usatoday.com – The unicorn became a food, McDonald’s went “artisanal” and Amazon delivered a jolt to yet another unscathed corner of the retailing world.
The restaurant and supermarket industries enter the new year reeling from transformations that affect the way Americans eat.
Yet the goal for all remains the same: Drive up often stagnant food sales in an otherwise healthy economy.
“Coming out of the Great Recession, it took a number of years for restaurants to really recoup,,” said Janet Lowder, a Los Angeles-based restaurant consultant. “2017 has been a really good for restaurants — and I hope it might carry into 2018.”
Here are five of the biggest developments churning the food business:
Mario Batali is stepping back from his restaurant empire as well as his hosting gig on ABC amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct Time
Weird foods, drinks light up menus
Taco Bell invented the Firecracker Burrito, designed to make customers feel like tiny explosions were going off in their mouths. Arby’s added exotic meats like venison to its sandwich lineup. Burger King created the Lucky Charms milkshake and brought back its wacky Mac ‘n Cheetos — macaroni bits encrusted with a crunchy Cheetos coating — this time in a Flamin’ Hot flavor.
The weirder the gimmick, the better. Fast-food chains discovered during 2017 that no strange concoction was off limits. The object didn’t appear to be sales as much as it did to create a social-media buzz and pick up publicity in the hopes of standing out from the pack.
The hope is these stunt foods bring regulars back in the door to try something new as well as attract new or lapsed customers.
Many of the items appeared tailor-made for Snapchat and Instagram. McDonald’s, for instance, created buzz around its “Frork,” a fork in which the prongs are french fries.
One sensation was Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, a pink drink that with a taste that goes from sweet to sour. The drink, among others, planted Starbucks squarely in the outrageous foods game.
This whole weird food trend can get the hell outta my face, but I need to hear more about this Frork