By Brad Ross, Global Trends Forecasting
In last month’s post on Re-Framing the Natural, I alluded to a proven approach that only continues to re-emerge with ever-increasing focus. It is not even the most current trend nor is it uncommon, but one that repeatedly rises to the top in our complex world.
We are all familiar with the K.I.S.S. slogan; an acronym for, "Keep it Simple, Stupid", made famous in the 1960’s by the U.S. Navy. It is this basic principle that we often find ourselves revisiting, like a favorite song or beloved piece of clothing. It is then no surprise that this tried and tested doctrine is widely seen today and one that I’ve discovered in a multitude of expressions.
Take food, for example. With the ever-growing transparency of what goes into what we eat, consumers are actively voting on which foods are acceptable and which are not.
Walk through any grocery store and peruse the packaging. What you will find is an intentional shift in vocabulary and visual presentation. Adjectives like “artisan,” “clean,” “earth friendly,” “local,” “pure” and “simple” are the current buzz words. Products are now labeled with singular and/or iconic imagery to only further suggest the purity of its’ contents.
Not accidental, these simple images greatly resemble the icons we stare at daily on our smart phones. This marketing trend we are witnessing first-hand, is the Mies van der Rohe, “less is more” effect. “Clean Label” initiatives are popping up in most major food and beverage companies, due to consumer demand. The industry is responding in kind with ingredients that are naturally derived, minimally processed, organic, and not genetically modified; all of which, food manufacturers use to formulate “clean label products.” 2016/17 will see increased focus on simplifying ingredients and labels with the food industry scrambling to rid itself of chemicals and additives,
Ninety-one per cent of U.S. consumers believe food and beverage options with recognizable ingredients are healthier, according to Innova.
Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials will, for there own demographic reasons, continue to play a key role in nutritional trends like those mentioned above. This simplification will drive the sub context of “healthification” and stimulate more convenience in gourmet and increasingly less processed food.
Step outside the supermarket and food chains and you will also see a simplification from chefs and restaurants. They are digging into the archive of cultural food, resurrecting dishes, ingredients and preparation styles not seen in modern America for quite some time, if ever. Take, for example, the resurgence of Jewish food found at Restaurant 27 in Miami Beach, where they are reinventing heritage dishes and food ways, on which second generation immigrants turned their backs. Today, chefs everywhere are exploring their roots and cuisines. Other examples are Peruvian, Korean, Mexican, Chinese and Middle Eastern fusion, to name a few. 2016/17 will see momentum behind “simply” returning to ancestral recipes and foods.
And the food category is only one of many. Explore any venue and you will most find a strain of the, “Keep it Simple” trend:
- Open floor plan
- Tiny House
- Minimal Design
- Norm Core en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normcore
- Portrait photography
- Personal Narratives
- Campaigns that deliver on the real consumer mood and identity
All are indicators of the less is more, simplified life and reflect a growing consumer trend to “Keep it Simple”.