Fruit- and vegetable-forward plant-based foods, especially snacks, oat milk dairy-free alternatives, and functional beverages are some leading trends seen by the SFA Trendspotter panel on Day 2 of the Winter Fancy Food Show.

The panel is composed of buyers, chefs, industry watchers, and educators, who have been combing the exhibit halls to report daily on emerging and evolving trends. Here are some of the latest they have spotted, with examples of each. More product examples can be found throughout the show floor.

New Directions in Plant-Based

From products with pumped up protein via legumes, to a refocus on fruits and vegetables themselves in whole-food form, innovations continue in plant-based foods. Snacks, particularly, are trending says the panel. “While plant-based meats and savory replacements have been on the scene for some time, plant-based snacks seem to be the rage this year,” says Andrew Freeman, trendspotter and founder of af&co.

Fruit- and vegetable-focused plant-based innovations include: Down to Eat Veggie mixes, which combine raw vegetables into meat alternatives such as broccoli burgers; Mooney Farms Bella Sun Luci Tomato Jerky; Pitaya Plus frozen organic jackfruit and passionfruit bite-sized pieces; and Sugimoto Co., Ltd., Shiitake Mushrooms, naturally cultivated outdoors on sweet sap oak logs and grown by local farmers on Kyushu, a southern island of Japan.

In the plant-based snack realm, The Daily Crave’s Beyond Churros are made with a grain-free blend of black beans, red lentils, potato, and cassava. Don Bugito protein snacks are made from edible insects, and inspired by pre-Columbian Mexican cuisine, and Everton Toffee Company Sunflower Chips are made with sunflower kernels.

Oat Milk Takes Dairy-Free Center Stage

Dairy alternatives continue to grow, with oat milk dominating at the show as new products are introduced in creamers, butter, confections, and RTD beverages. Some examples include Califia Farms Oatmilk Creamer, Endangered Species Chocolate Oat Milk Chocolate Bars, Rise Brewing Co. Oat Milk Latte Nitro Cold Brew Coffee, and Miyoko’s Creamery cultured vegan oat milk butter.

Functional Beverages

Functional beverages are part of the overall rise in popularity of specialty beverages that is helping to spur specialty sales, said Mintel’s David Lockwood and David Browne in the education session, 5 Key Drivers in Specialty Food, held on Sunday. The Trendspotter panel also sees continuing innovations in functional beverages, in particular those with antioxidant, prebiotic, and probiotic benefits. Examples include Teranga Baobab Juices, made with baobab, an antioxidant- and prebiotic-rich fruit grown on trees throughout Africa; Tarta, a sparkling balsamic seltzer that has similar functional benefits as sipping vinegars; Alo Drink Collagen Aloe Water; and Mayawell Sparkling Prebiotic Beverage.

The official SFA Trendspotter panel Winter Show trends will be released soon in Specialty Food News.

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