Oct 14 2016
Having recently visited the far other end of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, I feel energized to muse on the theme of eating in other countries (as I did similarly about Europe after traveling there last spring). Of course, Asia is a huge continent, and my experiences this time were focused on just two cities – but Tokyo and Hong Kong are two amazing, taste-making, trendsetting loci that deserve closer inspection, from the eyes and taste buds of a food marketer. Here are five intriguing ideas I brought back.Subtlety: As a Zinfandel-loving Californian, I’ll admit I’m often guilty of expecting foods and drinks to pack a big wallop of flavor. What I was reminded of in Japan and China is that subtlety can be full of delight, just as well. There are countless preparations of soy-based dishes on local menus, yet each boasts its own delicate personality worth paying attention to. Same thing for tea. For those of us who aren’t connoisseurs, the brew can sometimes taste similarly beige, but when encouraged to close our eyes and engage our olfactory senses over a relaxed Kowloon meal, small but smile-inducing
Sep 30 2016
Food deserts are not the only challenge to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income populations. Nutrition Today published new peer reviewed research looking at the attitudes about organic and conventional fruits and vegetables among low-income shoppers. One troubling conclusion was the impact negative messaging, particularly relating to pesticide residue, has. When asked about the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, 15% of respondents said they were less likely to purchase any fruits or vegetables. This was the largest “less likely to purchase” response to any question.
The study points out the limited access to organic produce in low-income communities, and this may be a contributing factor. Perhaps we need another classification for “organic deserts”. More research should be done, but it could help to explain why produce consumption is stagnating, despite the efforts to increase it. If fear and confusion are causing people to consume fewer fruits and vegetables, communications professionals have a responsibility to better explain rather than incite.
Previously I’ve written about positive marketing with regards to food labels. This isn’t different. While…
Sep 21 2016
The very definition of the word trend means to veer in a general direction or to show a tendency. Below are five beverages on my radar for the coming months, rooted in hard data but sourced from what I’m seeing and hearing in the New York scene.
The surge of nutritionally-aware (if not nutritionally-balanced) cocktails is imminent. You read it here first. We’ve seen this theme gain momentum in the culinary community with fresh, season-driven menus. This philosophy is extending into beverage programs as well. Two examples:
-Mixologists are increasingly using natural natural sweeteners like maple syrup as a healthy and tasty alternatives to refined sugar in cocktails. Here are 27 examples, courtesy of Eater and bar programs around the country.
-Opening next week, Rouge Tomate Chelsea, with its avant-garde SPE-certified food and beverage program, is featuring cocktails (and mocktails) with fresh ingredients like carrot and cucumber juice and chia seeds.
Whether high-brow or low-brow, large format bottles are showing up on more home and restaurant tables. There are also restaurants who are…
Sep 16 2016
Afdhel Aziz, Director of Absolut Labs, said, “Any marketer who wants to succeed in the future needs to think in these terms: people are the new media.”
Gone are the days when big brands could develop a catchy jingle and it’d echo in consumers’ minds on repeat. Today, consumers are inundated with sales pitches and marketing ploys alike. They’ve developed a heightened awareness, borderline paranoia, of what is genuine vs. what is paid for. With geo-targeting tracking not only your purchases but every move your mouse makes online, consumers are demanding transparency and authenticity from brands.
One way brands are building trust and staying relevant is by working with influencers. From cooking to fitness, dads to moms, health to technology, there is an influencer out there who has a network of trusted peers looking to them for advice, inspiration and/or guidance. To peers, they are not seen as spokespeople of a brand, but rather real, authentic people who believe in a brand.
CEO of Intuit, Scott Cook, said it best, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
Sep 2 2016
When my colleague first shared this article about robots cooking in the kitchen, I thought it sounded ridiculous. On second glance, you’ll see that this concept is already being tested and successfully carried out in Germany and here in the U.S. That’s right – a robot that can baste, boil, blanch and blend and create your favorite meal. If this modern day Jetsons-inspired sous chef takes off, I predict it may become the ultimate kitchen appliance for restaurants. Should the concept become more common, it would certainly raise a lot of questions about the pros and cons.
First, let’s look at some of the pros. For starters, there’s the consistency factor. The use of this technology would allow restaurant operations to ensure a consistent looking and tasting product every single time. While fast food operations can be counted on for consistency because their food tastes the same wherever you are, upscale restaurants could benefit from a technology that removes the possibility for human error. Another upside is speed. Robots would be able to deliver a finished product at a fraction of the time it would take a human and faster output can lead to increased sales. Lastly, there’s
Aug 24 2016
We’ve all had that moment.
While on vacation you eat or drink something that is so transcendentally delicious, it instantly ranks among the best things you’ve ever had. The pleasure is so deep and complete it’s like your taste buds are hard-wired to your very soul. “Do I detect a hint of fresh mint, or is that MDMA? Either way, I want more.”
So you buy up as many cases as you can get through customs, or obsessively hunt down the recipe to recreate it a home. But, despite your best efforts, it’s never quite the same. Sure, it’s good, but it’s not as good as you remember it.
What’s going on here? A temporary insanity of the taste buds?
Well, sort of.
Consider this: In 2008, a group of neuroscientists in California conducted an experiment that shed new light onto how we taste. Twenty volunteers were strapped into an fMRI scanner and given samples of wine. Among them were tastes from a “$10” bottle and a “$90” bottle that, in reality, were the exact same wine. It should come as no shock that the…
Aug 5 2016
I’m here to hold an intervention. No, not that one! I’m talking about the one around the controversial GMO bill. Earlier this week the President signed national GMO labeling legislation. Vermont, which recently enacted their own GMO labeling rules stated it will stop enforcing that law, which has already changed the way major brands are doing business. As the final rules are negotiated over the next two years, fiery rhetoric from both sides can be expected, but another side of the GMO labeling debate is emerging.
Dan Charles of All Things Considered described an experiment he recently conducted outside of Whole Foods showing customers two different cartons of eggs. One had the USDA Organic seal and the other had the Non-GMO Project seal. Some consumers struggled to define the difference, but both seals delivered positive sentiment. Ultimately most opted for the less expensive non-GMO certified eggs. The future of the Non-GMO label is unclear in light of the recent legislation, but with all the GMO talk, it is at the forefront of decision making for many. With non-GMO labeled food growth outpacing certified organic, some organic…
Jul 26 2016
There is nothing more perfect and refreshing than popping open that soothing, sparkling goodness known as Cava. Whether at the beach, after work in NYC or following a great hike with my wife, sipping Cava is kick back relaxation in a glass. If you aren’t familiar with it, then yes, you are missing out on something good.
To clarify, Cava is the Spanish cousin to France’s Champagne and Italy’s Prosecco. It is made in the champenoise traditional method closer to the way Champagne is made. Cava comes in two styles white and rosé. It’s taste ranges from dry to tangy to sweet in more or less this order: brut nature, brut reserve, seco, semiseco, dulce. It’s an anytime libation that makes any occasion seem, well…better! Cava’s acidity and bubbles complement almost every dish. Enjoying a spicy chicken curry? A good bottle of Cava is your go to. Also Cava has less residual sugars and tends to be less sweet thereby having less calories than most other wines. What’s not to love?
I admit I was practically weaned on Cava, thanks to my dad who kept an
Jul 22 2016
Ever curious about who named July “National Ice Cream Month” and why there are a slew of ice cream-related events and campaigns that are centered around it? Well, you can thank Congress and Ronald Reagan. In 1983, over eight hundred and eighty-seven million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States. In 1984, Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 298, designated July as “National Ice Cream Month,” with “National Ice Cream Day” falling on the 3rd Sunday of the month. President Ronald Reagan was then requested to issue a proclamation in observance of these events and called upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
As, National Ice Cream Month goes on its 32nd year, Americans are entrenched in ice cream culture. We’ve become more innovative and more demanding. This year, the most popular campaigns appear to circle around discounted deals (or better yet, free ice cream), the newest (most daring) flavors, DIY, and healthier alternatives.
Jul 13 2016
Peanut butter and jelly. Baseball games and peanuts. Teens and Snapchat. Some things just go together. For us beer lovers, there’s nothing better than the combination of brews and the beach. There’s just something about the feeling of sand between your toes, the smell of salt air, the sound of crashing waves, and watching a vividly-colorful sunset…it makes you want to kick back, take it all in, and sip an ice-cold frothy beer. Ahhhhh, life is good! With all the action going on in tasting rooms in breweries throughout the country, sometimes all summer requires is great-tasting beer in a beach setting. So what better way to celebrate summer than with a list of must-visit beach breweries? Here are 10 to get you started.
Backshore Brewing Co.
Ocean City, MD
Any brewery that features a VW van is at the top of my “cool” list. AND it’s on the boardwalk. Which means it’s on the beach. AND it has an ocean view. Mic drop. (Personal note: I’d love to turn back time to the summer of 1991 when I lived in Ocean City with my friends a block