Hot Food Trends: Part 2 – It’s a Small Food World After All
No one knows with certainty what the hottest food trends
will be over the next several years, but The Hartman Group has focused on the
“why behind the buy” to look at four that may have a significant impact on the
business. RetailWire explores each of these in this and upcoming Discussions.
American consumers have always loved to have choices and they’ve never had more than they do today as a world of food comes right to their door.
According to Jarrett Paschel, Ph.D., Americans’ whole idea of choice is being transformed on a daily basis. He writes: “We’ve always enjoyed lots of choice in the marketplace – new colors, new shapes, more interesting flavors, new sizes – our more complex, flexible, global economy ensures more diverse, more authentic and higher quality choices. Who cares about Coke, Tab or Diet 7-UP when you can choose between many hundreds of specialty beverages, many of which have themselves grown out of authentic cultural traditions (San Pelligrino, Orangina, etc.)?”
A particularly interesting aspect of what consumers choose to eat is the generational differences that arise. Older consumers, as might be expected, are set in their dietary habits and some report, for example, that they have never tried Chinese or Thai foods.
Americans in the thirty- and forty-something segments have sampled a broader array of foods from around the world but mostly see these items as something to be consumed outside the home or delivered to it.
Younger consumers, those in their twenties and teens, have been eating so-called ethnic foods all their lives. According to Dr. Paschel, “To these consumers, global styles and cuisines are almost second nature. Today’s teenage consumers, for example, are as comfortable indulging in Japanese candy or sushi after school and cooking Pad Thai for dinner as they are meeting their friends for Dim-Sum on a Saturday afternoon.”
Dr. Paschel sees no going back. The food industry in the U.S. will be forever changed. “Tomorrow’s consumer will never be content with conventional staples such as potato chips, cookies, gum or soda – or the typical flavor extensions common to those products. Remember, in 2006 every product or brand is, by definition, a global brand.”
Discussion Questions: What does the growing globalization
of the food industry mean for retailers? Specifically, how do you see this trend
affecting the store environment (display, store layout, foodservice, etc.)?
Will (do) the growing number of immigrants to this country have the same global
view of foods or are they more limited to the cuisine of their home country?