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...
16 Female Powered Food & Beverage Businesses

16 Female Powered Food & Beverage Businesses

We’re fortunate to work with amazing entrepreneurs; true partners building brands for a new generation. A recent Forbes article on female Food & Bev Entrepreneurs led us to reflect on all of the driven, innovative and overall badass women that we’ve been fortunate to encounter in our work. These individuals are responsible for bringing wildly innovative products to the forefront of the industry. Each with their own unique voices and stories. Women are underrepresented as entrepreneurs, making up only 36% of new business owners since 2012. (Source) But as Beyonce once said, “girls, we run this mother” and today we shine a light on that beautiful 36% percent in the hopes of inspiring others to make it 50-50! While most of the individuals we mention here are founders and CEO’s, we also work with countless female brand managers, marketers, strategists, creatives, account managers and other roles that are fundamental to the success of a business. 1051 GOODONYA Founder and CEO Kris Buchanan C.N. opened the GOODONYA deli with a passion for serving up locally sourced, organic and delicious food. Over the years she’s overseen launches of even more locations, landed the GOODONYA bar in Whole Foods, and helped formulate the 1051 Organic Sports Drink. Her unwavering commitment to quality of food and kindness as a lifestyle have set a shining example for entrepreneurs everywhere. AccelFoods Sometimes, brilliant companies need a leg up – especially in the food and beverage industry. Jordan Gaspar (a former corporate lawyer) and Lauren Jupiter (previously an investment banker) co-founded the incubator AccelFoods to launch innovative natural food startups to success. Both bring their solid backgrounds...
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...
Food Theme Parks Draw Tourists to Taste and Learn

Food Theme Parks Draw Tourists to Taste and Learn

Image Source: Eataly World One of the greatest things about travelling is experiencing new foods. And having the option to nosh on different types of cuisine at one location is a huge draw for foodies today, so tourist destinations dedicated to showcasing various eats are continuing to grow in popularity. Denver’s Avanti food hall houses several restaurant concepts – offering a wide variety of dishes from arepas to poke. Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg open air market is renowned for debuting radical, Instagram worthy foods. Not to mention the countless consumer focused food and beverage festivals that are held year round. Taking this food-focused location concept a few steps further, food and beverage based theme parks are popping up worldwide. The Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World has sort of fostered this movement, allowing visitors to travel the world with their taste buds and sample cuisine from different regions. But it’s clear that food alone can provide enough of an draw to structure an entire theme park around. Enter, FICO Eataly World – a massive park with 45 individual restaurants and cafés, 50 daily culinary workshops and classes, plus browse more than 100 traditional craft stores and organic markets (Forbes). This is a fully submersive experience that offers visitors the opportunity to sample the gamut of gourmet Italian cuisine, and learn about everything from food production to cooking techniques. There are also theme parks dedicated to beverages. La Cité du Vin is France’s first wine theme park, which similarly offers a diverse selection of wines and provides extensive knowledge about everything to do with wine. The park has museum-like features such as...
The State of Snacking in 2017

The State of Snacking in 2017

Snacking has evolved to be a more frequent occasion, with an increase in consumers snacking 5 times or more per day. The driving factor behind this is both for the sake of indulgence, and consciously seeking out health benefits. Both areas are growing, but indulgent snacks are still in the lead. Though the choices are becoming increasingly abundant and descriptors for categories are blurred, there are some growing categories of note. PROTEIN POWER Greek yogurt is a high protein option, and Chobani Flip combines it with other diverse ingredient mix-ins.   FARM TO YOU Quinn Snacks “Farm to Bag” model appeals to consumers looking for authenticity in food sourcing.   SNACK BOXES Lunchables aren’t just for kids anymore – there’s a surge in snack boxes that offer sweet and savory bites to tide an appetite over.   RESEALABLE PACKAGING Eat some now, save some for later – these multi serving packs are easy for on-the-go snacking   FRUIT & NUT MEDLEYS  Getting your daily servings of fruit in is now possible in a multitude of ways, going beyond the traditional bar. TAKE A DIP Dipping options both sweet and savory are popping up in convenient packages. Credit: Sweets and Snacks: 2017 State of the Snack Food...
Big Food Goes Organic

Big Food Goes Organic

As consumer demand for organic food products continues to skyrocket, we’ve witnessed the natural food movement evolve and flourish. The chief factor that has set natural and organic brands apart from conventional food throughout the years are properly articulated, authentic stories told through design. Big Food, despite its dirty past, has every intention of catching up with consumer trends and demands. But in the process, they’ve forgotten what they stand for – their attention is now focused on winning back sales. They’ve turned organic into a commoditized tool, a wand to be waved at anything in their sleepy portfolios. They know clean-eating is here to stay, and there’s no going back. Enter a new lineup of organic options in conventional, big name categories. Many of the products overtly scream the organic aspect through bold, front of package messaging. It’s only further asserted through the use of traditionally natural design elements like product photography, wood grain patterns, and the ever present green leaf theme.               While it may come easy to villainize these efforts, the reality is that this is actually a win overall. For the industry, it’s a health(ier) step forward. It’s validation, acknowledgement  and respect of the hard work put in by the generations before us. But there is no denying that Good Food pioneered the movement. Those fledgling natural companies stood for the awakening consciousness of food as faith. And they are the ones who will continue to urge the movement into new realms, while the big brands will continually be forced to follow suit....