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How to Create a Lasting Trend in the Food Industry

The following lessons can help your business thrive over the long-term.

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When I first launched Bobo's in the early 2000s, healthy food ingredients were rarely talked about. Following some research around lifestyle and consumer topics, it became my objective to ensure the creation of a timeless product rather than something that would soon fade based upon trends. That proved to be the right decision.

Here are a few tips for creating a brand that can stand the test of time.

Identify a lasting trend

In order to last in the foods industry, your product must taste delicious. Everyone needs to eat, after all. However, in this day and age, there is a precarious balance between taste, function, purpose and quality. Each can be an important pillar for the product you are creating, but the taste is the key to standing the test of time.

Some of the products out there that seem to be chasing the latest trend may prioritize function or certain macro ingredients such as protein, fats, carbs and other items more-so than quality and taste. Keep in mind these pillars are a fine balance in developing your item. If you happen to land on a long-lasting trend but your product doesn't taste great, it simply won't last. Never sacrifice taste.

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Do your research

Read and go with your gut. Get to know trends, diets and habits of current consumers, and create items for who you want your consumer to be. It can be challenging to determine if the trend you are seeing is just a fad or if it will last. There are many resources out there, such as SPINS or IRI Sales data, to assist you in navigating what is and isn't working in the market. Keep this in mind with product development and innovation. Common diet trends that have come and gone that you can learn from (think South Beach and Atkins Diets). It is important to avoid falling into the trap of creating products that only serve the needs of a focused group. Build a product that resonates with you most of all to keep the passion ignited.

Listen and learn

I visited as many grocery stores as I possibly could when starting my brand. I talked to store managers and coffee shop owners and learned that customers were in fact looking for more vegan and gluten-free options. I attended a plethora of tradeshows and found out that an increasing amount of people were interested in incorporating a plant-based lifestyle. The best way to learn is by being in the field.

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Set your intention and be open to adaptation

When I began in the industry, I started looking for food alternatives that were wholesome, simple and something I would be comfortable feeding my own family. Substituting ingredients while keeping high standards when it comes to taste was not easy. It is important to follow your passion while still being flexible to change.

If you make your product taste great, research, trust your decision and continue to adapt and be flexible as trends come and go, you will be on your way to creating a timeless product.

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