What We’ll Be Eating in 2014…

(photo by Dinner Series)
A place setting (photo by Dinner Series)

Thanksgiving is around the corner with Christmas on its heels and soon it will be a new year.  Here is a list I compiled of some interesting predictions for what food & beverages we’ll be eating in 2014…

Innova reports Top food and beverage trends of 2014

The Flavor of ’14 from the Sterling-Rice Group (SRG)

Technomic’s Take: 10 Trends for 2014

Andrew Freeman & Co. predicts Hot restaurant menu trends for 2014

Top 12 hottest food and beverage trends for 2014 from Baum & Whiteman

London Bar + Drink Trends 2014 from Lost in Catering London

Chefs Convene to Discuss Food Trends from FSR magazine

DNA Response, Inc. Released The Top 8 Food Trends for 2014 From Celebrity Chef and eatcleaner.com Founder, Mareya Ibrahim, “The Fit Foodie” from PRWEB

Jim Meehan: five leading trends driving the New York bar scene from www.diffordsguide.com

Flash In A Bottle

Fragrance Flash
Fragrance Flash

In May 2013 I presented Olfactive Trends Quick Peek at Sniffapalooza’s Spring Fling and mentioned “Flash” as the newest naming convention in fine fragrance.  September is quickly approaching and you can now get your hands on many of the recent launches inspired by the word.

Olfactive Studio’s Flash Back scent is described as “a memory in motion and in action” while Cacharel’s Amor Amor In A Flash is “the feeling of love at first sight: magnetic, addictive, electric… a moment of never-ending intensity.” Jimmy Choo’s second scent Flash, is the newest player and is a “solar” floral that is “about the thrill of the red carpet, the fun of the nightclub, the glamour of dressing up.”

In flavors, the closest interpretation is Oddka Vodka’s Electricity flavor, which Pernod Ricard states is “a tongue-tickling blend that tastes of fire bolt.”  Inspired by the Flash scent, Belvedere Vodka and Jimmy Choo partnered to create a Kuala Lumpur cocktail-fragrance crawl with fun cocktail names such as “Parading on a catwalk” and “Jimmy’s shoe.” The most far fetched recent introduction is Cornetto’s fluorescent ice cream across the pond.

Keep your eyes peeled for more “flash” inspired consumer packaged goods launches. I wonder what will ignite the next catalyst for inspiration.  Any thoughts?

Just What The Herbalist Ordered

Herbs growing in pots

Doctor-driven products have been driving skincare launches for the last few years. Now, herbalists are becoming the new formulators and launching natural skincare lines. Christian Toscano of Roots Rose Radish offers a range of 100% natural skincare products originally crafted from plants grown in her garden. Earth Tu Face was launched by Sarah Buscho and Marina Storm, two herbalists in San Francisco. The line is also 100% natural and purely plant-based. Brooklyn Herborium was founded by two Moms who wanted their children to live “chemical-free” lives. Emma Graves an herbalist and Molly Watman a graphic designer, created the The Clean & Green Collection for babies, kids, new and expecting moms. Dr. Fedorenko is a clinical herbalist, naturopath and dermatologist M.D. who recently introduced Dr. Fedorenko True Organic Tick & Mosquito Repellent, which is DEET and alcohol-free, organic certified and formulated with essential oils.

Expect to see more herbalists join the trend and craft natural beauty products to meet consumers’ growing demand for natural products.

Sensory Gems in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

A Day in Williamsburg Scent by Takasago
A Day in Williamsburg Scent by Takasago (photo by Dan D’Errico)

As a board member of Women in Flavor & Fragrance Commerce (WFFC), I recently organized our sixth annual sensory trend excursion with my colleague Jeanine Pedersen of Takasago. We chose Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In my industry career, this by far was the most challenging tour to design. The biggest obstacle was finding local retailers to participate. For more details, read my recent Fuhgeddaboudit! post.

However, the five retailers that did participate are gems! Without a doubt, add them to your must do list when visiting Williamsburg.

Fabiane's Homemade Yucca Cake & Iced Tea (photo by Dan D'Errico)
Fabiane’s Homemade Yucca Cake & Iced Tea (photo by Dan D’Errico)

For our first stop, 29 attendees gathered outside Fabiane’s Cafe & Pastry. Fabiane greeted us as we delighted in an iced coffee or tea and homemade Yucca cake, a gluten free pastry made with Yucca, coconut milk, milk, sugar, eggs, and coconut flakes. Fabiane addressed each guest and discussed her Brazilian background with her French culinary training and gave a little background about her cafe. Additionally she surprised us with a bag of granola as a parting gift, which took her 10 years to perfect the recipe.

Juice Press Samples - Almond Butter Cup Smoothie, Watermelon Super Cleanser, and Mother Earth (photo by Dan D'Errico)
Juice Press Samples – Almond Butter Cup Smoothie, Watermelon Super Cleanser, and Mother Earth (photo by Dan D’Errico)

We mosied on over to Juice Press, a growing chain of cold-pressed juice bars; this location was brand spanking new, it opened in May. Liz shared the company’s history and explained the cold-pressed process. Then we sampled the Watermelon Super Cleanser, Mother Earth, Dr. Green, and Almond Butter Cup Smoothie, all which only contain “organic calories.” The Watermelon was the group’s darling and my personal favorite. It tasted just like you placed a straw in a fresh watermelon. The Almond Butter Cup Smoothie was tasty with a creamy, nutty banana flavor and hint of cinnamon, but some couldn’t get past the gritty texture. The two green drinks were more of an acquired taste, a bit bitter and astringent, but nonetheless fresh, flavorful and healthful.

Exploring Woodley & Bunny (photo by Dan D'Errico)
Exploring Woodley & Bunny (photo by Dan D’Errico)

Moving to the fragrance side, our third destination was Woodley & Bunny. If you like niche, hard to find beauty products, look no further. Devon, Zeek, and Summer graciously hosted us as we explored, smelled and tried a variety of fragrances, skin care, bath and body care, and hair care products as well as candles. An aside, I often read and write about indie brands, but because of limited distribution I don’t always get to experience them. I’ve never seen so many products that I’ve read about or written about in one place. It was like a curated, indie beauty emporium.

WFFCAllswell Menu
WFFC Allswell Menu (photo by Dan D’Errico)
Flatbread with kale fried egg
House-made Sourdough Flatbread with Ricotta, Kale & Fried Egg (photo by Dan D’Errico)

By now our group had worked up an appetite, so we headed to Allswell restaurant. Based on the farm to table concept, the menu changes daily and is dependent on what’s in season and locally available. If you’re looking for a quaint, comfortable and warm restaurant with fresh food you’ve come to the right place. We started with a Ginless Wonder mocktail crafted with fresh squeezed lime, honey syrup, ginger syrup, club soda, cucumber, fresh strawberries and Oro Blanco. I learned that Oro Blanco (white gold) is a type of grapefruit. Let’s see if this becomes a trend. For a starter, we feasted on homemade olive bread with house-made Ricotta cheese and a crisp, hearty beet salad. For lunch I had their signature crispy chicken sandwich. Others enjoyed their proprietary burger made with Vermont Quality Meat or their homemade sourdough flatbread with Ricotta, kale, and fried egg. As if we weren’t full enough, we concluded our meal with a strawberry rhubarb slab pie with fresh whipped cream. Delicious!

Mast Brothers Chocolate (photo by Dan D'Errico)
Mast Brothers Chocolate (photo by Dan D’Errico)

The perfect finish to our sensory excursion was a final stop at Mast Brothers Chocolate. The overwhelming, raw smell of chocolate wafts through your nostrils as you approach and enter the artisan shop. Meghan explained that the shop only uses two ingredients – cocoa and cane sugar; hence the wide array of dark chocolates. We sampled the limited edition Vanilla Smoke and Maple Cream bars as well as other flavors such as Olive & Sinclair Sea Salt, Stumptown Coffee and Chile Pepper. I’m a sweet, cheap chocolate fan (Oh Henry candy bars are my favorite) and my palette is not sophisticated enough to get past the bitterness of the dark chocolate to taste and appreciate the subtle sweetness nor the smoke of the vanilla and maple flavors. My personal favorite was the sea salt. That combination worked for me because the salt alleviated some of the bitter flavor. Regardless of my preferences, for chocolate fans, this shop is a no-brainer.

Our WFFC guests experienced a truly unique sensory trend excursion in North Williamsburg where their senses were engaged and tickled as they left full and satiated.

A very big thank you to all of the retailers who participated! I look forward to returning; I know I’ll be back and I’m pretty sure others will too.

Fuhgeddaboudit!

Fuhgeddaboudit
Brooklyn

I am organizing a sensory trend excursion in Williamsburg for a large group of people and I recently called a few independent coffee roasters with retail shops and bakeries to arrange a store visit.  I wanted to purchase an iced drink and a pastry for 25 people and have the owner speak about the history of the shop and what makes it unique.  One would think this is a great business opportunity; a shop owner could introduce interesting products to potential new customers.

To my surprise, apparently I was wrong. Not 1 but 7, independent retailers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn turned me down. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief that they walked away from guaranteed business.Their reasons were:

  • “We can’t accommodate you since we cater to our local customers and it would be disruptive to our shop.”
  • “We can’t accommodate you; it just doesn’t work.  Our local customers get upset if we reserve tables.”
  • “We can’t accommodate you. It will interfere with our business flow and we are not staffed for that many customers, but you can come in and order independently.”
  • “We are too small and we can’t fit you.”
  • “We always keep the focus on our loyal clients and maintaining their shopping experience and don’t want to detract them.”
  • “We work very hard to accommodate and please our neighbors and it is not in our capacity to be able to please the market.”

I thought for sure in this economy and competitive business environment, finding an independent retail store to accommodate us would be an easy task.  I’m not sure what the store owners’ long term business growth strategies are, but from a business perspective, I think these store owners are shortsighted for multiple reasons:

  • I am guaranteeing the shop business for 25 people without the business owner having to chase business or market their company; I came to them.
  • The shop has a captive audience of 25 people for twenty to thirty minutes.  The business owner has the opportunity to talk about their business and show their products.
  • Their business is being exposed to people who have no idea their business exists.
  • Business 101 – we all know word of mouth travels, good and bad.
  • Although it may inconvenience the store’s local customers and be a little more disruptive than normal for thirty minutes, it’s a short finite period of time during a week day. In the big picture it’s thirty minutes out of a full day and will not negatively impact their business.
  • Additionally, one would think that local customers would be happy and supportive to see the store is doing well and attracting business.
  • If locals pass the shop and see a large group of people, their curiosity might be piqued and they might want to stop by to see what’s going on. Bonus, more customers.
  • I understand these indie shops aren’t designed to fit a large group of people at one time, but work with me.  I suggested taking shifts and having half the group go in and the other half wait outside and then switch.

I believe these stores have missed an opportunity and are thinking small.  Think small and be small. Although I am intrigued by their store concepts and executions, I’m disappointed in their customer service.  I’m not inclined to rush back to support their local businesses nor recommend them. I think I’ll fuhgeddaboudit!

Eau De Trendincite – A Scent of My Own

Eau De TrendIncite
Eau De Trendincite

I was so inspired by our last hands-on TrendIncite Xchange meeting that I decided to continue the “creativity and inspirational me” theme and reached out to Sue Phillips of Scenterprises. Sue lead our group on a creative fragrance journey, where each of us created our own custom scent. I’ve been in the fragrance and flavor industry for 20 years and until now I’ve never created my own signature scent.

Eight of us gathered at Sue’s apartment where she explained the seven major olfactive categories – Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Oriental, Chypre, Woody and Fougere. Sue compared fragrances to food and music and explained that each had a beginning, a middle and an end.  In fragrance terms that translates to top notes, middle notes and base notes. We were then given a lifestyle questionnaire with 11 questions about our preferences that ranged from fabrics to seasons to vacation spots to film icons.  We individually tallied our responses, which corresponded to four olfactive categories – Citrus, Floral, Oriental and Woody. Then Sue shared 14 fragrance accords with us such as Balsamic, Citrus, Green, Mossy, Ozonic, and Rose Floral.  After evaluating the accords on blotters we were encouraged to choose up to four of our favorite fragrance directions, which would be used to create our custom, signature scents. I choose the Citrus, Gentle Floral, Balsamic and Woody accords and voilà Eau de Trendincite was born.  It is rather sweet and smells differently than I expected. It does have a sweet figgy and plum accord, which I like. The verdict is not out yet as I’m still getting accustomed to the fragrance and evaluating it. However, my mother and daughter love it!

Working for three leading fragrance houses, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Fragrance is a very personal experience and much more complex than one may think. I thought I would be formulating my own scent with my favorite accords – Bergamot, Orange flower and Vetiver with a hint of Musk and Vanilla. This was not the case. Sue uses a predetermined set of finished accords.  I enjoyed my experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to create my own scent. Sue’s fragrance exercise is perfect for fragrance novices who are looking to creatively express themselves with a custom signature scent.

 

Creative Me Time

When’s the last time you did something creative for yourself? It’s been so long, I can’t remember.

During a random conversation with an industry friend and colleague, we discussed a creative vision board workshop, which she recently attended and found both inspirational and enjoyable. I’m always looking for inspiration in my work and personal life. Naturally this piqued my interest. While lying in bed, wide awake with my mind racing, a usual occurrence, I experienced a eureka…”what a great subject matter for my next TrendIncite Xchange meeting.”

My sister, a member of my TrendIncite Xchange group, graciously agreed to host a creative vision board workshop with an intimate group of 10 members at her NYC apartment. Boards, magazines, scissors and glue sticks in hand, Michele Curico lead our workshop.

Based on the Bagua map, Michele briefly explained the Feng Shui concept and how it applied to our exercise. Our blank, white 16″ x 16″ boards had nine quadrants, each representing a personal aspect of our lives. Top left to right: Wealth, Fame (how we want to be perceived), Partnership (relationship focused), Family, Health, Children, Education, Career, and Helpful People.

Bagua Map
Bagua Map

We were instructed to select words and images from magazines that represented our creative vision for what we wanted to accomplish and focus our energy on for each quadrant for 2013.

Feeling like a kid again in elementary school, I leisurely and giddily flipped through magazines, tearing and cutting words and images that inspired me or caught my attention. It was so hands on, so tactile and so rudimentary. But wow, what a cathartic exercise!

For me the challenge was to sort and artistically apply this visual content to each quadrant. After I laid out the information, I hesitantly glued it to the board. I felt like I was making a commitment. At first, I thought this feeling stemmed from wanting to make the board look artistic. However, I realized it wasn’t about the aesthetics of the board. It was about being focused and clear on what my vision was and making the commitment to achieve these goals or at least try to.

Two hours flew by and all 10 of us were thoroughly engaged and immersed in the exercise. It was this creative and inspirational “me” time, which made each of us reflectively focus on ourselves. We so often forget or don’t make the time to do this. At the close of the workshop, Michele led us in a focused meditation to channel our energy and help us visualize the boards to achieve our goals. Let’s see what happens in 2013!

Here is my 2013 vision board

Amy Marks-McGee
Amy Marks-McGee 2013 Vision Board

Gabrielle Marks’ 2013 vision board

"The create your own vision boards presented by Michele Curcio was very succesful. I was very inspired and enjoyed myself."
“Michele Curcio’s presentation was succesful. I was very inspired and enjoyed myself.”

Missy Mazelon’s 2013 vision board

Missy Mazelon VB
“It was fun clipping random words and pictures with no set direction as to where they would be placed exactly on my board. Then I found it very inspiring that all of the words and pictures found their way into the designated categories so easily..and then some, as I ran out of room!”

Karen Dubin’s 2013 vision board

Karen Dubin VB
“This was a very enlightening evening! I found that the search for words and images that reflected my life goals presented the opportunity for me to do a much-needed assessment of where I am now both personally and professionally. And this is something that people rarely take the time to do. I love that when I look at my board it is full of color, and is a virtual mini-capsule of me. I had a blast doing the vision board!”

Janice Hart’s 2013 vision board

"The time spent creating my board gave me a vision of a very balanced self for my future goals. The trend exchange group and the atmosphere was very inspiring!"
“The time spent creating my board gave me a vision of a very balanced self for my future goals. The TrendIncite Xchange group and the atmosphere was very inspiring!”

A few quotes from other TrendIncite Xchange members…

“So far the purple (abundance) is working, new projects are coming in! Still waiting for the age appropriate fella to show up!” – Judy Galloway

“The vision board session allowed me to take time out my hectic schedule to focus on what I want to focus on for 2013. I am excited to see evidence of some of my wishes coming to fruition already.” – Helen Kim

“The create your own vision boards presented by Michele Curcio was a great event with lots of positive energy flowing throughout the evening. My goals have already started to unfold.” –  Danielle Milata

Technology Cleanse

Two weeks ago my Blackberry Bold 9930 was in my back pocket and to my surprise when I went to the bathroom, I noticed it had fallen into the toilet. I had heard that if this happens, (a far too common occurrence), you should submerge the phone in a bag of rice. Hoping any electrical parts would dry up and my phone would work again, I did so. Unfortunately, 24 hours later I checked and my phone did not work. Luckily it was the weekend and I had no appointments. I really did not need my phone. However, I felt disconnected.

Debating if I should give in and purchase a touch-screen smart phone like the IPhone or Samsung Galaxy SIII (which I wrote about in my 1st post), I decided to use my insurance and just replace it with the same Blackberry.  As mentioned in earlier posts, I don’t like change for the sake of change. An aside, I am slowly moving into the 21st century and switched from my trendincite@aol.com e-mail to amy@trendincite.com e-mail.

Anyhow, I was without a smart phone for four days.  At first I was a bit disoriented and felt a little lost considering I’ve had a cell phone for 13 years.  It’s quite sad how we have become so dependent on technology. There was something nice about not being connected. I wasn’t constantly checking my e-mails, texting or calling. I was in the present, spending quality time with my family.

We expect everything so fast. We are reachable and “on” 24/7. Technology provides us with instant gratification. However, I think at times this hinders us. We need down time and I think technology cuts into this time. Of course this only occurred to me because of the toilet incident. But now that I’m aware, I intend to make more time to be disconnected.

Get Gellin

Gel manicure after 9 days
Gel manicure after 9 days

To prepare for my family vacation to Mexico, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure. I wasn’t going to bother with a manicure because I rarely leave a nail salon without a smudge or a chip and I’m lucky if it even lasts for a week.

With the amount of sunscreen we use as a family, the chlorine from the pool, sand from the beach and the general use of my hands, there was no way a manicure would last and be worth the investment. The manicurist talked me into a gel manicure for $30. With little convincing I agreed. I’ve known about the gel technology for the last few years, but had no good reason to try it.

The mass market and professional nail care market has been growing at an exponential rate driven by the technological advances, including gel. According to Packaged Facts “The Nail Care Market in the U.S.” report, dollar sales of nail care products in the mass market will reach $2 billion in 2016. Kline’s “Professional Nail Care: Global Market Brief,” reported that the professional nail care category grew by over 25% globally in 2012. According to Kline, the introduction of over 30 important new gel products in the past two years helped spur the market’s strong performance. Gel products grew nearly 30% in 2012. Nail care is so popular, there’s even a new magazine Nail It! dedicated to the category.

With all of these nail stats and my need for an enduring manicure, now was a good reason to try it. I chose an iridescent, sparkly light pink color, similar to what I would have chosen for a regular manicure. However, there were less color choices. The process was similar to a regular manicure, except they make you wash your hands before they apply the specific gel polish, they don’t apply cream or massage your hands, and they wipe your nails clean with nail polish remover. In addition, the drying time is quicker because they use the uv light. Overall the experience was pleasant.  My nails had a nice, smooth finish and seemed stronger than after a regular manicure.  I left wondering if the manicure would survive the trip to Mexico and live up to my expectations.

Coincidentally when I arrived in Mexico, I noticed that the woman at the concierge desk had the same color nail polish as mine.  I asked her if it was the gel manicure and how she liked the product.  It was the same product and she was very happy with it.  She explained how she cleans with Clorox and how the manicure holds up for at least two weeks, sometimes three.

To my surprise, the gel manicure held up and exceeded my expectations. It’s been over a week and I sufficiently challenged the technology…I dragged luggage through airports and in and out of airplanes and cars; I repeatedly applied sunscreen and zinc oxide to myself, two kids and husband; I waded in chlorinated pools and salty, ocean water; I frequently washed my hands and my kids’ hands; I hand-washed my fair share of dishes; and I bathed my kids nightly.

I’m very happy with the outcome. I’m definitely a convert and I’m not sure why I would opt for a regular manicure again.  Now the burning questions are “how will I remove it?” and “what condition will my nails be in after?” Until next time…

 

Playtime or Naptime @ Yogibo

Yogibo, The Westchester

I needed to pick up a kid’s birthday gift this weekend, so we took a quick family visit to the Westchester Mall in White Plains. As you may know, I am not fond of shopping and unless I need something, I don’t spend a lot of time browsing or window shopping.  However, we went to the food court for lunch and stumbled upon Yogibo. I was not familiar with the brand or the store.

For starters, it is a wide open, inviting space with bright, cheerful colored bean bag furniture.  Adults and teens are lounging on these bean bag like chairs while kids are running, jumping and playing throughout the store.  A friendly employee encouraged us to come in and try the products.

As I entered, I felt like a cross between a kid in a candy shop and something from Woody Allen’s Sleeper movie.  This oblong chartreuse Yogi Maxbean bag chair was upright and as my daughter describes it “you karate chop it” where you would like to sit or lay.  Then one proceeds to place their body in the newly created crease.  I was a bit hesitant, but to my surprise it was very comfortable and held its position. The company’s tagline “The only furniture that loves you back!” suits the products.

My husband, who was comfortably lounging across the store, looked like he was on the verge of a nap. The kids on the other hand, had no hesitation and literally karate chopped each and every Yogibo on display. At times they would lay back, almost fall into the oversized bean bag pillows and make them a lounger, bed like creation.  You know I’m getting old when I tried to get up and was not only off balance, but couldn’t figure out how to gracefully maneuver my body or the chair.

These products reminded me of Mogu, a Japanese design brand that made similar bean bag like chairs, pillows and dolls.  Nine years ago they opened a store in Nolita, but closed in 2006. I even still have a Mogu Joy doll that was the big fad in 2004.

My daughter wanted to purchase a small pillow as a token of her visit.  Although tempting, we walked away empty handed. However, my husband and kids are ready for a house, which I will never be ready for, but we agreed that if one had a finished basement or a den, these would make great furniture.  I have a feeling, that if this store is still in business by the time we purchase a house, we will be owners of Yogibo furniture.