Food trends driven by ‘collective convergence’—why that matters


Quick-service restaurants that brand by smell, food promotions in the metaverse, packaging you can eat, and meals from abundant sea vegetation. Those are among a platterful of predictions with relevance for brands in the food industry and beyond included in the newly published Food Trends report from McKinney.

These trends—which may not show up in the mainstream for several years—are connected by what McKinney calls “collective convergence.” The concept ties evolving consumer sentiment over issues like supply chain challenges, economic justice, and the labor shortage Americans have been affected by during the pandemic to actions they take when shopping for food or ordering at a restaurant, said Justin Davis, group strategy director of the media and creative agency, speaking on this week’s episode of Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast.

Credit: McKinney

“Collective convergence is a powerful force in the food and beverage space, but it applies to all categories,” Davis said. “People are looking at companies to do better on their behalf and on the behalf of their communities. Big issues like resource scarcity and global climate change and racial justice are becoming tangible to more and more communities and felt more deeply, and these are things that every company will have to reconcile in their culture and how they bring their products to market.”

Because food occupies such a prominent role in culture, its marketers have traditionally done a good job in finding “bold ways” to confront cultural frontiers, and in doing so, provide other industries the opportunity to learn. “Whether you’re an aerospace brand, or a CPG company selling a food, how you think about NFTs and experiential marketing, you can learn a lot from how food is experimenting in that space,” Davis said.

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