A growing number of Western consumers are becoming increasingly critical of global food systems and therefore embrace local production. Food = Lifestyle.

The topic on food is increasingly making a statement. Food is 'cool' and the way you think of it has become a status symbol. We're all connected and through networks (online) we are in contact with people with similar interests. This is how 'food tribes' are formed.

1. People connect easily around food
Food preferences have become a fashion statement. Be cool and creative and people like to be part of you. Guests in restaurants, visitors at festivals, customers in a supermarket everyone wants to know what their food entails and how the ingredients will affect their health. There is lots written on it, guesses are being made and everyone twitters. This information is quickly spread between peer groups.

2. There are more and more platforms to share knowledge on food
The role of the social media is pivotal and unstoppable in this. A producer and restaurant owner better takes this seriously, because cute marketing stories are now taboo. And once you're caught even with a little lie, it will spread like wild fire and your credibility is lost.

3. Not only is the knowledge of food on the rise but also its preparation
Cooking schools, workshops, TV shows and cooking clubs all add to a better understanding and knowledge. As producer and restaurant owner you'll have to realize that you are no longer the only one with expertise. Be honest, show the techniques, help your clients and guests to improve and build up loyalty.

4.Green washing is a no go!
Transparency and honesty have become the basic rules. Pretend to be green will not work. You HAVE to be green. Organic produce imported from another part of the world won't do. Apart from the knowledge and expertise there is a growing commitment between young people on the quality of food, the division of income and stipulations on animal welfare. Farmers who are suffering because they don't get paid enough, supermarkets that raise their prices arbitrarily and producers who use overfed fat chickens will have their name and company published in no time.

5. Surprise the public
For large brand companies and caterers attendance at a festival can be a potential image builder. If you know how to market your business well you can create a lot of goodwill. Cool gimmicks and slogans will be noticed by festival goers and immediately shared through photos or videos on the social media. You will reach a lot more people this way than by just one festival goer. But festival visitors are critical so you will have to do your utmost best to surprise the public. And don't just think of large festivals. Smaller and more intimate festivals with target groups can be very effective to get your name out and being appreciated.

6. Don't beat them, join them
At food and music festivals there are plenty of examples of good menus that have allergy-free food items and local and sustainable ingredients. Remember, the client is king and he or she will be more and more demanding in restaurants and of suppliers. They are better organized and can get into action very quickly. The social media are to their advantage and prepared to make big statements. You can't beat them, so join them.

Read more about Food Tribes in the Food Inspiration Magazine