What's Old is New, The New New and Branded Marketplaces: 3 Food Trends Shaping Portugal

What I find fascinating about Old World countries is the transformation of their local economies in the wake of globalism. How do you hold true to your roots in your own country, while your country's brand is being exported and new culture is migrating in? It's a difficult balance. 

After spending a long weekend in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto), I began realizing how certain global trends are shaping up in this Old World country and how the younger (read: Millennial) generation is adapting to these shifting times. 

1. What's Old is New

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I was reading this article the other day about traditional marketing tactics (billboards, radio ads, etc) are making a comeback as "new" marketing tactics are becoming saturated (content creation, digital media, etc). Is this happening across business verticals? In relation to the food industry, I've recognized the desire for a comeback of classics — but with a new twist. 

Take the kiosk pictured. In Portugal, kiosks (quiosques) have become a central place for individuals to grab a delicious beverage with friends, and a friendly place to drink solo. These aren't just typical beverages either. Sure you could grab a glass of wine or a beer, but also grab a port & tonic or a sour cherry liquor shot. What are ways we could reimagine spaces that we have a preconceived notion about, and turn them into something new? I've been thinking about this a lot in regards to corner stores. What are other spaces that could use a new product mix, an interior refresh to their classic exteriors?

2. The New New

I know, I know I just commented on the resurgence of classics. However, call me a Millennial, but I am loving the imagination of the new wave of "younger" business owner/operators. This generation cares about (speaking personally and as an observation): paying homage to ones roots while adding ones own unique spin, getting creative with ambiance/the entire hospitality experience, and storytelling through fine details. 

Each of these locations we frequented had its own special vibe, while all adhering to these core elements listed above. We felt instantly at home, with familial feelings in both decor and dish, while also a sparked creativity and allure to discover something new. 

3. Branded Marketplaces

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We're used to private-sector businesses naming locations like Sports Arenas, but how do we feel about the branding of locations that are supposed to inspire connection, intimacy? Licensing of ones brand means you have you create a framework of how you will continue to live out your brand values, even if you are not the operator. This is really interesting to me as big brands (or here: a media company) are looking to diversify revenue streams. 

This is an interesting quote from a recent Eater piece on the Hello Kitty brand: "Collaborations like these are dreamed up by Sanrio’s licensing department, which was established in 1999 in order to diversify and expand its business. A licensing agreement allows a partner company to use a brand’s intellectual property (logos, slogans, and in Sanrio’s case, characters) on its products. One of Sanrio’s first major partnerships was food-adjacent: that same year, a set of small plush dolls celebrating Hello Kitty’s romance with fellow Sanrio character Dear Daniel were made available in McDonald’s Happy Meals." 

Food halls have been pretty pervasive globally, but this is the first time I've seen a branded "Time Out Market" in Lisbon, and soon to open in Miami. What do you think, good idea or pushing the brand limit?