When it comes to consumer trends, food bloggers offer a unique perspective. They are constantly monitoring the responses to their recipe posts, engaging with their followers and keeping tabs on other food bloggers which gives them an edge in understanding consumer preferences.
That’s why we recently surveyed 37 food bloggers from across the country to get their perspective on what they view the as the hottest food trends. Here are their top picks and why:
Street-Food and JackFruit take the lead as Rising Stars
Street-food inspired dishes ranked the highest on the list which is not surprising since this trend has been escalating over the past few years and the National Restaurant Association named street food one of the leading food trends for 2017. According the NRA, consumers get to discover flavors of local foods from faraway places and chefs get to create their versions of the ultimate dumplings, tempura, or kabobs. Often times street food is affordable, approachable and easy to prepare making it perfect for the home cooks who follow food blogs.
Jackfruit and other plant-based protein sources ranked a close second as consumers seek healthier alternatives. The number of new products with a high-protein or vegan claim has increased by 54 percent since 2008 according to Mintel, a Chicago research firm.
Bloggers also noted these additional rising stars including: grain free, keto and paleo; craft cocktails and/or Asian spirits for cocktails (Shochu, Arak, Baiju, etc) and sustainable bio-sourcing (crickets powder, carp oil, etc).
Hot Trends: Poke and Kombucha
Food bloggers recognize the bowl craze that has been sweeping the country and Poke is one flavorful option. A favorite dish in Hawaii, Poke consists of cubed raw fish with seasonings and other healthy items such as rice and vegetables. Poke bowls have been popping up in eateries across the country and it seems food bloggers are getting the itch to create their own versions as well.
As a ready to drink tea, Kombucha has emerged from a once small-segment of West Coast foodies to reaching broader appeal in the natural foods channel experiencing a 41% growth since 2016 according to Beverage Industry Magazine.
Lasting Favorites as well as Yesterday’s News
Several produce items made the list of items are expected to stand the test of time including a preference for heirloom varieties and ancient ingredients. Bloggers noted that vegetable substitutions like veggie noodles and mashed cauliflower for potatoes are also expected to last with bloggers noting reader interest in healthier recipes. In addition, bloggers recognized home-made condiments, pickling and fermenting as an ongoing trend as well.
Once hot items, bloggers ranked these beverages as yesterday’s news: Plant waters to drink (coconut, maple, aloe etc.) and cold pressed juices. It seems the glasses of these once popular drinks are probably no longer half full.
Healthy and Locally Grown Remain Important to Consumers
Bloggers told us healthy is top of mind for their followers. Not surprisingly, healthy meals for kids and veggie-centric meals also ranked high on their list. As one blogger stated, “Nowadays, healthy, organic, sustainable foods that cater to our lifestyles are of key importance when it comes to being a recipe developer and food blogger. From my perspective healthy, organic, sustainable aren’t buzz words, they are all important food trends.”
In addition, the locally grown trend remains important for consumers as this blogger noted, “Consumers want to understand where their food comes from, now more than ever.”
Hormones in food is the biggest concern among followers
Bloggers ranked hormones at the top of the list of leading concerns among their audience. How or where their food is grown or produced ranked second followed by sustainability. “I think a lot of people are more aware of what food they are consuming and where it is coming from; especially since that information is so widely available now,” said one blogger.
As we learned from this list, what’s hot today can quickly turn into yesterday’s news. But make no mistake, today’s food bloggers are the new food influencers who don’t just follow trends, but also set trends thanks to their continuous social influence reaching hundreds of millions of readers on a daily basis.
What do you think about these trends? We’d love to hear your feedback. At Full Tilt Marketing, we have been teaming up with food bloggers for years and specialize in developing the relationships that can build brands. As part of our food influencer program, we maintain a proprietary and dynamic database of bloggers from around the country to be able to find the right blogger fit for every brand. For more information, feel free to contact me at Heidi@fulltiltmarketing.net.