Thursday, January 07, 2010

It’s street food, stupid

January 7

Thank you for participating in my latest poll, which I think garnered some interesting results.

I asked what you expected to be the driving factors influencing trends in 2010, and I let you pick more than one response. So from 24 respondents I got 38 answers.

Most people ticked the economy, not surprisingly. But the next highest-scoring category was street foods. I wonder if that’s really a big trend or if the chefs who read this blog were simply really jazzed about the Culinary Institute of America’s recent World’s of Flavor conference, which covered the topic of street food.

I guess we’ll find out as the year unfolds.

Only four respondents ticked “flavor,” perhaps because it sounded vague or silly or obvious.

But according to research my colleagues and I either did or reported on for our upcoming January 11 “Forecasts & Trends” issue of Nation’s Restaurant News, the most important driving factor for customers deciding what to eat isn’t nutrition profile or convenience or even price, and it’s certainly not environmental concerns. It’s how the food tastes.

Indeed, long-term studies of consumer attitudes with regard to food indicate that flavor is more of a factor now than it was just a few years ago.

You can find the full results of my Food Writer's Diary poll below. For all the goodies in our Forecasts & Trends issue, you’re going to have to wait until Monday, and even then, I’m pretty sure some of the info will only be available to subscribers.

If you’re in the unfortunate position of not being an NRN subscriber, you can remedy that situation by clicking here.

The poll results are below, and a new poll is on your right. Enjoy it, and feel free to write in comments below.

Thank you.

What will be the driving factors influencing trends in 2010

The economy: 15 (62%)

Health concerns: 4 (16%)

Environmental concerns: 5 (20%)

Flavor: 4 (16%)

Trendy ethnic foods: 2 (8%)

Street foods: 7 (29%)

Pork belly: 1 (4%)

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