Specialty Food Association Festival Showcases Post-Pandemic F&B Trends

Post-pandemic trends in the food and beverage market have emerged at the Summer Fancy Food Festival, a trade festival in New York City.

For the first time since 2019, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) was able to put on the Summer Fancy Food Festival, where 1,900 exhibitors had the opportunity to display their wares. Experts at Inc. magazine found several emerging trends in the food and beverage industry: consumer convenience, health-conscious products, and reinvented entrepreneurship.

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Consumers prioritized food accessibility throughout the pandemic as hybrid and remote work kept many at home. This caused a spike in ecommerce and food delivery demand, according to the SFA's State of the Specialty Food Industry 2022 Survey. Now, competition is stiff, and brands are having trouble making a name for themselves in a crowded market. Those interviewed at the Summer Fancy Food Festival noted how difficult it is to contract with suppliers as a new company, and how much having a prior track record of success matters to many wholesale retailers.

SFA's survey says the health food trend isn't going anywhere soon. Companies like Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm have responded to consumer demand for health-focused food by crafting their honey with superfood infusions, including beetroot and ginger root. The plant-based specialty food market experienced exponential growth this year, SFA's survey added, and "new proteins" such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers are enticing consumers.

Additionally, entrepreneurs are adapting to a modern world, and new talent is coming to the forefront. Many new businesses run by women and people of color were highlighted at the Summer Fancy Food Festival. The SFA survey notes that politically conscious consumers are more interested in buying from these brands. New entrepreneurs are also leveraging retail distribution channels—such as food ordering apps, online shops, and more—with social media marketing. Rather than using brick-and-mortar stores, they're launching products on Amazon or creating subscription boxes filled with various products.