Since the cronut, in 2013, I’ve always been fascinated by food trends. I couldn’t grasp what the fuss was about and why weird pastries were getting so much attention. It almost seemed bizarre that the new fashion was to eat healthier, while worshipping super sweet and fat recipes. Being struck by this, I decided to search for the reasons that could explain why we drool over freak shakes and rainbow bagels.
Our generation is marked by the flourishment of food trucks and with mundialization – the hybridization of cooking. Not only has quality became extremely important in our daily lives, but so has novelty.
Elaborate meals can be found at every street corner, chefs are mixing cultures and recipes to keep on impressing their clientele. Cooking has become a mainstream type of art where everybody enjoys the aesthetics and new tastes when it comes to food.
Rainbow Bagels are a perfect example. Their special colors are surprising, there is a difference between the looks and the taste of the product, and it looks super nice on Instagram.
A simplified definition of Supernormal Stimuli could be an amplification or imitation of an “object” (can be anything, really), that appeals more than the object itself (for example an apple pie over an apple; red lipstick; alcohol or fast food).
Food trends could be seen as Supernormal Stimuli, the pastries are not only amazing because of the creativity input, but also because they relate to basic needs and instincts. A food high in sugar is like the “better” version of “normal” food.
One could also point out our addiction to sugar in general, and the pleasure we take from looking at a picture of food. It almost feels as if we had the meal right in front of ourselves, as if we were about to eat it. Sugar, fast food and processed foods are quick and easy pleasures.
There is an especially fast dispersion of food trends. For example, it only takes a few days, or weeks (maximum) for a media object to become viral. Photos, videos are shared at a very fast pace.
The scarcity of the product is also a good explanation of why we are so fond of food trends. Generally speaking, most of the popular novelties are created in the USA. The product is originally sold at a unique “bakery”. Finding your milky buns somewhere else than at Afters Ice Cream would be quite “demeaning.”
Having the possibility to stand in line few hours to get the worshipped product is a sign of social status, or at least a mean of identification. The only way for people that don’t live in the USA (or can’t go there to buy a cronut), to enjoy a food trend is either to look at pictures of it, buy an “imitation” or create their own recipes.
Someone following a food trend could be seen as a connoisseur, as being on the edge of culinary experimentation and fashion.
There is probably thousands of explanations of why we all drool over new pastries and food trends in general. However the main prospect should be to simply enjoy those sugar filled, delicious, crazy food trends.