February 22nd, 2016

Marketing Your Food Brand to the Customers You Love

Posted in About Allison, Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Marketing, Promotions, Restaurants, Trends

We all know that proper marketing of your food brand is just as critical as the food you serve your customers. Effective marketing differentiates your concept from the next, defines your audience, and connects you to them in a positive way.

One of the most powerful ways to bond with your customers is through emotion. Your beliefs and values are what attract customers to your company, so your brand and marketing are critical to maintaining loyalty. How you convey your mission to your customer sets the tone for any future interactions.

Here are some ways that well-known brands are building successful consumer relationships:

ZPizza: their Nice zSLice program is a partnership with 200 nationwide schools to reward kindness. Each October during National Bullying Prevention month, teachers can offer complimentary coupons for slices of pizza to students as a way to reward kind behavior towards others. The initiative also includes pizza parties and materials that educators can use in the classroom.

Chick-Fil-A: just announced in early January, the “Moms” valet service is a new program to help hectic families make the ordering process easier. Parents with little kids can first order through the drive-through, requesting a valet. Once they receive their order in the car, they dine in the restaurant, at an assigned table including the exact number of high chairs that the family needs. The idea came from seeing young families struggle with the ordering process all while trying to wrangle the little ones. Once again, Chick-Fil-A honors its commitment to its family values.

Red Mango: the company created its Raw6 one-day juice cleanse with the help of Erika Bernhard, a registered dietician with Crave Nutrition Solutions LLC. The Raw6 retails for $42.00 and includes 6 specially crafted fruit and vegetable juice combinations. The program, developed with the healthy consumer in mind, provides a juice cleanse that is easy and approachable for the consumer. The products provide a healthy cleanse option without having to compromise on nutrition.

&Pizza: the brand has been offering free “&” tattoos to its employees, more commonly known as the “tribe”, for the past year. It also offers the free tattoo to its loyal customers once they spend $1500.00. They consider their brand, a “human” brand, and the “&” tattoo is clearly aligned with their core value set and celebration of “oneness”.

Pizza Patron: in an effort to their appreciation to veterans, Pizza Patron just launched its “Veterans Por Favor” program. Fully qualified and honorably discharged veterans will get the $20,000 fee on their first restaurant waived by the company. The program, set to run through the end of 2016 and available in Texas, makes a franchise offering a reality for candidates with the qualifications but not the bankroll.

Nekter Juice Bar: in a program clearly targeted to consumers trying to eat healthier, Nekter has designed a program to instill healthy habits in its consumers. Titled “21 Days of Nekter”, it represents the minimum number of days it takes to instill a new habit. As part of the program, they also offer a 6 bottle cleanse, including Activated Charcoal Lemonade and Green Nut Milk, as well as two seasonal soups (“Creamy” Tomato and Butternut Squash).

DQ: in a new twist, DQ is offering their blizzards served to the customer upside down. This is a call out to their values of quality and started January 1st. If your blizzard is not served to you upside down, your next one is free. The new program highlights the company’s philosophy of offering innovative and unexpected flavors and trends.

How do you connect with your consumers? In the end, your ability to interface effectively with your audience is critical to your brand success.

February 8th, 2016

The Next Great Superfood

Posted in About Allison

With increasing consumer interest in health and well-being, manufacturers and operators are always looking for ways to deliver the health message in new and inventive ways. Superfoods, known for their wealth of nutrients and antioxidants, are attractive to consumers because of their nutrient density. You’ve heard of quinoa and kale and everyone raving about green tea and chia. So what does the next crop of superfoods look like?

Achacha: native to the Amazonian basin of Bolivia, its Guarani name is achachairú, which literally means “honey kiss”. A smaller relative of the mangosteen, the achacha is a low sugar fruit. Its flavor is described as combination of bananas with vinegar. Loaded with potassium, vitamin C, and folate, it is said to contain HCA (hydroxycitric acid) in large quantities in its skin. HCA is the same active ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia, which is rumored to be a natural appetite suppressant.

Baobab: a tree native to the continent of Africa, it produces a fruit that is very high in vitamin C  and vitamin D (reputed to contain 6 times the vitamin C of an orange equivalent, and double the calcium of milk – National Geographic blog). It is also a great natural thickening agent, with an extremely high pectin count (upwards of 25% by some reports). Flavor-wise, it tastes like a mild pear. But what manufacturers really love is the low water activity, which make processing a simple straightforward process. Expect to find this in predominantly powdered form as an additive to drinks such as smoothies. Baobab Foods in Washington State, produces Baobites™, loaded with the antioxidants, it is the perfect on-the-go bite. Flavors include peach mango, blood orange and pomegranate.

Moringa: also an African native, moringa is loaded with antioxidants and minerals. It is a powerhouse of protein (double that of yogurt), potassium (three times that of bananas), and calcium (quadruple that of calcium). In Africa, it is referred to as the miracle tree. Farms are already popping up all over the Southwestern U.S., which has a similar climate to their native habitat. It is typically taken in tea form, but is also a common ingredient in skin care products.  One new entrant to the retail market is from Kuli Kuli: Moringa Green Energy Shots. Loaded with moringa, in flavors such as ginger lemon, coconut lime, and raspberry, the moringa in these products is directly source from Haiti, specifically women’s co-ops. Good for you, and good for sustainable farming, it’s a win for everyone.

Chlorella: algae is arguably one of the most abundant plant forms in the world, and is a veritable nutritional goldmine. Not only that, but algae has a low cost of production versus other plants. One of the main algal-derived products is algal oil. Solazyme is one company banking on the success of algal food products. One of their products, AlgaVia, contains 63% protein.  Many food manufacturers are already using their products, including Enjoy Life Brownie Mix, Rising Hearts Vegan Brioche, and Califa Farms Coffee Creamer.

Chocho: an Andean lupine bean that is dense and rich in protein. While it does fit the criteria for a superfood, based on its nutritional profile (it has higher protein than either soy or quinoa), manufacturers may be deterred due to its long processing time: it’s high in alkaloids, so requires soaking, rinsing, and extended cooking times. This could hamper its viability in the market place, so don’t expect this one on your supermarket shelves anytime soon.

Cloudberry: naturally occurring above the 44N Latitude marker, cloudberry have a wide distribution, all the way from Scotland to the Arctic Circle. They are similar to raspberries in their appearance and possess a tart flavor. Cloudberries have a long shelf life if stored under refrigeration, due to their high vitamin C content, and at one time were a remedy to prevent scurvy in the Nordic areas. While the majority of production is through wild foraging, commercial production is on the rise.

Stay on the lookout for these superfoods in a supermarket or café near you, it is just a matter of time before you too can enjoy a baobab smoothie.