Written by Dorie Pagnano, Account Supervisor for Cowbucker Account Team.
The past few years has been an exciting time for the food & beverage industry. After many independent eateries and brick and mortar restaurants closed shop during the 2008 recession, the business of food has been on an upswing. This time however, it’s playing by new rules, that necessitate transparency, new flavors, artful food and an emphasis on a unique style of service. Make room in your stomach for these seven current food & beverage trends, and check out our favorite Eugene spot for each!
- Locally Sourced Ingredients
It turns out that the Portlandia sketch about local chicken wasn’t too far off. Now more than ever, consumers care about where the food on their plate is coming from. With an abundance of local resources and fresh flavors (especially in the PNW), everywhere from food carts to major restaurants are incorporating local ingredients into their recipes, and they’re letting you know where they are from, too. If you haven’t seen a menu yet with a disclaimer about where your food was sourced from, it won’t be long until you do.
Eugene pick: Marché Restaurant
- Fruits & Vegetables
Moms everywhere can rejoice; finally, their kids (even if they’re big kids now) are eating fruits and veggies. This is a part of a lasting trend of the health conscious consumers. In fact, a 2014 Cone Communications study found that a whopping 93% of people consider nutritional value when purchasing food. The reputation of healthy food having poor taste or flavor has been traded in for beautiful, fruit-dense Acai bowls and avocado cafes. In fact, we’re all pretty much obsessed with avocados. In 2015, the U.S. ate 4.25 billion avocados, which is more than double the amount we ate just ten years ago.
Eugene pick: Big Kahuna Bowls
- Supporting Local, Independent Eateries
If you haven’t noticed from the plethora of Food Network Shows (I’m looking at you, Guy Fieri and the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives crew), people love to support local establishments. Along with budget, one of the biggest draws for supporting local eateries is experience. It seems that despite the amount of money, rebranding and creativity chain restaurants invest, they just can’t provide that gratifying feeling you get when supporting your local hole-in-the-wall. Maybe it’s because you’re positive they make the best BLT in the city, or because the owner knows your name, but more and more people are opting to buy their latte at the cute little cafe a block away from Starbucks.
Eugene pick: Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and BBQ
- Craft Beer & Artisan Cocktails
The trend of conscious consumption is not just exclusive to food, as the beverage industry has also seen as influx of (purposeful alcoholic creation). Feel like you keep hearing of a “new brewery you’ve just got to try?” That’s because in 2016, an average of two breweries opened PER DAY. In 2017, we get to toast to the fact that we have the most breweries ever open for business in the history of our country. As for spirits, hard alcohol has been having it’s fun too. Although nothing may beat a classic gin & tonic or old fashioned, cocktail creators are utilizing seasonal flavors, themed menus, a variety of bitters, and even updated glassware, to make your drinking experience that much more memorable. Cheers to that.
- Fish Fare
The food & beverage industry is seeing a decrease in demand for hearty hamburgers, and an increase in favor of menus that embrace what’s under the sea. Sushiburritos and poke salads are the new classic California burrito or cobb salad. The astrict you see on a menu that indicates raw or undercooked fish is only becoming more popular, and we encourage you to dive in and discover new fish flavors!
Eugene pick: Mame
- Insta-worthy Desserts
Have you ever been served a dessert that looks so beautiful, you feel guilty eating it? A growing trend in the world of baking and sweets can be defined as literal eye candy. From extreme milkshakes, delicate macaroons and rolled ice cream, the dessert market is exploding with creative takes on the classics. Many of these bakeries and sweet shops have gone viral, thanks to platforms like Instagram, on which many of these culinary creations are documented.
Eugene pick: Sweet Life Patisserie
- Viral Videos
Thanks to our friends at Tasty, Delish and other online media companies, many people’s amateur chef dreams are becoming a reality. These simple video tutorials have led many to go to a nearby grocery store and purchase ingredients necessary to try that new recipe, opting for a night in rather than dining out. In March of 2016, Tasty saw the highest engagement growth of any media publisher (yes, even more than HuffPo and NatGeo spell out). It seems that these delicious, quick excerpts infiltrating your Facebook feed are here to stay!
Dorie Pagnano currently serves as an Account Supervisor for Cowbucker, a local retail startup, as well as the firm’s Social Media Director. Previously, she was the Account Supervisor for the Susan G. Komen team. Dorie will be graduating this June and relocating to San Diego, CA to obtain experience in the lifestyle, food & beverage and travel PR industries.