Retail Learnings from Les Dames d’Escoffier 2018 Trend Report
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Les Dames d’Escoffier is an international philanthropic organization of women leaders in the fields of food, beverage and hospitality. While nutrition enters their discussions, the group’s primary focus is on the multifaceted foodscape. Their annual trend report provides an array of learnings with application to retail health and wellness as detailed here.
Trend: The most influential parts of the world in the U.S. food scene over the next year are the Mediterranean, Middle East and Latin America. Over the next three years, expect influence on foods and flavors from East Africa, the Balkans, and the Caribbean. Foods that represent these influences include the Puebla Hot Pot (Latin America, Mexico), Manouri (Mediterranean, Greece), semi-soft, fresh white whey cheese made from goat or sheep milk, and Millet (India).
- Retail Application: Offer classes to introduce shoppers to flavors and healthy meals from these parts of the world. Invite local travel bloggers and writers to share travel experiences in these locales during your classes. Sell colleagues in deli on “International Flavor Specials” featuring a grab-and-go option or meal deal from a different country each week. Explore international festivals in your key markets and how you might partner with them to feature foods from your retailer.
Trend: According to the Les Dames’ survey, “The first generation remembers, the second generation forgets, and the third generation remembers.”
- Retail Application: The key learning here is to take a tried and true item and give it a current twist, including one from one of the international flavors immerging on the U.S. food scene. How can traditional Caribbean and East African ingredients and flavors be incorporated into tacos or pastas? What is the Latin American or Balkan sandwich? Pairing new with familiar flavors can be an effective way to introduce these emerging food influences to your shoppers.
Trend: Les Dames’ annual report indicates that “create your own” continues as a key trend in 2018 and recommends taking the mixology concept from beverages to food.
- Retail Application: With the high interest in ancient grains, offer a class during back-to-school season on a grain salad bar. Showcase how on Sundays, each member of the family can build their grain salad lunches for the week, customizing based on their personal flavor, vegetable, and protein preferences. During football season, partner with fresh departments to offer a healthy appetizer bar for shoppers to select from to meet their tailgaters’ or party goers’ tastes.
Trend: While slow cooking and instapots continue as cooking method trends, air frying, fire roasting, sous vide and pickling are emerging.
- Retail Application: Conduct Facebook Live segments showcasing preparation of healthy meals using these emerging cooking techniques. During the segment, showcase the brands of cooking equipment offered for sale in your store. Work with merchandising to create displays of recipe ingredients that work well with different types of cooking equipment.
Trend: Many of today’s parents don’t know how to cook; this means they aren’t inviting their kids to join them in meal prep.
- Retail Application: Retail RDs can fill the gap on cooking skills by offering classes and workshops for kids on basic cooking skills. Market directly to kids through schools and afterschool programs, tying in fun or science to the promotion. Start a weekly social media promotion, offering one key cooking tip or experiment that parents and kids can do together.