Trends at the 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show

Posted on January 27, 2014 by

I was lucky enough to recently spend a few days at the Winter Fancy Food Show, working the booth with QuickLabel Systems, walking around talking with participants, and meeting a lot of our customers and food business friends from the Bay Area.

It is a HUGE event, so there was a lot to take in, but there were definitely a few trends to take note of.

Too Many to Stand Out

It really felt like the show was dominated by a few major types of food, all of which I love, but it became a little too much. Plus, it made it that much more difficult for any of them to stand out.

There were actually a couple of popcorn companies that got attention because they were "half-popping" their kernels. I didn't actually try them, but I heard great things and that's a creative spin on an otherwise overdone category at the show.

The Good Stuff

There were a handful of products that I thoroughly enjoyed and that stood out from the crowd.

There were many other awesome products, but I wasn't taking notes (aside from a few tweets) and these stood the test of time as far as my memory was concerned :)

Nutrition Labeling Trends

For fairly established companies (most companies exhibiting at the show are well beyond the very early stages), I was surprised to see a bit of disregard for nutrition fact labeling rules.

The majority of text on a nutrition label is supposed to be in 8 point font according to the FDA guidelines, which equates to a little more than 1/10th of an inch. The reason for this is so that consumers can easily find and read the nutrition label.

For products with less space for labeling there are alternative labeling styles (tabular, linear) and optional sections that can be removed (like the table of daily values per 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day).

However, many companies simply took the standard vertical label and shrunk it down to whatever size they wanted. Usually, your nutrition labeling software will already provide a nutrition label with the smallest allowable text, so scaling the image down afterwards is generally not a good option.

This shrunken nutrition label approach certainly makes sense from a marketing perspective, since most products aren't sold on the basis of their nutrition fact label. I'd be very surprised if there is any fallout, but it flouts the FDA rules and doesn't create a level playing field for companies that forgo marketing real estate for FDA-compliance. Then again, these are still relatively small companies that are taking every advantage they can. "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying", right?

Other Trends?

We weren't the only ones at the show, so what else did you notice? What trends did we miss? Were you one of the companies flouting the FDA label rules? Come and defend yourself :)

Learn something? Check out similar posts:
Food Packaging   Food Marketing   Food Label News   Getting Into Retail  

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