Viva Fresh: Be nimble, and catch those fads

Digital consultant Steve Lerch used his love of Game of Thrones to talk about audience reach and fads during a session at Viva Fresh in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO—Consumers are fickle, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for fresh produce marketers. That’s because it means there’s always an opportunity for fresh material.

What gets us in trouble is staying married to our marketing messages, reluctant to grab on to a fad when it’s hot.

Steve Lerch, digital consultant and former Google executive, walked through four trends from 2018, and some simple tools the produce industry should keep in mind when they’re following trends at the Viva Fresh Expo on April 26.

Diets are rich ground for the produce industry to mine for marketing and messaging, he said, and they last longer than you think.

Lerch pointed to a free and simple tool, Google Trends, as evidence.

A simple search will show you things you never knew about diets, fads, and trends, many of which are related to fresh fruits and vegetables. The Noom Diet and the Dubrow Diet, for example, are the top two breakout related searches to “diet” on Google Trends, but many people have never heard of them.

“These trends are wild, but they’re huge and they last for years,” he said. “If your product can fit into a diet trend, don’t be afraid to force it into the conversation online or in-store.”

Companies can update their recipes, social media, and search engine optimization to catch a trending diet when it’s hot, but Lerch cautioned to use unbiased, real time information.

Tracking trends through a tool like Google Trends also can show you where your resources might be wasted, he said. Genetically modified foods, for example, aren’t as popular with most of the population, and neither is organic, he said.

“Ten years ago was the peak search interest in organic foods,” he said. “There’s nothing in this society that you should be confident that consumers will really care about in two years.”

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.