10 Food Predictions for 2016

10 Food Predictions for 2016 (listen to Ep. 59 for more amazing insight and analysis)

It’s a new year, and the guys are going out on a limb with their 2016 food predictions. Hugh theorizes a potential Chick-fil-a sabotage in the coming year, while Rod tends to obsess about honey.  Then, Hugh opens up the Hungry Dads Mailbag by reading some correspondence and commentary from our loyal listeners.

#1 – Taco Bell’s Web-Famous Beefy Crunch Burrito will Return

Beefy Crunch Burrito, Beefy crunch movement, taco bell, podcast, fast food, fritos, flamin hot fritos

Beefy Crunch Burrito, Beefy crunch movement, taco bell, podcast, fast food, fritos, flamin hot fritos

We have covered the Beefy Crunch Movement a lot here at Hungry Dads. This burrito-minded group of web activists (30K members strong) will win their battle with Taco Bell in 2016, and the discontinued, hot-Frito-laden, Beefy Crunch Burrito will return after being off the menu for years. Before the end of 2015 Taco Bell literally raised a flag in honor of the Beefy Crunch bcm3Burrito prompting The Movement’s remarkably dedicated, yet down-to-earth leader (Richard) to post some mysterious teasers on Twitter and Facebook. The most intriguing? A call for for “banding together a select group of elite members of the Beefy Crunch Movement,” for some special mission. What’s next? 2016 will tell. (UPDATE: while The BCM is largely unified, its not without its controversy & detractors – see below for a transcript of a recent exchange on Facebook).*

#2 – Backyard Brooklyn Beekeeping

P1170176Rod has declared 2016 “The Year of Honey.” Sugar is public enemy #1 but we still want something sweet. Fresh and natural sourcing of food is all the rage. Enter beekeeping. Environmentalists have said for years, “SAVE THE BEES!,” for if the bees die, humans will die. What do you get when you combine sweet, trendy, and well intentioned? Hipsters? Lookout for home backyard beekeeping across the country. Most of this beekeeping will be harmless and beneficial. But in painfully trendy and dense areas like Brooklyn, people will try. Neighborhood and zoning fights will abound.

#3 – “Farm to Table” Will Be Co-Opted As a Marketing Term

turduckenFarm to table restaurants are a pretty neat thing. Basically a restaurant serves whatever is fresh and gets its stuff from the farm, having been picked mere hours before it’s served. Sometimes, farms literally open a restaurant on site. Its becoming popular for good reason. But like anything popular, it must be subsumed. Farm-to-table, in name will be co-opted by the marketing world, destroying any real meaning. In one manner, everything is farm to table. It started at a farm and got to my table. So if Olive Garden creates a farm to table selection, who’s to stop them? Sure, maybe they will actually source from farms in a new, fresher way – but I can’t image it being the same thing.

#4 – The Ramen Fad Will Die a Quick Death

FreeImages.com/Adam Page

FreeImages.com/Adam Page

Ramen, that quintessential college student dinner, is cheap, shelf stable, easy, and quite tasty. So who’d of thunk that Ramen would become the fad for a bunch of new and popular restaurants? Well, the Japanese for one. Naturally, ramen restaurants have been part of Japan’s culture forever. So, unsurprisingly, the great melting pot of America will take to it as well. To be fair, many of these Ramen restaurants provide superior ramen than the cup that college students buy by the dozen. Still, the American palate doesn’t really have room for “superior ramen.” It was fun while it lasted, but the Ramen fad will backpedal to a natural state in 2016.

#5 – Pumpkin Spice Backlash (& other flavor trends)

starbucks, coffee, latte, graham cracker, review, syrup, sauce, baristaEvery year has his trends in artificial flavoring – 2016 will be no different. Predictions:

  • Pumpkin Spice will have a down year due to backlash, but will hold a devoted following. Although those followers will be mocked.
  • Graham Cracker and Maple Flavors will be on the rise. We got a taste of these in 2015 and were pretty impressed – here and here.
  • Salted Caramel and Siracha will hold steady – These flavors are in the zeitgeist now and solid fringe flavors. They aren’t universally liked, but they each have their own cult following.

#6 – Another tough year for Subway (not Jared’s fault this time)

freeimages.com/Ove Tøpfer

freeimages.com/Ove Tøpfer

Subway rose to fame as a fast food alternative. At the time it seemed like a super healthy and responsible option, especially as compared to regular fast food. But time has not been kind to the Subway sub. We’ve all learned that white bread is bad, and that most wheat bread is just colored whilte bread. We’ve learned that iceberg lettuce is pretty much useless as a veggie. And some report that processed lunchmeat is poison. Chipotle, Panera, and others have done to Subway what Subway did to McDonalds – they’ve convinced everyone that they are fresh and healthy, while the others are unhealthy poison. And if I’m going to eat unhealthy poison, it may as well be McDonald’s right? Subway’s going to have to make some change, or else it will have trouble sticking around.

#7 – Chick-Fil-A Sabatoge

CaptureThis one is less prediction and more conspiracy theory. The one-and-only Chick-Fil-A in New York City voluntarily shut down just not long after opening when City inspectors indicated that they would get a “C” grade on its health inspection. Isn’t it possible, just possible, that the outwardly-conservative Chick-Fil-A had a tougher go at it in NYC due to its politics? Yeah, this is sort of crazy. But what’s not crazy is the idea that in this era during which companies are using their voice to express a political opinion, the company will accumulate enemies. Who couldn’t imagine a bunch of activist types, seeking to make a statement. Why wouldn’t such an activist apply to the NYC Chick-Fil-A location with the intent of sinking it? Maybe it’s just a crazy conspiracy theory, but it’s not the craziest.

#8 – “Natural” House Made Soda

IMG_0287Sugar and high Fructose Corn Syrup are not cool. Craft beer is cool. Sodastream is a thing. Put it all together and it seems that the food service industry has an opportunity. If some restaurants start crafting their own soda, they can pitch it as a unique, exclusive, and healthier alternative to the ever-demonized soda establishment.

#9 – “Voting and Create Your Own” Contest Overkill

P1170172Lays excellent Do Us A Flavor campaign has proven to be an annual success. Considering this success and the fact that 2016 is an election year, it’s not surprising one bit that the “voting” gimmick is being mimicked. It is however surprising who is mimicking. “M&M’s Vote for Your Favorite Peanut” campaign (with spicy, honey, and coffee flavors in a peanut M&M) isn’t too crazy. But Quaker Oats “Bring Your Best Bowl,” might be the start of a shark-jumping phase for this trend. Oatmeal with salsa, tortillas and cheese? Okay, yeah – I’d try it.

#10 – More Snack Crossover Branding

la-dd-7-eleven-doritos-loaded-warm-nacho-cheese-snacks-20140619Doritos is on top and it’s not necessarily because of its chips. Of course the chips are great. But they’re really making a name for themselves in branding their flavor into other items (Taco Bell taco shells, 7-11 fried cheese). As mentioned above, Fritos are the key component of other Taco Bell creations. Nowadays, it not just enough to have tasty snack. You’ve gotta make it an ingredient to an even more tasty snack. We’ll be looking for more of the same in 2016!

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*Posted by Beefy Crunch Movement: You can now get 25% off any order at Taco Bell through the App. Expires at the end of February. You can use the coupon once a day.  Those Boss Nachos, now $4.50. /  Crunchwrap Supreme, now $2.40. /  Beefy 5 Layer Burrito, now $1.42…. The Beefy Crunch Burrito, could have been just $0.97 each. (Assuming they were $1.29 as seen in Louisville) . Sigh. This also means that the “special new item” coming next month will also be 25% off. I hope we get a deal like this too, Taco Bell!

Doug: Wow, so the Beefy Crunch Movement is advertising for Taco Bell now? I know you tied the Beefy Crunch Burrito into the message but i see a small shift in this movement that I’m not liking

Beefy Crunch Movement: Beefy Crunch Movement I still like Taco bell and it’s a fantastic deal. But I also made sure to make the connection that deals like these would be immensely better with the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Also it might be worth noting that the special item next month has a 25% off..

Jacob: I’m sure everyone here likes taco bell but this is blatant advertisement. You expect us to believe you got nothing for posting this?

Beefy Crunch Movement: And no, I have not been paid a dime by Taco Bell. And if I was paid by them, I’d put all that money back into the movement anyway. I’m doing this for you, and all 33,500+ us.

Jason: I don’t see it as advertising, unless you are dumb enough not to read the whole post.

Daniel: You’d think people would be happy learning that TB is 25% off lol. I still eat there even though there is no Beefy Crunch Burrito, logically we all want it back but until then we can enjoy other stuff at 25% off

Doug: Of course these deals would be immensely better with the Beefy Crunch Burrito but, I think, in doing so you advertised Taco Bell, who still hasn’t brought back what we all love, to all 33,500+ of us. I thought you were doing an amazing job leading this movement up until Taco Bell contacted you about a ceasefire. I’m not saying that the ceasefire was wrong. I guess what i’m saying is they gave you some news about the Beefy Crunch Burrito and it’s future that you have been hinting about. Why not be loyal to us and spill the beans. I think they will still go ‘continued as planned’ if you were to tell us the news. Instead, you choose to not tell us and that is when i saw the change in this movement.

Jason: Some one is clearly butt hurt I love that I can get so much off grow the hell up. The amount of stupid in this comment is something I can’t comprehend. Who gets mad at free stuff?

Brian: People are actually upset about this? You can get like a whole meal for $2.25+ tax with that deal that’s crazy! Beefy crunch burritos are coming back in a little more than 4 months. If you would spend as much time digging around on the Internet as you did complaining you’d know that by now.

Beefy Crunch Movement: I’m being loyal by not telling you. Why would I ruin everything we’ve worked so hard for? Please be patient. Even if they did continue as planned for this year, me “spilling the beans” could possibly ruin any exciting things to happen in 2017. Besides, not telling you is not a choice. It’s called confidentiality and an agreement of good faith on both sides.  Just think, Crunchwrap Sliders are now $0.75 each when ordered through the app. That’s worth sharing.

Allison: It’s called being patient. Trust that Richie has all of us here in the Beefy Crunch Movement in his best interest.

Mark: If he does tell us what Taco Bell has planned, we are going to tell others. It’s natural that it would get out beyond this group. When that happens, it will most likely get back to Taco Bell. Once Taco Bell sees confidential information leaked, they can change whatever they had planned and possibly bring forth a civil lawsuit(provided Richard signed a confidentiality agreement). On top of that, he is on good terms with Taco Bell. Why would he risk all that? This movement is a business and you can’t be reckless in this business world. He heard of a good deal and let his peeps know. Take a chill pill bro

Matt: Jesus, you people need to calm down with the conspiracy theories. Lol. Richard posts something about a Taco Bell promotion, which he’s been doing on this page for years by the way, and you guys accuse him of advertising for Taco Bell and withholding information. Taco Bell is obviously not a company of transparency. That should be obvious to any of you. So do you really think it’s a good idea for him to relay information they asked to be kept private to over 33,000 people? I can’t imagine that would bode well for the cause. Just be patient.