Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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What trends will drive consumers this winter holiday season? Our Tomato Beet mixer is another new product we're excited about. Even though beets are trending, they can still be polarizing. But the feedback we've gotten so far has been great. We've also just launched a Citrus Agave mixer as we're seeing people skew away from cane sugar and we're happy to offer something for these customers. In terms of spirit trends, mezcal is just beginning to come out on the scene but is definitely trending. I almost think of it as a whiskey as it has the complexities of an aged spirit. Producers are responding to the increased interest in mezcal as a sippable drink by paying more attention to the agave plant and the process. You are seeing more nuanced f lavors and higher prices because of it. We love mixing our Grapefruit Honey mixer with mezcal; with an orange peel it's the perfect cocktail for winter months—very warming and well balanced. Liz Martinez, director of product, Bi-Rite Family of Businesses There's still a huge emphasis on having prepared foods avail- able for all occasions. Dietary concerns need to be respected but we choose not to emphasize that aspect even though we provide these dishes as a service for folks. It's a fun challenge to engineer something that's delicious and wonderful on all accounts but also happens to be vegan or not include nuts or cheese. Specifically, in prepared foods, more and more, we are seeing folks wanting a full package that is ready and available for them to choose. Something with a specific serving size that's a full meal and just needs one or two other things added on like the wine or dessert. For holiday gifts, people are looking for something that's unique and still also really local or regional. We've had a lot of success when we bring in the newest, latest, coolest creation from one of our local purveyors. A great example was last year, Rustic Bakery made these beautiful glazed gingerbread tiles that came in a windowed box with a great price point. We're always looking for things that hit those elements—more mod- ern, slick packaging, a good price point and some kind of story behind it. We're open to those products even if they come up at the last minute and even if it's on top of things we had to commit to months in advance. Susan Segrest is a contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine. Q: Kara Nielsen, manager of sales and engage- ment manager USA, Innova Market Insights We'll continue to see a strong interest in foods that are accept- able for the broadest range of special diets. Last year, for example, there was a big increase in searches for vegan recipes that hit a peak in October and also rose again right before Christmas. There is a real opportunity for specialty food sup- pliers and retailers to offer prepared holiday meals and meal kits catering to special diets. Retailers can help their customers with displays of their vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, or plant-based foods so they can quickly pick up gifts or just ingredients for entertain- ing. Specifically, appetizers and party nibbles that are gluten- free and vegan are something I see more around the holidays as hosts are trying to make sure that all their guests will have something they can enjoy. Kari Morris, owner, Morris Kitchen One thing we are seeing more of are clean, simple, almost healthy cocktails using better-for-you ingredients. We con- tinue to see a lot of interest in ginger but, for example, add- ing a surprise element to our Ginger Spice mixer—such as turmeric—creates a completely different, more nuanced cocktail. Using activated charcoal in a Dark and Stormy is a great way to add rich contrasting color. While reading about Sir Kensington's Fabonnaise it dawned on me to use chick- pea water (aquafaba) instead of egg whites which can add a very interesting texture and easily turn a care-free summer drink into a festive holiday cocktail. Also hosts can set up a make-your-own cocktail station with 2-3 spirits, mixers, and garnishes so that guests can have fun and also customize their own experience whether making boozy drinks or healthier sodas in just a few short steps. 5 TRENDS FOR THE HOLIDAYS • Vegan recipes • Vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, plant-based foods • Make-your-own cocktail stations at parties • Mezcal • Local, regional gifts FALL 2017 77

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