Fictional food proves surprisingly popular in the real world, says Hartman Group

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Hartman Group: Fictional food proves popular in real world
Foods inspired by fiction - from Harry Potter and Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones, Mad Men and Lord of the Rings - are starting to gain traction in the real world, according to food trends expert Hartman Group.

Ethnographic analyst Helen Lundell says: “We've noticed evidence of a burgeoning enthusiasm for consumers recreating meals found in their favorite books or TV shows.

“Whether it's a get-together to celebrate the release of the next book or start of the next series, or just a playfully themed dinner party, they are sharing the experience through the food that appears in the background.”

Not just for geeks and über-fans…


And this is not just something that the “highly niche ‘geek’ population” ​is up to, claims Lundell. “A strong host of dedicated online and print resources is already in place to help people actualize the feasts they've been eating alongside their favorite characters.”

For example:

  • Pinterest boards: Food mentioned in the Fifty Shades Trilogy and in Arrested Development (the banana stand)
  • Blogs: Food Through the Pages ("Fictional food, realized"), Middle-earth Foodie ("Is it tasty, Precious?"), Fictional Food ("Bringing food from page to plate!")
  • Published cookbooks: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), Abbey Cooks Entertain (Downton Abbey).

Millennials, fantasy, travel and fictional food


So beyond the über-fans, who else is interested?

Millennials, for a start, who are better traveled, and have a taste for the exotic, says Lundell.

“Food represents a very new, natural, and visceral way of connecting with fantasy worlds and the characters who inhabit them. Like ethnic food, fictional food offers a gateway to foreign and liberating lands.

“Furthermore, these new places are actually more accessible to many consumers than the distant but factual geographical locations.”

She adds: “Fictional food  allows consumers to connect with new people, places, and flavors; facilitates bonding with familiar friends and family; and  capitalizes on consumers' love of creation. This is a highly potent combination, and it suggests that fictional food is a trend worth watching.”

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