Being based in Boulder, we here at Interact have an advantageous and unique view of food and beverage trends. Our own Blake Mitchell travelled to Chicago to spread some knowledge on trends at this year’s Healthy and Natural Show. If you missed the event, or simply want to relive the magic, here’s a recap.
Blake’s insights on trends are comparable to viewing the famous Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”. The tiny dots that comprise the overall image can be viewed as the many trends that make up the worldwide food and beverage culture.
He went on to distinguish the difference between trends and fads, by stating that “Trends have the potential to be long term influencers on the market, while fads will often fade as quickly as they rise.” Certain flavor profiles (think red velvet and salted caramel) are examples of fleeting fads. When unregulated buzzwords like “Superfoods” crop up, it’s inevitable that big food brands will jump on the bandwagon of labeling their products as such. This causes that terminology to lose a lot of its power and credibility.
Conversely, the Paleolithic and Plant-based diets have strong historical and cultural ties which cement them as movements. It goes beyond being a simply passing fad when it becomes about a lifestyle change. “People are drawn to Paleo in search of a cleaner lifestyle. It’s driven by values. It’s about getting back to the roots, and eating real food.”
So how do these trends and movements arise? It’s simply by cause and effect. A desire for more “healthy” alternatives to soda increased the number of fruit juice options on the market. These drinks contained more sugar and preservatives than preferred, leading to more natural cold-pressed options. Now, we’re seeing see a demand for wholesome beverage options that have decreased sugar, and higher fiber content. Thus, the rise of cold, drinkable soups! This is but one example of the continuous cycle that food trends move in. “With so much processed food out there, we’ve seen a desire for fresher, cleaner and healthier options. For a long time, ‘clean’ food did not taste good. We now see a resurgence in food that is healthy and tastes great.”
Wondering how can you stay one step ahead of rising trends? Blake gives two suggestions for how to gain valuable insights: Be curious, and be a little uncomfortable.