It's summertime! So, rather than looking at holiday-based food trends (like we recently did for Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day), we decided instead to take a look at some seasonal food trends instead. From what folks are grilling to their favorite summertime cocktails, here's what to look forward to.
Get Your Grill On
The Trend: Who knew? While we were over here assuming that burgers and chicken drumsticks would be the top products for grilling, consumers were at the store buying lots and lots of sausages instead. In particular, pork sausages are popular recipe readers, but turkey or chicken variations also resonate when looking for a healthier alternative.
The Takeaway: While we see tons of variations on barbecue marinades for chicken or pork shoulder, not to mention the infinite burger possibilities, sausages have yet to experience the same level of innovation. Home cooks are enjoying experimenting with harder-to-find sausages like Filipino longanisa, and are eager to test out new ways of grilling and preparing their links. Create some summer content that takes them beyond the typical hot dog bun and mustard setup.
The Beyoncé Effect
The Trend: We all could have seen this one coming. Pretty much overnight, lemonade recipes began to surge in popularity. Sure, summer has always been the time for sipping on a cold, slightly sour of the best back-porch beverage, but "the Beyoncé effect" on this warm weather staple is real. We're calling lemonade the top food trend for summer 2016.
The Takeaway: Even when predictable, don't underestimate the power of pop culture on food trends. Particularly when it comes to Beyoncé (remember when she went vegan, or when everyone was rocking those KALE sweatshirts, or when presidential candidates claimed to carry hot sauce in their bags?). Be careful not to pander nor come off as out-of-touch, but a playful nod to the trend can take off when done right.
Have Snacks, Will Travel
The Trend: We saw something similar happen this time last year, which definitely indicates to us that this seasonal trend will come and go annually. As soon as the days get warmer and the sun stays out later, home cooks leave behind their pot roasts and mashed potatoes and get more adventurous with dinnertime. American cooks get inspired by regions where the weather is always warmer; places like Southeast Asia, the Middle East or Caribbean Islands.
The Takeaway: For summer content, step out of culinary comfort zones. While cupcakes and casseroles are golden from September through May, in the summertime, cooks want to cook with hot peppers from Mexico or experiment with Israeli za'atar. Roll out recipes or marketing content that speaks to the more adventurous part of your consumers' palate.
Turn Down the Heat
The Trend: Cakes will always be popular, but there are seasonal shifts in how they're made. During winter months, laboriously decorated layer cakes are reliably among the most popular recipes in our network. But we also see a ton of interest in mug cakes. Over the past month or so, those two types of cakes have completely swapped places, with mug cakes of all kinds spiking with readers.
The Takeaway: It makes perfect sense; with the major holidays and family get-togethers happening primarily during winter months, there are fewer reasons to spend the weekend baking a fancy cake. Pies or ice cream treats make better use of summer produce and are far less finicky in the heat. Let's face it, though; cakes always have a place in our appetites, so a quick fix is just what foodies want. Enter: the mug cake. Simple, a single serving, and made without heating up your whole house with an oven. Summer cravings, solved.
The Thirst Is Real
The Trend: Another seasonal trend that makes total sense when you see it laid out: people go from drinking darker liquors to clear ones in warmer weather. Red wine turns to white wine, dark rum turns to clear rum. A no-brainer, sure, but the actual data was still staggering. An interesting nuance we want to point out, too, is that not only is this applicable in drinks, but also in cooking recipes.
The Takeaway: Cooks and consumers are always interested in cocktail and punch ideas, in particular when it comes to summer entertaining. Mix up a punch that includes summer berries and a sparkling champagne for a tasty hit. In terms of cooking, swap out the red wine-braised short ribs for a white wine pasta sauce or risotto,