The US food chain Chilli’s last week announced it was scratching kale and quinoa from its menu following a slump in sales. In the UK, diners are suffering from food fatigue and are turning their backs on hipster food trends while in Australia, Roy Morgan research shows 90% believe food trends are over-rated.
Just like Superman exposed to kryptonite, it appears superfoods have lost their mojo. So what comes next?
While being informed of the latest food trends is a key part of marketing and product development, it’s risky to rely exclusively on trends to guide decision making.
As Chilli’s found out, incorporating the latest superfood or adopting the latest food trend, can take your business away from its core values and this drift can lead to consumer confusion and alienation.
Evolving Definition of Health
When it comes to food, the definition of what is considered 'healthy' is changing. People are pulling away from the idea that there's a single, magic solution and are seeing healthy eating as part of a broader picture that includes living an overall balanced lifestyle. This balance includes aspects of food and eating that are not only about the nutritional profile of a food or product, but also about the role food plays in facilitating social & cultural, mental and spiritual aspects of healthy living.
While consideration of food trends will remain one cog in the wheel of strategy development, brands have the opportunity to leverage this evolving definition of health. This can be done by developing food related values and positioning in the market that incorporates aspects of eating that are broader than the usual focus on nutrient content or health claims, or aiming for a clean label.
Taking the blinkers off
Broadening marketing and communication activities around food and it's role in a healthy lifestyle provides significant opportunity for greater creativity. Here are some thought starters as examples of what may be considered:
- Social & cultural aspects of eating - consider initiatives that encourage people to eat together, celebrate with food or share food with others
- Mindful aspects of eating – consider messages that encourage people to sit down to eat, to eat mindfully and to enjoy exploring new tastes and flavours
- Spiritual aspects of eating – consider activities that encourage the sharing of traditional recipes, cooking and growing food and linking to food rituals
Considering the broader role that food plays in the lives of consumers and encouraging behavioural aspects of eating that are ‘healthy’, provides a significant opportunity for inspiration and innovation in marketing and communication. It also provides opportunities for brand differentiation and the opportunity to engage consumers with values that resonate with their own ideals of leading a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.