Top 5 Food Trends at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2020

Concocting a game plan as a first timer for the massive Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco is very daunting. With tantalizing food from all over the world, my senses, especially smell and sight, were on high alert right when I stepped on the escalator jetting down to the expo area.

With the best cheese booth sign so apparent, I was drawn to the European area first then made my way to the Asian section and, finally, to desserts. There is really no right way to explore the food show, but I came with an open mind and a hungry tummy!

Cheese galore - where I feasted first.
Without further ado, here are the food trends to watch out for in 2020:

1. Traditional foods reinvented
An ingredient that is a regular staple in your kitchen has been amped up by numerous food suppliers. Some of which have mixed them with other major ingredients or have cooked them in another technique, resulting into a different flavor. A few of those who embraced this trend are Unio's cava wine vinegar from Spain, which is perfect for pickled vegetables, and Anya's Apothekere's fermented honey sauce that is great for meats according to chef Anya herself, who I spoke to at their booth.
Cava wine vinegar from Spain. Sweet with a warm tingly sensation.
Fermented honey sauce on chicken wings, perhaps? 
2. Under-the-radar superfoods
Let's admit it. The superfood trend is not going to wane any time soon since there are so many that have yet to make it to the mainstream Western market. I still vividly remember coming to America as a teenager eons ago at a time when Starbucks didn't carry any matcha drinks, whereas cafes in Asia already had matcha on their menu.

Similarly, what I saw at this year's Winter Fancy Food Show suggests that the next superfoods that are under the Western radar are still coming mostly from Asia, beginning with Ashapops' popped water lily seeds, an LA-based company which traces their roots in India, Pocasville's dragon fruit chips, and Matoh's cassava chips. The latter two's main ingredient are common in Southeast Asia.

Lily pods, anyone?
Another kale chips in the making- dragon fruit chips!
3. New packaging that makes food easier to procure and store
With some fresh ingredients difficult and sometimes expensive to procure, a few companies have created new alternatives to make certain ingredients easier to travel with and store for a longer shelf life. Whether it is air dried kaffir lime leaves or a toothpaste-like lavender paste from Taylor & Colledge, these items are packed with intense flavor.

Kaffir lime and banana blossom are both hard to find in the US.
From afar, I really thought these are the next Hello toothpaste. NOT!
4. Health and wellness elixirs
For tea addicts, there is another reason to add one or more flavors to your tea collection. Tea infusions, such as Republic of Tea's Clean Beauty with sea buckthorn berry, aloe vera, hibiscus, rose hip and milk thistle, combine multiple healthy ingredients to target concerns, specifically anti-aging, while wellness shots, such as Haymaker's elderberry, strengthen the immune system.
A restful, beauty pitstop in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the expo. 
5. Upcycling 
Sustainability has been a hot topic in recent years not only in the food industry but also in beauty, retail, and others. Oakland-based Renewal Mill takes food sustainability to heart with its upcycled products, which is generated from recycling food manufacturing byproducts, such as their chocolate chip cookie made with okara, a byproduct of soymilk production, flour.
Renewal Mill's okara flour
What do you think about these food trends? Feel free to leave a comment or email me at

See you at the next Fancy Food Show!

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