Resort Food Executive Committee
Food Trends
Chef Rob Corliss

Trends to Continue to Watch in 2017 – July Update

The Power of Clean Label:

The consumer demand to know what is in their food has propelled "Clean Label" as the biggest macro trend influencer of 2017 and moving forward – it's a lifestyle!

Transparency with food is becoming increasingly important. Today's consumers crave a connection to their food choices and are very aware of ingredients. They support food that aligns with their values.

Communicating the story behind the food is a huge wellness connection point, as consumers want to become closer to the food source. Food with a story translates to "real food".

  • Promise food - is about delivering on the clean & natural aspects of food.
  • Food with integrity - from farm to fork, all aspects of food are revered especially if there is passion and care going into food & wellness.
  • Simple, recognizable ingredient statements/fewer ingredients - is becoming the norm.

Clean Label encompasses a broad spectrum:

  • NO GMO: Has seen significant growth
  • NO (or low) sugar: FDA nutrition facts labeling goes into effect in 2018, calling out "added" sugars
  • Gluten Free: Continues to rise in real lifestyles and perception
  • Allergen Free: Continues to rise, plant based offerings tap into this opportunity
  • No Trans Fats: Is table stakes
  • No (or minimized) preservatives: Natural is the goal, but still is not defined (just as minimally processed)
  • FRESH: A big consumer cue which resonates with a broad base
  • Authentic: consumers love artisan/crafted attributes

Flexitarian Influence:

2016 was deemed year of the pulses by the United Nations... and that exposure is carrying over into 2017 with creative plant-based innovation. The proliferation of plant-based offerings is leading the way with veg-centric menu/recipe applications vs. traditional proteins across menus; as well as, new product launches in retail.

Plant-based eating and menu features continue to grow and are poised to be a long-term lifestyle and consumer preference. 22.8 million people follow a "flexitarian" inclined lifestyle. These are people that simply eat lighter & cleaner in their lifestyle and have reduced meat consumption.

Social Awareness:

Today's consumer is looking for a deeper experience that reflects their individual personality! Consumers are loyal to what they trust. We live in "real time" social media expression. The consumer is now, more than ever, an influential voice in multiple areas: as an influencer, critic, host, competitor and experience sharer - all of your brand.

  • Affordable luxury is now a sought after everyday indulgence.
  • Develop a sense of community with your brand & menu offerings. People remember memories more than anything else they experience.
  • Authenticity, transparency & passion are rewarded.
  • 78% of Americans have a social media profile – up 3x from 2008.
  • By 2019, Instagram is reported to reach 1/3 of the U.S. population.

Flavor & Trend Cues To Keep an Eye On:

  • Savory - Today's discerning palates are moving away from sweet... to savory in food & beverages; along with floral & bitter notes.
    • Savory beverages.
    • Savory yogurt.
    • Savory large curd cottage cheese – the next evolution of yogurt trend.
  • Flavored Heat - Heat with flavor vs. heat for heat's sake, creates craveable, perpetual global trend news. Flavorful heat also helps with wellness; as you can use less sugar, sodium, fat and flavor food via heat.
    • Extensions of sriracha (Thai) and now harissa (North Africa) and Gochujang (Korean) examples of heat with flavor.
    • Sichuan peppercorn (China) with cayenne – Ma-La effect on palate (numbing heat).
  • Seaweed and Algae - Cross-global usage, stand-alone star or used as an ingredient, multiple applications, huge sustainability factor.
  • Seafood is a Darling - Seafood should continue to rise in applications and consumer appeal. Position both lower and higher end. The health/wellness halo and inherent story with seafood offerings is a key driver.
    • Poke - in many iterations & styles paired with cold & hot bases.
    • Showcase regional seafood offerings & tout your relationships.
    • Cultivate a seasonal approach with seafood.
  • Regional American (Southern) - Relatable, sophisticated comfort, loved from coast to coast and morphs with many cuisines.
  • Kid Foodies - The next generation is crushing it on wellness – more attention than ever on kids wellness. Kid TV shows, kid magazines, school programs, no more kid menus in restaurants (eating from adult's menu). Next generation to keep a very close eye on their eating habits.
  • Fruits & Veggies as a Star - Now C.O.P. features, an array of cooking methods & execution with beef/pork/chicken/game as a side (or lesser portion than fruits & veggies).
  • Future Beverages - Savory, tart, spice & floral flavor notes will define future beverage formulation. Sweetness has now been relegated to a tertiary flavor that helps balance & round out these other dominant flavors. Much like the other mentioned leading trends, discerning palates and culinary innovation are key drivers.
    • Coffee everything: cold brewed coffee, nitro coffee, coffee with plant-based milks, coffee as an ingredient.
    • Cold brewed tea: the next evolution of cold brewed coffee.
    • Cold pressed juices, vegetable juices, maple & birch water, nut milks, barrel aged beer, wine on tap & functional beverages.
    • Natural beverage sweetness: agave, honey, stevia, monk fruit, coconut sugar, unsweetened fruits.
  • Personalized Nutrition - Consumer attitudes toward health today have evolved beyond diet, exercise, and the specific attributes of food items. Now they're looking for personal plans that meet their own specific interests, and more importantly, their lifestyles.
  • Brunch 24/7 - Breakfast all-day has pretty much morphed into brunch-inspired all-day. Traditional dinner meals are inspiring brunch creations.
  • Food with a Story - Huge connection point with consumers. Today is more about what is NOT in our food more so than what IS in our food.
  • North Africa - Bright diverse full flavors (5 tastes), simple & comforting, alluring spices & combinations, grains/nuts/fruits/veggies.
  • Global Casual - Bowls are a beautiful extension of global casual (street foods & family go-to's) and a huge trend. Bowls can be anything (bean, ramen, bone broths, grain, veggie, fruit, porridge, poke).

Cheers to an innovative & prosperous 2017!
Chef Rob Corliss
RFEC Trends Chairman

RFEC - Pride In One's Work