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Now Trending: Behind the Scenes of Campbell’s 2015 Culinary TrendScape Report

The Campbell Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI) has just released its second-annual Culinary TrendScape report, where our chefs monitor and understand food trends as they emerge, evolve and ultimately shape the landscape of the food scene.

Tracking trends is an important part of the R&D process – in order to keep up with the evolving tastes and preferences of the consumer, we have to innovate and create products that meet their needs.

With that in mind, CCBI’s task when creating the Culinary Trendscape is to understand where trends fall on a scale of familiarity to the consumer – whether that trend is only found in niche restaurants or if it’s popping up on national restaurant menus. When it reaches the right stage, our Chefs can determine where Campbell can bring these emerging trends to life for millions of consumers.

Chef-David-Landers-300-portraitSenior Chef David Landers recently gave us some insight into the CCBI 2015 Culinary TrendScape. Read his interview below:

This research is robust. How long does it take to compile all of the research for the Culinary TrendScape?

DL: Tracking trends is a continuous process. We are always looking at trends as we do our day-to-day jobs.  But once we determine the ten trends, it is about a 9 month process to finalize the research and compile the TrendScape.

How many restaurants, markets or other food-service outlets are visited and researched while you’re tracking the trends?

DL: I don’t have an exact number, but it is a lot! Part of our job as chefs here at Campbell is to taste as much food as possible, which is a definite perk. The chefs visit establishments from fast food and quick service restaurants, to casual family restaurants and even fine dining restaurants all to understand where the trends are coming to life.

Does your team look at certain media, magazines, blogs or Instagram feeds when identifying and researching emerging trends?

DL: Our chefs are encouraged to read as much as possible as part of their research and look at different sources to understand how that trend is being discussed throughout the marketplace. Take the “Eating With Purpose” trend: Bon Appetit’s January issue last year was titled “The New Healthy,” pointing to a new era of health food. Popular cookbooks also emerged with this theme, and trade magazines pointed to restaurants as embracing the trend with power bowls, ancient grains and superfoods.

We also looked at social conversation around superfoods to see what consumers were saying. We found that people love to share how they are using these new and exciting ingredients at home when they are trying to eat more purposefully.

Looking at all of these TrendPoints is important – it’s about the whole picture, not just how one person views the trend.

How does a brand know if a trend will still be relevant by the time a new product hits the shelves?

DL: By looking at the stages and the number of people that are exposed to a trend, we can get a good idea about its acceptability.  As a business, we wouldn’t want to work with stage 1 trends that are just being discovered, but instead look towards the stage 3 and 4 trends for inspiration as they shift to more mainstream acceptance.

Did the trends from the 2014 TrendScape impact Campbell product innovation? Are there plans in the works for new products to launch with this year’s trends?

DL: The 2014 trends were very influential in products that have recently launched. Last year’s juicing trend has emerged as V8 has just launched their new vegetable blend beverages, the “Yogurt Goes Savory” trend can be found in Bolthouse Farms’ greek yogurt dressings, and Campbell’s new Latin-Inspired soups embrace last year’s “Regional Mexican” trend.

We have high hopes that 2015 will be just as important. When we can make those product plans public, we will be sure to share them!

What were some trends that didn’t make the list?

DL: We had a long list of trends that didn’t make the cut for the report. Some of the fun ones were Cocktails/Mocktails, Gin, Nuts, Ramen, and Porridge. We will keep tracking them and potentially they will hit the report next year.

Be sure to view the 2015 TrendScape in the below factsheet (download a larger version here) or read the Campbell Culinary TrendScape in full.

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