As restaurants attempt to innovate through dishing out new bold flavors and creating categories like upscale comfort food, so too turn the wheels behind the bar with moves that take popular liquors to make interesting new cocktails and, a little more outside the box, create the beginnings of a beer cocktail trend.
“Chelada, the Mexican thirst-quenching combo of lime juice and a light lager, the Black and Tan — Guinness and Harp — have been around for quite some time,” says Melissa Abbott, director of culinary insights at the Hartman Group. “Consumers are just coming around to the idea of mixing some of the sour Belgian-style beers as a cocktail ingredient. But it has to make some sort of culinary sense, not just a mash-up of ingredients.”
At Poste Moderne Brasserie in Washington, D.C., and on the other side of the country, at Urbane Restaurant in Seattle, Wash., beer cocktails have graced beverage menus with measured success. (read more…)
Millennial consumers pose an interesting challenge for food retailers in that their desires, like those of all generations, are an amalgam of how old they are and the times in which they live. In some ways, their desires echo those of Boomers when they were young adults — except that millennials came of age in an era of rampant technology and mobility, and during a recession that hit them harder than most.
Their goals are not especially unique: They want to build careers, spend time with friends and travel. But millennial shopping and eating behaviors are exceptional, and as the largest generation since the Boomers, their choices have a big impact on overall consumer trends.
In that way, they are a sort of barometer for future consumer behavior and warrant retailers’ close attention. It’s worth knowing, for example, that millennials shop all channels and tend to go most regularly to stores in close proximity. (read more…)
It’s no secret that when it comes to chocolate trends, dark chocolate has grown increasingly popular with consumers who like their indulgences with a side of health benefits. Now that dark chocolate has become much more mainstream and in demand, a growing number of consumers have become accustomed to the stronger, less-sweet taste, chocolate makers say. And, as with most consumer food trends, familiarity breeds a craving for something new, from sea salt and nuts to fruit and black pepper.
In a study last year, Mintel found that while milk chocolate is still the top choice, more than a third of consumers now prefer dark chocolate to other varieties.
That percentage jumps in the over-55 age group, to 46% for men and 48% for women, and 73% of all respondents said they know dark chocolate is better for their health. The higher level of cocoa flavonoids in dark chocolate are reported to have beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. (read more…)
There was a time, not so long ago, when the produce department was little more than the no-nonsense spot at the food retail store to stock up on life’s greener essentials. Stroll through a grocery store today, and you’ll quickly discover the produce section has become a whole new ballgame. From croutons to nuts, fruit juices to fruit fly solutions, the number of products vying for highly coveted space in the produce department is growing. We’re not just comparing apples to oranges anymore, folks.
A recent study found that 92% of shoppers report fresh produce was the single most important factor when choosing a grocery store. Having secured prime real estate near the front of stores, the produce department is a high-traffic hot spot where consumers make their first stop and purchasing decisions. Those initial minutes perusing the produce section set the tone for the rest of the shopping experience.
Location, location, location
Once banished to the back of the store with hopes of encouraging impulse purchases, many modern groceries are taking a hint from the produce section, and beginning to relocate dairy cases to the front of their stores. (read more…)