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(Published: 2012-09-21)

Fall has officially begun, and while the frost isn’t on the pumpkin quite yet, pumpkins are on display at roadside stands and the first frost warnings are here. It’s time to dig out the gloves, pull on your cashmere sweater, and stir up a pot of oatmeal.

Huh? In case you haven’t noticed, oatmeal is very trendy these days. It’s the new breakfast darling. And lunch darling. And desert darling. In fact, it’s positively gourmet. It’s also good for you (but you already knew that.)

Many food companies are taking oatmeal to new heights. Straw Propeller offers all natural, gluten-free gourmet versions in individual cartons that you can take and enjoy anywhere. Gourmet combos include apple/walnut/chocolate chip, and lavender/lemon/pine nuts. Definitely not your basic porridge—it’s “a warm hug in a cup.” Proudly made in the USA, 10% of their profits go to charity.

Oatmeal’s new found popularity is a great example of trend fusion. Trend fusion occurs when several trends are addressed in one great product. Here’s how Straw Propeller stacks up:

Trend 1: Everything Old is New Again. Oatmeal has been around a long time. Grains were found in Egypt dating back to 2,000 BC. Today, it’s more popular than ever. Trend #2: Healthy Indulgence. Oatmeal is good for your heart, helps lower your cholesterol, and is a wholesome energy boost. Now, it’s also a gourmet indulgence. (More on that in a minute.) Trend #3: Luxurious Commodity. Across many cultures oatmeal is considered a breakfast staple. Today’s versions are a far cry from humble and lumpy—they’re downright luxurious. (Recipes follow.) Lastly, with 10% of Straw Propeller’s profits going back to the community (group hug), it also qualifies for Trend #4: Social Capitalism.

OK. That’s breakfast, but what about lunch and desert? Samantha Stephens to the rescue. A former equity research assistant with JP Morgan Chase, Sam is the founder of a new business in Manhattan called OatMeals. She’s turned her oatmeal obsession into a business by putting modern twists on an old-fashioned, wholesome favorite. She’s out to convince New Yorkers that oatmeal should be on the menu 24/7.

A sign outside her East Village shop entices customers with this motto: “Or you could get a bagel or donut again.” Her creamy blend of steel-cut and scotch ground oats are infused with pesto and covered in mascarpone cheese, or transformed into a French Croque Monsieur with diced ham, gruyere cheese and nutmeg. Her most popular flavor is the savory-sweet Canadian: creamy oatmeal drizzled with maple syrup and covered in bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, roasted apples and sea salt. Mmmmmm.

For lunch, a variety of gourmet sandwiches are served on oatmeal bread. Her oatmeal pastries--muffins, scones, even croissants, and her deserts—cookies, bars and biscotti--are all baked on the premises.

If you’re ready to take oatmeal from humdrum to hugs, humble to haute, lumpy to luscious, stop by OatMeals in NYC, or email me at and I’ll send you recipes for Crème Brulee Oatmeal and Oatmeal-Bacon Waffle Cookies with Espresso Glaze.

Button up, and eat up. Winter’s a-comin’.

Straw Propeller Gourmet Oatmeal

Oatmeal Creme Brûlée

Robyn Waters is president and founder of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, and The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. Learn more about Robyn at All Rights Reserved.

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