Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2012

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.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/62387

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Page 3 of 103

EDITOR'S LETTER Trendspotting at the sofi Awards Judging A s I write this, Part 1 of the sofi Awards competition is under way and a panel of judges is immersed in tasting and evaluating entries across 30 categories ranging from Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa or Dip to Vinegar. (Part 2 judging, which covers the final two categories, New Product and Product Line, takes place later this month.) Last year, I devoted an editor's letter to the trends we saw during sofi judging and got such great response, I'm doing the same thing this year. To give you an idea of the scope of this first round of judging, a total of 1,935 products have been submitted—a 17 percent increase over last year. As we've watched the shelves around the NASFT office fill up with entries, we've been taking an advance peek at the products, all in the name of trendspotting. Here, with help from Associate Editor Eva Meszaros, is some of what we're seeing. (If you missed it, you can follow our editorial team's coverage of Part 1 and, soon, Part 2 of sofi judging at foodspring.com/sofiawards.) t Seeds, such as sunflower, caraway, poppy, pumpkin and sesame are taking center stage. They are prevalent in crackers, but their presence is extending to sweets—such as sesame seeds mixed in a caramel sauce, cookies with caraway seeds, and brittle with pumpkin seeds—and dressings such as black sesame vinaigrette. t Lavender is big again. This flavor and ingredient trend that was rampant in the late 1990s has returned in infused vinegars, oils, jams, ice creams and even cheese. Products we spotted included lavender pear jam and honey lavender ice cream; the floral ingredient was also used as a flavor note in an ale-infused cow's milk cheese. t Savory ingredients are popping up in baked goods. Bacon, paprika, roasted garlic, caraway and fennel are just a few flavors on offer in a line of shortbread cookies. The Cookie category also showcased varieties such as sesame-almond biscuits and rosemary-sesame cookies. t Other emerging or continuing flavor trends include maple, apple, walnut, bacon and horseradish. Cran- berry maple duck sausage, apple walnut smoked cheese, bacon butter, horseradish cheddar spread, maple bacon whipped mustard, apple rum walnut conserve, peppercorn horseradish sauce. I could go on. Staying on top of what's happening with trends is clearly a key to helping you remain competitive. You'll find more useful trend information throughout this issue of Specialty Food Magazine, including the movement toward domestic cured meats (p. 54) and a resurgence of classic salty-sweet treats such as chocolate-covered nuts and pretzels (p. 26). But knowing the hot trends doesn't guarantee success—as either a supplier or a retailer. That's why, when select- ing this year's five NASFT Outstanding Retailers, we assessed entries based on factors such as how well a store inno- vates, provides exceptional customer service and, of course, responds to product and service trends. This year's award recipients all exemplify the passion and purpose that make a store a great destination. Turn to p. 61 to read about the winners and learn what about their business practices may help you build your own business. In the meantime, we want to know if any of the sofi trends match what you're seeing on the market. Give us your feedback at specialtyfood.com/dpurcell/sofitrends2012. |SFM| By Denise Purcell HAVE A COMMENT? Visit specialtyfood.com/dpurcell/sofitrends2012 Editor, Specialty Food Magazine dpurcell@nasft.org facebook.com/specialtyfoodmedia MAY/JUNE 2012 1

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