So What? January 2017 Edition

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Burgers: #Burger Search

Summary: Unfortunately we discovered during our December Twitter search, BurgerBusiness, our favorite online publication for burger menu and marketing news shut down. Disappointing! Before they closed their site, they did make some predictions (below):
• Alternative real protein burgers (24/7) made from chorizo.
• Korean toppings/sauces (e.g., gochujang).
• Pineapple as a topping.
• Tots, small fried grated potatoes, plain or flavored as a side.

Second link below, 50 Best Burgers in L.A. will spark your innovative juices.

So What: Twitter Advanced Search is still one of the best research tools to unearth product and beverage innovation ideas based on pinpointing specific criteria (#Burgers).

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Beverages: Cold Brew Category Heating Up

Summary: The cold brew category continues to exhibit strong growth, especially at Retail (refrigerated and ambient). A driving factor is that consumers are willing to pay premium prices for beverages positioned under the “better-for-you halo.” Cold brewed coffees appeal to consumers (e.g., Millennials) thanks to their artisan and smoother taste qualities. Teas are now adhering to the cold brewed concept/processing utilizing unique flavors and contributing to new category growth.

So What: The beverage category is evolving into a crowded playing field, but thanks to its high profitability it is important to have a wide range of product offerings, especially those that are on trend like cold brewed beverages.

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Bakery: Benchmarking 2017 Retail Bakery Trends

Summary: Marketers stress the value of research to target the diverse consumer demographics (e.g., Latinos) to dial in on innovation and niche markets to sustain steady Retail bakery growth (an estimated $50 billion in category sales). Some key trends to watch:
• Clean labels and formulated products (non-pho shortenings).
• Decorated, personalized/individual products.
• Breakfast items (e.g., sweet & savory).
• Grains, grains, grains!
• Packaging innovation.

So What: Benchmarking Retail trends is always a good starting point for prioritizing product or beverage innovation. For the bakery category, it appears hand-held items for 24/7 breakfast represent an excellent opportunity for all those targeting the Food-Away-From-Home channel.

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Consumerism: FAFH Trends 2017

Summary: 2017 trends dominated on-line content in December. Below is a summary of the top Food-Away-From-Home forecasts:
• Delivery Revolution – More “dining in” options.
• Healthy Menu Options – Cleaner labels.
• Indulgence – Opposite of the above trend – over the top items.
• Breakfast 24/7 – Robust menu items.
• Sour – Pickling will achieve mainstream popularity.
• New Cuts of Meat – The whole animal movement, the rise of artisan butchers.
• Seaweed – The new kale?

So What: Staying ahead of the competitive curve is challenging, thus participants in the Food-Away-From-Home channel need to constantly review the leading trends that will be impact food and beverage innovation.

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Consumerism: American Eating Habits

Summary: The NPD Group published a new “Eating Patterns in America” report projecting how Americans will eat in 2017. “Blended meals” was one of their top trends – fresh/authentic home meals, balanced off with the convenience factor (e.g.., meal kits, delivery) will be important to consumers. Personalization of meals will become relevant. They also indicated eating occasions that provide a unique experience (e.g., ethnic street food) will gain popularity.

So What: Having a pulse on how Americans eat is paramount to prioritizing food and beverage innovation.

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Consumerism: Campus Diners

Summary: Commercial operators covet Millennials. A great article in Flavor & The Menu detailed the current state of menu development of C&U culinary directors to meet the high expectations of their young diners, the later subdivision of the Millennial consumers. Their curious palates have opened the door for more global cuisines (flavors), customized healthy bowl concepts and comfort food like Mac & Cheese. Operators also balance off their menu with snacks and junk food.

So What: C&U campus dining is a great incubator for analyzing future Millennial eating trends.

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Technology: Mobile Marketing

Summary: We have evolved into a mobile centric world. Our smartphones are the hub of our digital lives – real world interactions, social media, messaging apps, shopping/transactions, video, etc. Loyalty programs are exceling thanks to mobile (management apps). On the flipside, thanks to the increase usage of mobile which involves data capture, security and privacy will continue to be an important concern for all mobile users

So What: Mobile marketing as a way to connect with consumers. Advertising dollars will soon be the number one line item on all marketing budgets. Note: B2B mobile marketing will also begin to catch-on.

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Segment Competition: Amazon Go

Summary: Amazon, E-commerce and cloud computing goliath announced its plans to open a new type of “grab & go” retail store early 2017. Amazon customers will be able to shop for grocery staples, prepared meals and sandwiches, scan their Amazon Go app for the items they take, get charged and then walk out without stopping to pay at a cashier or kiosk. Disruptive convenience!

So What: A.) An innovative form of convenience that will steal guests from foodservice operators; and B.) Foodservice operators need to examine technology like Amazon is using to enhance the convenience of their “grab & go” offerings/programs.

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