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What turns a food into a trend or a phenomenon?

PaulF Dec 5, 2006 06:15 PM

I don't know the answer.

I do know that this Pinkberry thing has become a trend or a phenomenon.

The only local board I look at is the Los Angeles board.

First, there was thread after thread about the original Pinkberry. All said the same thing: Yogurt great, parking crappy.

Nothing wrong with repetitive threads: it's part of the culture of Chowhound to accept lots of posts about the same topic -- new people wander on to the board every day and haven't seen the earlier threads.

But since then, every new Pinkberry opening is treated like the release of a new Beatles record. First there are the "Are they open yet" posts. Then, someone is the first to discover the next location has opened and reports "It's open." Then there are the reports on the yogurt, the lines and the parking.

And none of this counts the "Is this or that rival of Pinkberry as good as Pinkberry" posts.

This is not about Pinkberry, necessarily. I have nothing against frozen yogurt or the company. It's about how something becomes a trend or a phenomenon.

I wasn't on Chowhound when Krispy Kreme came out, I bet it was a similar thing. And I bet there are similar trends in other parts of the country.

I'm just wondering when it goes from "I really like Pinkberry" to "I'm a member of the Pinkberry club."

It occurs to me that 20 years ago, the same thing happened with Penguin's and other frozen yogurts in what might have been the first frozen yogurt wave. There has been a cupcake thing going on in LA for a while now, maybe it started somewhere else.

Man, it would be great to figure out what the next trend is gonna be before anyone else does ... I bet the Pinkberry people are printing money.

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  1. Das Ubergeek RE: PaulF Dec 6, 2006 04:33 PM

    It's kind of like when El Pollo Campero came to the US and opened stored in the La Curacao stores... there were lines around the block. People in our neighbourhood would get up at 4 and 5 AM to go stand online for El Pollo Campero. Great debate was had whether it was OK to skip the line for EPC and go to El Pollo NorteƱito instead.

    After the furore died down I tried it... and you know what? It was fine... but nothing worth eight hours' line for.

    Now, there are Pollos Camperos all over the city, from Bell to Panorama, and nobody thinks twice about it.

    The same will happen to Pinkberry.

    1. Davwud RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 01:05 AM



      1. k
        krushdnasty RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 01:36 AM


        trend hungry wannabehounds who are willing to jump on whatever is suddenly touted as the next big thing.

        I find it hard to blame the companies or marketers, they are just doing their jobs. Its up to the consumer to be selective. Most folks listen to hype, or to friends who themselves listened to hype. A real hound assesses the nugget of veracity lurking beneath the marketing ploys. Example? Ask yourself: "What are the raw materials for their product? Where are they sourced from? If I was able to suddenly have the product sent to my living room, would it still be good (i.e. how much of the products experience is dependent upon the "magic" of ambiance)? How much work actually goes into producing the product onsite where its sold?

        Try to find out if its really worth it, I guess is what I am trying to say.

        1 Reply
        1. re: krushdnasty
          Das Ubergeek RE: krushdnasty Dec 7, 2006 02:13 AM

          "There are huge advertising budgets only when there's no difference between the products."

          Ah, Carl Sagan.

        2. MEalcentric RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 02:23 AM

          Same with Beard Papas

          1. k
            Kelli2006 RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 02:59 AM

            Rachel Ray?

            1. m
              ML8000 RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 04:11 AM

              Well there's trend, trendy and phenomenon...and you might as well add fad to the list as well. Here's my guess/take on it:

              Fad = something that catches on but has no staying power or deep substance.

              Trend = (not to be confused w/ trendy) more of a minor movement within a larger shift that might become something lasting. Example: healthier food, fusion, organic.

              Trendy = looks like a trend but usually is a fad w/o much staying power. California style pizzas are trendy, "seemed" like a healthy idea...but limited staying power.

              Phenomenon = something actually good or exceptional, spreads via word of mouth, huge growth and nothing else was around like it before, beyond fad and trendy. Beard Papas certainly seems that way.

              Organic foods is phenomenon growth wise but not sensation wise. Also not a single product.

              1. Emme RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 05:40 AM

                Hmmm... my vote is for mini desserts, like bon-bons, or mini-chocolate covered cheesecake bites... can't you see the store fronts selling mini things for a buck a piece.. we can call them "A Buck-a-Bite Wonders!"

                Sorry, this is a bit silly... I'm slap-happy from work!

                1. h
                  HillJ RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 12:08 PM

                  If a food trend occurs, more people will be exposed to new food items pesto comes to mind. I still remember friends reacting to the combination of basil, oil, garlic, cheese & nuts as revolutionary! And, for many on all sides of the food spectrum IT was!

                  phen...well, for me that more of a financial nudge for the trend setter/inventor...till the next trend.

                  I see NO downside to trends..the open the door to discovery and discussion.

                  1. JugglerDave RE: PaulF Dec 7, 2006 01:15 PM

                    I have to blame the marketers a little bit, for taking a small or local trend and cashing in.

                    I think "artisan" or "artisinal" is one of those things. Only in the last year have I seen this on packages from major corporations.

                    The trend (for bread, for example) started with small, labor-intensive and expensive-ingredient bakeries making great bread that they could sell for $5 a loaf instead of $1.50.

                    The major corporations take the word 'artisan', make the bread look slightly more lumpy, and then try to sell a $1.50 loaf of bread for $3 in supermarkets.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JugglerDave
                      HillJ RE: JugglerDave Dec 7, 2006 01:20 PM

                      JugglerDave...I hear ya...but exceptional products will stand above the rest..including knock-offs no matter the trend, yes?

                      1. re: HillJ
                        JugglerDave RE: HillJ Dec 19, 2006 08:09 PM

                        True. But the dilution of the word makes the real stuff harder to find. But then that's one reason Chowhound exists, so we'll do OK :-)

                    2. m
                      munch_kin RE: PaulF Dec 28, 2006 03:58 AM

                      I assume it has to be touted by Dr. Phil.

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