Creating businesses and launching food brands along the path from the test kitchen to the shelf to the consumer’s plate

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is hybrid food a passing fad or future trend?

I found this post (below) from Jim Matorin of Smarketing to be entertaining as well as timely.

My recent trip to the Summer Fancy Food Show revealed  numerous examples of hybrid foods such as these pictures of Chipotle peanut brittle and Kale popcorn!

Hybrid Food Trend example -Chipotle flavored peanut brittle!
Hybrid Food Trend example -Chipotle flavored peanut brittle!

Hybrid Food Trend example - Kale flavored popcorn!
Hybrid Food Trend example - Kale flavored popcorn!

What follows is an excerpt from Smarketing on the Hybrid Food Trend

Last week I wrote about hybrid marketing.  Today, given I am in the food business, I thought it would be a good time to post a new trend, hybrid food, also referred to as Frankenfood


I found the word Frankenfood in Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary that was originally established back in 1999 that primarily defines cultural slang (words or phrases) not typically found in standard dictionaries.  Urban Dictionary defines Frankenfood as “revolutionary culinary creations that mash up original and unexpected food combinations and ingredients, resulting in delicious dishes or awful misses.”  SomeFrankenfood that have made headlines this past year you might be familiar with are Cronuts, ramen burgers, Mac & cheese burgers and dessert pizzas.  Back in April, Oreo launched a marketing movement called Snack Hacks challenging celebrity chefs/food innovators to develop new ways for consumers to enjoy their product.  Consequently the term “food hacking” was born.  Read more...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Safeway sale addresses how Specialty grocers such as Trader Joes might replace traditional supermarkets

Safeway sale addresses how Specialty grocers such as Trader Joes might replace traditional supermarkets
Safeway sale addresses how Specialty grocers such as Trader Joes might replace traditional supermarkets

Safeway sale would transform supermarket industry. Why. Because traditional supermarkets have lost 15 percent of the grocery market and are expected to cede even more by 2016, according to industry reports.

A sale of the nation's second-largest grocery chain would reshape the industry and transform Safeway into a neighborhood grocer that more closely resembles Trader Joe's, according to analysts and industry watchers.

Even Walmart has pivoted, from big-box to neighborhood market stores — about a quarter the size of its Supercenters — that emphasize groceries. Between discount retailers, drugstores, the local farmers market and the Whole Foods or Trader Joe's around the corner.

Read more on Safeway sale would transform supermarket industry.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

IBM's Cognitive Computing. Could shake up the food industry!

Steven Johnson, founder of Foodservice Solutions®, sent me a note: " Are chains getting out flanked? Are they old or old fashion? Food Truck Is Actually Serving IBM's Insane Computer-Generated Menu Items" , check out the post in"

So I clicked through and saw some really interesting photos of their Cognitive Cooking Food Truck. They have a group of chefs giving their super-computers food ideas
IBM says that chefs can work with 3 or 4 ingredients at a time... but beyond that, are brains are not wired for that level of complexity.

So the IBM Cognitive Computer takes a starter ingredient from a chef, with some additional parameters and then crunches hundreds of ingredient combos in seconds. But "mixing things up" so to speak so quickly, the chefs come up with really interesting recipes.

According to "chefs have already made include Creole shrimp-lamb dumpling, Baltic apple pie, and Turkish bruschetta. The cognitive computer is different from a regular search engine in that it eschews existing recipes, instead instructing the chefs to combine wildly different ingredients and flavors into the same, never-made-before dishes. "

IBM Cognitive Cooking Video

Meet the ICE Chefs Working on Cognitive Created Foods

Friday, January 24, 2014

FDA Proposed Changes to Nutrition Facts Label

The FDA is planning to update the Nutrition Facts label  based on the latest science-based nutrition recommendations.
Paula Trumbo, Ph.D., acting director of FDA's nutrition programs staff explains that updates are being assessed to address such factors as current nutrient recommendations, public health concerns based on recent data on food consumption, and the agency's desire to make this information as clear and useful as possible.
The updates are still being formulated. Public input will be sought when they are proposed.

Why the Update?

As you can see from the graphic below the FDA has color coded each section so you can understand the label format. Now without the color coding, how would most consumers now the “Limit these Nutrients” and “Get Enough of these Nutrients”? They wouldn’t.. additionally do you know the grams to ounces conversion? Unless you are food technologist, you wouldn’t know… 1oz = 28.350 grams… so as you can see from this label, Total Fat of 12 grams is about .5 oz.

How Can You Take Advantage of the Proposed FDA Nutrition Label Changes?

Here are ideas from easy to implement through product reformulation.

  • You should monitor this by signing up for the FDA Consumer Updates Email.
  •  Go through label to see if your product has distinct advantages in the Get Enough of these Nutrients section. If so, consider updating your packaging to highlight these… but do it in a simple, easy to read manner. Use your social media channels to spread the word to your brand fans… they probably are not aware and maybe develop a contest to give them an incentive to share this with their friends. How about posting your Nutrition Label on Pinterest, highlighting the good stuff.
  •  Go through label to see if your product has too many “Limit these Nutrients”. If so, consider going back to product development to reduce these nutrients (sometimes called Nutrients of Concern). Be careful that you don’t focus so tightly here and ruin your flavor profile.

Further Reading