Trend Perspectives By Cynthia Maxwell, Trend Forecasting
Cover photo: Spice gift & customizable dinnerware from Food 52
After thumbing through Food 52's holiday "Give Good Gifts" catalog, I realized I was looking at Premium Indulgence, one of the Symrise Trendscope 2021's trends come to life. Several "good gifts" were specialty curated getaways that included a James Beard award-winning chef meal, spa treatments, private yoga sessions, hunting for rare white truffles in Italy, and many other indulgent experiences.
While curated getaways are indulgent, "premium" has taken on a new meaning. Premium products and services are now linked with descriptors like artisanal, sustainable, and ethical. Farm to table restaurant concepts are not new but have been expanded to local bakeries using only local ingredients, private dining experiences through farmer's markets, and local farm tours with opportunities to purchase fresh farmed goods. Also, more seasonal markets are showing up in both large cities and small towns, providing opportunities to shop outdoors and purchase handcrafted items from local vendors.
As I have scrolled through Facebook in the last month, I have seen themed dining and drinking experiences pop up like The Alice-"a theatrical, alternate reality experience that will take you down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass! "You are served three Alice in Wonderland cocktails by costumed staff in an Alice-inspired setting.
Consumers desire moments that take them away from technology and screen time and are craving more physical, tactile, emotional, and even old-school approaches to living. Face-to-face human interaction is essential, and even food pics are down-trending because consumers want to "be in the moment."
A "Premium Indulgence mood picture" from Lonny.com
A gifting experience, albeit personal or interactive, rank higher than collecting things that may not mean so much after a few months. How about a recipe created just for you, or a gift set of Indian spices that include a private virtual cooking class and small group cooking sessions that teach the old-school techniques of pickling and fermenting vegetables.
Personalization is also bubbling up from this premium indulgence trend. In this world of clicking, swiping, scrolling, and liking- the need to discover who we are individually will continue to be an ongoing journey. Right now, everyone has a succulent, knows how to make cheese board, and has sampled a craft beer or two. What do we identify with daily that is genuinely us as an individual? Enter products wholly personalized to each individual's taste. Personalized baked goods where you get to choose the specific and unique flavors, personalized dinnerware where you can select your glaze, color, and pottery material are just some of the new ideas. We have already seen the health and wellness industry approach this with customized diets according to a consumer's DNA. The newness in the personalization trend goes far beyond initials on a luxury handbag or getting a star named after you.
As the holiday has begun, I have heard many friends and acquaintances express doing less shopping and cooking and enjoying more family, friends, and free time. It will be the premium experiences that count as we move into 2022.