"American consumers have become comfortable indulging through non-essential, yet accessible, consumer experiences via pleasurable food and drink," says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD.
Indulgent used to mean fattening. Today, it provides important emotional benefits that translate into profits -- uber comfort, the thrill of trying something exquisite, an expression of sophistication and a sincere appreciation for handcrafted quality.
Trends in indulgent fare that enhance appeal and emotional satisfaction include:
Taste Adventure -- Novel flavors, textures and foods deliver new indulgences. Infusing floral flavors such as jasmine, rose and hibiscus transforms the familiar into a fresher, more natural treat. Rich in protein and probiotics, creamy Greek yogurt is a luxurious upgrade of an American staple. Truffles, now grown domestically, provide a no-travel taste of what the French commonly relish.
Connoisseurship -- Consumer confidence and consumption of wine has grown, and cooking with wine has moved beyond savory to sweets. New desserts like wine-flavored chocolates, ice creams, syrups and sauces are appearing, featuring varietals like cabernet.
Artisanal Connection -- Knowing by whom and where your foods are made and how small batch production can assure premium quality can make a big difference to those seeking specialty cheeses or their daily chocolate fix. Single origin, fair trade, handcrafted, and farmstead fresh are meaningful characteristics.
The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is a thematic bimonthly trends examination along five stages -- from fine dining through chain restaurants to grocery shelves. Strategic implications for manufacturers and food service included. Individual issues and annual subscriptions available at www.packagedfacts.com.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.