U.S. food trends are expected to embrace Swedish culture - SmartBrief

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U.S. food trends are expected to embrace Swedish culture

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Scandinavian sweets are expected to take off as a trend in 2012. I reached out to Gevalia Brand Manager Samantha Greenwood to discuss the trend, as Swedes have been perfecting Gevalia coffee for more than 150 years.

What’s behind this trend?

Traditionally, Scandinavian culture, including food and drink, is very minimalist. In their food culture, they look to use limited, simple and fresh ingredients to create clean, distinct flavors, especially for dessert. While Swedes have long enjoyed treats throughout the day, there is an emphasis on small portions and brief indulgences. For example, Swedes often take coffee or tea breaks, known as “FIKA,” twice a day, and these breaks are ingrained in their culture. In the U.S., there is a health trend for finding balance and well-being through minimalism and simplicity of ingredients as well as finding small ways to indulge, which provides for the intersection of trends and cultures. Consumers will start to look for more treats that satisfy that quick indulgence, while not sacrificing their health, which Scandinavian treats are able to fulfill.

Why is this trend picking up?

Scandinavian trends have been steadily increasing among American culture, from the mainstream furniture store IKEA to the wild success of the book and movie “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” We’re beginning to see this trend trickle into the food and beverage sector. Swedish food has always embodied simplicity of ingredients, and people are discovering it. As mentioned in a Food & Wine article discussing trend spotting, “After years of worshipping the Mediterranean, the food world is looking to Scandinavia and discovering everything from salted candies to micro-locavorism.” We’re also seeing the emergence of Swedish chefs in the limelight, with the rise of Marcus Samuelsson. Americans have the chance to incorporate the simplicity of Swedish culture in many facets of their lives, including food and beverages.

What other trends will you be watching in the beverage market?

The coffee category is a hot beverage trend in and of itself. It seems as though every week there is a study released or an interesting article about trends around coffee. MediaPost reported that Packaged Facts predicted a 17% increase in coffee sales in 2011, jumping to $7.3 billion.

Premium coffee is another trend in the category, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. In Brooklyn, N.Y., coffeehouse Café Grumpy sells $12 cups of coffee — and people are shelling out for it. One of the most expensive coffees in the world, kopi luwak, which is made by harvesting coffee beans that have passed through the digestive system of a tropical cat, sells for $75 a jar at Stumptown Coffee Roasters in New York City and has been a growing trend and delicacy abroad.

With the convergence of all of these trends — premium coffee, health and wellness, and Swedish culture — Gevalia shares a nice position on the retail shelf for 2012.

Image credit: iStockphoto