5280 Magazine

Super Sauces

“Fancy food” is an old-fashioned phrase that used to refer to, basically, Spam with pretensions. Our parents—or grandparents, depending on how young you are—would break out the Vienna cocktail sausages, smoked oysters, After Eight mints, and pimento-stuffed olives at martini time, which meant they were ready to party like it was 1969.

Since then, the specialty food market has grown into a $127 billion business, according to the trade group that runs the massive, bicoastal Fancy Food Show, a sort of Willy Wonka mecca for food makers who hope to make it big the way that Justin’s, the Boulder-based nut-butter company, did when it sold to the owner of Skippy in 2016 for $286 million. Yes, because the U.S. appetite for specialty foods is gigantic, and the niches, from sulfur-free apricots to organic za’atar, are legion. Walk the Fancy Food Show—post-pandemic, of course—and you’ll find that

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