Summer Bearing Fruit – Trend Alert

Fresh fruit is popular during the spring and summer months and is inspiring new fragrance and flavor introductions. Cherry and watermelon are the in vogue fruits of the season.

Cherries
Summer Cherries (photo by Paolo Neo)

In fine fragrance, as a spring limited edition, Escada launched Cherry in the Air and is described as “an initial burst of cherry and raspberry is tempered by hints of marshmallow, coconut orchid, and sandalwood — moving from fruity to sweet to warm.”  British perfume house Floris released Cherry Blossom made with bergamot, orange, pink pepper, cherry blossom, osmanthus, rose, peony, juicy cherry, sandalwood and musk.

The flavored vodka craze continues. Grey Goose introduced Cherry Noir, which is crafted with “100% natural essence of the finest ripe black cherries” and Absolut launched Craft Bitter Cherry, which is described as “a subtle hint of sweetness and bright, authentic cherry flavor [that] is countered by notes of bitter, dark chocolate.” It is one of three flavors, which are sold exclusively to bartenders in limited quantities. Cherry has even tapped beer. Old Dominion released Cherry Blossom Lager as its spring seasonal brew available in March and according to the company “is conditioned on a bed of 300 pounds of Michigan cherries for 48 hours.”

Summer Watermelon (photo by Renee Comet)
Summer Watermelon (photo by Renee Comet)

Watermelon is popping up in men’s fine fragrances. Lacoste’s latest addition Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Noir highlights a “living watermelon” accord while Tommy Bahama for Him opens with “a revitalizing burst of juicy watermelon.” Limited edition Annayake Love for Him uses bergamot, grapefruit, bitter orange and watermelon top notes while Calvin Klein’s CK One Summer 2013 limited edition features citrus, waterfall, watermelon, cucumber, water lily, musk and moss accords.

Pucker Vodka unveiled Watermelon Wow as the newest flavor and “combines the luscious flavor of watermelon with the invigorating aroma of candied fruit and melon for a unique sensory experience” while Salty Watermelon joins the UV Vodka range. Watermelon is even trickling down into non-alcoholic beverages, specifically water.  Fruitwater offers Watermelon Punch and Fruit2O offers Natural Watermelon.

Watch as these juicy fruits continue to inspire new summer products and emerge in consumer packaged goods.

 

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.

Not So Krazy for Kale

Fresh Kale

Kale, the new superfood darling, is a cruciferous vegetable member of the cabbage family.  I remember when it was that green, curly vegetable that restaurants used as a garnish to decorate the plate.  I’m not a big fan and haven’t been converted yet.

According to Starchefs.com “chefs take note of kale for its bold appearance and complex flavor.” It’s so popular it’s being eaten raw, juiced, sauteed, baked, blanched, steamed, fried etc. High in fiber and nutrients, kale is reported to have anti-cancer health benefits. Raw foodists have been juicing and eating it for years, but it’s now going mainstream.

Get juiced…

Organic Avenue recognized the benefits of kale early and offers a variety of kale products including the Green Monkey Smoothie crafted with banana and kale and Green LOVE* super juice features pear, lemon, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, parsley, collard greens and romaine. Swiss chard, Tuscan kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger, Kohlrabi, and fresh herbs are all in Good Means Go juice from newcomer Creative Juice. Kale Me Crazy will join the juice bar trend and launch in March in Atlanta. For those who prefer an alcoholic drink, there’s the Garden Variety Margarita with Blue agave blanco tequila, ginger & kale juice, lime juice, agave nectar and smoked sea salt from The Wayland.

Eat it raw…

Pure Food and Wine serves a Tuscan Kale with Shaved Fennel and Orange salad with orange blossom scented honey, fennel pollen, and candied almond crumbs while Fatty ‘Cue offers a Kale & Chicory salad with cincalok and green peppercorn dressing. Just Salad offers Winter Crunch Superfood made with Iceberg-Kale-Red cabbage, multigrain croutons, apples, wheatberries, broccoli, and shaved Parmesan. You know kale has hit critical mass when restaurant’s like Cheesecake Factory add it to their menu and serve Fresh Kale Salad.  Watch out, because according to The Globe and Mail, the French are beginning to embrace it.

Some like it hot…

Red Medicine serves a Young Turnips with roasted banana, banana vinegar, fermented black bean, creme fraiche, and kale while Scampo offers Norwegian salt cod ravioli with roasted pork belly and Tuscan kale.

Snack attack…

Brad’s Raw Food sells a variety of kale chips such as Vampire Killer-Leafy Kale and Nasty Hot-Leafy Kale and Earth Chips has Cheezy Kale and Chocolate Kale flavors.

The future…

The Chicago Tribune’s Food trends for 2013: What’s the next kale? article suggests that “vegetables will continue to move to the center of the plate” with kale being the current superstar. QSR supports this trend and sees ‘More fruits and vegetables’ as 10 Trends for 2013, and foresees kale “becoming more popular as a healthful option at some fast-casual restaurants and on college campuses.”

Is kale a fad or is it going to be part of our diet for good?

P.S. Watch as this leafy green trickles into beauty care products like Dr. Alkaitis’ Universal Organic Mask and Mor’s Emporium Black Collection Kale & Watercress.

Sunchoke What?

Jerusalem Artichokes tubers by Christian Guthier
Jerusalem Artichokes Tubers (photo by Christian Guthier)

What exactly is a sunchoke? A sunchoke is most popularly known as a Jerusalem artichoke and is a tuber vegetable.  It’s not from Jerusalem, it’s native to North America and it’s rich in inulin. As part of the Sunflower family, it derives its name from sun(flower) + (arti)choke. According to Food Network, the sunchoke is described as “nutty, sweet and crunchy” and looks like a ginger root.

Sunchoke is the ‘it’ vegetable emerging on restaurant menus.  However, it is not a new ingredient.  Over the last few years it comes and goes in and out of favor during the fall and winter months. I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten a sunchoke or for that matter if I’ve ever eaten one. Regardless, here are a few places sunchoke has been seen…

Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood prepared a Sunchoke “granola” for Bon Appetit’s Do Your Part Dinners event on December 6, 2012. Lil Mikey from Chowhound enjoyed Ari Taymor of Alma’s “earthy sunchoke purée over a perfect egg yolk, and a salad of artichoke, grapefruit slivers, and baked wheat berries.” Gwynnett St. features Sunchokes with hazelnuts and Alpine cheese. ISA in Brooklyn, has been known to use it in dishes like Tartare – Sunchoke, Flax, Creme Fraiche and Sunchoke Cream with Espresso and Dust. StarChefs.com chose the Sunchoke Soup, Potato, Shrimp, and Truffle Essence dish from Chef Chris Nugent of Goosefoot in Chicago, as one of the Top U.S. Dishes of 2012. Julia Moskin of The New York Times predicts that ‘Sunflower Power,’ which includes sunchoke, as one of the 10 Trends for 2013. Let’s see if sunchoke catches on this time.

Have you eaten any unique sunchoke dishes or prepared any unusual sunchoke recipes?

What’s Ahead? 2013 Culinary Trends To Watch For…

Out with the old, in with the new. It’s a new year and here is a list I compiled of some interesting predictions for what food & beverage trends are ahead in 2013. Let’s see how accurate they are…

Technomic’s Take: What’s Ahead in 2013?

National Restaurant Association Food – What’s Hot Food 2013 Chef Survey? and What’s Hot Alcohol 2013 Bartender Survey?

Sterling-Rice Group Cutting-Edge Dining Trends of 2013

McCormick® Flavor Forecast® 2013

Nestlé Highlights Top Food & Beverage Trends to Watch in 2013

Eater Trendwatch 2013: Food Media Predicts the Future

The 2012 StarChefs.com Trends Report

Time Top 10 Food Trends of 2012 and more