Consumers moving away from comfort

Feb. 27, 2011

Culinary Tides Inc. has released a new report “Shifting Sands 2011,” that is a cross analysis of predictions across government, technology, health, consumer, travel, food and beverage segments hitting the food industry this year.

Adventure, courage, optimism, and playfulness are emerging as the key trends moving food from:

  • Approachable to adventurous
  • Mysterious to playful
  • Fearful to courageous
  • Comfort to experimental
  • Clanning to individualistic

The report, developed by Culinary Tides founder Suzy Badaracco, is an analysis of 123 separate “Top 10” prediction lists for 2011 affecting the food industry. In all, 1,280 individual predictions were evaluated for their potential in the coming year.

Of all the predictions examined, only those that are well supported are included in the report.

The trends are broken down by macro and then micro families to help establish their strengths and links to other existing trends. Gap analysis was performed to identify missing items which appeared on no list but were considered critical by Culinary Tides and appear in both table form and in the link diagrams. Additional predictions thought to be overlooked by industry are in the tables called “What’s missing?”

Some 422 reported predictions of the 1,280 were included in the report with a supplemental 122 concepts added by Culinary Tides.

Overall, the trends indicated that consumers and food are moving away from comfort and toward experimentation.

There is strong evidence that consumers are moving out of the economic crisis both emotionally and behaviorally.

The Food and Flavors, Consumer, Travel and Beverage sections all note more extreme behaviors and activities; a sense of risk taking, playfulness, courage, vulnerability and live life to the fullest actions. However, while comfort foods are waning, it should be understood that authenticity is still key and so this is not the time to “Americanize” food.

Some of the predictions listed represent poster children for this new direction include:

  • Technology – Linked media, colors (consumers using more senses)
  • Consumers – Invigorating, uplifting, optimism, adventure, vitality, transparency, frugality fatigue
  • Travel – Deep North, Bucket List, Gambling, Cruise travel
  • Beverage – Popup locations, guest bartenders, French champagne, Tiki cocktails, tea, Saison
  • Food & Flavor – Vibrant, popup locations, guest chefs, meatless, hay roasting, hibiscus, exotic citrus, hot peppers, coconut, global yogurt, Korean spice, Japanese sweets, foraging, entomophagy (insect eating)

For more information about purchasing “Shifting Sands 2011,” visit

Topics: Food & Beverage , Trends / Statistics

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