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Insight of the Day: Keeping up with the cool kids 101: Serving (and setting) food trends and new tastes

College food services have the opportunity to not just follow, but to create food trends, utilizing social media and pop-ups to test and introduce new dishes. Here are some key points from the article:

Trendsetting Strategies:

  • Pop-up Stations: Temporarily replacing a regular station with an on-trend concept to gauge student interest.

  • Social Media: Utilizing platforms like Instagram and TikTok to track global trends and share new dishes.

  • Limited-Time Offers (LTOs): Introducing limited-time dishes to spark excitement and test new flavors.

  • Comfort Food with a Twist: Building upon familiar comfort foods with unique and innovative toppings or flavors.

  • Engagement with International Students: Seeking input and suggestions from international students to diversify the menu and cater to their preferences.

Success Stories:

  • Korean Corn Dogs: Introduced through a pop-up station after being discovered on YouTube, these became a permanent menu item.

  • Chicharron Nachos: A successful LTO that will be added to the regular menu due to positive feedback.

  • Indian Cuisine: Growing in popularity due to increasing international student enrollment, with dishes like dal, naan bread, and various chutneys being well-received.

Key Takeaways:

  • College food services can be at the forefront of food trends by actively seeking out and experimenting with new ideas.

  • Social media plays a crucial role in both identifying trends and promoting new dishes.

  • Engaging with the diverse student body can provide valuable insights and lead to successful menu additions.

By embracing these strategies, college food services can create exciting and innovative dining experiences that resonate with students and potentially shape wider culinary trends.

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