For a sample of up-and-coming food trends, professionals in the culinary industry flock to the annual summer Fancy Food Show. The event—the largest exhibition of foods and beverages in North America—dates back to 1955 and is famous for bringing together food purveyors from around the world. 2013's show was held at the Javits Center in New York City, from June 30 to July 2nd. Here's a taste of the biggest trends at this year's show, and what we might see on grocery store shelves within the next year (courtesy of reports from Forbes, Serious Eats, The Braiser, and The Daily Meal).
America's rising interest in Mediterranean food has been fueled by new research that the region's diet is the healthiest on earth. Centered around fruits and vegetables, legumes, and healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and fish, traditional eating habits in Mediterranean countries have wide-ranging benefits, including significant decreases in the risk of heart disease. As a result, countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy were front and center in this year's Fancy Food Show. Olive oil, olives, yogurt (Greek yogurt in addition to less common brands of sheep and goat milk yogurt), and other Mediterranean foods aren't new to American markets; the quality of those foods, though, looks to be increasing as more artisanal companies emerge.
Pasta, bread, cookies, crackers, and other traditionally wheat-based foods were everywhere in gluten-free varieties. Shoppers can expect to see more options for gluten-free products in grocery stores, with less common wheat replacements like quinoa.
In many sections, the Fancy Food Show seemed like more of a fancy cheese show—artisanal cheeses were everywhere. No longer confined to high-end shopping or specialty food stores, this pattern suggests that more grocery stores will make room for stinky cheeses of all kinds. The presence of less processed cheeses was also reflective of a move toward less processed food in general. Cured meats, for instance, were often advertised as hormone and antibiotic-free, domestically-produced, and made with traditional methods.
There's always a place for oddities at the Fancy Food Show, whether they end up successful or a flash in the pan. This year's inventive foods included jelly bean-flavored cake bites by Jelly Belly, hot chili-flavored jello snacks, and chocolate Easter eggs inside whole eggshells.