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2018 Food Trend #2: Tactile

The Lempert Report: Consumers have witnessed a more intellectual connection to our foods, and now it gets physical.

For all 10 trends, watch the full video here.

If I had to point to one trend that I believe will have the biggest impact on our industry, it is tactile: the sense of touch. Think about how food is so tactile. There's probably no profession that's more tactile than being a chef. Now, let's expand this into into all our senses: Think multisensory as the new secret weapon, both with products and in-store.

The typewriter is back, for example, in the Tom Hanks movie and his book. San Francisco airport has a huge display of antique typewriters, some well over a century old, that produced best-selling novels, famous screenplays and even Beatles songs. Now we can buy a $249 metal typewriter keyboard that connects to an iPad. It’s all about being involved, feeling and hearing the connection. 

New production record players and old-style Polaroid one-steps are back for $100. 

We have witnessed a more intellectual connection to our foods, and now it gets physical. There has been a food information overload, and we now need grounding. 

Over the past year or so we saw the first step: visual. Unicorn-colored foods, black foods and the like. Now, the connection moves deeper. 

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response—or ASMR—has created a new food media world, where acoustic sounds like slurping, chewing, whispering and the crinkling of packaging trigger a food euphoria that sends a tingling down the back of our necks.

Not convinced? YouTube stars like ASMR Darling, Hungry Cakes, ASMRTheChew and Gibi ASMR have tens of millions of followers, and their videos views range from a lowly million to over 6 million. They have become the next food superstars where they lead viewers into another dimension to feel and hear food. 

In Shanghai, Aldi, who in that country only sells through Alibaba, presented a food fashion show where attendees ate their foods on the sides of the runway while models paraded their real food fashions.

Poke bowls, and its many start up franchises, are popping up everywhere, offering a variety of colors and textures. PokeKing, PokeBowl, PokeWorks, Ocean Poke, Hokey Poke, Bravo Poke, Wisefish Poke and just plain Poke are challenging fast-food and QSR formats.

Sampling will evolve from unemotional food presentations and little white plastic cups to beautifully displayed presentations that expand the retail experience and go far beyond giving out a free morsel of food.

3D printing will create more tactile food experiences and become a more efficient and less wasteful food production method.

And then there's the phenomenon that is affecting this holiday season, that's also making its mark on YouTube, as “toy makers,” according to the Wall St. Journal, “are bringing an element of surprise to the holiday season.” It’s the unboxing trend, similar to ASMR’s food videos trend. CGTN explores just how big of the world of “unboxing” really is. 

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