Looking at Food Textures: Culinary Trend Mapping Report

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Published Dec 1, 2006 | 115 Pages | Pub ID: LA1282394

Food textures, a sensory attribute of food rarely discussed; it is an important topic for food manufacturers and restaurant operators. To sustain consumer acceptance, texture, along with flavor, aroma and appearance, has to please.

There are plenty of opportunities for food producers who choose to play around with food textures. Complex textures can add excitement and keep consumer boredom at bay, such as glazed nuts. Changing textures of conventional products can also expand a category, attracting new audiences, like tender jerky. Surprising and delightful textures will win consumer loyalty and drive sales if it is appealing enough.

As we all crave textures for emotional and physiological Looking at Food Textures, the November issue of the Culinary Trend Mapping Report, examines the ingredients, cooking styles and ethnic influences that the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) has identified as about to hit, or have established themselves, in the U.S. We delve into the trends relating to salumi (raw, cured meats), molecular gastronomy, sous vide cooking, refined artisan candies, crispy fruit and vegetable snacks, tender jerky and double crunchy glazed nuts and critically assess how food marketers can take advantage of these hot trends.

Key Strategies

  • Where these food textures are appearing along the trend map
  • Actual menu items that feature these food textures
  • Where these products/ingredients are appearing on the foodservice side of the business - from white tablecloths to the top chains
  • Activity in the packaged foods/retail side of the business
  • New product introductions featuring emerging food texture formulations and varieties
  • CCD translation tips - how to turn these trends into actionable menu, product and retail developments
  • Future impact of food texture trends on the industry

Market Assessment: Consumers, Professionals, Business
Strategic Implications: What are, in CCD’s words, the “strategic levers” food marketers, foodservice operators and food retailers should pull to identify opportunities for new product development based on emerging food textures? Kimberly Egan, CCD’s managing partner, invites us to consider how the food industry can apply consumer drivers to food textures in three areas: wellness, ethnic flavor, healthy indulgence and comfort. She also explores, through a series of charts, how to cross two trends to create a more powerful whole (think Japanese-influenced cream puffs).

Professional Perspective: CCD Chefs’ Council member, artisan chocolatier Michael Recchiuti, spends a lot of time thinking about texture, a key element of his fine hand-made chocolates and confections. In an interview, he expounds on his theory that, in using different textures, any elements designed specifically to enhance the mouthfeel or consistency of his chocolates must be purposeful and make sense in the product.

Industry Insights: Joan Lang is another industry veteran who has made her reputation working for and writing about food for a diverse library of publications, ranging from the Zagat Guide to Restaurant Business to Foodservice Director. She’s also been a managing editor for the Culinary Institute of America and has been a consultant to many of the top food marketing companies in the country.

Joan reminds us that while considering the emerging textures profiled in this report, we should keep in mind the classic textures that continue to drive sales: contrasting textures, such as crunchy dips and creamy dips; the textures that occur from certain cooking methods and techniques, like braising or frying; soft and creamy textures of puddings and custards; and iconic textures particular to certain foods, like avocado, ripe melon and spongy marshmallows.

With extensive profiles of each ingredient/food emerging within the five stages of the trend map, this wellness issue of the Culinary Trend Mapping Report provides you with the most up-to-date, insider’s look at what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food. Top food marketers rely on trend mapping to keep them on the pulse of what’s happening and what’s about to happen as far as consumer tastes are concerned.

• • • The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot - or what will be - in the food world!

Using the Center for Culinary Development’s (CCD) signature Trend Mapping technique, a validated method identifying which culinary trends are “gaining traction” and which are simply flashes in the pan, each report concentrates on a theme, or trend, that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established ingredients, cooking styles and products along the Trend Map that are driving this theme.

Each report is a 75+ page journal packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else.

Each Issue of the Culinary Trends Mapping Report

  • Identifies the maturity level of foods and ingredients according to CCD’s unique, proprietary 5-stage trend mapping process.
  • Concentrates on a theme that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established trends along the Trend Map that affect—or are affected by—this theme.
  • Delves into these trends and what they mean for you and the manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice industries.
  • Gives strategic insight into how consumers are thinking of and reacting to new foods and ingredients.
  • Provides business know-how regarding opportunities, challenges, and ways to implement current trends into foodservice, retail, and packaged goods operations.
  • Presents a feature interview with a member chef from CCD’s exclusive 80+ member Chefs’ Council® that offers expert analysis and his or her perspective on a specific trend.

Additional features include:

  • Menu Tracking: Menu mentions of our featured Trend Map items. Within the trend profiles, we will offer a summary of how often the trend has appeared on menus in restaurants ranging from 75 white tablecloth restaurants to the top 200 chains.
  • Trend Dishes: Actual descriptions of all dishes for top restaurant chains for each of the trends appear in the report Appendices to provide a comprehensive overview of how the trends are being served.
  • Industry Veterans Speak: Points of view from an industry perspective on what each trend means—whether positive or negative—to the food industry at large, including consumers, professionals and businesses.

Trend Mapping
Trend Mapping is guided by the premise that major food trends pass through five distinct stages on their way to the mainstream:

  • Stage 1: The ingredient, dish and/or cooking technique appears at upscale dining establishments, ethnic and popular independent restaurants.
  • Stage 2: The item is featured in specialty consumer-oriented food magazines, such as Gourmet and Bon Appetit plus retail stores such as Sur La Table that target culinary professionals and serious home cooks.
  • Stage 3: The item begins to appear in mainstream chain restaurants -- Applebee's or Chili's -- as well as retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma that target recreational cooks.
  • Stage 4: Publications such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens pick up the buzz.
  • Stage 5: Finally, the trend makes its way to quick service restaurant menus and is either starting to appear or is having increased presence on grocery store shelves.

Published bimonthly, the Culinary Trend Mapping Report is available for purchase as a single issue or a six-issue subscription.

Executive Summary
  • Why Food Textures - Kimberly Egan

It’s in the Tastebuds of the Beholder

  • Trend Profiles
    • Trend Summary
      • Salumi
      • Molecular Gastronomy
      • Sous Vide Cooking
      • Artisan Candy
      • Textural Menu Descriptions
      • Fruit and Veggie Snacks
      • Tender Jerky
      • Glazed Nuts

Chef Speak: CCD Chefs’ Council Voices

  • Michael Recchiuti: Layers of Texture
  • Talking Toques

Strategic Implications

  • Pull the Texture Lever
  • The Joy of Textures


  • Food Beat Menu Trend Tracking


  • Source list