Shelley Balanko at ACT MiamiThe focus of Hartman’s Food Culture Forecast 2018 this past April in Miami Beach was navigating today’s complex culture of eating and drinking occasions, or as one attendee summed it up, “It was great to learn about trends in food and learn how to apply this thinking to innovation with my own team.”

The ACT Food Culture Forecast summit is The Hartman Group’s flagship event. The summit is an experiential, educational platform focused on culture as the pathway for companies to understand the broader contexts that create consumer desires. These experiences support or complement new product innovations, marketing initiatives and growth strategies.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend Food Culture Forecast 2018, here are five key highlights:

Mealtime now resembles how most consumers grew up, not the ideal. Most consumers’ eating routines are still defined by breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most also have the ideal meal in the back of their mind for these three meals, though it matters most at dinner. In reality, consumers adapt their mealtime priorities to fit their needs, which vary by individual, household and even by the day. Read more about erosion of mealtimes

The desire for convenience is today’s number one single need state. The desire for convenience is a key trend just like other trends (e.g., simple ingredients, unique flavor, positive nutrition), if not a cultural value. But not convenience just for the sake of convenience, but as something in service of other food and lifestyle aspirations. Read more about the new convenience

A new continuum for procuring food and beverage is emerging. We introduce a new continuum of procurement. On one end is transactional, which is about convenience and price. On this side of the continuum, the act of purchasing is work. It needs to be done quickly and conveniently. On the other side of the continuum is experiential. This is journey-focused. It is about fun, play, discovery and customization. Read more about procuring and the food retail landscape

Food is our greatest cultural expression. We interpret through procuring, cooking, plating and eating. Shifts in food culture are happening so swiftly, yet as we evolve, so does our food and many of its associated rituals. Culture is not a product fixed in time. It is a vigorous and ongoing process that must be distilled and interpreted to best understand where we are headed in today’s ever-evolving food and beverage industry. Read more about trends transforming the food industry

Technology has revolutionized the importance of customization in American food culture. Personalizing is in our DNA. The desire to be unique is part of the broader American cultural context in which we all live. We like to “chef-up” our orders. All this “cheffing” is about freshness aspirations. Sauces, toppings and condiments actually make us feel like we are having an elevated eating/drinking experience. And now, having it your way is becoming more seamless, thanks to technology. Read more about accelerators of changing behaviors

While Food Culture Forecast 2018 won’t take place again this year, you can attend our next Hartman ACT event taking place in San Diego on October 10, 2018. For detailed information about Growth Innovation Summit, please visit our event site online: ACT San Diego 2018

Space is limited, and ACT events sell out quickly. REGISTER

Haven’t attended a Hartman ACT summit yet?

Here’s a short video about what you can expect from the one-day immersive engagement: ACT Experience