The Winter Fancy Food Show every January in San Francisco is always a busy couple days, mostly of sensory and tastebuds overload. I don’t always get to go to check it out, but I was able to make time in my schedule this year and got up there for a day to rush through the show and see what things were new and trending.
Not a whole lot really jumped out at me, but I did see and taste a few new things that got my attention. One was bugs – crickets and worms. I have been hearing more about them, even have heard about a cricket farm in Los Angeles now producing this ingredient that is very sustainable and has more protein than chicken. In many parts of the world, bugs are a very important source of nutrition. At the FFS Incubator Alley (an area that had several early stage start-up companies) is where I found Don Bugito, a line of snacks for the Bay Area. They were crunchy and good, the flavor mostly came from the coatings. Dark chocolate covered crickets were my favorite.
Another interesting product I found was a “coffee alternative” which was ground cacao beans. When you brew the cacao just was you would coffee, you get a nice hot drink that is caffeine free. I don’t know that I would call it a coffee alternative, tho you brew it similarly, but it doesn’t have the body that I would expect from a cup of coffee. It was more like a tea or matte, a bit thinner than a cup of coffee. But the taste was nice. I think it would make a nice hot beverage for the evening.
Those were the 2 things that stuck out the most in my mind on my long drive back to Southern California. There was definitely much much more there. A lot of condiments got my attention, as they usually do, some new flavor profiles for existing product lines and some brands that I know from other continents who are now making inroads into the US market (Nando’s peri-peri hot sauce from Africa for example).
All in all, no real breakout new flavor or product that I noticed, but many quality items that keeps us interested in the food world.