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Special Food Association determines the most important trends for 2023

NEW YORK — Convenience will be at the forefront of consumers’ minds in 2023, according to the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) Trendspotter Panel.

The panel of culinary professionals from various industry segments surveys multiple specialty foodstuffs and companies to forecast key emerging trends for the year ahead.

“Specialty food consumers want to make meal prep easy yet exciting, and that’s what drives many of this year’s trends in convenience, packaging improvements and global flavors,” said Denise Purcell, vice president of sourcing at SFA. “At the same time, they continue to care about how their food is grown and the health benefits it offers, leading to emerging trends in sustainability, plant-based and better for you.”

Kantha said that as consumers increasingly begin to cook at home during the pandemic, the panel predicts brands will focus on providing tools and recipes for home chefs who want to make simple meals without sacrificing “authenticity, convenience or taste.” Shelke, panel member and founder of Corvus Blue LLC.

Examples of the trend are in action at SFA’s annual Summer Fancy Cooking Show, with companies like Bella San Luci offering gravy starters to help consumers create restaurant-quality meals at home. The popularity of the dinner set also led to the New York Times publishing a series of home cooking sets in September through NYT Cooking. Each set was designed by a guest chef to focus on a single cuisine made with special non-perishable ingredients.

The panel also believes that consumers will seek innovative packaging that reduces clutter while offering greater portability. Brands should similarly seek to improve the message on their labels and leverage consumer values ​​such as sustainability.

In addition to its importance in messaging, continued sustainability and environmental concerns have made eco-friendly foods ranked #2 in the panel’s 2023 trends.

“With growing unease about climate issues and their impact on the future food supply, products that contain some aspects of sustainable ingredients, upcycled ingredients or eco-friendly packaging are leading the way,” said panel member and founding director Jonathan Deutsch. Drexel Food Core Lab.

Plant-based foods and unique ingredients are helping to drive the trend as innovative practices such as mushroom, seaweed, and jackfruit-based products increase.

The panel similarly found a growing demand for alternative seafood among emerging technologies that can provide traditional flavors and textures. Better-for-you and functional foods will also continue to grow in 2023 as consumers seek to balance their interest in healthy and indulgent foods.

The panel also predicted that interest in bold and intense flavor experiences will increase in the coming year, building on the hot sauce renaissance that has begun to offer consumers nuanced taste experiences that prioritize heat and taste equally.

“What started in the hot sauce category is exploding in honey, spreads, confectionery, beverages and snacks, entering new markets, especially younger consumers, and inspiring specialty food companies to incorporate heat and seasoning into their existing product lines,” said Mikel Cirkus. , global creative director at Firmenich Inc. and a member of the SFA trends panel.

Other key trends for the panel include a growing desire for globally inspired condiments, sauces and oils; interest in international fruit drink and snack applications; and a continuous shift towards naturally occurring sweeteners.