Tune into Tokyo Food

Tune into Tokyo Food

We had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in Tokyo recently. We left feeling beyond energized and a bit frazzled due to the language barrier, but inspired nonetheless. Here are few stand outs from walking down dark alleys and hanging out in small rooms over four days. SQUEEZE PACKS GALORE! While we have seen these slowly taking off State side, typically in the form of kid’s snacks, they have hit the Japanese market head on with unusual food/drink categories. It was an eye opening experience to see all kinds of products including water, cold brew, ice cream, energy packs, and protein. It made us think we are a bit behind the curve on the squeeze pack trend. One of the juice spots we visited, Sunshine Juice, even put their freshly made smoothie in a to-go pack. INSTANT COFFEE We’ve been eyeing instant coffee in the States recently, with the launch of Alpine Start, Sudden, and INIC, seen here in Tokyo. We are seeing this as the third wave of instant coffee, post Folgers and Starbuck’s VIA. VENDING MACHINES The convenience fueled beverage theme in the Japanese market continued as we saw vending machines everywhere. These mostly contained coffee, water, and juice. SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS! We spotted tons of shot-sized servings on the shelf, with various benefits including ginseng, energy, and amino acids, which differ slightly from the commonly seen ginger shots in the US. SHELF MADNESS We were baffled by this juice shelf set. While it’s extremely organized and many of the brands have dual facings, it felt very cluttered coming from the US, where we have different structures, images and hierarchy to help avoid this mess.   TRUST IN AMERICA Japanese based brand, Lombard Popcorn, touts San Francisco quality...
Meat Snacks: Positioning and Perspective

Meat Snacks: Positioning and Perspective

Dried meats are the quintessential protein packed, travel friendly go-to. Jerky gained a bad rap for being loaded with processed ingredients, but remained a popular and somewhat healthier option in the snack world. With the resurgence of paleolithic diets and “clean” eating, the demand for high quality meat snacks is at an all time high; and it’s being supplied in a big way. The concept of jerky has extended far beyond beef and the flavors we’ve come to know and love have taken a turn for the wild. Join us for a look at how meat snacks have evolved.   The Classics (Source) Many of us who tuned into television throughout the nineties can vividly recall “Snap Into a Slim Jim!” being screamed at them through the screen. The bizarre advertisements were jarring, yet somehow made the product appetizing. The thin rods of mechanically separated meat were a treat to look forward to on road trips and gas station runs. Slim Jim’s remain the poster child for nostalgia in the meat snack space.   (Source) Jack Links took on the similarly humorous tone as Slim Jim’s by bridging the missing link with folklore favorite Sasquatch as a mascot. However, this jerky promised real pieces of beef, packaged in gusset bags for easy snacking and optimal freshness. They’ve since extended their line of protein snacks to include bite sized pieces, beef sticks and sausages.   Adventures in Flavor (Source) The flavors that one would typically associate with jerky generally lie in the realm of traditional meat seasonings – black pepper, teriyaki, barbecue sauce. Lawless Jerky has cast all of those expectations away with truly unexpected flavors like Japanese Curry and Pho.     (Source) The founder of...
It’s All in the Story: Patagonia Provisions

It’s All in the Story: Patagonia Provisions

Source The art of storytelling goes back thousands of years. But it was not until recently that food companies have adopted this practice in the process of selling their products. From a consumer standpoint, there has been increasing interest in knowing where and how our food is produced. In response to their customers, Patagonia Provisions has begun to provide this kind of narrative that in turn make people feel more connected with the food that they are purchasing and consuming. This company has started to focus their entire product lines around a brand story to emphasize where their food is coming from and the good it is doing. To many people, Patagonia is a well-known clothing and equipment brand founded by Yvon Chouinard. However, in addition to this common perception, Patagonia has maintained a significant focus on organic products and sustainability in both outdoor clothing and food. Not only have their garments been organic since 1996, but they also strive to address our planet’s environmental issues with education and sustainable production of food. Patagonia has created a branch of their company called Patagonia Provisions to share their findings and further educate customers. Their love of discussing food also pairs with the belief that there is a serious need for positive change in the food industry. Whether it’s clothing or food, Patagonia Provision’s goals remain the same – always aspiring to create for their customer, something that is of high quality and helps our environment in its perilous state. To bring this positive change to life, they have introduced a whole line of what they like to call “Real Food.”...
Summer Sips 04: Whiskey

Summer Sips 04: Whiskey

As we’re ushered into autumn, there’s nothing better to accompany chillier evenings and falling leaves than a whiskey drink. Light up the fire pit, and raise an amber liquid glass to our final installment of Summer Sips 2016.   ABERFELDY (Source)   BALBLAIR 1989 (Source)   GLENMORANGIE SIGNET (Source)   Gordon & Macphail Generations Mortlach 70 (Source)   Johnny Walker Black Label (Source)   MAIDEN VOYAGE (Source)   MAIDEN VOYAGE (Source)   STRANAHANS DIAMOND PEAK (Source)   TIN CUP (Source)   WHYTE & MACKAY 30 YEAR OLDEST (Source)   WILLET (Source)   Thanks for checking out another round of Summer Sips! What were your go-to drinks this...
Third Wave of Coffee: Instant is In

Third Wave of Coffee: Instant is In

Instant coffee has long been cast aside as the cheap, albeit effective caffeine delivery system. Reserved for rushed mornings and as complimentary hotel room amenities, most would opt for a freshly brewed cup given the choice. To drink a cup of the often bitter powder mixed with hot water is typically out of desire for its effects than the sensory and social experience that sipping on a freshly brewed cup provides. It’s hardly a revolutionary item in the coffee world. For decades, Folger’s has marketed their instant coffee “coffee crystals”. While this name gave an elevated edge to the product, it carries a reputation of being bitter tasting jet fuel – even with its updated packaging.   Then and Now: Folger’s Coffee Crystals (Source)   As the possibilities for innovations in coffee expand, so begs the question: can instant coffee be as good as any other coffee? The acts of ordering a cup of coffee in your favorite shop, or preparing a pot in your kitchen are ceremonious. They can be comforting or stimulating, social or introspective. Even if instant coffee could as delicious as a freshly brewed cup, flavor is not the only factor that takes part in the coffee drinking experience. Starbucks pioneered the cafe experience in America by creating spaces that are cozy, open and welcoming. This, paired with the consistency and familiarity of the menu, makes it the go-to coffee shop for millions of people worldwide. When Starbucks introduced the line of Via Instant Coffees, that in store experience became accessible anywhere and anytime. Starbucks Brings the Coffee House Experience Anywhere with Via (Source) Alpine Start (shoutout to a fellow Boulder company!) caters...