Put a Surprising Twist on Favorite Local Flavors
Ideas to Embrace Your Region’s Local Flavors
Hometown pride is a beautiful thing. People love to root for their home team and indulge in local foods, whether those are nationally known specialties or beloved local restaurants. Why not take advantage of this loyalty and incorporate local flavors into your business? Take a look at some examples of companies that have capitalized on the local twist and use these ideas to put your own spin on local favorites.
Adapting an East Coast Tradition: Philly Cheesesteak Popcorn
The Philly cheesesteak has been an east coast staple since it was invented in 1930 and inspires fierce loyalty in those who adore it. Popcorn Buddha, a gourmet popcorn shop headquartered in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is close enough to Philadelphia that the owners have an affinity for cheesesteak and understand the region’s love of it.
Building on an already beloved taste, owner Craig Campeotto experimented with flavors until he created the perfect Philly Cheesesteak popcorn, one of the most popular of the store’s 85-plus popcorn flavors.
Partnering with Midwest Favorites: Local Popcorn Series
Indianapolis is a city teeming with tasty local restaurants, bakeries, and breweries. From the bustling downtown and Mass Ave arts district to neighborhoods like Broad Ripple Village and Fountain Square, you can find authentic Indy businesses galore.
Just Pop In is one of those distinct shops: a gourmet popcorn shop that has partnered up with several other businesses to offer special local flavors residents know and love. The owners, twin sisters Mandy and Carly, sell Bazbeaux Tomato & Basil Pizza popcorn (for local pizzeria Bazbeaux), Smoking Goose Caramel Bacon & Cheddar popcorn (for Smoking Goose Meatery), Sun King Bavarian Cheese and Pretzel popcorn (for Sun King brewery) and 4 Birds Bakery Oats & Maple Cookies popcorn.
A Surprising Treat on the North Coast: Garlic Ice Cream
Cleveland is known for rock and roll, Cavaliers basketball, a burning river, and…garlic. The annual Garlic Festival takes place in Shaker Square every August and draws crowds from all over Northeast Ohio. Visitors can enjoy music and crafts, get gardening advice, purchase art, and of course sample a multitude of garlic-inspired foods.
Mitchell’s, a Cleveland-area ice cream chain, has honed in on this unique market and produces a roasted garlic ice cream each year. Available exclusively at the festival and at the chain’s main location in the Ohio City neighborhood, the garlic ice cream has become a local craze, even though some are reluctant to try it at first. It’s the most raved-about product at the festival and has helped increase awareness of the Mitchell’s brand.
How Can You Take Advantage of Local Flavors?
To create treats your hometown neighbors will love, think about the specialties your city or region is known for. What do people who have moved away flock to when they return to visit? Which places are locals always recommending for out of town guests? Here are a few ideas to help spark some inspiration:
- Cincinnati-style chili
- Louisville bourbon or mint juleps
- San Francisco sourdough
- New England maple syrup
- Seattle coffee
- Boston clam chowder
Think about the way you name your products as well. Sometimes a creative local spin on a name is all it takes to entice customers to purchase. It may take a little brainstorming, but once you discover the local flavors people in your area crave, you’ll have a product that will fly off the shelves!
Find the equipment and supplies you need to get started creating your specialty flavors.