I’ve been reminded recently of how my tastes have changed since I started working at David Michael. I was a super picky eater – I’d turn my nose up at everything. If it looked “weird” or unusual, if it smelled funny, or if it wasn’t the norm, I refused to try it. But these days, things have changed, and I’ll try anything at least once. (Just not raw meat or fish – sorry, that still gets me.)But it can’t just be my work environment, can it? Sure, I’ve been exposed to more flavors and foods than I could have ever dreamed of – add to that co-workers with a real zest for flavor that can’t help but get you excited about new things. But, I’ve also matured (well, somewhat!), and have grown more experimental in my own kitchen. But is there something else? Have I simply been progressing along with other consumers – growing more open to ethnic flavors and exotic foods? After all, when your friends want to try the new Indian place in town, how can you turn them down?
Consumers are more adventurous these days. But, at the same time, they still harbor a number of preconceived notions about “weird” foods. (Like, say, my own personal refusal to eat sushi.)
Consumers like familiarity. My go to happy meal will probably always be chicken fingers and french fries, but my list of comforting favorites has grown to include goat cheese with pears, breakfast enchiladas with eggs and tomatilla salsa, and tzatziki on just about anything (including those chicken fingers and fries!).
Combining unusual and new flavor developments with more familiar ones is a great way to introduce new concepts to consumers. After all, isn’t that how we grew to love mango so much – by pairing it with peach? And now mango is the familiar flavor, helping to usher in lesser known fruits like guava.
Now is the time to get experimental…challenge yourself to try a new food at least once a week. A little hesitant? Combine it with something you love.