Everybody is Doing It: Fancy Foods Show Trends You Can't Ignore

We stuffed our faces at the Fancy Foods Show in NYC so that you didn’t have to. Here’s what we found out.

Let’s talk about packaging. You tick all the right boxes in terms of local, sustainable, humane, etc. Why not sell the right boxes too? There were all sorts of new innovations in disposable (and compostable!) packaging at this year’s show. If customers appreciate seeing “Sustainable” next to a hunk of Alaskan Salmon, there’s a good chance they’ll love spotting it on your bamboo to-go cartons too.

Specialty (ahem) water. We thought this would go away. We’re still sort of surprised it hasn’t. Consumers apparently still want water in fancy bottles from far-off places. Do with that information what you will. We are just sort of rubbing our eyes and staring out the window.

It’s not about the product. It’s about the story. How do you differentiate yourself when you sell something as ubiquitous as olive oil? Did your great-grandfather hijack a German U-Boat to smuggle a hectare’s worth of extra-extra-extra virgin vines out of Mussolini’s country estate? No? Well, based on what we saw at the show, you may as well label your stuff “Wal-Mart Reject #724” and move on. Or you could head over to the local history department (read: Google) and conjure up a good tale of your own.

Except when it’s about the product. You sell seaweed? Great. Lots of people sell seaweed. Time to put on your lab coat. We saw seaweed infused with Sriracha. We saw ice cream infused with tea. Our sales team practically infused themselves to death with free samples of infusions. Maybe it’s just that infusion technology has finally caught up with the original dream of the Combos creators (pizza infused pretzels, anyone?). Or maybe it’s that the struggle to come up with unique—if not, gimmicky—products has reached a fever pitch. Either way, time to start taking a hard look at your pantry shelves. See two items that have nothing to do with each other? Congratulations, you are one infusion away from the next big thing.