Monday, August 30, 2010

You Want it, You Got it....Fancy Chips and Dips

Remember when the beverage aisle at the grocery store was water, Gatorade, and soda pop?  Now it's lined with all sorts of fancy waters, teas and juices in an array of colors.  They're called sexy names and maybe they provide vitamins or herbs or the essence of some sort of emotion.  Some cost close to $5 and most don't even fit in the beverage holder in your car.  Ever wonder where all those things came from?

See, I was watching The Devil Wears Prada again last night, for about the 30th time (I can't get enough of that movie) and one of my favorite parts is when Miranda (Meryl Streep) berates Andrea for laughing over what belt to pair with a dress...they're so different...or are they (drama)?  Miranda points out that Andrea's cerulean blue sweater was actually "chosen for her by the people in this room" (see I can quote it because I happen to memorize that line at viewing #25).  In essence, Miranda was saying that all fashion is dictated by a small set of people and that all of us minions just follow along with the decisions that they make for us.  Since I am not in the fashion industry, I presume this to be true, but please let me know if otherwise.

The food industry is quite different. There's no hard-nosed [female dog*] sitting in a room in Manhattan deciding that all of America will start drinking fancy water.  In fact, the collective "we", as in the consumers of food and beverages in this country, decided that "we" wanted fancy schmancy water.  Since "we" like these waters so much, a bunch of companies came out of nowhere to provide us with endless choices to satisfy our thirst.

So how do "we" voice our opinion?  Well, there's the obviously power of persuasion that comes from purchasing.  But, that would put companies at a disadvantage since some products can take up to a year to get on the shelf.  

As such, there are several companies that try to get an early read on what "we" like by having focus groups or following a trendy spot in the U.S. (yes, it's chic people in LA and NYC) or tracking restaurants, etc.  One of these companies just released the 2010 top 10 most popular snack trends, which I find to be rather interesting.  Based on their data, fancy chips and dips are "in" (think pita chips, pretzel crisps).  If you thought there were several different types of these fancy chips available now, just wait 6-12 months.  There's going to be a whole lot more!   

Other trends include a shift towards more protein-based snacks (thank goodness), more nuts (sorry those of you with life-threatening allergies), more fruit (yeah), and more nostalgic snacks like Twinkies (boo).  What do you think?  Will you be indulging in more Little Debbies and Ho-ho cakes this year? 

*For the record, my blog will now be exclusively G-rated at the request of my HE and following a spirited discussion this past Saturday night. all of you Ds are in my blog!  :)    


  1. I actually felt a little guilty yesterday when my daughter told me she'd never had a Twinkie in her life. I think I took a Ding Dong or HoHo to school in my lunch almost every day.... that and the fact that she refuses to eat at McDonalds? I hope I'm doing something right!

  2. I completely agree with this list, but is this a list of "trends" or more an observation of where the market is now? Whatever. It seems like we are moving in the right direction. Except for the Ding Dongs, of course. Though, even with that, we are looking to recapture a seemingly more innocent, wholesome time. One Twinkie at a time. Or Mae West, our Twinkie substitute in Canada. I could go for an empty calorie Mae West right now!

  3. Well, my lady, not sure I agree with you here...large CPG (consumer products goods...) companies seem to rarely innovate - and they only "listen" once a product is well tested... Coke and Pepsi didn't jump on the water band wagon until we were all buying it already in bottles...and they didn't make any new fancy waters until someone grew Smart Water and Vitamin Water into mega brands - and then they woke up - and over paid...So you're correct, they indeed don't work like fashion, they're risk averse -- they are only willing to "innovate" once a category is proven, then they buy fashionable brands, or "innovate" their own and cannibalize their existing shelf space. Technically, I'm not sure that's innovation. But for entrepreneurs - it's a whole bunch of opportunity!

  4. Thanks for the comments! The press release I tracked down is calling them trends, but that may just be a word choice to create some allure. Most of these industry-type of reports are thousands of dollars, which makes them a little out of my reach to confirm the methodology. :)

    Eating Twikies and a Mae West....heck, you only live once, and if you do it right, once is enough! (or something like that)

  5. (female dog*)???? Really? We're big girls we can take the formal wording. Maybe you should replace it with Ewe or Filly. I will defer to your decision not to use adult words in your blog (and not use it in my comments) but I haven't heard or used "female dog" as cover for the actual terminology since I was pretending to be couth in high school.

    But Ho-ho cakes is okay? Shouldn't that be (loose woman*) cakes? But I've digressed enough....

    I understand that low and super low waisted trousers are on their way out, yay! Whatever bunch of people deemed that to be okay, THANK YOU!

  6. I don't think I've used "female dog" either since high school. Heck, even my little kids say the B word. But now I'm all paranoid! And I never thought of how politically incorrect those Ho-Hos are these days! Feebee...start writing a memo!

    Agree with you on the super low trousers. If face piercings could kindly find their way out of popular culture before my daughters are teenagers, I'd appreciate that too.

  7. Tell your HE PG-13 is can say bitch and other fun phrases like "my neighbor is really old, anytime now she'll probably go tits up"