|December 19, 2007 • Volume 21, Number 24 • http://www.foodchannel.com
IN THIS EDITION
In the last two editions of the year, we’ve categorized and summarized the TrendWire stories of 2007. Last week we covered information about increased consumer interest in food safety, environmental concerns, and healthy eating. In the final edition of TrendWire for this year we talk about the allure of story foods making waves, hot trends in breakfast, technology changing the food scene, and other miscellany.
Story Foods Continuing To Be Popular
Increasingly, people want to know where their food comes from, how it was grown, and how it was prepared. This need is driven by some combination of 1) their desire to ensure their food is grown and produced humanely, ethically, and sustainably, 2) their desire to experience the cachet gained from being an expert on a topic, and 3) the sometimes obsessive need to focus on the details and nuances of what they eat. Here are the stories we covered this year that support the need to be “in the know.”
- Cherries Vying for Superfood Status (March 21, 2007)
We mentioned this article last time as part of the healthful eating trend. It makes an appearance on the list again because part of its appeal to devotees is its “story food” aspect.
- Fair Trade Foods and More (May 16, 2007)
“Fair Trade” foods are by definition story foods. People could certainly buy cheaper comparable goods without this distinction, but instead, more people are choosing to put their money where their conscience is. Buying goods that are certified “Fair Trade” means the producers of the goods are fairly compensated and the goods are produced in an ethical and sustainable manner.
- Affordable + Fresh + Local + Sustainable = Burgerville (May 16, 2007)
Burgerville believes its story and philosophy is as much a part of what its customers buy as the affordable quality meals it serves them. Get the details about what makes it special in this TrendWire.
- Oranges, Both Exotic and Familiar, Flavor the Summer (July 17, 2007)
Oranges are showing up in menu items across many styles of service, including QSR, casual, and upscale. The familiar flavor of America’s favorite citrus fruit is a gateway to exploring more exotic orange flavors, such as blood oranges.
- Tea Becoming a Hot Commodity (September 19, 2007)
Companies capitalizing on the tea market are creating stories around the product, pulling consumers into the world of tea. Retailers are giving complete resumes of tea that go well beyond the old standard color distinctions. Rare teas are marketed almost like vintage wines. Take a look at this TrendWire for the details.
- Tea Presentations Turning Heads (September 19, 2007)
For the home tea connoisseur, many new gadgets and presentations are available to brew the perfect-tasting and -looking cup. Tea experts continue to look for a way to perfect home brewing and take it even further.
- Indigenous American Foods (and Their Stories) Regaining Popularity (October 17, 2007)
Specialty food company American Feast (http://www.americanfeast.com/home.php) is focused not only on providing indigenous products, but also delivering the stories that make the products relevant and interesting to discerning consumers.
- Tanka Bar Based on the Original Indigenous Trail Mix (October 17, 2007)
A group of Oolagata Lakota Indians created a new energy bar, the Tanka Bar (http://www.tankabar.com/), based on a traditional Native American recipe. It is looking to build “on our ancestors’ knowledge of the Ideal Portable Energy for endurance, top performance, and healthful life.” It’s selling the story and tradition as much as the actual product.
- Spa-Cooking School Could Mark a Rise in Culinary Vacations (November 21, 2007)
For many travelers, enjoying their destination’s local cuisine is at the top of their vacation to-do list. But many are taking their love of food to the next level, investing their time and money in immersing themselves in the cooking and culture of exotic locales. Having stories to share about the time spent on location in the kitchen is essential to their ultimate enjoyment of these experiences.
Breakfast—the Next Big Thing
Without a doubt, the breakfast daypart is the next battleground in the competition for the dining dollar. Look for lots of news next year in this hot topic. To catch up on the news of the past year, take a look at the TrendWires identified below.
- New Chains Moving into Breakfast Daypart (March 7, 2007)
Breakfast is estimated to be a $34 billion business for restaurants. More unexpected players, such as Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Subway, have jumped into this piece of the restaurant pie than ever before. Take a look at this TrendWire to see who started in the breakfast game this year.
- Custom Coffee Becoming a Must-have Among Breakfast Players (March 7, 2007)
Coffee is not just for Starbucks anymore. It may have been the forefather of the coffee movement, but many family-dining restaurants and QSRs are blending their own distinct brews to try to capture their share of the caffeine-laden marketplace.
- Consumers Look to Family-Dining and QSR Breakfasts for Different Reasons (March 7, 2007)
The average breakfast consumer has been given a choice: either quality and customization at family-dining, or speed and portability at QSR. Many eat at both types of restaurants at different times specifically for these differences.
- Breakfast Wars Heating Up (August 15, 2007)
The battle for the Breakfast Dining Dollar is heating up. While breakfast still represents only 11 percent of QSR business, many experts agree that the segment is poised to explode. Many traditional breakfast feeders are working to protect their turf.
Consumer-Friendly Technology Becoming Increasingly Important
Technology will continue to be a big story in the food world as restaurants and food producers work with developers, designers, and engineers to continue to improve the way we use foods. This collection of TrendWires highlights some of the innovations in the way we schedule, order, and prepare meals, shop for and consume foods, and how we pay for all of it.
- Bloom Grocery May Change the Way We Shop (April 4, 2007)
Bloom (http://www.shopbloom.com) is an interactive grocery store chain on the East Coast. Customers use hand scanners to scan their groceries as they go through the store, then pay for their groceries on their way out. No loading up the old conveyer belt, then bagging and reloading the cart. Technology aside, the quality and selection are impressive.
- Email Marketing Options Expanding for Restaurants (October 3, 2007)
More diners than ever are researching restaurants, making reservations, and even ordering meals online. Savvy restaurateurs are taking advantage of their customers’ changing preferences and reaching customers where they are, and increasingly that means online. Take a look at this TrendWire for details on what technologies and services companies are leveraging to get to their customers.
- Self-service Ordering Opportunities Gaining Popularity in Restaurants (November 7, 2007)
More and more restaurants are realizing that convenience is a huge factor in the customer’s food-buying decision. And many are choosing to make ordering a more convenient part of the food dollar equation. The idea of cutting down the time spent waiting in line is appealing to a growing number of customers. This TrendWire focuses on the tools and services companies and consumers are utilizing to save time and simplify ordering.
- New Payment Technology Simplifies Transactions (November 7, 2007)
MocaPay (http://www.mocapay.com) allows users to pay for food (and other services) with their cell phones. Users text MocaPay just before completing a transaction and receive a pin number good for one transaction during a 15-minute period. Check out this recent TrendWire for all the other details.
Other News and Trends
We covered a few other stories during 2007 that didn’t quite fit neatly into another category, but we felt they were important to you. Here’s the summary of those one-hit wonders.
- K-Fed Stirring Up Drama in the Restaurant World (January 31, 2007)
Kevin Federline (aka rapper K-Fed or ex-Mr. Britney Spears) appeared in a controversial Super Bowl ad, much to the dismay of the National Restaurant Association, which found his portrayal of a failed rap star daydreaming while manning the french-fries station at the local fast-food restaurant, insulting.
- Ramen Culture Comes to Mainstream America (February 21, 2007)
Ramen, the soup long associated in this country with college and/or a small grocery budget, is getting an authentic makeover and making its way into the heartland. We here at TrendWire gave you the details about what’s going on with ramen with a preview of when to expect a noodle invasion in your neighborhood.
- Mini Meals Are Growing Up and Moving Off the Kids Menu (April 18, 2007)
The National Restaurant Association (http://www.restaurant.org) identified mini desserts as the number one food trend for 2007, but mini meals are definitely catching on as well. Check out the original TrendWire for details on who’s doing what in this microworld.
- Marketing for the People, by the People (July 5, 2007)
As more food and restaurant companies are looking to connect with their customers, they’re becoming increasingly creative. Whether it’s making their own commercials or creating new menu items, companies are getting their customers involved in hands-on ways.