May 20 2016
As we know by now, the days of Julia Child and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” are way over. Today, there are more cooks in the TV kitchen than you can shake a spatula at! It’s probably safe to say that many viewers are often watching these shows for pure entertainment value, with little or no intention to bring the recipes to life in their own kitchen. Trisha Yearwood, Debi Mazar, Valerie Bertinelli, Run D.M.C., Brian Boitano and Tiffani Amber Thiessen are among the many famous actors, rappers and yes, even figure skaters —who’ve become recognizable as “foodie celebs” in their own right. Even Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has joined in on the fun, releasing a $200 cookbook which, according to Espn.com, has already sold out.
I’ve always enjoyed watching cooking shows on TV and seeing all of the new ideas and techniques on the screen that inspire and teach everyday cooks. There are hundreds of hours of weekly food programming on stations like the Cooking Channel and the Food Network, but also on major broadcasts like FOX, NBC and ABC. It’s interesting to see how cooking shows…
May 11 2016
The adult beverage market is as vast as the sea, with ever changing tides to keep marketers on their toes. The explosion of the craft beer movement has brought a lot of recent attention to sour ales, which are popping up all over. Just when you thought you were learning the difference between porter and stout, sour beer is the new kid on the block. Intentionally acidic and/or tart, “sour beers” are the newest trend in alcohol segmentation.
History of Sour Beer
Marketers should understand that many of today’s products have crossover appeal; they are products that target more than one audience. A sour beer so complex, it lures the perpetual wine drinker in for a sip. A spirit aged in beer barrels, so enticing even the most staunch beer drinker would give it a try.
The story of sour ales is almost as old as the story of beer itself. Modern day brewing is a sterile, thoughtful process, but it hasn’t always been so. Before pure yeast cultures were available, brewers of old would use wild yeast to start their…
May 6 2016
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have recently vacationed in Europe again, returning to spend time in two favorite cities and also checking out a new destination. As a food lover and marketer, of course much of my travel enjoyment was punctuated by dining experiences – and in hindsight, several of those culinary moments were good reminders of trends and lessons happening in the world of marketing communications.
1. The Tapas Bar. In the beautiful old city center of Seville, I made a point to take in as much Moorish architecture, flamenco guitar music and tapas as I could in three days. Tapas are great for sharing, but the small plates format is also great for solo dining at a bar. The prawns were fantastic and the artichoke transcendent, but the surprise star of the show at La Brunilda was the beverage in the glass. Sangria? No way. I heeded advice to avoid the insipid “made for tourists” punch and tried what the locals enjoy, especially during the sunny middle of the afternoon: vermouth. Many of us Americans have probably only heard of vermouth in the context of…
Apr 22 2016
Take the Earth Day Challenge to reduce waste to help the environment and your company’s bottom line
$1 trillion worth of food is wasted annually worldwide. That equates to about a third of the food production worldwide, and it’s a growing issue, not just for the environment, but for millions of hungry people worldwide.
Just this week, more than 80 of the world’s most impactful food system leaders – researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students – gathered for a two-day summit called #FoodTank. Panels addressed topics including nourishing the planet, improving nutrient density, the future of organic, investing in the food movement, legislating change in the food system, and more (you can actually watch the entire summit here).
Last fall, world leaders were served “trash” at the U.N. to shed light on the issue. Dishes such as a “Landfill Salad” of vegetable scraps and rejected apples and pears were given to the leaders to showcase just how edible and delicious these foods, which are typically discarded, can be. As food and agriculture leaders are combating the issue worldwide, consumers are looking to their go-to brands…
Mar 25 2016
A recent Bernstein survey revealed that 55% of consumers are becoming more distrustful of the food system, a 15% increase from 2013. While it has a way to go before reaching distrust in government levels that have fueled a raucous presidential primary season, it continues a trend that manufacturers (and investors) large and small have noticed.
Concerns over food safety, GMO foods, and antibiotic use in animals were all up in the survey. One of the big drivers of this I believe is transparency, or lack thereof. Earlier this month, the state of Washington won a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) for not disclosing donations from major food companies to defeat a labeling proposition.
The GMO labeling debate reached a tipping point resulting in Kellogg, General Mills, Mars and Campbell Soup announcing they will begin to identify products that contain genetically modified foods. This followed the failure of a Senate bill that would have blocked state GMO labeling requirements like the one about to go in effect in Vermont. I expect this to lead to national…
Mar 11 2016
Imagine stepping into a time machine and speaking with our 1976 selves, and the disbelief that would greet our tales of a future where unlikely upstarts, as opposed to reliable titans, are winning over consumers, where raw, unfiltered personality surpasses carefully groomed branding, and where big names have to rewrite their playbooks in attempts to stave off encroachment by rebels who resonate better with the masses. Sound like politics? I’m talking about food.
Although the tides have been turning in the consumables world for a few years already, food marketers in 2016 find themselves in a similar situation as campaign managers struggling to figure out how to position their candidates for an electorate with dramatically different perspectives than generations prior. Instead of pulling a lever in a curtained booth, our “constituents” are voting with their wallets at grocery stores and restaurants. The scramble to connect with authenticity is just as real in either case.
We’ve all heard for some time now that Big Food is faltering, losing consumer trust and not adjusting fast enough to the new realities of shoppers’ expectations. First, of course, that relates…
Mar 11 2016
Gucci. Burberry. Prada. Giorgio Armani. Ralph Lauren. What do they have in common? They’re all in the food business. Wait…. what? Yes, in addition to being iconic fashion brands, each is also a part of a successful restaurant concept. And as more and more retailers are introducing restaurants, each feels the need to keep up with their competitors.
Fashion and food have lived same world, but previously in parallel universes. They’re cut from the same DNA, with an eye for craftsmanship, innovation and authenticity. As dining out reaches higher standards, the union makes perfect sense. Take the rise of quality meals at designer stores like Armani Ristorante and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar which has made both a tough reservation more than a year after launch.
Beyond tastemaker appeal, there are a few other forces fueling this trend. Consumers want an “experience,” something memorable and engaging. When retailers add experiential components like a luxurious lunch complete with a celeb spotting at Fred’s in Barneys, it increases store “dwell time.” There’s also the obvious convenience factor. When you give hungry shoppers a full dining experience right at their…