Three big ideas in food

SAN FRANCISCO — Beef that is both halal and kosher. White fish jerky. “Tofu 2.0.”
These were among concepts featured during a presentation at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco celebrating “big ideas” in food.

The specialty food industry has surpassed $140 billion in sales and continues to grow at about three times the rate of conventional food and beverage, according to data from market research firm Mintel.
“Specialty food has gone mainstream, and the food pyramid has gone upside-down,” said Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association, which owns and produces the Fancy Food Shows.
Mr. Kafarakis described specialty foods as products featuring high-quality, authentic ingredients and produced using artisan or small-batch methods.
“The notion of processing product at high-speed is no longer acceptable, so understanding the process, how it was created and makers telling the story and retailers retelling the story is a big part of that,” Mr. Kafarakis said at the Winter Fancy Food Show.
The food industry is experiencing a metamorphosis, he said, adding, “It’s only after you learn that you can transform and change.”
In a separate presentation, the leaders of three companies discussed product innovation challenging today’s notions about food — how it’s made, how it’s purchased and how it’s eaten.