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NATIONAL REPORT — In a new installment of his video series with Convenience Store News parent company, Stagnito Business Information + Edgell Communications, Phil Lempert discusses Americans’ love affair with customization and a new book written on the subject.
As Lempert points out, there are 87,000 combinations you can order at Starbucks and that’s just for beverages. Along with Starbucks, Burger King is probably the most obvious example of this phenomenon, with its famous “Have It Your Way” slogan.
A new book, “Devoured,” written by Sophie Egan, program director at the Culinary Institute of America, focuses on what she calls “a most American element of the American food psyche.” Egan recently told The Atlantic that in many other countries, this practice of tweaking your order — known as “cheffing” — would not stand.
“We don’t feel we’re insulting anyone,” Egan says. “We feel we’re getting our money’s worth.”
It is common to overhear patrons customizing their salads and main courses with sauces on the side, added or deleted ingredients and substitutions galore, forcing some restaurants to even print on their menus: No substitutions allowed.
“Has customization gotten a bit carried away? Or are we just beginning?” Lempert poses, noting that he agrees with one quote from Egan where she says much of this customization craze is driven by the need of one to feel more important or better than someone else when their needs are catered to.
As CSNews Online previously reported, Lempert and Stagnito + Edgell forged an exclusive strategic alliance that allows Lempert to provide content and programming to multiple CPG retail media brands within the Stagnito + Edgell portfolio, including Convenience Store News and Progressive Grocer.
Lempert is founder of The Lempert Report, a food trends publication, and SupermarketGuru.com, a leading online resource for food safety, products, trends and shopping tips that attracts more than nine million visitors annually.
Click above to watch the video.