2012 Food Culture Trend

In its Hartbeat Newsletter, the Hartman Group offers 12 consumer culture trends to keep in mind for the new year. The company says the way Americans eat is continually changing, and it’s in the best interest of the food industry to stay in step with these shifts in consumer behavior.

  1. Changing Food Culture—Meal Fragmentation: Today’s households are run as “loose democracies” where children have an equal say in what, where and when the family should eat.
  2. All By Myself—Eating Alone: 44% of adult eating happens alone. Currently, Hartman Group says, these lone wolves are largely ignored by the marketing efforts of many CPG companies.
  3. Did You Say Meal? Sorry, We’re a Snack Culture: The company says 48% of all adult eating occurs between meals, a combined result of a rise in eating alone, and a decline in eating together as a family.
  4. Immediate Food Consumption—My Way, Now Please: Increasingly, eating is driven by whimsy and mood. More than 11% of all adult eating today includes foods or beverages consumed within one hour of purchase. Immediate consumption is about a long-term shift toward impulsive, unplanned eating of all kinds, the company says.
  5. Sorry, June; It’s a Modern Family: The nuclear family of the ’50s is gone. Marketers need to focus on today’s intergenerational, non-traditional, single parent, unmarried, and multi-ethnic families.
  6. Wellness Is Quality of Life: Consumers just want to have fun. They strive for health and wellness in order to enjoy a higher quality of life.
  7. Food Culture—Classes Begin Today: Knowledge is power, and understanding Food Culture can be a powerful tool for success. Food Culture, according to the company, represents everything there is to know about food that lies beyond our own personal preferences and, in the case of food manufacturers, beyond their own categories or niches.
  8. Nutrition Education—Class Dismissed: Turns out, consumers aren’t interested in symbols, icons and calories counts on their food labels. “Findings both within our firm and elsewhere are so far inconclusive that actions like requiring calorie counts on foodservice menus actually change consumer purchase behaviors,” Hartman Group notes. What consumers want is help that inspires their interest in all things food and cooking.
  9. Food Occasions— New Vision for Meals: The notion of “three squares a day” is outdated. Hartman Group analysis of food culture revealed more than 150 distinct eating occasions beyond traditional daypart meals. Understanding occasions and occasion-based eating can bring opportunity for both retailers and CPG brands.
  10. Millennial Marketing—Fun Please: Millennials and technology go hand-in-hand. But, instead of trying to build brand ‘loyalty’ among this demographic, make an impact with transparency, integrity and a sense of fun.
  11. Moooo-ve Over Cash Cow: To find whitespace opportunities in crowded CPG categories, marketers should assess food and beverage categories culturally and consider investing in small emerging brands rather than focusing only on “cash cow” brands.
  12. Retail—Crossing the Chasm: Retail needs a makeover. Hartman Group says the retail experience has lost significance with today’s shoppers. What’s needed are culturally relevant retail and brand experiences.

Source: Hartman Group


New Year Bento

Spicy Cauliflower and Chickpeas over Basmati Rice


1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion , (such as Vidalia), thinly sliced
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 small head cauliflower
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas , drained and rinsed
1/4 cup raisins
4 cups packed fresh baby spinach


  1. In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook onion and sugar, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, garam masala, vinegar, cayenne, salt and pepper; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is deep golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into florets to make 6 cups. Add to pan along with chickpeas and raisins; cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until cauliflower is tender, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach.

Makes 4 servings

Source: Canadian Living

Breakfast Suggestion

Chinese Home-cooked Breakfast


  • Eight Treasures Congee
  • Northern Chinese Flaky Bread
  • Pickle Trio