Think "BIG" with Macro Trends
Sometimes it helps to step back and take a look at the bigger picture
What's the difference with Macro Trends & Micro Trends?
The definition of Macro Trend from Whalts.com states that "a macro-trend is a pervasive and persistent shift in the direction of some phenomenon on a global level." A trend is much smaller in most minds of developers, manufactures and consumers. Often it's looked at as a passing phase but with the right positioning alongside a Macro-trend it can be something far more impact-full.
According to Datassential you can track the trends and predict their future path of influence. They have created a simple way to demonstrate this with a chart called the Menu Adoption Cycle, aka the MAC. The MAC helps guide you through the trends by simplifying it into 4 phases. Each phase represents a new step towards the trend being more accepted and popular. These phases start at the beginning of trends which they call "inception". Typically this represents the earliest stage, then it moves into the next phase called "adoption". Here a trend has gained some momentum and is getting noticed by trendy restaurants and specialty grocers. The third phase is "proliferation" which indicates that the trend is moving into mainstream and chain restaurants. The last phase of the cycle is "ubiquity" and it is here you will easily recognize the trend and find it just about anywhere. Mark DiDomenico, Client Solutions at Datassential recently stated "When we look at food trends, a designation for us that a trend is going to stick around for a long time is if it can cross multiple applications".
The crazy part about this is not everything makes it through all phases of the MAC and others seem to skyrocket into ubiquity in the blink of an eye. If you recall the sudden rise of Sriracha and how it came from no where and now it's everywhere including on McDonald's menu. It's flavors that push the trends onto your menu, so how can the Macro-trends effect this? Easy, they offer exciting new ways to deliver that flavor. One of the top 10 Macro-trends for 2019, according to Barbara Stuckey of Mattson is "Flexitarian". This is a way of eating, a lifestyle choice not a condiment that you squeeze on top of your burger. The great thing about this Macro-trend is that it's creating all sorts of new interesting food products and combinations. Depending upon the menu, Flexitarian items can integrate their way into all four of the phases of the MAC while it's the flavor or component that puts it into just one of the stages.
How do you follow the trends?
Tracking the trends is a smart way of entering the market and influencing the nuances of a product, especially with food. When considering how to create something special with your innovation process it is incredibly important to understand both the Macro-trends and the trends in general.
As mentioned before with the Flexitarian Macro-trend, one should first be familiar with what this is. One way to describe it is to say someone is vegetarian curious but not quite ready to completely give up the animal foods. There are so many ways to approach this trend and capitalize on it as recently discovered by the team at FoodTrendTranslator. On a recent Food Trend Tour they explored this trend and discovered places like Earle's on Crenshaw that was once a humble hot dog cart and has now evolved into one of the few locations where Vegans and Meat eaters dine in harmony. They offer items like Vegan Chili Cheese Fries, fresh cut french fries loaded in spiced Vegan Chili and melted Vegan Cheese", it seems so simple and offers customers what they are searching for as an option to try Flexitarian eating alongside a traditional hot dog.
It wasn't just happening at Earle's we found it at other fun, cool places like Jewel where they served up foods that offered functional attributes and substitution to animal proteins like their Avocado toast that was dressed with fermented veggies (fermented foods are good for your digestion) and cashew spread (a high in protein seed) in place of cream cheese or mayonnaise.
One of the most interesting parts beyond the actual food was the discovery of what customers had to say about these menu items. Comments made were "you won't even notice the difference from the real thing" or "It tastes so good that even my die hard meat eating husband wants to join me for a meal". We call this "Social Listening" and when you combine this together with the trends and foods they are ordering you actually gain insights to your target customers expectations and even what your next NPD or LTO should be.
Food Trend Tours - Discover The Right Trend
If you want to discover the right trend for your next project and make sure your item is on the menu try talking with the food trend experts at Food Trend Translator. They offer 3 levels of food trend tours that are focused on your goals and product. Start your tour today, click here to schedule a call.
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