Startup Food Genius has recently made headlines for its failed attempt at garnering accurate national food trends through menu data because, according to its CEO/co-founder Justin Massa, there are no national food trends, only local ones. “If you try to look at food as a big national trend, you’ll find nothing,” he said.
And while we all know numbers don’t lie, we can’t help but argue that, for those just scanning the headlines, there actually are national food trends — they’re bred from local and regional food trends. If we were to claim that national trends don’t exist, how would you explain the overdose of kale and quinoa we have been fed? More recently, fried chicken and comfort food is becoming upgraded all over the nation, as have ethnic concepts, frozen yogurt, more protein on menus, and the list goes on.
Digging even deeper, what influences these regional trends? Do national brands — think Starbucks — influence smaller concepts and, as a result, local markets, to bring the trend full-circle? Does it begin with an intimate group of local influencers through collaboration? Influential personal networks? Perhaps all of the above.
Localization, whether it’s through marketing and social media, mapping trends, or through sourcing, has really changed business — and not just for the food industry. Read More