The Ubservatory Blog pondering the universe of food, design, and creativity

Millennialing: A Verb

Millennialing: A Verb

Julia Rancone

Another article on Millennials is just what you need, right? Okay, probably not. In fact, writing about how to understand Millennials is becoming a parody. But what could we use a little more of? Inspiration and perspective, and for that, one has to go out and start Millennialing – actively participating in their culture. The{...}

2017 Food Trends Report

2017 Food Trends Report

Julia Rancone

We have a universal love of food here at ULTRA, with a somewhat obsessive attitude about being the first to know about a new food. We attend all of the big food shows and conferences, read blogs and magazines, shop the aisles and spend our commutes listening to food podcasts. It’s a passion point for{...}

Ice Cream is Cooler Than Ever

A scoop of bright pink ice cream melts into candy sprinkles.

Ice Cream is Cooler Than Ever

Julia Rancone

It’s late summer, and there’s no better way to beat the heat than by reaching for a frozen treat. Despite healthy eating trends seemingly running the food show, Mintel reports indulgent frozen treats (namely ice cream), are doing well, save for frozen yogurt, sherbet, “other” ice cream (such as Italian ice), frozen custard, and ice{...}

When High Design Doesn’t Align

When High Design Doesn’t Align

Julia Rancone

Ultra recently wrote an article for The Dieline exploring the dichotomy of high design versus pragmatic design. It underscores how pragmatic design can play an essential role but feels, to many designers, like bad design because it isn’t on trend or lacks sophistication. The tension with this is its quick dismissal of design’s role to{...}

Cocktail Culture Goes Clean & Sober

Cocktail Culture Goes Clean & Sober

JoEllen M. Davis

Now is the moment of the mocktail. With both beer and soda sales down, non-alcoholic (N/A)  drinks have become not only more popular, but a business-leading corner of their own. This spike in popularity is driven by three trends: health and wellness, sensory experiences, and sober socializing.   Healthy Living & Elimination Diets “Health and{...}

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Cuckoo for Coconuts

JoEllen M. Davis

In 2011, bottled coconut water showed up on store shelves and set the world ablaze with a coconut craze. Each year at food shows and in the grocery aisles, we are amazed with the new and innovative coconut products coming out. While on a recent store audit, it seems coconut moved from ‘trend’ status to{...}