US Fancy Food 2024: Key F&B Trends Ahead of the Expo

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The Summer Fancy Food Show is back! In the 68th annual Summer Fancy Food Show, makers, retailers, distributors and reporters will gather together to discover, network, and celebrate speciality foods. The event will be held from the 23rd to the 25th of June 2024 at Javits Centre in NYC. 

With the show just around the corner, we’ll be taking a look at 7 key trends in the US food and beverage sector to help companies prepare and get the most out of the expo! First, how has the US economy been tracking recently?

The US Economy at a Glance 

With a GDP of US$26.60 billion, the USA is an economic powerhouse, cementing its place as the largest economy in the world. Breaking down GDP per capita, this figure is also strong at US$63,000. And, with a total population of over 335.89 million, the US consumer base is over twelve times that of Australia, creating significant opportunities for exporters seeking to expand their market footprint.

Convenience Is Key

As we return to pre-pandemic life, Americans face busier conditions, growing urbanisation and longer working hours where many don’t have a lot of time to prepare food for their families. Faced with greater time constraints from work, childcare, and commuting, they often turn to convenience foods. Especially the younger generations and millennials are willing to spend money to save time, with 70% of consumers stating that having access to products and services when and where they need them is extremely important. In turn, the need for convenience has transformed eating habits, driving demand for food delivery services, fast food and meal kits. However, amongst quickly accessible options, consumers remain conscious of the nutritional value of their foods. 

Rise in Premiumisation

Sporting middle-class status and a high purchasing power, the US population is filled with keen consumers. The recent premiumisation trend within the F&B industry is growing, with American consumers being quality-conscious about the ingredients used and their health benefits. A growing number of American consumers, over 50%, have shown interest in trying new products and services as well as preferring branded goods to non-branded alternatives. Even with the rise in inflation rates, when it comes to buying food and drinks, attributes that consumers are willing to pay for include superior taste, health and nutritional properties and all-natural ingredients.

Fresh, Health and New Opportunities

With consumers being more health-conscious in recent years, an emergence of thriving health and ethical niches has come into play within the F&B industry. The rapid growth in education on health consciousness has driven the demand for premium, organic and all-natural brands, bolstering revenue and opening doors for potential entrants to join the new market. Not only does the food have to be healthier, but consumers have also been opting for more farm-to-table options for higher quality and fresher foods, evidently with the fresh food market standing at a total sales value of $138.50 billion in 2022 according to GlobalData. 

Foodservice and AI

The rise of technology is having a big impact on the food service industry too. Restaurants and food brands are exploring how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can improve the customer experience and streamline operations. One way AI is being used is to personalise recommendations. For instance, IHOP utilises AI-powered dine-in ordering technology to suggest dishes based on your past orders and preferences. This focus on customization extends beyond restaurants, with AI poised to become a common feature in food service apps and ordering platforms. Imagine AI assistants taking your order, recommending new dishes you might enjoy, or even handling basic customer service inquiries. The future of food service looks increasingly intelligent!

Snack Is Back!

The “snackification” of America continues! Amongst the rising costs of everyday life for Americans, the snacking industry continues to experience growth, with salty snacks having dethroned all other contenders to claim the top spot in best-selling retail categories, according to the Specialty Food Association’s State of the Specialty Food Industry research (2023-2024). Consumers have moved to small indulgences despite economic headwinds, a phenomenon known as the “lipstick effect.” This has bolstered the snack industry as consumers have demonstrated their willingness to spend on the pleasure, convenience and emotional satisfaction derived from affordable luxuries like their favourite snack. This rise in snacking aligns perfectly with American busy lifestyles – with the average person enjoying a snack a whopping 11 times a day! 

Boost in Non-Alcoholic Beverages 

Over the last few years, consumers have been practising more conscious drinking, whether that’s abstaining, sipping low-proof drinks or switching between no-alcohol drinks and regular-strength drinks. In 2022, sales of no- and low-alcohol beverages grew by more than 7% in volume across 10 key global markets, surpassing $11 billion in market value. Customers now have more choices, with dedicated non-alcoholic cocktail menus as well as a wide selection of sophisticated non-alcoholic spirits, with non-alcoholic gin proven to be particularly in demand. 


With all these big trends happening, the US market is one to watch for Australian exporters. These consumer trends are ones to look out for for the next 10-15 years. Nonetheless, with innovation and disruptive ideas advancing quickly, trends will always come and go or even circle back. Having the Summer Fancy Food Show come up soon, presents us with new and exciting export opportunities for the future.