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Specialty Trends

Specialty Trends

One of the biggest challenges for retailers that carry specialty foods is staying on top of food trends, according to research from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade and Mintel. “Retailers say it’s hard to keep current with the trends,” Ron Tanner, NASFT’s vice president of communications and education, said this morning in a presentation this morning about the state of the specialty food industry.

That helps explain why thousands of food buyers flock to events like NASFT’s Fancy Food show. Those in attendance as this year’s show will certainly see that Indian is big. The aisles are packed with items like Masala Chai Concentrate from Rishi Tea; Cashews and Cream Indian Cooking sauce from Stonehouse 27 Spice Co., and a Tandoori chicken naanwich from Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Food.

Indian is not the only trend. Figs are also big in everything from preserves to salty snacks. There’s Tishbi Fig & Cabernet Wine & Fruit preserves from Fruit of the Land; Lesley Stowe’s Fig and Olive Raincoast Crisps from Lesley Stowe’s, and Fig Pear with Orange Fruit Compote from Wildly Delicious Fine Foods.

Also rising in popularity are sweet and savory items like salt and pepper chocolate bar from Olive & Sinclair and toasted almonds with truffle salt from Ritrovo.

Hibiscus is making a statement as a superflower. Both Republic of Tea and Honest Tea are showcasing hibiscus tea lines.

At a time when most consumers are seeking healthier lifestyles. health and wellness specialty foods are another growth area. Corazonas Foods, Los Angeles, launched what is says is the first line of snack foods shown to lower cholesterol, including Potato Chips, Tortilla Chips and Oatmeal Squares. The snacks are infused with plant sterols, which are proven to fight heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.