Food trends come and go (remember cronuts?), and can be extremely expensive and time-consuming for brands and retailers looking to keep their marketing efforts aligned with each one. Yet, in today’s super-connected world, consumers expect brands to keep up with trends. Google Food Trends 2016 report that compiled the U.S. population’s top searches, which offered a unique look into overall considerations and behaviors when it comes to food.
Let’s observe some of these trends and how brands and retailers can use this information to make impactful marketing decisions that can be used now and for the next fad.
Trend #1: Food with a Function
The trend of people making more deliberate choices based on their health is continuing to grow, namely with food. According to the Food Trends report, Americans want to transform their diets with foods that fill needs beyond hunger and cravings; they want to incorporate ingredients that make them look and feel on top of their game. Rising ingredients like turmeric have consumers looking for the best ways to consume it, often searching for the term in tandem with “powder,” “recipe” and “smoothie."
These searches spike at the beginning of the week, perhaps because consumers are sparked by “Monday motivation” to start the new week on a healthier note. Online behaviors such as these present an opportunity for brands and retailers to cater the content they release on Sundays-Tuesdays to educate consumers on healthy choices and recipe content and tricks for consuming these “foods with a function.” Have products that are more of an indulgence? Provide content that speaks to the power of balanced lifestyles and treating yourself. Consumers are looking to be educated when making health-based decisions. Be the brand that provides the information they’re watching for.
Trend #2: Traveling Through Taste
TV shows like Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown, and its predecessor, No Reservations, have already been importing images of exotic foods into living rooms for years. According to the Google report, people are ready to experience the global dishes for themselves. Top searches have included Asian and Mexican cuisine like pho and empanadas.
However, along with those searches, consumers are perusing for nearby restaurants and delivery services to get the unfamiliar dishes made by professionals. This creates a prime opportunity for marketers to make these dishes more approachable to recreate at home. Utilize foodie influencers to produce their spin on trending dishes using products from your store or brand to show that global cuisine can be made in home kitchens.
Influencer partnerships are an economical and effective way to keep your brand in tune with food trends; content creation is their specialty, so crafting approachable recipes is a breeze. Utilize influencer in order to provide the authentic cultural experiences that consumers are searching for.
Trend #3: Bite-Size Snacks
The power of on-the-go: Americans love snacking. According to the report, consumers are seeking out customized snacks that fit busy lifestyles. Bite-size snacks fit the bill of both portion control and convenience. It’s not just about flavor for consumers; they desire snacks that fulfill a wide range of dietary restrictions. Think protein-filled, vegan, paleo and gluten-free.
The report also states that Americans are “turning to their favorite influencers to get recipes and tips on fun snacking.” Many social influencers reflect certain niches in their blogs, resulting in a focus on gluten-free recipes, vegan tips and more. Consumers trust their favorite influencers to create tasty snack recipes based on their certain lifestyle or dietary restriction. Get your brand in on the action by enlisting influencers to concoct fun, bite-size snacks using your products in ways that reflect their personal choices - perfect for the customized desires of their followers.
Food trends can be costly and tedious to keep up with, but partnering with social influencers to create timely and effective content can help brands avoid being considered dated. What trends do you see coming down the pipeline? How are you partnering with influencers? Let us know in the comments.