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. See...now all of you Ds are in my blog! :)