We’ve seen it over and over. Food trends are very real. Food fads and favorites come and go as time passes. Years ago, fajitas were all the rage and the thing to order at a Mexican restaurant. Coconut shrimp came into fashion as well as jalapeño poppers, lettuce wraps, bran muffins, Gummy Bears and cupcakes.
Now it’s not just main courses that are taking center stage in the food world. It’s fruit, vegetables, juices and seeds that are the in thing to consume. You’ve seen it with chia seeds, flax seeds, pomegranate juice and goji berries. Kale was the superfood of 2014 with growers touting it as the greatest green since the last greatest green: arugula.
But how does this happen and who makes a product move?
In a word: Marketers. The food writers and the Internet has helped push some items as well as products like the panini press, and the George Foreman grill. Remember the juicing craze a while back?
It all starts with the food shows. Companies attend a convention every year called the Fancy Food Show which is set up by country. All the companies who attend to tout their wares set up booths in their corresponding area or country.
Buyers cruise around the huge space looking for products to purchase and promote. What’s the next big thing? What is new and what will take off with the right promotion?
Well, that is what these companies are looking for. They find a product and figure out a way of pushing it as the big, new, shiny Superfood.
That is why you see pomegranate juice in the juice section and chia and hemp seeds in the pharmaceutical aisle.
It would seem to make sense to put these seeds in the section with the peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds. After all, it is indeed a food. But in a very wise move, marketers have chosen the pharmacy section to place these products due to their supposed health benefits. They are now pushing this food as a medicine.
So how does this affect our birds? Well, for one thing, these foods are now more readily available to more people with birds and that’s a good thing. I no longer have to drive a half an hour for these products for my greys. I like the fact that I can now drive four minutes to Publix for a bag of hemp hearts or a pomegranate.
Food is a sensory thing. It has to have visual appeal as well as taste good. And how does this affect my flock? I am the buyer. Just like the food buyer for Whole Foods, I make the decisions on what I bring into my kitchen for them. If it appeals to me, I buy it for them.
We all have to make decisions for them based on the quality of the product, its visual appeal, its nutritional value and the one big deal breaker: Will they eat it?
That is the one thing you must keep in the picture as well as having an open mind and keeping up with new products.
Companies are finding new products every day that have some sort of nutritional value we were unaware of even a decade ago.
Doing your research and paying attention to the latest produce out of the Peruvian jungles, such as the Sweetie Drop pepper could influence you and ultimately what your birds will eat.
Ten years ago, small little sweet peppers that come in bags were nonexistent. Now they are everywhere. Somebody probably found a source for them, brought them to the food show and Whole Foods, one of the retailers that starts a lot of these trends and the Holy Grail of buyers might have gotten to retail them first. They probably had an exclusive contract for a period of time and when that time ran out, the rest of the grocery stores got a shot at them. And finally the Costcos and Sam’s Clubs of the world got around to carrying them.
Some of these new products have powerful antioxidants and are nutritionally rich and keeping your eyes open for these new products is a smart move. And as always, do your research.
But the one big trend that is very clear is that “Super Foods” and other powerful food products that are being touted as such is the latest trend in the food industry. Best we keep an open mind and be on the lookout for what we can offer our birds that will make their lives better. We owe it to them.