The Most Significant 2012 Food & Beverage Trends
The Connected table is interesting. Joy posed the question "How are food ideas and tastes transmitted. Traditionally you invited someone to dine in-person, either at home or a restaurant." With the rise of digital connection and in particular the iPhone, consumers can take pictures of of a meal instantly share them friends and family on Twitter and Facebook. With the iPhone FaceTime app, you can dine "virtually"with friends and family via mobile video technology. This will escalate the pace of innovation and discovery of new foods.
The Diffusion of Innovation in food & beverages - historically food trends started at higher-end restaurants, moving down the ladder to fast casual restaurants and eventually to supermarkets. This is no longer the sole diffusion route for food trends: the rate of change is quickening with social media and video technologies on our smartphones.
Perpetual Snacking - Small Bites
This trend is coming about due to longer work days, increasing mobility and the growth in restaurants featuring small plates (or what many call Tapas).
There are now 7 to 10 meal occasions per day… eating is no longer relegated to the traditional meal occasions of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food & beverage trend watchers are seeing many more. Joy gave an example, "On a given day a busy Mom might start the morning with a Grab n Go snack while driving the kids to school (early morning) and then come home and feed a younger child (late morning). Other scenarios might include a student who has dinner and then is studying late into the night and will fit in another late night meal prior to going to bed."
"Starbucks Petites are small bites… Cake Pops, mini Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies and Sweet Squares. All Petites appear to be doing very well and it is win-win for everyone. For the consumer, they can indulge in perpetual snacking… the smaller portion Petites help the consumer eat better with fewer regrets. For Starbucks, their Petites line has a better margin." according to Joy.
Multiple meal occasions present a challenge to food & beverage brands in terms of defining categories and fitting products into these categories. Let's look at the appetizer category. Once a food category consumed as part of a more traditional main meal, appetizers are now being consumed on their own which fits into the new categories of Portionable Meals and Smaller Bites.
Steve also said that "Restaurants have survived over the last decade on Happy Hours. Restaurants love Happy Hour diners. Restaurant research shows that when you present smaller plates, people will tend to order more which increases the average ticket and restaurant profitability."
So how can we use the 2012 Food & Beverage Trends in more successful new product launches? Publicis has 4 suggestions for innovative food & beverage new product development and you don't have to be one of the "big guys" to be successful.