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Forecasting for Tastebuds   1 comment

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Trends are like appetites, which is particularly true in the food industry. Sometimes we binge, sometimes we graze, sometimes we walk away when we’ve had enough. New food treats show up for our palates to enjoy, extol and, eventually, outgrow.

In an engaging and intelligent manner, David Sax examines food trends in his book, The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue. There are foods that are hip, inspire copycat versions and subject to whims. In other words, the popularity of some foods depends on more than taste. Sax quotes a trend forecaster who says, “If you can Google a trend, you’ve completely missed the trend.”

Culture, economics, politics and marketing are among the areas Sax addresses. He incorporates humor with extensive research that took him coast to coast interviewing food truck owners, a heritage rice grower, goat farmers and Baconfest organizers, among many others.

Sax often seems as baffled by some food trends as the rest of us, especially when he writes about the Summer Fancy Food Show sponsored by the Specialty Food Association. As if describing the Academy Awards or Golden Globes, Sax puts the reader at this annual event where new foods are introduced and their purveyors cling to the possibility that theirs (anything from iced rice tea to beer-flavored crackers, and more – much, much more) will take the spotlight on America’s plates and napkins.

Sax’s research is thorough, but it’s no surprise that food trends are difficult to anticipate.

The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up With Fondue
Four Bookmarks
PublicAffairs, New York, 2014
318 pages, including index and selected bibliography

 

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One response to “Forecasting for Tastebuds

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  1. So excited I was able to get A Constellation of Vital Phenomena on audio from the library. As the weather improves want to listen as I walk and bike. Sounds great. Thanks Robin for putting this out there.

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