Fancy Food Show Findings

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Each January, we find ourselves longing for bursts of sunshine and fancy food inspiration. And we then find ourselves at the Fancy Food Show, in San Francisco.

The Winter Fancy Food Show is the West Coast’s largest specialty food & beverage trade show, held annually in San Francisco in January. The partner show, the Summer Fancy Food, is held annually in NYC in June. At these shows, one may discover 80,000 + on-trend and best-in-class products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, baked goods, spirits accessories, cereals and more. Over 1,400 exhibitors (in SF) show their wares, and we walk that show, looking for information, inspiration and excitement.

And because we’ve been there for 5 years running, we have started to build a foundation of knowledge that we believe can inspire brands, agencies and innovation. From this show, we generate a report, intended to inspire and help excite agencies and client teams alike.

This year, we’d like to share a bit of our findings on our blog. Ready to partake?

The Backcast
We’ve been reviewing the show since 2012 and this summary includes a completely biased but informed backcast. This backcast is based on our own detailed observation and note-taking from both walking the show and digital sensing before / during and after.

Backcast page 1

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What is interesting to us, as we look back over the past few years, is the fickleness of some of the foods. Popcorn, so big in 2012-2013, was nowhere to be seen in 2016. Okay, maybe one or two places but not nearly the presence of previous years. Was it consumer fatigue? Market saturation? Desire for non-GMO corn? Not quite sure but it is interesting to observe.

One client observed that from cocktails and marshmallows in 2015, we see Beets and Lard in 2016! What happened to the fun? Perhaps it’s still there, but the mindset of this analyst was more interested in beets? Or perhaps the show is gradually getting healthier? No one knows for sure, although we do have some thoughts to attending Expo West in coming years to better understand the distinction between these trade expositions.

Would love to hear your thoughts or questions. And stay tuned for more from #WFFS16. Coming next, some of our favorite brands…

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