Hungry eyes: implementing Google food search trends

In the world of design, we always say ‘give your customers what they want’ i.e. guide them quickly and easily to the answer they need. But to give them the answer they’re looking for, you need to know what they’re asking. What are your customers hungry for?

Here we summarise some of Think with Google’s findings on trending food searches and how you can make the most of the information.

It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it

With a 41% increase in search, cold brew, or cold press, hones in on the coffee obsession. Cold press is room temp water infused with coffee (for up to 24 hours) to bring new depths of flavour. The evolution of cold press isn’t surprising considering the demand for increasingly dizzy heights of quality from coffee connoisseurs.

What it means: Though there is investment and loyalty in brands like Sandows and Starbucks introducing cold press to the menu, customers are asking ‘how can I bring it home?’ further strengthening the shift from blind brand faith to the good consumer looking for transparency in process and provenance.

Implementation: The DIY aspect of the cold press is about quality, convenience and experience. Speak to these areas. Focus on how your business is the next level of quality and how consumers can own, enjoy and share that in their homes. Highlight how investment in your product makes your consumer feel special.

Earthy notes

Flavour trends next and, unsurprisingly given the shift towards wellbeing and healthful eating, what’s hot is a return to earth. Both food and drink are hit with this one, with turmeric, matcha and ginger as rising stars of tea, lattes, smoothies, power balls, breakfasts, bowls and salads.

What it means: Consumers are interested in the health of their families, themselves and their planet. By choosing products that reflect a more natural process they feel closer to a lifestyle contributing to longevity. Earthy, ‘real’ flavours indicate a desire to strip away the unnecessary consumerism and greed.

Implementation: Concentrate marketing on the simplicity and honesty of your proposition. Be open and look, where you can, for natural alternatives. Source cruelty-free and sustainable ingredients and talk about why that’s important to you.

Functional food

Apple cider vinegar has antioxidant properties; turmeric is good for acne; kefir’ll fix your gut and chia seeds boost your energy. These ‘superfoods’ (as we used to refer to them) are soaring in search popularity with educational turmeric videos on YouTube hitting the 6 million mark.

What it means: We’ve shifted from faddy diets to optimization. From 90s heroin chic to #girlswholift and #strongnotskinny. This isn’t about deprivation; it’s about maximising potential. Holland & Barrett isn’t the only place you can pick up your chia these days – even Aldi has its own brand of matcha powder.

Implementation: Talk about benefits, talk about wholesome living, talk about holistic approaches to health and lifestyle. Engage those viewers, users and customers who want to supersize their living through a firmer grip on functionality. How does your product or service contribute to a fuller way of life?

Taste travels

Spaghetti Bolognese used to be the most exotic dish in our repertoire. And where once you’d forage in the Chinese supermarket, now fish sauce, fresh curry leaves and a jar of tamarind is commonplace on supermarket shelves. In keeping, these foods from afar reflect the feel good factor and optimized health lifestyle in their fresh, potent ingredients.

What it means: Consumers are looking to other cultures reflecting their values for inspiration. We’ve just had the Hawaiian poke bowl hit and the fresh, zingy flavours of a Vietnamese Pho or a Japanese Ramen are in line with clean eating with optimum health benefits. Often these dishes are an ‘assembly’ job, with minimal fuss and cooking, keeping the dish fresh, simple and quick.

Implementation: Fans and followers are looking for simplicity, colour, freshness and convenience. Whatever your food business, look for a way to incorporate these trends while retaining your brand values. Agility and adaptability is crucial to future proofing.