The Summer Fancy Food Show (FFS), held at the Javits Center in New York City, featured over 2,400 exhibitors from 50+ countries on June 30th – July 2. The Symrise marketing team attended the Annual Summer Fancy Food Show to get a snapshot of where the future of food and beverage is going. We have reported our Top 12 Trends of the Summer Fancy Food Show but now look to take a deeper dive as we explore these trends.

Fermented Beverages

As we reported in our Top 12 Trends Report, there was no shortage of story telling at the FFS this summer in which fermented beverages created their own storyline. We had a chance to individually interview industry insiders, Jonathan Lawrence, Sales Manager from Vermont Village and Charlie Berkinshaw, Founder of Element [Shrub] to gain valuable insights into the fermented beverage landscape, specifically apple cider vinegar which is consumed on its own as a home remedy, to help people lose weight, cure a sore throat, reduce stomach acid, and to use in salad dressings.

We started with what was driving the fermented beverage trend and both gentlemen attributed the current boom to the mass marketing of kombucha in the U.S. Furthermore, Jonathan stated that, “This isn’t anything new, all over the world they have been doing this, we are slow to adapt to it” which brings us to the story line of “old becoming the new”. Fermented beverages are nothing new to society with the first fermented beverages making an appearance about 7000 years ago in China. Jonathan explains how the resurgence of fermented beverages in America “is driving because people’s palates are evolving” and Charlie added that “The acid and sweet was a new flavor profile and now you see a lot of sparkling natural flavors, sour beers, [consumers are] just trending away from sweet."

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Charlie continued stating part of the trend “built up because of the want to reduce sugar intake and reduce sweet flavor”. We agree that Consumers are seeking healthier alternatives with a new flavor profile and fermented beverages, specifically apple cider vinegar, satisfies both the health conscious as they consume it as a home remedy because of its numerous health benefits, and it has the flavor aspect consumers are looking for. It's also known to help people lose weight, can aid with excess stomach acid, and can prevent a sore throat. As consumers become more familiar with these “old” beverages they will continue to find new tricks beyond what Charlie cites the current application of “mixing with seltzers, cooking, use for a salad dressings and baking”.

Keep it Simple

This next trend is no different, it is called “keep it simple” and it refers to the ingredients list and keeping ingredients to a minimum. Products that “keep it simple” from the Fancy Food Show include Keep Health Inc.’s snack bars which offer products with as little as two ingredients up to eleven, Remedy Organics which offers small batch 100% plant based protein drinks that offer various health benefits and finally, That’s It, a natural bar company that has a maximum of 5 or fewer ingredients!

This trend of “keep it simple” fits into a larger trend Symrise has identified in our TrendScope 2018+. It is a trend we expect to continue gaining steam as consumers are celebrating taste and focusing on fewer, simple and pure ingredients. Innovative players are exploring the potential of true taste by eliminating artificial ingredients. One product exemplifies the “simple trend” is That’s It - their fruit bars’ ingredient list is nothing more than 1 apple and 12 strawberries

Bourbon/Barrel Aging

Finally, bourbon and barrel aging were two standout flavors/processes that could be seen through sweet and savory categories. We were able to sit down with Chris White, Founder and co-owner of Mounts Mansfield Maple and Laura Sorkin, Co-owner, from Runamok Maple to get a better understanding of the bourbon / barrel aging craze.

It may be a surprise to see bourbon / barrel aging in sweet and savory products that aren't naturally associated with alcohol however, Chris put it perfectly saying, “bourbon is a widely known, well celebrated flavor” with a “flavor that is wonderful; cloves, vanilla and charred oak” and when combined with other products is very complimentary. This comes as no surprise as we saw bourbon and barrel aging in grilling sauces, jerkies, fruit preserves and of course in many maple syrups such as Runamok Maple, Mounts Mansfield Maple and Dorset Maple Reserve.

Related Article: The Top 10 Flavor Trends From 2018

The process to create a bourbon barrel aging product is often as craft as the product itself. There are a wide range of bourbons, not all created equal, of which starting “with fine ingredients to end with a finer product” is the premium indulgence consumers are after. Laura went onto explain that the craft is labor intensive, “We taste it at 6 months and every month after that. It’s not as easy as putting in the barrel and walking away for a year. The wood is tricky we need to make sure the sugar levels are right when it’s finished.” Sugar can make the wood crack and humidity is an issue, it is clear that a lot of time and passion goes into the barrel aging, creating a product of labor & love.

We left the Summer Fancy Food Show with an appreciation for the information and insights on trends currently in the industry and with an excitement for the trends we will see at the Winter Fancy Food show happening January 13-15 in San Francisco.

We would like to continue the discussion with you on the latest trends in food and beverage from the Fancy Food Show. Please contact your Symrise account manager or Sasha Bertran (, if you are interested in setting up a discussion around how you can leverage these insights for your brands.

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