Food and beverage manufacturers need to keep a close eye on trends in food. You need to be aware if your product category is trending down. If you are looking to develop new products, you want to be able to identify trends before they have become mainstream.
Ideally trends would appear on your radar screen as urban elites start or health food mavens to embrace them. You could then evaluate the opportunity and develop a product just as it gains mass acceptance.
If you have an existing product and your sales are declining, you should have an idea whether your product or the category is the problem. You can then take steps to deal with the situation.
These changes in food tastes and popularity are happening faster and faster, so you need to find ways to stay on top of them. New food trends tend to travel from elite to mainstream. One way we stay on top is by monitoring the elites. We read cutting-edge magazines and other media. We also travel to trendsetting cities to dine and shop so we see these changes in live time. If you have time, you should do this as well.
The next step we do is to visit mainstream grocery stores all over the US to watch for changes. This is where we see something that started with elites becomes mainstream.
It’s easy to spot something new on a shelf; it’s much harder to see when something is no longer there. It’s also hard because things disappear slowly, usually one SKU at a time.
The New York Times has found a great new use for their Times Chronicle tool in which you can identify changes in food and beverages trends by the number of times a word such as ‘kale’ is used in the New York Times over time. Here is an article describing this tool and how to use it.
Remember when calamari was unheard of?
This graph is an example of what the Times Chronicle tools can show you.
If you visit the link, you’ll also find that hummus, goat cheese, quinoa and pork belly have peaked while kale may still be rising.
To be successful in todays’s ever more competitive world of food and beverage marketing, you need to stay on top of changes. This new tool, from the New York Times, is one I recommend all of you add to your arsenal.
Take a look below at how some brands are taking a creative approach to these rising food trends:
1. Naked Goat Cheese. Designed by Amelia.
6. Lesser Evil’s Super 4 White Bean Bites with Quinoa. Designed by
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By Blake Mitchell