Food Trade Show Trends 2012

by Natalie Shmulik

Here are some noteworthy trends popping up and sticking around in the current marketplace:

  1. The Hempest: Starbucks is currently working on its latest cold coffee creation – a blend of hemp and coffee beans.
  2. Lactose and gluten-free: Whether for health, allergy and intolerance, or simply to jump on the bandwagon, people are continuing to flock to gluten and lactose-free products. These signs are beginning to appear as often as the prominent Kosher symbol.
  3. Lobster-less lobster rolls: That’s right, it looks like crab may be stepping on the tail of its bottom-feeding brother. And dare I say, it actually tastes better!
  4. Hot fish-dog? Even though seafood sausages have been gradually making their way onto the grill for years now, the omega-3 franks are actually starting to overtake their mammal-made predecessors. Aquacuisine Seafood has come out with a remarkably delicious Wild Alaskan Salmon hot dog that is completely gluten-free.
  5. Kitchenware is the new dishware: Frying pans, mixing bowls, and fry baskets are making their way out of the kitchen and into restaurant dining areas. From full-sized to personalized, watch out for some plate-free servings of your favorite meals.
  6. Red velvet: Yep…that’s still happening.
  7. Celebrity-endorsed: Of course famous faces have always been plastered on product packages for a boost in sales, so why should this year be any different? Celebrity chefs made appearances on a multitude of spices, sauces, and kitchenware, although the chefs themselves were nowhere to be found.
  8. Anti-slip mixing: Ever get tired of holding down your mixing bowl while whipping up some peak egg whites? The slip-proof Staybowlizer is here to save the day.
  9. Panela: Garnering attention and pushing its way into the “natural” sugar department, Panela, an unrefined cane sugar from Latin America, is said to have 50 times more minerals than white sugar.
  10. Merke: Move over BBQ, there’s a new spice in town. Merken, a Chilean spice blend, is making its way onto chips, in dips, and even kicking up the flavor in a variety olive oils.
  11. Automatics/ready to go: Oatmeal from machines, instant cupcake dispensers and vending machines serving everything from hot dogs to ice cream.
  12. Chai everything: From newly formed tea-pouches, loose-leaf steepers, flavored syrups and instant powders, chai took over the trade show. This tasty tea blend is gradually making the move from hot, milky beverage to solid snacks, including chai-infused popcorn, chocolates and trail-mix.

Natalie Shmulik is a Gastronomy student. After successfully running her own restaurant for two years and working in one of the largest grocery chains in Toronto, Canada, Natalie ventured into the culinary world of New England. She is currently a member of the Gastronomy Students’ Association and is working on several food related projects.


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