You’ll be Eating This Next Year

That’s no Oscar.
The toques! The domed plate covers! It can only be the sofis.

You might not know the award, but you know the winners.
The Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation, or sofi, is the top honor in the specialty food industry. Past winners include the Republic Of Tea, Rick’s Picks, Stonewall Kitchen, Cypress Grove Chevre, O Olive Oil, and the list goes on. If you pay attention to these things you know the names; if not, I can guarantee they are on the shelves of your neighborhood market and making their way onto local menus. This year’s finalists were just announced, and the odds are you’ll be seeing them soon too.

The sofi nominees are selected at the Fancy Food Show, the industry’s twice-yearly marketplace and schmoozefest that’s attended by everybody that’s anybody in specialty foods. The events draw executive chefs, supermarket buyers, specialty retailers, the food press, and even a few lucky civilians who can be easily spotted for their blissed-out looks and tote bags overflowing with a free haul of artisan meats, exotic condiments, 6 colors of finishing salts, and 92% cacao chocolate truffles. This is where the tastemakers decide what’s in, what’s out, and what’s on the horizon. These are the trends and ingredients that will first break with the fervid foodies of the Open Table crowd, and eventually trickle down to the menus of Olive Garden and Applebees.

The trendspotting:
Foods of the Andes captured two of the ten silver medals for this year’s best new product, a pretty good indication that we will be delving deeper into regional Latin American cuisines.
Prepared foods, spice blends, and ingredients from the Indian kitchen point to another trendy cuisine.
The pig still rules. Cured ham from the new, American-raised mangalitsa pigs, and an herb-rubbed, domestic pancetta were also awarded silver medals.
There was chocolate purported to make you smarter, and fermented, probiotic -rich beverages to make you healthier. Expect a big takeoff for the functional foods category;
and gluten-free everything.

Sofi silver finalists and gold winners are selected from more than 250,000 products that appear at the Fancy Food Show. Competition takes place in 30+ categories, literally from soups to nuts. You can see the full list of this year’s silver medalists at Foodspring, the consumer-oriented blog of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Gold medal winners will be announced at this summer’s edition of the Fancy Foods Show, temporarily relocating from New York to Washington, DC.


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One Response to You’ll be Eating This Next Year

  1. LOVE your site and all the hip and of-the-moment foodies news. Can’t wait to try that ham. 🙂

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