Food Trends in America

I recently read a fascinating book The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue, a fascinating book about recent food trends.

If you are trying to find the next product which will take your small food business on the road to great success, this is definitely a book to read.

The book analyses a number of food trends of the past decades, from cupcakes to chia, bacon, fondue, seafood, new vegetables, fruits (like kiwi), Kale. Spicy sriracha sauce. Honeycrisp apples. etc., explaining to the reader why such foods became so popular for a short or long time. It talks about small indulgences and healthy foods, about the way vegetables or fish species can be discovered and named to make them more popular (e.g. Chilean seabass)! It also takes us to the back-stage of the Specialty Food Association and its prestigious awards called SOFI, sharing the story of a local Vermont company called Big Picture Farm , who won the top award for its goat caramels a few years ago.

One thing the book made me realize is how crucial the New York City scene is to success in the food industry, simply because most food editors actually live there! (I was again reminded of that fact while reading another audiobook “Ten Restaurants That Changed America”, in which most of the restaurants talked about are indeed NYC restaurants!).

One final thought from the book: I am now very curious to investigate the real impact a major SOFI award can have on the revenues and growth of a company. I have seen Big Picture Farm goat caramels in retail stores for a while now, and I love their packaging, but never had the impression that it was a booming company, yet they had won that prestigious award. I cannot wait to try to interview its owners for some insights about the development of their small food business. More to come!

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