Fast Food Makes Way for Plant-Based Menu Items

Fast Food Makes Way for Plant-Based Menu Items

Image Source: Impossible Burger There’s been a stir amidst Costco fans this week regarding the news that the wholesale store’s food court removed some long-standing items from its menu – namely, the polish hot dog – and is rolling out some healthier options in their stead. (Source) The company’s decision comes in response to a widespread consumer demand for more plant-based food options. This movement is spurred by both health and environmentally conscious decision making. Despite the plant-based movement gaining traction in many fast food establishments, Costco shopper responses to these changes range from disappointed to boycott ready. What is it about this particular shift that’s missing the mark? Sonic has received overall positive feedback since launching their Signature Slinger burger in March. The burger was rolled out with the intent of reconnecting with their female consumer base and features a beef patty that consists of 25-30% mushrooms. It’s got fewer calories than a traditional burger, and an overall reduced impact on the environment due to the decreased amount of meat used. The real selling point is that the taste is nearly indistinguishable, if not juicier and even more savory. By offering consumers a tasty option that cuts back on meat consumption, even the most staunch carnivores are invited to consider new ways of eating. White Castle recently ventured into the world of plant-based protein by offering up the Impossible Burger as an alternative to the traditional beef patty on their iconic sliders. The East Coast establishment known for its low prices and simple menu is an unexpected candidate to have brought this plant-based burger phenomenon to a fast food...
13 Foods that Bring Collagen Protein to the Table

13 Foods that Bring Collagen Protein to the Table

Collagen is a vital protein which contributes to the strength of skin, hair, joints and digestive system. The body’s production of this protein decreases with age – which has led to a higher consumer demand for collagen supplements. It’s typically been sold as a topical solution or in capsule form, but it’s recently gained traction as a starring ingredient the food and beverage world. Bone broth is one of the only food sources that is naturally rich in collagen. While there has been an influx of bone broth brands on the market, not many are taking the opportunity to call out the collagen benefits on packaging. It’s more common to see collagen protein powders formulated specifically to function as a supplement. A viable alternative to traditional whey protein, these powders lean into keto and paleo dietary trends. Collagen is most often derived from animal connective tissues, so many brands are calling out qualities of meat-based products such as grass-fed and pasture raised. Ancient Nutrition uses the high concentration of collagen in bone broth to make a protein supplement Further Foods features some selected benefits of collagen protein on front of package Perfect Keto leans into the ketosis diet trend, promoting collagen secondarily Paleo and Active Lifestyle friendly veteran Bulletproof positions collagen protein as a performance supplement One consistent theme we’ve seen in consumer eating trends in recent years is the gravitation toward convenience. Getting all of the body’s vitamin needs met from natural food sources isn’t always viable for on-the-go lifestyles. Thus, ready to mix drink options featuring collagen are plentiful on the market right now. Dr. Kellyann’s Slim...
Optimizing for the Virtual Shelf

Optimizing for the Virtual Shelf

Interact thanks Kevin Weiss of Amplio Digital for guest writing this informative post. He can be reached at kevin@ampliodigital.com   Optimizing for the Virtual Shelf Is Easy Food and beverage brands need to make a simple and easy change in their strategy to keep up with competition in today’s Omnichannel market. Simply put, brands should ensure that any/all investment into packaging and image photography for the physical shelf will produce an equally strong consumer experience on the virtual shelf. This change will typically result in a small (5-10%) increase in marketing expenses for this work, and the concepts are not complicated even for the neophyte digital marketer. Let’s start with a quick overview of the market, and then cover the two simple changes you can make to get asymmetric reward for your investments in the virtual shelf. Disclaimer: Don’t Neglect Brick & Mortar This article is not a permission slip for founders and marketers to neglect investment in brick & mortar retail. According to a recent study by Clickz , most consumers typically buy food and beverage products in the physical store (HPC refers to Health & Personal Care): Because of inherent challenges with the “Last Mile,” grocery is one of the last major retail categories to shift from bricks & mortar to digital. Of the nearly one trillion dollars U.S consumers purchased on grocery products in 2016, less than 5% occurred online. Food and beverage brands will do well to play the game by the rules that exist today and lean into wholesale and distribution to drive sales through physical grocery, natural and specialty storefronts. But those same surveys that...
Cannabis in the Wellness Space

Cannabis in the Wellness Space

Image Source: Mondo   With recreational marijuana legalized in 9 states, and medical in 29, there’s been a huge influx of cannabis infused food products. But customers are chasing more than just a high these days – cannabis is more commonly being used as an ingredient in wellness forward brands. Enter a world of well curated, function-focused brands which feature THC, CBD and hemp as ingredients to fulfill a variety of purposes.   Image Source: Kikoko The combination of cannabis with other healing foods can create effective natural remedies for everyday maladies. By using different levels of THC (the compound responsible for the high), and CBD (which helps to alleviate pain, anxiety and other issues), products can be formulated for specific purposes. Case in point, Kikoko offers a line of cannabis infused teas which are individually created to reduce pain, aid sleep, increase libido and boost mood. Prominent call-outs on the packaging specify whether the product contains low, medium or high THC levels so that the consumer may make an informed decision about what kind of effects to expect. Similarly, Stillwater’s cannabis teas and coffee are marketed as “The Natural Way to Manage Daily Stress”, and are prominently labeled with THC content on front of package (a low 2.5MG dose). Mondo is cannabis sold in powder form, allowing the consumer to precisely measure the dose they’d like to consume in order to experience natural anxiety relief, without sacrificing the alertness and productivity necessary to carry out daily tasks.   Image Source: Weller Many of these products lend themselves to regular use, much like a vitamin or other natural supplement – often,...
The 6 Best Products We Saw at Expo West

The 6 Best Products We Saw at Expo West

Expo West, the Superbowl of the natural and organic food industry, just concluded a dizzying 4-day trade show in Anaheim that saw 85,000 people attend with 3,000+ companies exhibiting – that’s a sh*t ton of branding and packaging. With so much going on in the food space, it’s harder than ever to stand out in a meaningful way. The behemoths of the industry all turned out with amazing booths and presences, from Kind to Chobani to Kashi. But we’re after the hidden gems, the ones quietly tucked away amidst the show floor aisles, filled with sample-grabby consumers. Here’s a look at six of our favorite brands that stood tall at this year’s Expo. LE GRAND When was the last time soup was cool? How about invigorating? Or even artistic? Well the founders of Le Grand, makers of organic sauces and soups, brought a whole new look to the category. The brand beautifully celebrates the “power of plants,” and they make use of a subliminal plus sign on the packaging that plays up their health and wellness credentials, all while blending in a modern botanical aesthetic. It’s a refreshing and engaging look against a traditionally dense, produce-focused category. WELLER Weller snacks unveiled their innovative line of non-psychoactive, CBD (hemp-extract) coconut bites at Expo West. The brand promises consumers an opportunity to “shift back into you” with their stress-relieving products. In such a contentious and often heady space, Weller is supported by an approachable, clean and optimistic look and feel that welcomes consumers to “snack into wellness.” HAVEN ROW Fresh, refrigerated “do Anything sauce” brand Haven Row is setting the category on fire after their...
Why Natural Needs Design, More Than Ever

Why Natural Needs Design, More Than Ever

Every week, waves of all-natural, cleaner, better-for-us food companies push their way into the crowded food landscape, packed onto the shelves like a can of non-GMO, sustainably-harvested sardines. Categories balloon with products cut from the same, simpler-food-cloth. The pressure is such that even overly processed brands, many of which are American favorites, are reinventing themselves, fighting startups and innovators for relevancy. Food has taken its rightful place in culture, as any millennial’s Instagram will prove. Yet this shared ethos amongst almost every modern-day food company and founder, may present a hurdle to the brands they’re building today. Over the last several decades, the Natural and Organic foods industry has seen unprecedented growth, coming at the expense of Big Food. This changing of the guard has accelerated as more and more people become interested in their food. What’s in it? How is it made? Where does it come from? Natural’s ability to proudly deliver these characteristics has built valuable trust in the movement. Yet as the entire food system becomes more wholesome, more organic, and less processed, a dangerous dichotomy is emerging: When everyone crafts simpler foods that are closer to the earth, we simultaneously lose a valuable brand building asset – taste differentiation. Everyone and their investor is now in a race to the bottom of the clean, transparent ingredient list. Seemingly harmless “natural” flavors are now under growing scrutiny, furthering this flavor dilemma. Large food producers are leveraging their size, money and reach to play a serious game of clean-up. With all this going on, and a clear consensus around consumers’ interest in and demand for less, we’re now...