Basic Napa Cabbage Kimchi recipe and photo from CHOW
Each winter, food companies descend upon San Francisco for the Fancy Food Show, the largest gathering of specialty foods and beverages on the West Coast. There, 1,400 purveyors, from one-person businesses selling artisan products to top-10 food corporations that represent household names, display what new products will be on offer for the coming year.
Provisions on display aren’t just telling of what’s hot with consumers now—they’re also an indicator of the next big food products to come. Take last year’s show, which was overrun with creative popcorn combinations and chickpea snacks. On a recent trip to the grocer, the snack aisle was boasting—you guessed it—bags of jalapeño and popcorn snack mix as well as wasabi- and falafel-flavored crunchy chickpeas.
With that in mind, here are seven products that were all over the show this year, and by that logic, are sure to be on supermarket shelves soon, too.
1. Peanut Butter Powder
In recent years, peanut butter’s been met with a lot of competition from almond, cashew, sunflower seed, and other nut butters. Now the original nut butter appears to be making a comeback, only perhaps not in the way one might expect it: peanut butter was all over the show in powdered form. Brands like PB2, Peanut Butter & Co., and Tru-Nut boast reduced calorie and fat content, thanks to a process that involves pressing peanuts of their oil. The result is a product that’s ideal for baking, blending into smoothies, or rehydrating with water to create a spread with up to 85 percent less fat and calories than the average peanut butter spread. Also on hand at the show: Peanut Hottie, a product billed as the world’s first powdered peanut hot drink.
2. Spicy Fermented Foods
You couldn’t walk for a few minutes without running into a booth that served some type of spicy fermented product. Sonoma Brinery was sampling a curtido, as well as a jalapeño escabeche that will launch this spring. Kimchi was everywhere in spicy (Genuine Grub) and even spicier (Mama O’s Kimchi) renditions, and a few brands based out of New York, like Mother In Law’s Kimchi and We Rub You, were showing off various flavors of gochujang, a fermented Korean paste made with chili, rice, and fermented soybeans.
3. Turmeric in Everything
Turmeric has officially eclipsed kale in the “trendiest health ingredient” category. The yellow Indian root, which is praised for its anti-inflammatory properties, was seen in everything at the show from rice to ginger ale to fresh-pressed juices to flavored teas. Its slightly bitter, metallic flavor fares best when paired with sweeter ingredients; think Republic of Tea Cinnamon Turmeric Tea or Purity Carrot Turmeric Mango juice.
4. High-Quality Beef Jerky
The popular paleo lifestyle shows no sign of slowing down. One of fringe benefits of that, whether your diet skews caveman or not, is the number of high-quality beef jerky brands that have gained traction. Epic, out of Austin, Texas, offers grass-fed lamb, pork, turkey, and bison jerky bites; Boulder-based Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats demoed bourbon-glazed “steak strips”; and Uncle Andy’s Jerky from Fort Collins, Colorado, had creative flavors like Southern Gent Lemon Mint and Bandito Coffee beef jerky at its booth. At the show, you could even try Perky Jerky, the world’s “first ever meat snack with energizing properties” (read: caffeine).
If you’ve never heard of ‘Nduja, trust us: you will soon. The spicy, spreadable salami, which hails from Calabria, Italy, was all over the showroom floor. Chicago-based ‘Nduja Artisans was serving a 40-pound version with hormone-free pork that was the talk of the show, and Iowa prosciutto maker La Quercia launched its very own ‘Nduja Americano in the new year. St. Louis-based Salume Beddu was also serving its own version on crackers. ‘Nduja, its makers were quick to point out, isn’t just for bread or crackers; it can be added to everything from soup to pasta sauce to add a meaty, fiery kick.
6. Chia Yogurt
America’s favorite on-the-go breakfast, yogurt, appears to have hit it off with the seed of the moment, chia. The two were seen paired up at the Stonyfield Organic booth, where guests were sampling cups of Greek yogurt and gelatinous chia seed with red berries, blueberries, or pears. A smaller yogurt brand, The Epic Seed, makes similar Greek yogurt and chia combinations in flavors like peach and coconut, but with a focus on 150-calorie, high-protein packs. Of course, there’s something for the dairy-free consumer as well: The Chia Co.’s Chia Pods, which are sold in the yogurt aisle, but made only with chia, fruit, and coconut milk.
7. Creative Uses for Quinoa
Quinoa may have saturated the market as a side dish, but expect to start seeing much more of it where you might not expect it. The ancient Peruvian grain was spotted in corn tortilla chips with flaxseed, popped as a cereal, as a crunchy accent in chocolate, and even pressed into a milk. For breakfast this year, imagine tucking into a bowl of cereal and milk made with nothing but quinoa. What a concept!