Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 2 of 159

EDITOR'S LETTER What Lies Ahead J anuary is trend-spotting season, so we at Specialty Food Magazine are forecasting some of what we see coming in 2012. We've devoted this issue to exploring what will be the big trends and food movements of the coming year. Throughout the magazine, buyers, sellers and marketers have weighed in on everything from new retail formats to uncommon and attention-getting cheeses to what's ahead for the candy and confections sector. Here are four emerging themes around which we anticipate increasing activity: QR codes. You've probably noticed black-and-white, maze-looking boxes appearing on more advertising and products. These Quick Response, or QR, codes allow a user to obtain more information on the spot. A consumer simply downloads a QR reader app on a smartphone, opens the app to take a photo of the QR code and is sent to a web page that tells more about the item being promoted. Specialty food producers are starting to see QR codes' potential and are placing them on packaging as their next foray into social technology (p. 22 and 123). Consumer ambassadors. Blogging and social media have made the public your new sales force and public relations team. Mothers, in particular, have become a vocal throng in the blogosphere, where they exchange product information and opin- ions by the minute. Some retailers have put this to their advantage in a structured way with Mom Blogger programs that encourage feedback about products and shopping experiences (p. 28). The potential for the specialty food trade to capture the universe of consumer ambassadors—across demographics and age groups—is only beginning to be tapped. The cupcake's successor. Predictions continue to fly about the next dessert to sweep the nation—and sweep up sales— the way the cupcake craze has. No clear-cut successor has emerged yet but two contenders have generated buzz for a while now. Home-style pies have been quietly gaining attention with new pie shops offering everything from traditional to inventive savory options. Specialty food producers have an array of offerings to tap into this trend (p. 97). Likewise, shops are opening in major cities to celebrate macarons, the vibrantly colored French cookie. Recent entries include Paris' famed Laduree, now with a branch in New York City, as well as Chantal Guillion in San Francisco (p. 105). Retailer food trucks. New mobile eateries continue to launch in cities around the U.S., and savvy retailers big and small are creating their own concepts. At the forefront is Central Market, which is offering prepared foods out of its new CMRoadie, and San Francisco butcher shop Avedano's, which has introduced a roving store on wheels (p. 28). Innovative concepts such as these have the potential to bring the food truck phenomenon into its next iteration. These are only a few of the budding trends that may unfold in the next 12 months. As I was finishing this letter I received an email about a Napa Valley store, The Epicurean Connection, opening a butter bar, seemingly the next step inspired by the milk bars that have been popping up at retail. It's going to be an interesting year. Please tell us your predictions for the next trends in specialty food at specialtyfood.com/onlinehighlights. And when you're done forecasting and want to reflect on 2011, visit foodspring.com to read the foodspring 20, our annual wrap-up of the year's biggest food news, trends and events. |SFM| By Denise Purcell HAVE A COMMENT? Go to specialtyfood.com/dpurcell/2012trends Editor, Specialty Food Magazine dpurcell@nasft.org facebook.com/specialtyfoodmedia JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012 1

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