Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

The Art of Craveability A must-have, come-back-for-more dish calls for a strategy that goes way beyond the recipe formula

Experiencing shareable food together and posting it on social media fuels the perception of craveability.

Craveability in Technicolor

Operators need to consider the impact of images. Digital menu boards, heightened online footprints, and the use of social media are all enhancing an operator’s ability to communicate craveability visually to consumers. The use of photos and other visual craving indicators is the future of foodservice—particularly with a generation that relies less on text and more on pictures to communicate with each other.

Consider the visual impact of those produce-forward items. Color contributes to the craveability of food. Vibrant reds, greens, golds, oranges and purples can all create craveability through visual appeal as well as taste expectations and positive emotional connections. Think of the colors typically used for macarons or jewel-colored chocolate. If sugar alone was the key to craveability, operators wouldn’t have to bother with colors to increase the items’ appeal.

There’s no doubt that competition is fierce in foodservice. Developing craveable menu items—and, ultimately, experiences—will help operators create a point of differentiation and a competitive advantage. Using craveability to drive trial can be the secret weapon for operators in all segments to develop deeper relationships with their patrons and inspire repeat visits.

Nowadays, consumers might crave the healthier version of something indulgent, such as sweet potato fries instead of regular fries.

Nowadays, consumers might crave the healthier version of something indulgent, such as sweet potato fries instead of regular fries.

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About The Author

Maeve Webster

Maeve Webster, President of Menu Matters, is a lead consultant for foodservice manufacturers and operators. She has spearheaded hundreds of major industry studies during her 16 years as a foodservice specialist, and today runs her private consultancy focused on helping manufacturers and operators analyze, understand, and leverage foodservice trends. Maeve’s expertise is in the areas of trend analysis, market assessment, consumer behavior, product testing, and brand optimization. During the past decade, Maeve was Senior Director at Datassential. During that time, she helped develop several of Datassential’s new products and programs including the company’s publications group and TrendSpotting package, headed the company’s health & wellness group, and participated in several industry initiatives including the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Menu R&D Collaborative. She is a regular speaker at top industry events and has contributed to major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNBC, MSNBC and CBS. She regularly contributes to several industry publications including Flavor & the Menu. Maeve earned her MBA at the University of Illinois, and holds a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago.