Want to Find the Next Tasty Food Trend? Just Log On
CREDIT: Michael Schoenfeld
Thanks to the Internet, everyone has the tools nowadays to spot the next big food trend. Tomorrow’s “special” at your city’s hot restaurant might have originated on a popular food forum, as a tweet or as an irresistible photo on a food site. Here’s how the professionals identify America’s next craving and how you can too.
Nielsen, the granddaddy of consumer behavior analysis, has been analyzing online consumer conversations about food since 2003. By comparing conversations between mainstream consumers and health enthusiasts across more than 400 prominent blogs, food forums and social networks, as well as monitoring Google searches, the company claims it can identify emerging gastronomic trends.
So what’s next? Nielsen's bet is on citrus,. Health enthusiasts are expanding their palate with fresh citrus fruits and flavors, according to Jessica Hogue, research director for Nielsen’s online division. Buzz about the satsuma, a seedless Japanese orange, rose almost 500 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with a few months before. Conversation about its tiny, better-known cousin, the kumquat, was up 92 percent compared with the previous quarter.
Tips from a top food trend spotter
Bret Thorn is the senior food editor and top trend spotter for Nation's Restaurant News, a go-to guide for restaurants around the country. He let TechNewsDaily in on his method for finding out what’s cooking in the culinary world.
“There are certain chefs and food writers whom I follow on Twitter. I find the Twitter feeds of eater.com and Time Out Chicago to be particularly helpful,” Thorn said.
“I also do crowd sourcing of chefs, restaurateurs, consumers and restaurant publicists through Facebook and Twitter and through good old-fashioned e-mail,” he said.
Hot spots for food talk
Want to learn for yourself what’s making tongues wag on the food scene? Sit down and log on to:
- Tastespotting aggregates images from food blogs and was founded on the idea that we eat first with our eyes. Try sorting by popularity to see what’s captured the interest of foodies. Most photos are linked to food blogs to help you discover new favorites.
- Eater covers the restaurant scene and food pop culture.
- SeriousEats is one of the top online food communities and blogs and hosts active user conversations such as, “No wedding cake? Is this a trend?”
- Flavor Trends largely focuses on emerging trends in the restaurant industry, but its "Trends at a Glance" section provides a quick read on the latest and top trends, including how to apply them in the kitchen.
How to follow the foodies
If you have an area of special interest, identify wWebsites from chefs, restaurants and producers such as organic farms that cater to your interest. Bookmark them in your browser or set up an RSS feed to get regular notifications of when new material is posted.
You can also set up Google Alerts to receive notifications from Google when the search engine identifies new results from the Internet. Recent newsmakers have included ramen relief, bacon on a wire and swanky grilled cheeses. Set up your favorites in Google and watch your own news grow or wither while you hone your trendspotting skills.
If you prefer your information like a cannoli – short and sweet – turn to Twitter for food buzz. Follow top food writers and chefs like Ruth Reichl, former editor of Gourmet; Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and author of "How to Cook Everything;" and Alice Waters, who pioneered the organic food trend in America at her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. Waters began tweeting just this week of Mar. 28. Look to see who your favorite food stars follow and then add them to your own list.
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