SAN FRANCISCO -- Fancy foods have as much a place on convenience-store shelves as they do at specialty food retailers. With the numerous chips, jerky and chocolate on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco at the end of January, consumer packaged goods companies from around the world are catching on.
Certainly, their high-end spin on snacks and candy aren't your average potato chip or chocolate bar, but as consumers' tastes become more sophisticated and as functional-food attributes begin to attract more and more consumer dollars, retailers can expect category growth with some of these more innovative products lining their shelves.
Matcha is the fine powder of specially grown green tea, which produces more theanine and caffeine, giving consumers a "calm energy." But it's not just for drinking. Nuts About You offers Matcha Green Tea Almonds. These almonds are coated in matcha and are available in 4-ounce pouches.
Alternative Veggie Chips
Alternative vegetable chips, crisps and crackers are on the rise, and gaining a foothold in the c-store sphere. These Chickbean Crisps from Saffron Road are baked chips made with high-protein lentils, garbanzo beans, yellow peas and sweet potato flours. These snacks contain no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors—one serving has 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Jerky isn't just a novelty in c-stores. They've been around for a long time. What is new is the category's growing portfolio of innovative brands and flavors. A spin on the meat snack on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show is the pork rind. Epic, maker of last year's big trend in meat snacks, the meat bar, released its Pork Rinds in Sea Salt and Pepper and Texas BBQ flavors.
Not just for yogurt anymore, functional bacteria and probiotics are making an appearance in snack foods and confection as well. Blue Planet Chocolates showed its Superfoods Chocolate Squares made with baobab and chia, two functional ingredients with probiotics. They come in four flavors, including Blueberry & Chia, Espresso, Cocoa Nib and Cinnamon & Chia.
Craft beer and cocktails might be all the rage in beverages, but they're making some headway in the snacks and candy sphere, too. Whiskey sour pickles and spicy bloody mary cashews were on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show, as well as wine-flavored biscotti and bourbon barrel-aged products. Regrained snack bars are made with leftover brewing grains and come in flavors like Honey Almond IPA and Chocolate Coffee Stout.
No, not eggs. The Hatch chili is perhaps the latest entry into the on-trend pepper craze. Hatch Chili Pepper Snacks from Salem Baking Co. include Artisan Crackers, Cheese Straws and Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies.