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Christison on Trends, What's New

The general assembly ballroom at IDDBA's Dairy-Deli-Bake 2010 Seminar and Expo was jam-packed this morning, as attendees gathered to hear IDDBA Executive Director Carol Christison's annual talk on fads, trends and game changers. It could be argued that the size of the crowd had something to do with the fact that ex-President George W. Bush was scheduled to speak next in the same room, but that would be wrong. It could be true, but not necessarily, because every year Christison draws a huge crowd. People skip breakfast, saying they wouldn't miss her presentation for anything. They appreciate it that she always injects her sense of humor in her presentation of sometimes surprising facts and figures. And she's known for adding to our vocabulary, too.

This morning, the new word that stood out was "splurchase." That's a purchase, she said, made by a price-conscious consumer who's allowing himself or herself a one-time splurge.

Among some of the trends Christison spoke of are location-based advertising. For example, she said cited McDonald's hooking up with Facebook to let users "check-in" and share menu ideas. McDonald's, she said, also offers free Wi-Fi and coupons if they share with a friend the location at which they're eating.

"Their customers are doing their advertising for them," she said.

Another new thing -- maybe a budding trend -- she described was meat stores holding classes in butchering for consumers. The mentioned one in New York's Hudson Valley that has a week-long course for consumers, but also others that offer less intensive lessons lasting a few hours. Christison suggested that supermarket meat departments could possibly do something like that.

"It certainly would bring loyalty and good talk about you, and who knows, you might be training a future employee."

Convenience still rates high on consumers' prioroity lists, Christison said, and she sees more drive-throughs at supermarkets looming in the future even though some have been tried in the past and failed. Their time may just not have been there yet.