The food industry’s annual January pilgrimage to San Francisco is nearly upon us. The Fancy Food Show is reliably one of the best exhibitions of new products, ingredients and ideas in the booming specialty food space. Whether you are attending or simply following #WFFS18 there are three emerging ingredients to seek out in new product formulation.

Aquafaba: While not new among the vegan community, its awareness has grown among retailers and manufacturers. Sir Kensington’s was one of the first national brands to figure out that the rise in hummus was resulting in a lot of aquafaba being poured down the drain. By working with a hummus manufacturer to capture this byproduct of cooking chickpeas, they introduced Fabanaise vegan mayo. This year, Fora will be introducing Faba Butter. As demand for vegan foods grows (along with hummus production) expect to see more manufacturers looking to redirect aquafaba from the drain to production lines.

Sweet Potato: Working with growers in North Carolina for nearly 10 years, we’ve been focused on expanding use and growing demand for the fresh version, but innovators in the state have been tapping this superfood in product formulation. From chips to vodka, sweet potato is finding its way into many new products. Glean is producing sweet potato flour as a wheat alternative, but expect to see dehydrated and ground sweet potato in products up and down the aisles of Moscone. Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients is making sweet potato juice for use in everything from baby foods to craft beer.

Seawater: When I tell visitors from Europe at the show there is a company using purified Mediterranean seawater for cooking and product formulation I get some skeptical looks, but that is exactly what Mediterranea is doing. In addition to seawater for cooking, they are making potato chips, juices and even beer. In addition to providing a unique flavor, it can also reduce the amount of sodium, a frequent target for packaged foods. The minerals that remain from the purification process may also provide some added benefits.

One common thread among these products is maximizing resources and minimizing waste. Aquafaba was being discarded in increasing amounts as our demand for hummus grew. Many of the sweet potatoes that go to processing are the “ugly veggies” deemed unsuitable for grocery stores. As water becomes scarcer in parts of the world, here is a company tapping into a supply unlikely to dry up any time soon. Food waste is a topic we will cover throughout the year on The Buzz Bin, so be sure to subscribe for future posts.

Please share this post on social media with #WFFS18 and let me know what ingredients and trends you anticipate to see at the show!