January 25, 2011

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend two big food-centric events in San Francisco. First up was the inaugural ceremony for the

My next San Francisco mission was to attend the massive Winter Fancy Food Show. (Yes, this trip involved lots of eating. I combated that by renting a bike and spending a beautiful free Saturday riding from Golden Gate Park to Sausalito. What a great way to experience the city and negate some of the winter chill we’ve endured in Birmingham recently.)

 I knew my day at the Fancy Food Show would be super-packed. Not only was I in search of new items to feature in Cooking Light’s Taste Test Awards this October, I was serving as part of the show’s Trendspotting Committee. My seven cohorts and I were looking for overarching themes present in the 80,000 (no, not an exaggeration!) food launches that covered the convention floor. Here are the trends we collectively identified:

Chocolate for Breakfast: Tea, Belgian waffles, granola, and hot chocolate on a stick.

Foods for Healing: Ancient healing teas, Blackwater with 77 minerals, aloe and cucumber drinks, plus micro-batches of healthful beverages.

New Noodles: Yam, kelp, faro, and spelt.

Heat with Flavor: Ghost peppers, yuzu-wasabi sauce, and piquillo almond glop.

Creative Chips: pinto bean, naan, peas, mung beans, kale and wild rice.

Not all of those fit into the balanced CL philosophy (weirdest thing I spotted: a caviar kit for childrens’ lunchboxes. Good luck with that), but they’re things you’ll probably see influence supermarket shelves in the coming year. As for the tastier items among the mix, you’ll likely see them in our 2nd annual Taste Test Awards this October.

In the meantime, here’s more virtual window-shopping courtesy of Lori Midson's Top 25 Food Porn Photos from the Fancy Food Show at Westword.

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