April 6 2018


Culinary, Cate Wright

Catherine Wright is a Creative Strategist under Octagon's award-winning Content Group. The Content Group, comprised of talented designers, producers, digital strategists, and planners, creates opportunity for some of the world's largest brands with thoughtful, creative, and bold campaigns rooted in insights. In her monthly entries, Cate examines key trends, technology, and innovations in the culinary space.


Innovation Lab  //  IKEA's Bug Meatballs

IKEA has always been at the forefront of creativity and innovative production so it's no surprise that they are making a major sustainable change. IKEA is tapping Copenhagen's "future-living lab" Space 10 to reimagine fast-food classics with sustainable, eco-friendly and healthy ingredients including the meatballs. The “neatball” comes in two types: one made with mealworms (the same beetle larva in your burger), and the other with root vegetables — think parsnips, beets and carrots. Dessert will use hydroponic micro-greens to reimagine ice cream and popsicles for a top-to-bottom green menu. The future of lifestyle is a departure but if any brand can bring Nordic innovation to the world, it's IKEA.



Trend Spotlight  //  The Zine is Back

Part of what makes current culinary content interesting is the diversity of formats. There are the traditional outlets: cookbooks, Food Network, and celebrity shows. But chefs are emerging as brand artists with distinct aesthetics (David Chang is a master). An upscale execution of fringe publishing has come to the forefront in the form of zines. Indie produced magazines with recipes, culture pieces, and art crossovers are taking over. Look to "Diner Journal," "Mold," "Brutal" (fashion/food), "Chickpea" (vegan), "Hot Rum Cow" (booze), and "Gather" (entertaining). I am particularly excited to see the old school approach from chefs like Anthony Bourdain, who is creating a Japanese style comic book. Brands should consider these alternative distribution channels to establish an authentic connection with food nerds. As food culture gains equity, being an expert with a cool take on content will be extremely valuable.



Sport Spotlight  //  NBA's Wine Club

A recent ESPN article revealed the underground world of the NBA: a world of high-quality wine-lovers, known as oenophiles. Among the top roster is LeBron James, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Paul. The "Banana Boat" foursome (James, Wade, Paul, and Anthony) are famous in the league for their side interest in vino. An obsession with details drives NBA players to success on the court and drives winemakers to perfection in the vineyard. That's why it's no surprise that modern legend LeBron James is referred to as a wine supercomputer by teammates. There is an opportunity to find cross-sponsorships with the NBA, using collaborations with luxury brands and multifaceted athlete ambassadors.