I’m sure a lot of you read the daily news (or at least watch Colbert) and think you are up to date on the important happenings of our society. You are probably following the debt crisis, aware that there are issues going down in Syria and you might have even heard about those fake Apple stores in China. But unless you’re already clued into what I am about to discuss: I hate to say it, you’re simply behind the times. You can thank me later for bringing you up to date with this hard-hitting story about…food inside food!
Yes, I said food inside food. And obviously I am kidding about it being hard-hitting journalism. But it is rather intriguing, no? General Mills recently announced that its new product lines would focus on flavors inside flavors. Think tortillas with filling, cereal with filled centers and cake mixes with frosting baked right in. Apparently consumers like mixed textures, mixed flavors and the pure innovation of it all. The company is even applying this trend to pet food, so either Fido also likes to have some fun with his food or Fido’s owners just like buying interesting snacks. According to an article I found about the new products, about 10% of new products fail within two years. For a company like General Mills to push out such interesting products rather than simple flavor swaps means it truly believes this trend is the way to go. I personally am very much in favor of the direction General Mills is taking because I have always been a fan of treats with mixed flavors. Cupcakes filled with buttercream: yes, please. Ice cream with tons of mix-ins: sign me up! So I think that General Mills’ mission is a fun one this year. And man I would have LOVED to be a part of their insights team that discovered that foods inside foods was the way to go. What a cool gig.
I think it is interesting that as the consumer gets more choices, foods seem to go toward extremes of simple or complicated. Chefs like Graham Elliot and Ferran Adria are known for their unexpected combinations and fanciful compositions. Food with complex flavors and unique combinations of ingredients is exciting and pushes the boundaries of what we expect to see on menus. On the other hand, simple food cooked well is just so darn good, like an excellent bowl of pasta or a deliciously grilled steak. General Mills’ plan brings up a curious juxtaposition of what consumers are asking for from their food. With today’s focus on eating healthy foods, companies that show that their snacks have only a few, natural ingredients are finding supermarket success because consumers want to think they are making smart decisions. But it’s also pretty hard to pass up the novelty of a brownie stuffed with raspberry filling and then dipped in chocolate (well, hard for me at least).
I came across General Mills’ announcement in one of my daily consumer goods news alerts, of course, but you can read about it here if it piques your curiosity to know what sorts of foods you will soon find stuffed in other foods: http://seekingalpha.com/news-article/1355428-general-mills-new-food-lineup-focuses-on-foods-stuffed-inside-other-foods
And if you are a baker like me and love to experiment with what you make, check out this awesome blog: http://www.bakeitinacake.com General Mills should probably hire the blog’s writer for its R&D team…