Food Business News - August 7, 2018 - 35
flavorful vegetable fritter, fits the
produce-forward movement on menus,
and lassi, a yogurt drink, benefits from
growth in non-alcoholic beverages, Ms.
"Ghee and turmeric are benefiting
strongly from the functional food movement," she added.
The authentic re-definers of Indian
cuisine include the less-familiar saag
paneer, kati rolls and chaat. Such
elements reset expectations to more authentic ingredients and applications and
are late-stage growth drivers following
broad acceptance and familiarity with
the cuisine, Ms. Webster said.
"Understand that cuisines are not
going to grow holistically in the U.S.,"
she said. "Think about how all of these
elements of world cuisine are going
to be part of those larger movements.
Functional foods, as one. Fusion cuisine,
street food, comfort food. How can you
start pulling those pieces out of a broader
heritage, and heirloom varieties over time.
Beans also link strongly to health,
sustainability, global cuisine, flexitarian
and street food trends.
"If you have a trend that does not
link into other trends, you have a shortlived trend," Ms. Badaracco said.
Food trends follow different patterns and pathways. It is important to
understand the birth and lifecycle of a
trend before tapping into it, Ms. Badaracco said.
"Spend more time researching a
trend's personality and trajectory than
worrying about what your competitors
are doing," she added.
When a trend is not a trend
In the packaged food and beverage
While low-carb launches spiked and rapidly
declined in the early 2000s, whole grain
product introductions have shown consistent
growth over the past two decades.
When a trend jumps the tracks
Another factor to consider in trend
tracking is the "trend ricochet," when an
ingredient or food jumps categories, said
Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary
She pointed to beans as an example,
which began in bowls and wraps, salads
and side dishes, hopped into chips, bars
and cereals, then beverages and flours,
and are now featured in packaging materials. Beans have followed a pattern similar
to grains, moving into single, ancient and
August 7, 2018
marketplace, understanding trends has
become more important because the
number of new product introductions
increases each year, said Lynn Dornblaser, director of insights and innovation
at Mintel, in a separate presentation at
"We see more and more products on
the market every single year; that creates
a lot of noise out there for consumers,"
Ms. Dornblaser said. "Understanding
what trends are out there that are motivating consumers ... and understanding
how product activity helps you understand what's a trend or not can help you
figure out what to do, what kinds of
products to look at, what kinds of trend
areas to focus on."
A trend shows slow, steady growth
over time and expands into various
categories and countries. It is versatile
and easy for consumers to understand
and adopt, Ms. Dornblaser said. A fad,
on the other hand, appears quickly,
grows quickly and disappears quickly. It
may be found in limited categories and
countries and is difficult for consumers
A striking example may be seen
when comparing U.S. new product introductions of low-carb products and whole
grain products. While low-carb launches
spiked and rapidly declined around
2005, whole grain product introductions
have shown consistent growth over the
past two decades.
"In the end you have to use data
and you have to use your gut to make a
decision," she said. "Data is absolutely
important, but you have to listen to your
common sense as to whether something
makes sense for you and your company."
A new product may be on-trend and
still fail, she noted. There is no guarantee
of success when the product hits shelves.
"One of the best ways to help ensure
against failure, at least a little bit, is to be
sure whatever it is true to your branding
and fits with your consumer base," she
said. "That sounds really obvious, but I'm
sure you can identify a handful of products in your company where that didn't
happen, and the products failed."
Above all else, she said, the product
must taste good.
"We can't say this to our clients
enough," she said. "That is probably the
best predictor of success, is something
that hits that taste that consumers are
looking for, and that's probably the hardest thing to do." FBN
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