Indulgence Foods: Culinary Trends Mapping Report

Published: November 1, 2007 - 110 Pages

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
  • Trends in Indulgence - Kimberly Egan
  • Executive Summary

Industry Overview

  • Indulgent Eaters Could Provide Rich
  • Business Opportunities - Don Montuori

Trend Profiles

  • Trend Summary
  • Stage 1: Domestic Truffles
  • Stage 2: Floral Flavors
  • Wine-Flavored Sweets
  • Stage 3: Artisan Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Stage 5: Mix-Ins
  • Premium Chocolate

Chef Speak: CCD Chefs’ Council® Voices

  • Alice Medrich: Toward Brainier Indulgences

Strategic Implications

  • Pulling the Indulgence Lever


  • Food Beat, Inc.


  • Source List


Who doesn’t need a little indulgence now and then? In today’s stressful world, just about everyone needs an occasional gratifying experience. We can’t always indulge our wishes for a fancy new car or the latest designer handbag, but one easy way to indulge is through food and beverage. A Starbucks Frappuccino is a terrific example of an affordable indulgence, a drink in which we can take great pleasure, one that offers a momentary escape and that makes us happy.

There are many proven benefits in indulgence products and, thus, manufacturers and restaurant operators can find new business opportunities by expanding into this category. The good news on the business side is that consumers are willing to pay a premium for these products, resulting in higher profit margins. The trick is how to deliver everyday indulgence. If that is accomplished, the positive experiences generated during this particularly emotional exchange will build brand loyalty. Companies can also enjoy making consumers happy with well-loved products or menu items.

Indulgent Foods, 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 domestic truffles, newly cultivated in the U.S., floral flavors and wine-flavored sweets, artisan cheese and Greek yogurt, mix-ins and premium chocolate, and critically assess how food marketers can take advantage of these hot trends.

Key Strategies

  • Where these indulgent foods are appearing along the trend map
  • How new uses and applications of these goods may suggest a food or drink that will grow into the next big thing.
  • Actual menu items where these indulgent foods are appearing
  • Applications for the packaged foods/retail side of the business
  • New product and menu-item introductions inspired by emerging and existing indulgence trends
  • CCD translation tips - how to turn these trends into actionable menu, product and retail developments
  • Future impact of indulgence 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 spices? Kimberly Egan, CCD’s managing partner, invites us to consider how indulgent foods can help packaged goods manufacturers and restaurant operators satisfy emotional and gustatory needs and wants by offering comfort, novel experiences, connoisseurship and luxury, and artisanal quality.

Professional Perspective: Pioneering chocolate dessert legend and two-time James Beard Foundation award winner Alice Medrich sees a seismic behavioral shift among today’s consumers. More and more chocolate lovers are deriving pleasure intellectual, social and experiential aspects of dessert, rather than from excess consumption or overpowering flavors.

With extensive profiles of each ingredient/food emerging within the five stages of the trend map, this spice 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.

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