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Think Globally, Not Locally, When Considering Food Trends

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April 30, 2013

Think Globally, Not Locally, When Considering Food Trends

Food trend lists are as inevitable as death and taxes, but rarely as reliable. Chandra Ram took a look at food trends, and discussed why it?s a waste of time to focus energy on short-lived trends when the bigger picture says so much more about major food trends at her keynote speech during last week’s Protein Innovation Summit in Chicago.

?Trend-watching isn?t enough,? explained Ram, who said that large-scale global movements, the economy and the environment fuel and define the trends. She suggested that instead of looking at how to emulate the success of?Roy Choi?s?Korean tacos, chefs and others in the food industry should try to connect the dots in larger movements to see what comes next, for example, tying gangbusters growth of coffee companies like Starbucks, and the $11 billion cosmetic teeth whitening industry that followed.

Global movements to watch include a distrust of big business and government (as the pink slime debacle and various food contamination issues have demonstrated) that led to suspicion among consumers.

Perhaps consumers are doing so through easier access to luxury goods: ?There?s a democratization of luxury,? said Ram about another movement to watch. ?The national feeling that nothing should be out of reach; you can be anywhere and have access to luxury goods.? ?Examples are luxury brands like Missoni designing clothing lines for Target, and foodstuffs once considered gourmet now showing up on special in the aisles of Trader Joe?s for a fraction of the cost.

Even sugar, which first came from Europe in perfect bricks and was eventually formed into cubes for convenience has gotten real by being most valued in its natural, misshapen state with imperfections that aren?t overlooked but appreciated.

And how are consumers and chefs doing so? Farmer?s markets, foraging, hunting: ?they?re trying to create a special story, the need for a personal touch,? says Ram.

Ram also discussed how the changing weather patterns are affecting everything from growing seasons, decreased wheat production and how pickling and preserving are allowing chefs to make their seasonal produce last longer and tell that story the consumer is looking for.

Source: Unknown Author (2013). Think Globally, Not Locally, When Considering Food Trends, Plate? published Apr, 2013. Viewed Apr 30, 2013,

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