Baking? Blogging? Craft beers? Cat selfies? Which of these are trends? All of them? None of them? Recently, we Finnsters attended a brilliant briefing with trend forecasters at Future Laboratory, specifically focusing on the future of food and drink.
We learnt about up-and-coming beverages, ingredients, bars and chefs and debated the macro trends that influence these flavours of the future. We heard from the director of food at Harrods, who talked about what we can learn from the world of luxury and even tasted the latest alcoholic potion from a former bartender of the year who is taking molecular to the next level (and to be honest, we don’t remember much of what happened after that!)
Naturally, this got us thinking about what makes a trend. It’s a word that is thrown around all too often, to add insight or rationale to an idea or to put consumers into boxes. Whilst insight and trends are obviously invaluable when it comes to the creative and the strategic process, is it a ‘trend’ we’ve identified, or merely consumer behaviour? Take baking. Is this a trend? It might have been five or six years ago, when Great British Bake off first brought soggy bottoms into everyday vernacular and the cool folk started stocking up on whisks and wooden spoons.
But today, everyone is baking. It’s a popular hobby that has been amplified by a succession of very British occasions such as the jubilee. It gives participants a nostalgic flavour of their childhood and something to do for a couple of hours over the weekend that impresses their friends and doesn’t cost the earth.
Whilst this insight may very well influence a PR or marketing campaign, should it really be labelled as a trend? After trawling dictionaries and marketing resources, we finally came up with our own definition of a trend as follows: “a NEW shift in mentality, initiated by a small group of innovators, eventually affecting a significant amount of people.” And this has really helped to shape our thinking for clients, as have the hot off the press trends identified by those clever folk at the Future Laboratory. Edible insects anyone?
Posted by Julia on January 29th, 2014