Are Your a Food Trends Translator?

Are Your a Food Trends Translator?

November 6, 2013

Allison Beadle, MS, RD, LD
Editor, RDBA Weekly

We’re hitting the part of the year where food trend forecasters begin proclaiming their visions for the year ahead.  No doubt, you’ll be hearing more about 2014 food trends right here at RDBA Weekly, but what’s a retail dietitian to do with all of this?

Perhaps never before have we been so obsessed with food trends—the mere act of tracking food trends has become a trend itself.  But hey, we’re in the midst of a food renaissance and everyone wants to know what’s next.  This is where you come in.  As a retail dietitian, translating food trends gives you the opportunity to educate your company leadership on what the trends mean and how to leverage them (or not) for business.  This helps reinforce your expertise beyond nutrition and will help build your influence with leadership.

But how do you get started?  It’s simple.  Here’s a quick run-down on how you can become a food trends translator for your retailer:

  • Read Trend Reports. If you’re not already doing this, start now.  Several 2014 trend-predicting articles have already surfaced.  Read them and keep your eyes peeled for what’s next.  Set up a Google Alert so you’re alerted when new trend articles appear.
  • Look for Patterns. Are there any common threads between the trends cited by forecasters?  Are any themes emerging?  If so, this is a good indication that these trends will be high impact and should definitely be paid attention to.
  • Identify Action Opportunities. Once you’ve identified trends that look like they will have the most “stickiness” or that would really appeal to your retailer’s customer base, it’s time to start thinking about how to leverage them. Brainstorm specific actions your retailer should take.  Should you work with the chef to develop a new, healthy dish with a Filipino flavor profile?  Is it time to do a demo on kohlrabi?
  • Develop a Trends Brief. Gather the most important trends information and action opportunities and clearly articulate the trends landscape and your recommendation for your leadership team.  Provide them with strategic insights (what trends mean, which ones to pay attention to and why) along with actionable recommendations (construct endcaps focused on ancient grains, hold a cooking class focused on nut milks).

Retail dietitians are in a unique position to serve as trend translators—you can help your leadership make sense out of the food trends, which often feel like fashion trends that shift with the seasons.  This provides you with an opportunity to use your natural analytic skills (it seems this is a genetic trait of all dietitians!) while flexing your creativity and providing insights to help grow the business.