Trends: Isn’t Variety The Spice Of Life?

When does a trend become tedious?

 

I may not be the best person to comment on trends; I have never really been the kind of person to follow them (my father tells me I dress like a 60 year old architect), however, recently I have become rather bored of these so-called ‘trends’ in the food industry.

 

You can’t deny that in recent years there have been huge surges in popularity of certain foodstuffs. Maybe, it is because food based programmes are more prevalent on our TV screens, broadcasting recipes new and old for us to wolf down, with numerous new dedicated ‘food channels’ springing up since the turn of the century to fuel our hunger for them. Or, perhaps it’s the growth in social media, Twitter, yes, but more noticeably Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Flickr providing an online library of foodie’s photos to slaver over.

I look at this from two angles; on the whole I welcome this ability to share our experience of food and everything that comes with it. Food is an artform – a creative, edible experience that can convey seasonality, provoke thinking and show off it’s creators talents. And most of the people I follow on instagram are chefs/cooks, most of my pictures are food and drink-centric: sharing ideas, showing off our work and discussing our opinions is healthy, it is quite possibly the most important part of cuisine besides actually feeding people….

But, and this is a large BUT, I find it extremely irritating when these trends flood the social media, menus and people’s conversation. It gets very boring, very quickly! Pulled pork, salted caramel, macarons I’m talking about you, and don’t even talk to me about popping candy because I’ll implode!

No, food doesn’t have to be innovative and different all the time, sometimes home comforts and old classics hit the spot like nothing else could. What I take issue with is when every menu you read in a month makes you feel as though you’re eating at franchised outlets within the same umbrella.

People seem to care far more that their favourite song has been overplayed on the radio and in clubs than seeing salted caramel brownies everywhere they turn, but then people tend to see that music is a creative expression and forget that a meal isn’t necessarily just fuel for the day.

But when is a dish overused?

 

This is where my logic (if you can call it that) may fall down. You can’t deny that salted caramel is a trend, it is – but is it overused, or is it that we are demanding it so much, the industry would be stupid not to give it to us? Could it be that because I consume so much (yes that too) food based media that what I see as over use is just a relatively small niche of people communicating the same sort of thing?

To be honest, even with this consideration I still feel these trends are overindulged, as the old saying goes: Variety is the spice of life. I can’t deny that when executed well I do enjoy all of these things, but not all the time. My hope is that these fascinations die down a bit and in a few years we see them as we do now a prawn cocktail; retro, a classic, and can be really tasty, but that we do wonder how on earth it was so popular in its heyday!

Matt Silver

CIPR accredited corporate reputation consultant at Ketchum with an interest in emerging technologies, social business, politics and policy. Fond of fine food and drink. Member of PRCA & CIPR #AIinPR panel.