Food, as we all know, is the great commonality. Everybody has to eat in some way or another—one person might be eating plant proteins and insects while another eats southern fried chicken and grits. They both share the same basic experience of eating, and while their specific experiences with ingredients and flavor might vary (sometimes wildly), they still share that basic common thread of searching for culinary satisfaction.
That brings us to food tourism. Food tourism has grown into its own industry, born out of consumer demand for the exploration of other cultures through food. Technology has created an environment of experimentation with global influences in the culinary world—and chefs, operators and consumers are all taking the opportunity made possible through faster, more stable shipping methods and the global reach that eCommerce has helped develop to explore recipes, ingredients and flavors not just from other countries, but specific regions and cities.
While we’ve been following this trend for a while, it’s rare to see it cross-over from the restaurant or grocer side of things and into something more accessible from an occasion standpoint.
Enter Hershey’s and its new “Discover Flavors of America” product line that sees the candy and snack company focusing on flavors from specific cities across the country, twisting familiar products such as Kit Kats and Reese’s and creating new products based on local, regional flavors. This is a way for the brand to bring food tourism straight to the consumer without having to develop a new product from the ground up. The three that I stumbled across in the wild are a New York Cherry Cheesecake Hershey Bar, Georgia Honey Roasted Reese’s peanut butter cups and California Strawberry Kit Kat. Each one takes a specific local flavor or ingredient and creates a new but familiar product for it.
I hope Hershey’s keeps going with all 50 states, I’d be interested to see what flavors they leverage for states like Kansas or Utah.