Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert says 2018 will be the year of “tactile” foods. More consumers are starting to appreciate multisensory products in the food space and manufacturers can target this demographic by creating foods that provide unique and memorable sensory experiences.
Lempert’s recent Food Trend Forecast highlighted the term “tactile” to be the next biggest game changer in the food space.
“There’s nothing more tactile than being a chef. Now let’s expand this to all of our senses. Think multisensory as the new secret weapon, both with products and in-store,” said Lempert in his 2018 Food Trend #2 video.
He goes on to use the return of the typewriter as an example. As consumers are growing more interested in physical experiences, they have come to appreciate sounds and textures more. The typewriter has gained popularity because of its classic appeal and feel. People associate these sensory properties with popular books and songs written with a typewriter, therefore encouraging them to produce memorable pieces with the device.
“Its all about being involved, feeling and hearing the connection,” Lempert added.
A growing number of consumers are interested in knowing everything about their food products. They want to know where their foods are coming from, how they are made and how they affect their overall health and wellness. This need for knowledge has resulted in a “food information overload” and according to Lempert, the next step is “grounding” through the senses.
The food industry has already started to integrate their efforts into the sensory properties of their products. Past trends were catered through packaging and appearance. Companies have been producing visually appealing products that are able to stand out on social media feeds. Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino’s social media success is a great example of how physical appearance can help in marketing products.
Now, manufacturers should look to appeal to the other senses with their products, according to Lempert. By manipulating the texture and sounds of their products, food companies can encourage memorable experiences with consumers. This in turn helps consumers to look back at these experiences and keep certain brands at the top of their minds when shopping in the grocery store again.
“Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – or ASMR – has created a new food media world, where acoustic sounds like chopping, stirring, slurping, chewing, whispering and the crinkling of packaging trigger a food euphoria – a tingling down the back of our neck,” said Lempert.
The supermarket expert continued to advise food companies to get creative with their sampling efforts. By focusing on the entire experience that a consumer receives with a product, manufacturers can build a good rapport with customers, encouraging them to come back. Lempert describes this sampling switch as an evolution from “unemotional food presentations” to “beautifully displayed presentations that expand the retail experience and go far beyond giving out a free morsel of food.” Lempert also refers to 3-D food printing as another innovative way to create tactile food experiences.
With food companies constantly experiencing competition in their categories, being tactile might be a good way for them to stand out in the market. By playing on human senses, companies can humanize their products and build positive relationships with their consumers. It is likely that new textures and experiences will be introduced in food product launches this year.