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Photos and Highlights: WFFC Dinner, SFC/CSA Midwest

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
Posted: January 5, 2009

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Richard Yoo (McDonald's) brought the day's presentations to a close with a discussion on global consumer trends in food. In his role as senior directory of menu management, Yoo keeps on top of the trends in order to help deliver a pipeline of new products for the fast-food chain. Some of the top trends influencing consumers are:

  1. Health & wellness
  2. Variety extension: Many different flavor/taste options in a product line
  3. Convenience solutions: The desire for on-the-go meal options
  4. Authentic industrial food: The consumers' demand for authenticity and "real" food and the manufacturer's need for low cost production
  5. Slow food: People are looking for homemade and/or "made from scratch" items; this increases the authenticity of a product

Yoo also explored interesting trends in flavors for products in the global market. For example, meaty flavors are entering the snack food segment, with a cheeseburger flavor chip being released in Europe. In addition, traditional and ethnic flavors are being applied in new ways. An example of this, is Orville Redenbacher's jalapeno flavored microwave popcorn. Also, well-known and popular flavors are being used in unexpected ways. What flavor could be more popular than chocolate? Well, some companies, such as Chocoholics Divine Desserts, are taking advantage of chocolate's popularity by introducing chocolate pasta, which can eaten for dessert.