Trend Perspectives by Cynthia Maxwell

Remember the tiny house trend? How about the overwhelmingly popular New York Times Bestseller, Spark Joy by Marie Kondo? If you're a regular Instagrammer, you have come upon a post that says "STOP SCROLLING… NOW BREATHE…" For sure you have a friend or two that have taken a social media sabbatical, signing off all forms for a while to decompress from the addiction to or negativity displayed by each platform. All of these happenings, whether directly or indirectly, are just some of the ways to have a simpler life.

While there is a laundry list of ways to simplify via a quick online search, here are a few inspiring "simple" thoughts.

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Simple Food

The simple food trend will continue to grow! Big-name Chefs have been creatively taking ingredients to their most unrecognizable state in the past years. With short attention spans and instant gratification mindsets, consumers are starting to crave straightforward cooking. I have a friend I dine with often that feels like restaurants are trying too hard. He wants food to be good, not complicated.

Magazines and online food sites always provide the "meals that can be on the table in under 30 minutes" -simple prep and ingredients, but modern in look and taste. Like online Food52's post, "Heidi Swanson's Pan-Fried Giant White Beans and Kale"-prep-time 5 minutes, cook time 10 minutes- cool enough to serve your guests.

Recipes with fewer ingredients are also grabbing our attention. 2 Ingredient Elixirs and 3 Ingredient Chocolate Spread, they not only scream simple but propose a desirable money-saving grocery list.

I can't talk about simple food trends without mentioning the Crockpot comeback and the invention of the Instant Pot. Offering meals in minutes and one-pot meals is appealing because everyone is busy these days.

Restaurants will move in simpler directions as well. Many restaurant experts believe simple food is the key to success in the huge fast-casual restaurant trend. Makes sense, right? A successful vegan restaurant, by Chloe, would be a role model in this sense. Their 100% plant-based menu provides unprocessed ingredients, and the back of the house uses space-saving equipment, which offers more flexibility when searching for real estate. The basic black font and colorful clip art images on the menu and packaging create an easy-going, colorful vibe.

RELATED: Plant-Based Everything

Finally, chefs are going back to their roots and serving their cultural dishes. I look for this trend to grow in the coming years. As my friend says, "If the restaurant serves Italian food, I don't need it to be a "spin on Italian food."-I am laughing right now, but this is a consumer speaking!

Minimalism at Home

In some higher populated and growing city areas, a simple way of living is almost forced. Space is getting smaller, and rent is getting higher. The trend is apparent when you open your Crate and Barrel catalog that provides a "Small Spaces" section. As I am writing this, a Zara Home post shows up on Instagram "A Life of Simplicity" a new Fall 19 collection focused on the beauty of simplicity.

If you live in a large city like Manhattan, small living is the norm. My native Texas, where land is vast, cities are adopting small space concepts. In Ft. Worth and Dallas, small apartment designs include the washer/dryer combo in the kitchen. Like sans laundry room! The washer/dryer combo is next to your dishwasher, installed under the kitchen counter. This design concept is unheard of in our vast land!

Health & Final Thoughts

Health trends are moving super-fast, and consumers expose themselves to a load of information on new ways to get their bodies and minds right. The guidance is not always simple. It can take a lot of time to incorporate meditation, juicing, journaling, exercise, the Keto diet, work, and fun times into our daily routine. Consumers, whether by choice or not, are overstimulated and tired, and will begin to seek out more straightforward ways to live. I've come across blogs and magazine articles lately that recommend the basics -a good night's sleep, eat whole foods, use fewer products, etc.

What does this mean for consumer focused businesses? It's time to jump on the simple bandwagon!

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