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04 Apr 2024

Turning food trends into food concepts with Egg Soldiers

Turning food trends into food concepts with Egg Soldiers

How do you turn a food or drink trend into a product reality?

Well, identifying the right trend to pursue is the first hurdle. And it’s a major one.

‘Trends’ are everywhere, and it takes real experience to cut through the noise and spotlight those most relevant to your brand, giving you the confidence to push ahead with the right concept ideas.

This month, we sat down with Tom Gatehouse, senior trends strategist at Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers, to understand how he takes a viable food trend through to being a potential food concept, East Asian food movements the subject of discussion.

“Let’s take Korean cuisine - interest in the bold, savoury delights of the East Asian country has steadily risen over the past few years, broadening far beyond the health-aligned kimchi, the original standard bearer for Korean’s entry into the UK mainstream spotlight,” Tom says.

“But what’s driving the rise of Korean-inspired flavours in the UK? And what opportunities for NPD teams might still there be bubbling just under the surface?

“Directly linked to the diversification of street food this past decade, interest in Asian-inspired flavours has been growing at a rate, with consumers flocking in their droves to new globally inspired taste experiences, often grounded in familiar format territory.

“A lasting escapist sentiment from the days of COVID, perhaps. But certainly, a desire among younger consumers to broaden their palates, with street food linking nicely to the phasing out of traditional mealtimes and the ‘new normal’ eating occasions found as part of hybrid working weeks.”

And it’s not just Korean making waves in this Asian-inspired space. Southeast Asian food hotspots such as Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indonesian flavours are also increasingly coming to the fore, riding the wave of interest in street food.

“That is a clear indication of a ‘trend with legs’ – certainly for NPD teams looking ahead,” Tom continues.

“So, if we take Korean, with it’s deep, complex, and versatile array of flavour profiles, showcased superbly by the likes of the sweet/spicy gochujang and the crave-worthy bulgogi, and consider: what areas of Korean cuisine could be focused on in terms of UK innovation going forward, in line with evolving trends?

“Well, in the last few years, the likes of Korean BBQ and Korean fried chicken’s stock have clearly been rising as ‘trends within a trend’.

“Standout seasonings and condiments unify the two, and if we look closer at the latter; innovators not only in the UK but also the US and Australia are taking fried chicken to new heights by introducing East Asian-inspired elements from the likes of Japan, Korea and Taiwan that go big with both flavour and format.

“Seasonings is a particular hot spot, with brands exploring bold dustings to appeal to experience hunting consumers, from the layered spice and umami-packed power of Japanese shichimi togarashi, to the cheese- and garlic-driven Korean Bburinkle (or Snow Cheese).

“For us, as a team of not only insight specialists, but also award-winning development chefs: this is where it really gets interesting.”

Click here to find Insights Lab’s free whitepaper on ‘Asian-Inspired Chicken’ opportunities, with Tom and his team spotlighting seasoning interest areas for the UK market, exploring potential retail applications for a trend-aligned concept, and outlining future expansion opportunities.

Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers provides detailed reports and immersive workshops to drive innovation for F&B businesses, with the team producing a regular food trends newsletter and free insight deep-dives to inspire NPD teams and spark conversation.


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