Recently I joined a 5th/6th grade volleyball team at their end of season gathering. They celebrated a winning season, and after coaches’ awards were distributed, and some rainy day fun with Battleship and Uno, a group of four 11-year-old girls snuck away… with their phones.

They found a private table and proceeded to NOT speak to each other, exploring silly TikTok videos and goofing with funny Facebook filters. They texted instead of talking: avoiding connecting with others. I cringe.

Not to be a hypocrite, I have adapted quite well to integrating my devices into my lifestyle. I listen to my personal soundtrack, I walk with audiobooks, and I stream my favorite shows while getting ready for the day (because I don’t have time for TV anywhere else in my life). My devices are tools for communication, and purveyors of entertainment.

There’s something about these ‘crutches’ keeping us apart.


Craving Community

However, there is hope. I call attention to a swing to connect – a desire to connect with others – happening. Consumers crave community and human touch even as they become more mobile and independent. They want to reconnect with people around them, with their heritage, and with the stories that are the lifeblood of their communities. We call this Human Connection.

And we explored this consumer behavior trend in Givaudan’s North American hometown, Cincinnati. We sent five teams trekking through Cincinnati, exploring various perspectives on Human Connection:

  • Latin influence
  • Our Kentucky connection
  • Asian and Indian forces
  • Farm-to-table influences
  • Cincinnati’s own German heritage

These five treks helped illustrate the connectivity between these forces — and how we are connecting with one another as a result. 


Why Cincinnati?

Cincinnati is a perfect archetype for this exercise. Set on the Ohio River, it’s a convergence of North and South, and the home to many immigrant groups since the late 1700’s. The result is a surprisingly diverse food, beverage, and cultural scene that well-illustrates the ways consumers are enjoying reconnecting with each other, with the past, and with groups of people different from themselves.


Cultures Converge

Cincinnati is a place where cultures converge and communities are formed. My words can’t do justice to the inspiration and new ideas captured as a result of the cross-functional, five-team trekking experience.

I do want to feature one perspective from Juan Sanchez, who joined the Latin Trek team, and offers this example of how Human Connection is alive in our community:

“There is nothing new about Tex Mex or Mexican American cuisine. Yet, when I walked into Mazunte Taqueria the concept felt brand new. Mazunte tried not to replicate Mexican food here in Cincinnati but to fuse it with Cincinnati’s own language and style.

That’s where I found a human connection: in the local, self-conscious blending of food with place, language, and culture. In a way I found Mazunte represented a kind of immigrant story. The one where an immigrant tries their best to fit into American culture, and at the same time, the American native tries their best to accept them and to invite them in.”

– Juan Sanchez, Knowledge Base Manager, Givaudan

Could food and drink be a tool, instead of the 11-year-old’s iPhone, that we use to bring us together?


Key Takeaways

Opinions from different people and perspectives led us to these key insights:

  1. Effective community connections must be authentic. The stories have to be real, and backed by the truth.
  2. Leveraging local connections brings the connection alive.
  3. Food and beverages are a way  to bring together like minded people, forming a community of food. 

Come over for dinner on Sunday and let’s talk more about it…


Brought to you by: Amy Lovelace

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