As we are getting ready to embark on the Natural Products Expo West Show – the largest natural and organic tradeshow in the world – in Anaheim on March 9, 2016, I still am thinking about the companies I visited and the trends I saw at the Winter Fancy Food Show held in San Francisco in January.

The Winter Fancy Food Show had over 1,500 exhibitors and more than 1,000 new products and is the largest specialty food trade show on the West Coast. When we first started attending this trade show about eight years ago, the focus of the show (or at least to us) was all about confections, variety of cheeses, appetizers and specialty beverages. Over the years, the show has somewhat morphed into a smaller version of the Natural Products Expo West, with new innovations of all natural and organic foods, lots and lots of protein products and spicier ingredients showing up in abundant. While I am enjoying the change and the new innovations, I wanted to showcase some of the companies I saw that stuck out to me.

We all Scream for Ice Cream

We visited the CoolHaus exhibit and of course had to sample all of their products. Coolhaus is cool! There is now other way to put it. The ingredients are refreshing, new and different than what you would expect in ice cream. I would never have thought of all of the diverse tastes that come together to complement each other to go into a scoop of ice cream, but Natasha Case has mastered this concept. They are truly innovative and creative. Check out their website to learn more: CoolHaus

We then moved down the hallway and visited Choctal. Choctal had another spin on serving its cream by focusing on serving single-origin chocolate and vanilla. It is amazing to me how chocolate or vanilla tastes so much different when single sourced from regions all over the world. What a great concept. I know that the price of vanilla has skyrocketed recently, and I hope that it does not adversely affect the Choctal brand. Do yourself a favor and check out Choctal here.

Wisconsin Cheese? No, Mexican Style Cheese

We have been walking the floor of the Fancy Food Show for a number of years, and we always make our way to the rows of cheese exhibitors. We find it difficult to get out of this section because the variety is so great and the diverse tastes of the cheese makers are even better.

This year was the first time we noticed that Cacique showcased their cheeses. For those who do not know, Cacique is the largest fresh cheese maker in the United States and the #1 brand of Mexican-style cheeses, Chorizos and Cremas. We sampled the Queso Fresco and found it to be extremely creamy. It was nice to see them exhibiting their new and go-to products at the show. Please check Cacique out here.

Anyone for Appetizers?

It would be hard to imagine the Winter Fancy Food Show without its share of appetizers so we worked our way to The Perfect Bite. Teri Valentine has been exhibiting at the show for longer than we have been attending, and her varieties of appetizers continue to expand. Each time we visit The Perfect Bite exhibit, there are more new products being exhibited. The company has more than 200 SKUs for its customers, and they keep looking for ways to innovate with new products and packaging. We were unable to sample all 200 SKUs (although we tried!). Learn more about The Perfect Bite here.

While Fancy Foods was interesting, I look forward to sharing some of the new products and trends that we discovered at the Natural Food Expo West coming up in March. In the meantime, you are welcome to read our past post on the 2015 event by clicking here.

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Donald Snyder

Donald Snyder, CPA, has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting. He provides audit, accounting and advisory services to clients in numerous industries, including food and beverage, restaurant, manufacturing, wholesale/distribution and technology. Donald is a well-known business…Learn More