Food Trends That Will Set The Pace for Years


by Domenick Celentano, Food & Beverage Expert |

JWT is on top of the latest food trends and I enjoy speaking with Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting at JWT. Now how much fun would this be to be head of trend spotting! They are the creators of the trend report. I wanted to ask Ann about their new “What s Cooking? Trends in Food” report that has a focus on digital trends affecting both CPG foods and restaurant dining (from 2012 and beyond).

JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York. JWT’s client roster includes major CPG and brands such as Bayer, Cadbury, Diageo, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft and Nestlé.

This report surveys what’s changing when it comes to how we find, cook and eat food, how we think about what we eat and how brands are marketing food. No research can find every food trend worldwide. It focuses on eight of the relevant macro trends plus three overarching trends affecting the food category: the influence of technology, health and wellness, and foodie culture. Within these trends, I wanted Ann’s perspective on how technology is affecting the food & beverage sector.

Smarter Dining

From phones to fridges, smart devices are merging the real world with the digital world and influencing how we find, eat and make food. More broadly, each step of the way-from shopping to finding recipes and cooking to dining out-is getting “smarter” for those armed with the latest digital tools. The Connected Table is one trend that is happening because… most of us have the iPhone or an Android smart pnone. We can take pictures a meal, share them with on Twitter, Facebook and most recently Foodspotting. No need to dine alone when you have iPhone’s FaceTime app.

However this is not entirely driven by the iPad and based on larger meta trends that are merging the physical and digital worlds and the Millenials don’t see the clear differences older generations see. According to Ann Mack “We have 2 groups… the Digital Immigrants (Baby Boomers) vs. Digital Natives (Millennials). Digital Natives do not make a distinction between online and offline. For example a new service called Highlight, the product launch occurring at this years SXSW… tracks your location via GPS. Unlike 4Square, there is no need to check in. The app “sees” who is around and the interests of those people based in pulling data from Facebook”. Some people will see this as digital creepy!

Ann mentioned the new app from FoodSpotting which upends the past where restaurant critics review restaurants and tell us where and what to eat. FoodSpotting focus is on helping consumers rate a particular dish vs. the entire restaurant. This works because the younger generation has no qualms about whipping out their camera and sharing the dining experience. A great Chocolate Truffle Tart might get a millennial to share the experience with a photo on FoodSpotting or Pinterest but Baby Boomers were raised in a different generation that feels dining requires a modicum of decorum… without the cell phone interaction.

Smarter Shopping

As e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailing integrate and overlap, shopping will entail simply clicking-buying products from a smartphone or other device-and then having the order immediately delivered or collecting it at a physical location. Multichannel buying is fast and streamlined, with less time in lines and shorter waits than online-shopping delivery enables.

Retailers are experimenting with all technologies and the Shopping Wall or Virtual Store is gaining traction. An says that “The important part here is any flat surface can be turned into a digital surface so your message sticks around a lot longer. This can be an extension of shopper marketing, but digital. Your retail space can be an out of home ad turned virtual”.

Tesco HomePlus is setting up out-of-home displays where shoppers scan QR codes for desired items, then either get them delivered or pick them up in-store. They have placed this shopping wall in a subway station in South Korea. Tesco calls this a photorealistic billboard featuring pictures of goods, along with QR codes allowing time starved commuters to browse and pay for items with their phones while waiting for the train, and the goods are waiting when the purchaser gets home.

All the Worlds a Game

This is incentivizing people with leader boards, privileges, social super powers. “Brands have always incentivized people to do something for the first time. McDonalds started this with their Monopoly game years ago.” Says Ann. At 4Food, for example, patrons cancustomize their burger and their customized combo goes up on the billboard. You are competing against others for the leader board for your burger combo. If you get enough votes, you’re on the board and get a $.25 discount on your next meal.”

Why does this work? Ann says that “Millenials are hyper competitive and practice social one-upmanship. Three generations of people have been exposed to games.” Mobile phones have real time updates, location based services, 4square you earn badges and maybe real world

Screened Interactions

Screened Dining , enabled by tablets and smartphones are radically changing the way we buy and dine. Increasingly screens replace workers and for those on the East Coast WaWa pioneered the self-order point of sale terminal at the deli sandwich counters. McDonalds is experimenting with screens in Europe as a test and may consider a rollout in the US in the near future.

Interactive screens… out-of-home digital media allow for all kinds of innovative ways to communicate with passersby. They offer a way to “gamify” the simple bus-stop ad or billboard, making marketing messages more fun and helping to amuse commuters. Recently Philadelphia Cream Cheese sponsored touch screens at bus stops in major Irish cities, enabling commuters to view the brand’s commercials, browse recipes and even email these to themselves.

[via About Money]