The Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas last week showcased tens of thousands of specialty foods and put a spotlight on new trends in the food industry. TheWMarketplace’s Colleen Butler was there connecting with our sellers and learning about what specialty foods are hot right now and why.

Here are four big takeaways from the trade show:

It’s all about sauces, marinades and Asian flavors

During the pandemic, people rolled up their sleeves and started cooking at home. When they ran through their usual staple of meals, they sought out new flavors to add to the repertoire. This brought about a boom in the market for sauces and marinades, which was immediately evident at the Fancy Food Show. “I personally saw hundreds of different sauces and marinades while walking around the trade show floor,” Colleen remarked, “and especially hotter and spicier flavors in general and Asian cuisine flavors in particular.”

A great example of this trend on TheWMarketplace is Me's Way, which handcrafts Vietnamese chili sauces, Zelos Authentic, with a tasty array of Greek sauces and Sepoli, which sells flavored tahini. Colleen loved connecting in person with Sepoli!

Snackification is a word, and it’s salty

Colleen heard the term “snackification” over and over, as on-the-go salty snacks are the next big thing. In fact, they are a $23.7 billion industry and more than 90 percent of households report having some in their pantry. As people start venturing out for work and pleasure again, people are snacking instead of sitting down to three big meals. Consumers are demanding fewer sweet treats and more salty options, especially those that are “healthy” – vegan, vegetarian and low fat. Throw in some innovative flavor profiles, and you have a winner. Colleen reports that there is room for smaller, innovative companies in this market.

Salty or less sweet snack food on TheWMarketplace includes Snacktivist, with it's easy to make falafel and bread mixes, B'Bites with its fruit, nut and granola snacks, and Becca's Petites with its Bouchées brand of savory snack mixes.

Say “Cheese!”

There has been a huge resurgence in specialty cheeses, and it’s driving consumer demand. Just 45 percent of consumers buy the same brand of cheese repeatedly, so there is a lot of room in this space for innovation in new flavors. This is a space where more and more businesses are trying out cheese subscription boxes to allow consumers to try new products that they wouldn’t otherwise select in a store.

Pay attention to packaging

The overarching trend in the food business is on sustainable packaging. Consumers, especially Gen Zers, are really pushing for packaging that gets the most out of the least. Reusable, Refillable, Recyclable, Biodegradable, Compostable, Plastic-free, Toxin-free – many in the industry are looking for ways to reduce our waste footprint.

Trends in the Specialty Food Industry for 2022

Trends in the Specialty Food Industry for 2022