Indulgence Is On The Menu For 2008, Researchers Say

Looking to add a twist to your humdrum food product? You may want to think about adding a floral scent or wine flavor, new research from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) finds.

According to the CCD's report, "Indulgence: Culinary Trend Mapping Report" (published jointly with Packaged Facts), Americans are more willing than ever to partake in little luxuries as a break from their daily lives. "We're treating ourselves to little luxuries every day," CCD trendologist Kara Nielsen tells Marketing Daily. "We're leading really stressful lives, and we're looking for little indulgences to give us a break."

The research, which identifies emerging trends in food taste and quality, gives some insight as to what new products may be coming and how to sell them.

On the far side of the scale is the development of domestically grown truffles, which will likely result in bringing down the prices and making them more accessible to home cooks.

Closer-in are wine and floral-flavored foods. The wine flavors, which are being found more and more in sweets, add a new level of sophistication to the American palette that dovetails with Americans' increasing appreciation for wine, Nielsen says.



"Gen Xers have incorporated more wine into their lives, and Generation Y is very interested in it," she says.

The report also predicts that the markets for Artisan cheeses and Greek-style yogurts will continue to grow, as will places that allow mix-ins to a basic product (like more exotic fruits into frozen yogurts) and premium chocolates, thanks to reports that dark chocolate has antioxidant qualities.

For food marketers, pairing these indulgences with everyday products (like a floral-flavored marshmallow, or mix-ins for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) can open a new niche for product development. And, "Americans are willing to pay a slight premium for these indulgences, which can lead to higher profit margins," Nielsen says.

When selling these little indulgences to consumers, marketers should keep in mind that people looking to "pull the indulgence lever" are driven by four factors: comfort, novel experience, connoisseurship and luxury, and artisanal quality, Nielsen says. "They're emotional drivers that are pushing people to these foods and decisions," she says.

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