freakshake milkshake popcorn

As a result of demanding lifestyles, people are now spending more on highly indulgent “kidulting” experiences

What do Freakshakes, 24 karat champagne cocktails and gourmet popcorn all have in common? They are all prime examples of a trend we are seeing in the food and beverage industry. It’s a trend that focuses on consumers indulging on a grand scale.

Eating and drinking is now an emotional, aesthetic-led phenomenon that is part of the consumer experience. Research has shown as a result of demanding lifestyles, people are increasingly spending money and time on “kidulting” experiences, celebrating #foodporn moments on Instagram and buying “don’t count the calories” Starbucks Christmas lattes in abundance.

Consumers are actively seeking moments that make them feel good – they are looking for indulgent experiences and brands must seek to enrich these demands by appealing to the senses. Indulgence has traditionally been considered frivolous, but that is changing as more and more people want memorable foods and drinks they can take pleasure in without feeling guilty.

Indulgence is an ambiguous term and the meaning of it has wildly varying interpretations depending on the person you ask. An example that attempts to unlock the mystery behind it is the Baileys ‘Treat Bar’. We wanted to look through the lens of a series of experiences that explored radical indulgence where people can experience the Baileys brand. Having spent some time apologising for its gloriously delicious and naughty product, Baileys started to celebrate new moments and ways of treating oneself with its liquor in 2016.

Read more: How flexitarianism and clean eating shaped UK food & drink habits in 2018

By pursuing the concept of radical indulgence, the practicalities include celebrating the moments that matter to encourage people to indulge in life’s pleasures without any sense of guilt. By taking a more uninhibited approach to marketing brands and food services, the Treat Bar offers consumers the chance to engage in spontaneous and seemingly shockingly indulgent activities.

The space is an example of a place where people can meet, play and indulge with over-the-top drinks. Working closely in partnership with the Baileys team, we felt it was important to create a space where people could feel at ease, borrowing from familiar destinations such as coffee shops, ice cream parlours and cosy living rooms whilst encouraging them to behave differently, free from the usual social pressures. Fundamentally our primary objective was to deliver the ultimate radical indulgence for consumers – escapism.

After a successful 2017 launch, the Treat Bar is now becoming larger than its pop-up space; both in its physical and conceptual form. It stands as a rallying cry and space for adult treating moments. The integrated campaign is part of a movement shaping and championing radical indulgence, making Baileys forever synonymous with the phrase “Oh, go on then…”

Fuelled by Instagrammable food and drinks, this movement is an undeniable new trend due in no small part to the influence of social media.

Consumer habits are often cyclical, and the motivation behind this one seems to be a direct backlash to recent ‘wellness’ and ‘clean eating’ fads.

Radical indulgence is the top trend likely to take over the food and beverage industry in 2019.