How to jump on foodie trends without losing your brand identity

Here are a few key points to consider when choosing which trends to adopt, which to ignore and how best to implement your campaigns.

While the term ‘foodie’ has been around since the 1980’s, it only managed to vault its way into the Oxford English Dictionary in the last few years, cementing its place in the public consciousness as describing dedicated followers of food trends.

Describing yourself as a ‘foodie’ can invite a certain amount of raised eyebrows, but noone can deny the fact that food trends are big business. Being able to piggy-back on a popular trend will turn heads with your customers and clients. Whether you choose to do this sincerely or satirically is totally up to you and your client demographic.

Here are a few key points to consider when choosing which trends to adopt, which to ignore and how best to implement your campaigns.

Align with trends relevant to your demographic

Set yourself a key target audience, then research what that audience is already doing; ie do they visit Whole Foods markets? Are they coffee aficionados? Do they visit the gym a lot? This information can help you pinpoint which trends they are mostly likely to engage with. There is no point aiming your avocado toast Instagram post at a demographic that would rather eat BBQ beef and cheese fries.

Think about what is trending at the moment; beak to feet eating, unicorn drinks or locally-grown foods; all these popular trends can be made to fit with your potential clients in a variety of ways.

Boutique jewellery designer and retailer Tatty Devine often jumps on food trends that work with their core buyer, diversifying from jewellery into homewares and accessories to do so. The growing popularity of gin as a consumer trend played into this business model perfectly and it is more popular than ever now, shaking off its old stereotype of ‘mother’s ruin’ to become the hippest spirit on the shelf. Capitalising on the boutique nature of Tatty’s brand, and its associations with a younger market, makes combining the popular drink and its homeware line firmly at the forefront of a food trend.

Being able to move quickly when a trend hits or an opportunity presents itself is crucial to making sure you don’t appear irrelevant or out of touch, but summoning up the capital to do so isn’t always easy, find out more about how you can use a merchant cash advance to stay ahead of the curve.

Beware of negative associations

Imagine for a second that you are a health foods retailer, sustainable furniture manufacturer or fairtrade clothing store. You have most likely built your brand around the key tenets of health, ethical living and conservation. Then choosing to jump on the Man vs Food trend, or any of the rainbow food trends, would seem foolhardy. This seeming disregard for your core demographic will not only fall short of the mark in the impact you may want to make, it can also turn your existing customers against you as it will appear in direct polemic opposition to your core values.

However, sometimes you can adapt and use these trends. For example, rainbow or ‘unicorn’ foods often rely heavily on synthetic food dyes containing additives that some people are averse to using. If that’s the case then use natural dyes, from herbs, fruits or vegetables. Prove your core values are important to you whilst also acknowledging that a trend is relevant and you can boost brand perception within existing customer groups and appeal to new potential customers.

Trend-jacking can be cringeworthy so act with caution

Pepsi recently fell foul of the worst episode of trend-jacking in history. By casting fashion model Kendall Jenner and evoking similarities to recent political movements, not only did the advert cause a major backlash for its unlikely pairings, it also managed to offend many people.

This goes for all sorts of marketing channels too, using hashtags seems like a simple enough idea, right? Add a trending tag to your tweet and hit instant trend-jacking superstardom…not so much. Kenneth Cole did just that when deciding to trend-jack the #Cairo hashtag, which was trending due to civil unrest linked to President Mubarak, the tweet was sadly ill-conceived and caused offence.

In short, don’t use serious political or social movements as a cheap marketing ploy. By all means have a voice and make a stand but do so with thought and sincerity, be cautious and be wise.

Consider themes

Can you make a simple link between seemingly unrelated things, I think you can. Instagram is a great way to do this, as a purely visual platform you can use your products in conjunction with the latest food trend. Avocado roses and pretty green shoes, beetroot smoothie and gorgeous marble counter tops, clean eating and sports activities. Generally the pairing should create a link between your product or service and the trend, whether that’s visually similar colours, similar themes or a way in which the two can be seen as mirror images.

This article was provided by Liberis.

Further reading on food trends

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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