Culture and the Connection to Consumer Experiences

Culture and the Connection to Consumer Experiences

Culture and the Connection to Consumer Experiences 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Move over “local,” food owns that word and it’s synonymous with sourcing. “Culture,” however, is different and more important than ever. Just saying the word evokes feelings rich in heritage, storytelling, and community.

The United States growth of ethnic diversity is projected to grow immensely by 2060, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Young people and families are currently more exposed to travel and cultural diversity than generations’ prior, bringing unique perspectives, tastes, and experiences to the forefront. With this proactive interest in experiencing multiple cultures and new cultural hybrids, we have some major trends to consider.


Spirituality, mindfulness, and personal reflection are primary paths to unlocking an individual’s unique creativity and fulfillment in life. 47% of young travelers claim that travel destinations represent who they are, and 64% of Americans feel that ‘giving back’ on vacation greatly matters. This trend is leading to growth in mission driven travel experiences connected to influencing social enterprise.

Not-for-profit Hospitality Group, Good Hotel, offers ‘premium’ hospitality with a cause by reinvesting profits into local businesses, people, and education. This includes custom-made hospitality training program to individuals based on character rather than a CV, presenting opportunities that aren’t often available to long-term unemployed individuals from disadvantaged communities. The social nature of the business allows the Good Hotel to not only prosper, but also for individuals to reintegrate with the economy building a stronger future for all.

Located in Cambodia, The Green Leaf boutique takes profits and distributes them into programs like water purification, education, and a local orphanage to make a positive impact on the surrounding community. Hotel guests can even volunteer to participate in special projects associated with the orphanage like restoration of facilities or helping to host a medical day for the children. It’s a hotel experience that offers all the luxurious elements of tranquility and peace, but leaves guests also feeling good about the impact of their stay.


Lead by feelings of FOMO, YOLO and other youthful gusto, 60% of Millennials plan to travel outside of the U.S. this year and travel roughly 4.2 times per year. After all, they know how to get great deals on flights through a multitude of apps and can work from virtually anywhere, so why not book one (or 4.2) of the one million Airbnb’s that are spread over 190 countries.

Today’s form of travel is not always leisure. While being immersed in a new culture and experiencing the elements are aspirational, a new group of consumers are seeking this through a more intimate and somewhat challenging approach of traveling. Rooted in exploring the outdoors, REI crafted a bike tour to do just that. Whether it’s nine days pedaling the countryside from Budapest to Prague or a fourteen-day trip cycling through the rural Vietnamese life, the brand is creating a connection point for you to truly experience the raw elements of culture — “all you have to do is pedal!”

Casa Cook’s drool-worthy “laid-back” escape has enough personality to keep you on premise with amenities like a Kitchen Club and yoga studio, but peaks your interest to get out and explore the natural beauty of Rhodes, Greece. From walking tours along the cobblestone streets of Old Town of Rhodes to hiking Tsambika Mountain or sailing the coast with local skippers this hotspot is a hipster’s dream.

Described as an urban hotel fit for digital natives, City Hub located in Amsterdam is everything thing you could want from a full service hotel, but in a tiny, hostel package. While the minimalistic cabins may leave out the traditional room amenities, this hub makes up for it with a brilliant app that lets you connect with the brands half dozen or more “CityHosts” aka Rent-a-Friend to help you discover the great city of Amsterdam.


More ethnic diversity will mean more ethnic flavors. (Yay!) In fact, the expectation of intense flavor profiles will ultimately distinguish good food from great. Fifty percent of all consumers now have a preference for very spicy foods and fifty percent of 18-24 year olds are more interested in new or ethnic flavors than they were last year.

Target brought to life #SinTraduccion by using untranslatable Hispanic words to describe everyday experiences that demonstrate consumers’ bicultural lives. For example, Sobremeso, which refers to the period of time right after dinner in which family and friends linger at the dinner table to catch up. This campaign emphasized not only the bond personal between Target and its Hispanic consumers, but also the influence of moments and food traditions.

LocoL’s first location opened in the legendary L.A. Watts neighborhood. Inspired by top chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, they’re on a mission to revolutionize the fast food industry with the belief that good food and an low price don’t have to be exclusive. From fried chicken with ginger chili lime noodles to bulgar bowls with green goddess dressing, this team knows how to make great authentically inspired food to feed the underserved and diverse communities in which they reside.

What does it all mean? Restaurants are entering a period of time where culturally inspired creations are valued over corporate manufactured menus. And, consumers will continue to crave food choices that more accurately represent the cultures and food traditions that they identify with. For retailers, it means understanding the mentality of consumers purchasing with a purpose. Whether that’s a trip abroad or a new pair of shoes, they’re looking for a more personal connection and desire to make a positive impact. Either way, cultural diversity opens the door for fresh perspectives and big possibilities across industries.

Photo Credit: Hostel World | Casa Cook | Sprudge | Agoda | REI


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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