Temperatures across the country may be plummeting, but things are heating up in CPG at the Winter Fancy Food Show. One of the biggest shows of the season, and arguably the largest specialty food show on the West Coast, this show gave attendees a lot to think about as they walked the floor.

WFFS 2016 - Show Floor smallThe show featured what is one of the best selections of innovative products I’ve ever seen, and showcased a lot of the on-trend products hitting store shelves. Products that I saw most frequently included jams, oils (mostly olive), granola, quinoa in a variety of forms (like puffs, bars, cereals), coffee and tea, and bars. These categories may not seem all that innovative, but keep an eye on them in the coming months, and I promise you’ll see some intriguing items making their way into consumers’ carts. Spicy flavors in unexpected products like honey or peanut butter were on-trend at the show, as were products with a chai flavor or an international focus.

There was also a strong current of strengthening brand identity. Suppliers were uber-thorough about conveying their identity through every part of their booth, from the product images displayed to the packaging, to the booth setups. Even their attire and personalities matched that of their brand–that’s commitment.

Brand packaging was also a hot topic on the show floor. Those items that had a strong package and brand identity always seemed to have a crowd around them, and packaging styles were carefully crafted to reflect simplicity and small-batch production—yet could also be easily identified by consumers. Less was more when it came to packaging, and that really struck a chord with attendees.

WFFS2016 - Show Floor Wide

Despite the enormity of the show, it still had a great local feel to it. Entire sections were dedicated to certain states or even cities from around the country. Additionally, multiple state-run organizations turned out to support their exhibitors. All of it added up to a great support network and really helped drive home the sense of brand.

Three days of the Winter Fancy Food Show, and it’s safe to say CPG is stuffed with great new ideas and products that consumers will love.

Bryan Robinson

Bryan Robinson is a former CPG broker with several years of experience in the industry. He has worked in some of the most competitive markets around the country such as the Northeast, Southwest and Northwest over his career. Bryan has a personal passion for discovering and consuming innovative products that complements his professional CPG sales career.

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