The Unicorn Flavor Trend Continues to Sparkle

The Unicorn Flavor Trend Continues to Sparkle

These days, the word “unicorn” conjures up an image of more than just a mythical, horse like creature – it’s a sight of sparkly, rainbow colored saccharine. Whether the surge in unicorn themed food products is a product of nostalgia reminiscent of the nineties Lisa Frank craze, or simply the byproducts of an Instagram friendly trend, we’re seeing a lot of it right now. As it turns out, unicorns do exist. And it’s usually in the form of a sweet, flavor ambiguous treat. When Starbucks unleashed its Unicorn Frappuccino last year, the general consensus was that it looks a lot better than it tasted, but that didn’t stop the droves of consumers seeking out the mystical milkshake. While that super limited beverage disappeared almost as quickly as it came, the theme has continued to spread. It’s mostly shining in sweet breakfast foods, desserts and drinks. While we typically associate “unicorn” or rainbow hued foods with high sugar and artificial colors, there’s also a movement of naturally colorful foods that are winning over the hearts of millennials. Healthy rainbow foods have stayed popular, continuing to appeal to those who crave a whimsical vibrancy in their food while still eating purpose driven and wholesome foods. And a unicorn cookbook filled with colorful, plant based recipes was just released, allowing consumers to make healthy, fanciful foods at home. Whether as a sweet tooth fix or a daily pop of excitement to a meal, we can all appreciate bright and beautifully colored food. As we see with “mermaid” food (dreamy blue-green hues gracing lattes and toast) and charcoal tinted black foods, consumers are...
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...
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...
Outdoor Friendly Foods

Outdoor Friendly Foods

Boulder is home to a population of climbers, skiers, hikers, rafters and all manner of adventure hungry thrill seekers. Whether setting out for a week long backpacking trip or a quick afternoon hike, the right kind of food and beverage is key. The active food category has always been a little sleepy, as we’ve seen a lot of the same brands dominate freeze dried foods and energy bars. But as consumers are becoming increasingly likely to spend more on sustenance that is convenient, new and eye grabbing options are popping up to intrigue the appetites of outdoor enthusiasts.   HEATHER’S CHOICE This company features a diverse selection of organic freeze dried dinner entrees, breakfast options and snacks.   TIGER NUTS Touted as superfood, this lightweight snack packs a heavy nutritional punch with high protein and fiber content. Organic Gemini offers them as snacks in a variety of flavors, as well as in the forms of tiger nut based flour and beverages. TRAIL NUGGETS These bars communicate functionality as an active snack, with natural energy and protein – despite having similar ingredients to other bars in the category. FISH PEOPLE Tuna pouches are a staple for backpackers and campers. This gourmet option offers a step up in flavor, but not in difficulty to prepare in the wild. STEALTH Stealth energy gels by Secret Training convey energy with the vividness and movement of its packaging. NUUN  These hydration tablets are packaged in a conveniently lightweight and reusable structure, a huge plus for active lifestyles. ALPINE START Great coffee that can be prepared with either hot or cold water can be your best friend...
Premium Snacks Increase in C-Stores

Premium Snacks Increase in C-Stores

When stopping by a convenience store for a snack, it’s typical to be met with a selection of processed, sugar laden and high sodium choices. Big food brands have dominated these spaces for as long as we can remember. However, as consumers are leaning toward more online retail options, c-store shelves are starting to make room for more products that cater to individual lifestyles. Staples like jerky, sports drinks, coffee and candy remain stable in the space, but more premium alternative options are being introduced to the mix. Personalization is shaping the future of the convenience food industry. Fresh food options are getting dressed up from the highly processed clamshell packaged sandwiches and microwave burritos typically found in convenience stores. Retailers like GetGo and Wawa now offer made-to-order fare for any time of day – all accessible via touch screen kiosks. Even airport retailers are upping the quality of their offerings. No longer limited to conventional snacks and chain meal options, travellers can now expect a wide variety of curated foods at CIBO Express Gourmet Markets. CIBO embraces established and emerging brands alike for a premium food and beverage experience on-the-go. In addition to being threatened by online retail, c-stores are experiencing direct competition in the form of Bodega – a fledgling company which sets up location specific pantries that appeal to the demographics of those particular areas. “The idea is to preempt what people might need, then use machine learning to constantly reassess the 100 most-needed items in that community.” (Fast Company) This would negate the need to visit a storefront, as the most demanded product per location...
Interact’s Top 100 Foods to Eat in 2018

Interact’s Top 100 Foods to Eat in 2018

As we settle into the new year, food choices are at the front of everyone’s mind. The internet is a alight with buzzwords like juicing, keto, paleo and vegan. If you’re already feeling burnt out on the foods available to you, not to worry – we’ve rounded up 100 of our favorite “better for you” brands. From pasta alternatives to superfood snacks, there’s sure to be something to satisfy every tongue and tummy. The titles are linked to the company websites so you can find out where to buy them, wherever you are. Cheers to a delicious new year from Interact! 1. 9 Meals from Anarchy Veg Stock  2. Adam’s Organic Cold-Pressed Chocolate 3. Ancient Harvest Pow! Pasta Meals 4. Bare Snacks Apple Chips  5. Beyond Meat Beyond Burger 6. Bhakti Chai 7. Biena Chickpea Snacks 8. Birch Benders Pancake & Waffle Mix 9. Bobo’s Oat Bars 10. Bolthouse Plant Protein Milk 11. Boom Chicka Pop 12. Boulder Canyon Chips 13. Brami Beans  14. Brew Dr. Kombucha 15. Bulletproof Collagen Protein 16. Chirps Cricket Chips 17. Chobani Yogurt 18. Cucina & Amore Quinoa Meals 19. Delighted By Dessert Hummus 20. Dirty Lemon Detox 21. Doctor D’s Sparkling Probiotics   22. Dry Soda 23. Emily’s Fruit Crisps  24. Enjoy Life Soft Baked Cookies 25. Epic Jerky Bites 26. Essential Living Superfood Trail Mix 27. Evo Hemp 28. Evol Frozen Foods 29. Fire Cider 30. Food Should Taste Good Chips 31. Forager Cashewgurt 32. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Tea 33. Gaia Herbs Golden Milk 34. Good Grain 35. Harmless Harvest 36. Health-ade Kombucha 37. Hilary’s Casserole Bites 38. Hippeas 39. Hodo Soy Noodles 40. Hope Foods Kale Pesto 41. I Heart Keenwah Quinoa Puffs 42. Inspiral Kale Chips   43....