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FringeStream: Food (Quick Read)


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This month in our ongoing FringeStream series, our monthly magazine exploring how the fringes of culture are shaping mass behaviors, we're digging into the a topic that tempts us all: FOOD. In gaining an understanding of FringeStream Food, we've unearthed some interesting findings that recognize how the simultaneous celebration of food culture and turmoil of traditional food systems have led to mainstream confusion over what to eat. Find out how empowered groups are moving beyond our over reliance on over-processed convenience food to create new opportunities and an increasing Appetite for Conviction.

Published in: Marketing

FringeStream: Food (Quick Read)

  1. 1. Appetite For Conviction thesoundhq.comFOOD
  2. 2. 2THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD “The outlook for the center of the store [where processed food is stocked] is so glum that industry insiders have begun to refer to that space as the morgue.” 
 –The New York Times
  3. 3. FRINGESTREAM: FOOD THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 3 What happens when fragmentation, diversity and the choice to live differently becomes the new normal? In FringeStream Food, The Sound recognizes the simultaneous celebration of food culture and turmoil of traditional food systems. Our aim is to help think beyond the diminishing appetite for convenience and over-processing to see the opportunities empowered groups are creating for food of the future. Appetite for Conviction
  4. 4. In sobering headlines, obesity and diabetes are being called food-related epidemics… Many Boomers and Gen X have handed off meal preparation to the food industry because they are ‘too busy’ to cook… Globalization gives us mind-boggling choices of what to eat… Middle and upper income consumers are buying fresh, local food and supporting smaller, sustainable brands… ...but when “Butter is Back!” but “Bacon Causes Cancer,” knowing what’s ‘good food’ is more confusing than ever. ...but they now lack the skills to prepare a meal or teach their kids how to cook. 
 ...but we’ve dumbed down ‘kid food’ to the most banal and narrow set of options. …but lower income households have to choose between buying healthy food and going hungry. THE FOOD PARADOX THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 4 MASS CONFUSION in the Biggest Industry in the World What is it?
  5. 5. THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 5 …FRINGE CONVICTION New Ways of Eating If you look closely, groups on the Fringe are demonstrating absolute conviction about new ways of eating. Read on and we’ll explore the wild and wonderful, the complex and controversial food revolution through our Five Fringe Trends. While some of these examples may address multiple trends, they all exhibit a commitment to doing things differently for the benefit of self, family, community, animals, the planet...and perhaps all of the above. The Outcome LIVING OFF THE GRID POSITIVE TRIBALISM FALLOUT FAMILIES NEW SPIRITUALITY LESS IS MORE OUR FIVE FRINGESTREAM TRENDS
  6. 6. MEATY QUESTIONS One of the biggest fringe movements is a shift to plant-based alternatives. Whether part time Vegetarian or full time Vegan, people are questioning the impact of animal agriculture on their bodies and the environment, and reducing the amount of animal based food they eat. APPETITE FOR ABUNDANCE Given dire global water shortages, a growing group is replacing the resource-intensive food in their diet with foods in abundance, such as insects and seaweed. The nori seaweed snack category is growing by about thirty per cent each year, with sales for 2014 as high as $500 million. Look for dulse and kelp next. INTO THE WILD Some are willing to take even more extreme measures to reduce reliance on ‘Big Food’ by foraging or learning to hunt for their own food. Wild mushrooms, nettles, heritage fruit, and game are examples of wild food modern hunters and gatherers are after. THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 6 RUNNING LOW People are looking to New Plentiful Food Sources that don’t rely on the Industrial Food ‘Grid’ Off the Grid
  7. 7. ONE TWIST SHUTS DOWN SERIOUS NEED FOR A RECONNECT The double-edged sword of tech has left us more connected to others yet somehow further apart. We know more about our world than ever before, yet struggle to make and keep meaningful relationships within it. People are drawing from other cultures that foster a more collectivist approach to food. BRINGING STRANGERS
 TOGETHER On a local scale, community based farmers’ markets foster relationships between growers and local buyers, and restaurants are creating communal tables for shared dining experiences. On a global scale, companies like Feastly connect chefs with food enthusiasts and diners everywhere. USING FOOD
 FOR GOOD As choices multiply, people increasingly choose to purchase foods that do good for others as well as themselves. Tech-enabled platforms allow restaurant goers to give a meal, while they get a meal. THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 7 ONE BIG TABLE Far from Just a Necessity, food is serving as a Catalyst to Connect and Empathize with Others in Authentic and Meaningful Ways Positive Collectivism
  8. 8. KIDS AS TEACHERS While older generations have let go of all but a handful of cooking competencies, kids today (a.k.a. Gen Edge) have strong values leading them back to the kitchen - ingenuity, creativity, self-reliance. Combined with increasing priority on food education by not-for-profits and EU governments, kids are more likely to be the ones showing older generations how it’s done. FOODIE FATHERS Today, fathers are increasingly defining their status by their culinary ability (beyond the barbecue) and taking on greater responsibility in teaching their kids to cook. BOOMER MEDICINE While Boomers drove the rise of convenience foods in the ’70-80s, some are returning to scratch cooking for their health. Medical students in the US are being taught to cook by chefs, to help advise aging patients to use food as medicine. THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 8 LOOK WHO’S COOKING NOW! Most of the mainstream still seems to believe if you have time to cook, you must be a loser. But on the fringe, barriers to cooking are breaking down Fallout Families
  9. 9. In our secular societies, food serves as a form of religious or cultural identity for fringe cultures, whereby beliefs go beyond scientific proof of benefits or even visible markers of health. Some Vegans believe that eating a plant-based diet purifies the soul and reduces negative feelings in themselves and violence in society. ‘Fermentos’ fervently believe in the power of live gut bacteria for physical and mental health, and in the centuries-old traditions of eating fermented food rich in ‘good bacteria.’ HOW WE EAT MATTERS, TOO As digital connectivity becomes increasingly pervasive every moment of our lives, food experiences such as ‘wifi free cafes’ and ‘solo dining restaurants’ are emerging to enforce moments of solitude and reflection. FRINGESTREAM: FOOD THE SOUND 9 WANT OHM WITH THAT? Fringe Groups are Finding Personal and Spiritual Guidance through Food Modern Spirituality “I look forward to encouraging Londoners to reassess their routine, taking a moment to disconnect from our hyper connected society and enjoy the ‘now’ that is vital to our wellbeing.” 
 –Marina Van Goor
  10. 10. THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD 10 YIMBY (YES IN MY BACK YARD) Fringe Groups are Happily Narrowing Their Set of Choices to Local and Seasonal Less is More L IS FOR LOCAVORE Farm to Table restaurants and local produce are increasingly becoming the choice to reduce the negative environmental impact of globalized food and transportation systems. While it means there are fewer food options, especially in winter, this ‘challenge’ is celebrated by fringe cultures as a way to combat the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” - what to eat when you CAN eat almost anything. GREEN THUMBS
 GOING GANGBUSTERS Fuelled by community garden support, urban- specific gardening tools, and apps to manage garden maintenance, growing your own food garden may not be fringe for long. FOOD WASTE The makers of Just Eat It, a documentary about food waste, pledged to survive for a year only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. Knowing 1/3 of all human food is wasted, while a billion people go hungry, is generating a fringe revolution.
  12. 12. 12THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD “Not enough is happening on the fringes of food.” – Jed Grieve, Owner, Cook Culture 
 store & cooking school
  13. 13. 13THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD BRANDS NEED TO BE BOLD Few mainstream brands have been brave enough to address the fringe trends changing the nature of our relationship with food from individualist to more systems-focused. Consider taking inspiration from these examples to be the change ‘FringeFoodies’ are calling for. #REALSCHOOLFOOD Litehouse Dressing To create an improved ranch dressing, the number one flavor sold in schools, Litehouse and Chef Ann Foundation crafted a New Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing that has no MSG, no high fructose corn syrup, and no preservatives. The ranch is Gluten-Free Certified, is made with Greek yogurt, and contains no sugar.
 Litehouse will Donate 1% of sales of the product to the Chef Ann Foundation, whose mission is to provide healthier lunch options in schools for children. DOUGH-NATION Panera Bread Like most cafes, Panera Bread serves fresh baked goods to its customers daily, meaning all unsold items need to be discarded at closing time. Rather than toss perfectly edible bagels, breads and desserts into the trash, Panera Bread sends these items to local nonprofits — as it has done since its inception. Through the company’s Day-End Dough-Nation program, Panera bakery-cafes donate approximately $100 million worth of unsold bread and baked goods every year. JAMIE OLIVER LINE Sobeys As an advocate for change and a promoter of better food internationally, Canadian grocery retailer Sobeys has engaged Jamie Oliver to champion enhanced food knowledge and cooking skills for Canadians. Sobeys also sells a line of Jamie Oliver branded products that includes pasta, olive olive, seasonings, and meats. Brand and Advertising Implications
  14. 14. 14THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD ANSWER THE CALL With experts predicting the mainstream is just going to getting ‘lazier, fatter, and sicker,’ the opportunity space for brands to tap into these counter culture food trends in 2016 is wide open. We get how scary these big changes might seem...but what’s scarier is that the time for small changes, like removing artificial coloring or flavors, may have passed. In our FringeSteam Series, we like to say ‘The Mainstream is Dead’ to be provocative...but in the case of food it’s closer to the truth. Who will dare to answer the call from the fringes? Get in touch at for more information or a presentation! Brand and Advertising Implications
  15. 15. V A N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W . T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M
  16. 16. SOURCE REFERENCES 16THE SOUND FRINGESTREAM: FOOD SLIDE SITE 5 6 7 8 9 Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan, 2013 10