SAN FRANCISCO — The family meal of the future may include seaweed pasta with lab-grown Kobe beef and a packaged soup made from produce scraps and trimmings. But you won’t find these items on a grocery store shelf; rather, shoppers’ food will be selected digitally and gathered and delivered robotically or printed on-demand to the exact specifications and preferences of the consumer.

These concepts are part of The Alpha Food Labs’ Future Market, an interactive display at the Winter Fancy Food Show, held Jan. 21-23 in San Francisco. In addition to hundreds of specialty food producers unveiling cutting-edge innovation, a number of features and presentations at the show offer a glimpse of the tastes and trends of tomorrow.

Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association
Denise Purcell, Specialty Food Association

The grocery store of the future “is almost like Netflix,” said Denise Purcell, head of content for the Specialty Food Association, which produces the Fancy Food Shows.

“You fill out your preferences, and it makes product recommendations to you,” she said.

Speaking with Food Business News before the Winter Fancy Food Show, Ms. Purcell discussed product trends and highlights of the event.

The Winter Fancy Food Show features a prototype of the future grocery store. Image courtesy of The Alpha Labs' Future Market

“The plant-based trend really seems to be the biggest one hitting a bunch of different categories,” she said. “Not just alternative proteins, but we’re seeing dairy-free frozen desserts that are nut milk-based, more plant-based snacks, convenience foods, things like that.”

Emerging trends include collagen-infused foods, cannabis cuisine and “goth” foods tinted with activated charcoal.

“We’re seeing those in restaurants with pizza crusts or ice creams that are black,” Ms. Purcell said. “We haven’t yet seen much in packaged foods, so that’s one we have an eye on to see if come out in any products.”

Read on for more trends spotted at the show.