 billion USD specialty food industry is driven by innovation and small-batch production. Fifty percent of consumers purchase specialty food and those numbers are expected to rise in 2016, according to Association research.

«Health and convenience come across loud and clear in 2016’s trend forecast», says Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association. «Consumers gravitate toward simpler foods and beverages, often sustainable and local, and they respond to products and new store formats that make their lives easier. But, while they may want their food simpler, they don’t want it boring. There’s always room for indulgence and new taste adventures». The predictions:

  • Vegetables Take Root: Vegetables are getting new respect, and will crop up more in teas, yogurts, and ice-cream. Seaweed is set to soar.
  • Fresh Florals: Flower power will be evident in chocolate, cheese, snack foods, carbonated water, and an expanding variety of teas.
  • Food Waste Face-Off: Food retailers, foodservice establishments and food makers will looking for more creative solutions to combat food waste.
  • Local Love: Locally sourced meats, seafood and produce will continue to attract attention from consumers who demand to know where their food comes from.
  • Fungi Frenzy: The humble mushroom is now at the intersection of several trends—vegetables, umami and foraging.
  • Snack Appeal: Snacks have new status as healthy options for meal replacements that appeal to solo diners, busy parents and even their kids.
  • Fat is Back: Full-fat products once deemed forbidden are back in style from milk to butter to red meat.
  • Convenient Shifts: Food retailers large and small are testing new strategies to lure in consumers who are looking for the best in their food and willing to pay.
  • Supermarkets for Super Health: Expect more supermarkets touting themselves as wellness centers with dieticians on staff, blood sugar testing, and nutrition classes.
  • The Latin Kitchen: From bottled gazpacho to renewed relations with Cuba, Latin American cuisine is gaining fans from food halls to high-end eateries.
  • Bonus: Other trends to watch are the next superfood (moringa), the new kale (broccoli leaves) and the latest alternative grain (millet).

The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, purveyors, importers and entrepreneurs who bring craft, care and joy to the distinctive foods they sell. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its more than 3’000 members in the U.S. and abroad the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association (formerly the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) owns and produces the Winter and Summer «Fancy Food Shows», and presents the «sofi Awards» honouring excellence in specialty food (Image: