I’ve mentioned it before and I guess I have to comment again: There’s a new fad (I hope, not a real trend) in the comfort food sphere. And it’s a craze I just can’t get on board with: starch-on-starch. I just can’t understand the appeal of these mash-ups and I certainly can’t recommend them nutritionally…
I’ve grudgingly reported on dishes like Spaghetti Pizza and the Spaghetti Burger. There have been similar variants employing Lasagna and Ramen. Now, there’s a Fettucini Alfredo Pizza. No, really…
I can’t say as the idea appeals to me. But, maybe, I’m just old school and I like my classic dishes ‘classic’, not combined, fused or infused with other classic dishes. Nevertheless, I have a theory as to why these crazy combos arise. I think that, confronted with a major creativity crisis, or innovation deficit, comfort food purveyors large and small are resorting to to crossbreeding proven tried-and-true favourites, piling safe-bet on safe-bet. What they should be doing is thinking outside the Bun, Crust,Tortilla or whatever and coming up with something truly different and magically appealing.
This, of course, is just another symptom of the crisis of compression that the comfort food sector is experiencing as its
particular market niche becomes more and more overcrowded, ‘healthy’ eating alternatives are gaining traction in general, and even the mega-chains are having trouble maintaining their accustomed mammoth shares of the ‘quick service’ dining public’s allegiance.
Where’s all this going?
In the next ten years, we’ll see the merger or closure of comfort food concepts that can’t carve out or maintain a significant share of the market.
We’re also going to see more niche-market Fast Food operations catering to ever-more-specific tastes. We’re already seeing big players like McDonald’s fractionate their operations into multiple sub-identities: McDonald’s of the Future kiosk stores, McCafés and even a McDonald’s French Pastry counter in NYC. At the same time, all the big chains are also increasing their efforts to tune their menus to regional and national tastes around the globe, to squeeze every little bit of market share out of every geographical market in which they operate.
It’s logical, I guess, that we should expect some kind of shake-out in the comfort food sector. I’d like to think we’re in for a renaissance!
~ Maggie J.