Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trend Mapping

On Facebook this morning, I discovered an infographic - courtesy of Kathy - that was absolutely calling my name. Put together by a British company called thefoodpeople, it's a graphic representation of 2015 food trends, including several fairly specific food trends (things like the rise of fermentation and multiple condiments on the table), how broad food trends fit with larger consumer trends, flavor markers (smoke, hay, spice, etc) and how national cuisines fit as overall influencers. Needless to say, I am all about it.

Trends have been on my mind lately, as they often are at the end of one year and the beginning of the next. In past years, I've made my own predictions and written summaries of others' predictions. I didn't get to that this year...but I did just write an article about McCormick's flavor forecasting efforts. (It appears in the Sun today.)

I found one piece of thefoodpeople's infographic, the cuisine influence map, especially interesting. The map charts different cuisines in terms of trend influence and market appeal - it seems very useful for people thinking about food marketing and product development:

It caught my eye, in part, because I'd just spotted this map, also someplace on Facebook:

Many of the above findings are no-brainers. Steak in Wyoming? Yes. Southern food in the South? Tex-Mex in Texas? Who could've guessed? But Maryland and Virginia are more into Peruvian cuisine than the rest of the country. That was a bit of a surprise. I'd noticed an uptick in Peruvian joints around Baltimore...but I didn't realize it was a regional phenomenon.

So it's interesting to me, then, to see that on the cuisine map above, Peruvian cuisine is about average in terms of trend-setting but it's fairly low on the market appeal scale. The cuisine map is not about the US - or at least not all about the US - and doesn't deal in any regional cuisines, so the two maps don't sync perfectly. But still, the overlap is interesting.

Food for thought, as they say.


Anonymous said...

I wish the source were more specific than just "Yelp." I'd like to know how they determined what to put for each state.

Kit Pollard said...

The HuffPo link includes some information about how the map was put together. The key bit:

To get the data for the map, Yelp first calculated the percentage of total restaurants each cuisine represented in a given state. Then, it compared each percentage with the cuisine's representation in restaurants nationwide. The resulting map, made by HuffPost, shows the cuisines with a disproportionate level of representation in each state.

Restaurants on Yelp can be placed into as many as three categories, so some restaurants may have been counted more than once. For instance, a Kosher vegetarian Chinese restaurant would count as three cuisines.


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