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The Wizard of Lightbulb Moments

The Wizard is constantly scanning industry news to maintain our trend forward stance. These “Lightbulb Moments” are quick insights on critical shifts in trends, research, and other happenings impacting food and beverage companies.

Gen Z Adults Seek Foods for Busy, Health-Conscious Lifestyles

Compared to their Millennial counterparts, 18- to 24-year-olds are more likely to look for organic or natural foods, according to Packaged Facts. Gen Z have moved in the direction of multiple eating experiences that occur throughout the day.  As a result, today’s 18- to 24-year-olds are more likely than their Millennial predecessors to say they often snack between meals (74% vs 66%).  When they do slowdown to prepare a meal, Gen Z young adults are much more likely to prefer simple, easy-to-prepare meals (58% vs 40%).  Households headed by adults under age 25 are 29% more likely to eat shelf-to-microwave dinners and 26% more likely to eat frozen breakfast entrees/sandwiches.  They also have a 23% higher likelihood of eating frozen (complete) TV dinners and are 10% more likely to eat dry packaged dinners, dinner mixes, and kits.


Lightbulb Moment: Gen Z is the first generation to be born into sustainability – they don’t know a world without organic and recycling and they also walk the walk in behavioral research.  Cooking however is not a skill they grew up with however, nor did they have the benefit of a stay at home parent compared to older generations.  Want to learn more about what drives this Gen’s behaviors?  That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Gen Z teens have high level of eating autonomy

According to The Hartman Group, early behaviors and eating habits will likely inform Gen Z’s future shopping and eating patterns, such as prioritizing snacks over meals. Specifically, teens often put together their own breakfasts, select their own lunches, and make their own snacks. Our research finds that 70% of Gen Z say they have “total control” over what they eat for snacks. While they sometimes eat alone at dinner, as a meal occasion dinner tends to be the meal most likely eaten with family and thus likely planned and cooked by parents and subject to others’ desires. All of this implies that Gen Z are not afraid of the kitchen. Food learning for Gen Z may be through entertainment, including quick, entertaining, mobile-friendly, multi-platform, highly visual, video-based, with tools and recipes relevant to their life stage. Formats that favor text, don’t get to the point, don’t move easily across devices and platforms, or that aren’t entertaining are not going to reach this generation.


Lightbulb Moment: The behavior of fixing for oneself and moving to a snacking style started with Gen Y (Millennials) due in part to the increasing divorce rate, climbing single households, and families with 2 working parents.  Gen Z was also the first generation born into online social networks and with 70% of the population being visual learners, it’s no wonder this is where they focus their time.  Want to learn more drivers behind the generations?  That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Moms prefer in-store grocery shopping

In-store shopping is still the preferred way for 52% of moms to get their  groceries, vs.  27% of dads, according to a report from Valassis.  Retailers.  Those that offer prepared foods, saw increases in shopping from 36% of mothers.  Overall, 79% of moms said that going to stores with the lowest prices is critical, while almost 60% want to save the most money through the use of coupons and discounts.  One in three moms cites the highest priority when it comes to grocery shopping is saving time, while more than 25% says the same about ease and convenience.  Over half of moms indicate they need better solutions to save more    time (53%) and money (58%).  Over 33% of moms are increasingly shopping via brick-and-mortar that offer the added convenience of delivery and pickup options and 51% always or very often search online for coupons.


Lightbulb Moment: There era of wanting to see, touch, and choose your own foods is not over as there is joy in making those choices yourself which can’t be replaced by a box showing up at your door.  Want to understand more about shopping drivers? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Adolescents who consume low-calorie sweetened beverages take in more calories compared to those who drink water

George Washington University found US children and teens who consumed low-calorie or zero-calorie sweetened beverages took in about 200 extra calories on a given day compared to those who drank water, and took in about the same number of calories as youth who consumed sugary beverages. After adjusting for body weight, consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages, sugary beverages and combined consumption of both was associated with 196, 312 and 450 higher total calorie intake compared to youth who consumed predominantly water. Consumers of low-calorie sweetened drinks, sugary beverages and consumers of both took in 15, 39 and 46 extra calories from added sugar compared to water consumers. The highest calorie intakes were reported in children and teens that consumed both low-calorie sweetened beverages and sugary beverages.


Lightbulb Moment: To paraphrase, this study was not designed to show that low or zero-calorie beverages causes unhealthy weight gain, but to show a link between consuming sweetened beverages (containing sugar and/or low-calorie sweeteners) and higher intakes of both calories and sugar. Interested in learning how clinical health studies may affect your brand? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Restaurants, food makers cater to healthy dessert cravings

Limited-service eateries have expanded their gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dessert offerings, according to Datassential’s Dessert Keynote Report. Fully 52% of consumers crave classic desserts with a twist and 62% of operators are interested in this trend because familiar ingredients aren’t hard to source, but it’s creativity that changes the game. S’mores-inspired desserts alone have recorded a nearly fourfold increase in menu penetration. Desserts with cookie crumbs and crumbles have risen on menus 33% in the past decade. While ice cream is by far the most loved frozen dessert item at 90%, inter-generationally, there are some distinct differences. Gen Z enjoys its frozen desserts with some global flair such as shaved ice, mochi, and Thai rolled ice cream. The generation also has a particularly high affinity for shaved ice, at 34%.


Lightbulb Moment: There are two crossovers being talked about here. The first is healthy indulgence but it is being roped together with comfort crossovers – two very different trends. Make sure the dessert has a clear voice so consumers will be able to relate to it. Wondering where each direction is headed for dessert? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Grocers look to CBD products for health and well-being

More CBD-infused products are entering the market, particularly in health-and-wellness product categories. MRI-Simmons, found that 43 percent of people surveyed said that they prefer alternative medicine to traditional medical practices. This year, for the first time in their health-and-wellness study, the No. 1 condition that people were managing was not weight, but stress and anxiety, according to The Hartman Group. Nationwide drug store chains CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens all revealed that they would begin selling various hemp-derived CBD health products, including creams, patches and sprays, at a collective total of more than 2,500 stores. According to experts, topicals will likely be the first CBD-infused product category to attract major supermarket interest.


Lightbulb Moment: This is the baby step we were expecting for CBD to step away from her girlfriend, THC, and shine on her own.  CBD slides into the wellness position because of technologies able to separate out the plant’s components.  It allows for audience expansion who want to focus their experience with Cannabis.  Want to learn more about her potential? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Consumers gravitate from set diet plans to healthier overall eating

Consumers are becoming less interested in following specific diets and more concerned about clean-label attributes that make them feel healthy and energetic, according to The Hartman Group. Despite more than half of U.S.  consumers having tried a diet in the past three months, just 3% of consumers identify with a specific plan.


Lightbulb Moment: Dieting is about changing your relationship with food, not villainizing particular foods or food groups.  Want to alienate the dietetics community? Call out a food or food group and cry that is the reason for obesity.  It is not a sustainable approach.  The only victims are consumers.  Want to know about diet trends? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Eighty-seven percent of consumers are looking for a personalized and consistent experience across channels

Eighty-seven percent of consumers are looking for a personalized and consistent experience across channels yet only 71% of retailers plan to offer the ability to “start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere, according to Boston Retail Partners (BRP). BRP reported 68% of consumers would choose a store offering personalized promotions and discounts, with the same percentage of retailers needing to improve their ability to use customer insight to meet expectations.  The key findings in the 2019 Unified Commerce Survey:  64% of consumers choose a store based on product information availability via their mobile device, 41% of retailers plan to improve the mobile experience to ensure they are meeting their customers’ expectations, 81% of consumers purchase online at least once per month and 89% browse online at least once per month, and 68% of consumers would choose a store that offers personalized promotions/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them. 


Lightbulb Moment: Consumers want a seamless experience with the younger generations having experienced nothing else.  Want to know more about consumer expectations? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Thirty-four percent of consumers aged 21 and over are interested in consuming cannabis legally

According to a survey by Nielsen and Headset, the top reasons for consuming legal cannibis for U.S.  adults are all tied to ailment treatment.  Currently, THC products are legal for recreational use in 10 states and Washington, DC but it’s still illegal at the federal level.  The top reasons are tied to ailment treatment.  These include: Treatment of chronic pain (85%), Improvement of mental health (82%), Treatment of minor injuries (81%), To aid sleep (77%), and Relaxation (74%).  Nielsen data also shows that many of those consumers who are interested in legally consuming cannabis are ailment sufferers: 40% of all headache/migraine pain sufferers, 40% of all arthritic pain sufferers, and 41% of all back/neck pain sufferers.


Lightbulb Moment: In fact, consumers are looking to CBD to lower the use of prescription medications.  Want to track cannabis trends going forward? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Meal kits find a growing niche at retail stores

Retailers sold $93 million worth of meal kits to 2.2 million US households last year, according to Nielsen, and retailers added 187 new meal kit options in 2018. Sales of meal kits in grocery stores and other retail outlets rang up $93 million in sales in 2018, according to a March 2019 Nielsen report, as 2.2 million new U.S.  households purchased meal kits in 2018, up 51% from 2017. Retail stores accounted for 60% of all meal kit user growth in 2018. 


Lightbulb Moment: The more natural place for meal kits has always been in retail stores.  Consumers want to see what food they are buying and be able to complement the meal kit with other offerings they can find in a grocery store.  Curious about the future of meal kits? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

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