Melissa Abbott / Melissa Abbott, Hartman Group’s Director of Culinary Insights, dishes up the latest in food culture and its impact on the food industry. Hartman Group is a leading consumer culture consultancy and primary research firm utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to understand consumers, identify growth opportunities, re-energize brands, create relevant experiences and fuel strategic thinking.
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Millennials' brand preferences shift due to household structures

While use of technology and social media among Millennials is legendary (they've never known a time that wasn't digital), new Hartman Group research finds that their relationships with brands is less definitive and, thus, fertile ground for creating brand affinity....

How Domino's, Shake Shake used 'quality' to galvanize brands

We know the place, or know of such a place. The quaint restaurant, locally owned by a couple; she's the chef, he runs the front.

Clicks and cravings: How social media impacts food choices

There is no debate that social media and digital technologies have altered U.S. consumers' shopping behaviors and purchase decisions for foods and beverages.

Local builds scale

The cultural appetite for all things local continues unabated. Of interest, the ability to source local products from highly fragmented producers dotting the American countryside is increasingly moving toward a new level of aggregation and scale with Web portals like FoodHub and LocalHarvest.

The trouble with change

At Hartman Group, we've always taken a conservative, "wait and see" approach to technology, innovation and change. Cool gadgets, shopping technology and e-readers are all fine and well, but the important question is what will be the overall impact on...

Use of sea salt proves natural foods are taking over

In its first fry redesign in 41 years, Wendy's recently unveiled Natural-Cut Sea Salt Fries — revamped 100 percent russet potatoes, cut with the skin on and seasoned with sea salt. Back in 2008, Carl's Jr.

Are you serving flexitarians?

After a decade of intense meat worship, chefs are procuring, preparing and serving vegetables with the same love and attention they previously reserved for Ossabaw pork or grass-fed marrow bones. If you're not vegetarian or carnivore, what are you? The...

Our greater food culture

In the spirit of celebrating contemporary food culture, this subway-style map (below, or click here for a larger view) is intended to serve as a snapshot of the main actors, techniques, values and ideas representing today's culinary zeitgeist. From chefs...

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