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...
Trend Watch: Healthy/Fast/Sustainable

Trend Watch: Healthy/Fast/Sustainable

Sustainability efforts revolve around the three R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. One of the most opportune spaces for eco-friendly change lies in food and beverage packing. There’s been an influx of biodegradable packaging, but the zero waste movement takes focusing on the Reuse aspect a step further by forcing the consumer to provide their own containers for commodities. It’s hardly a new concept – milk was often delivered in reusable glass bottles, with consumers incurring a small returnable deposit for the container. But with today’s consumers are on the hunt for healthy and convenient food option, the concept of Reuse is coming into play more often. Boulder’s own Wonderpress is a humble testament to great quality of life. Transparent glass bottles with eye catching gold accents showcase the vibrant colors of juiced fruits and vegetables. Customers are charged a deposit for these containers and are encouraged to return them, but they can just as easily be repurposed for water or your own nut milks and juice concoctions. Tyme, a “fast food” start-up based in New York, serves vegan meals in transparent rigid plastic jars. These containers can be reused, and when doing so, will earn you a $1 discount on your next meal. They are reshaping the concept of fast food, which we tend to associate with far that is greasy, fatty and certainly not vegan. This level of convenience combined with a sleek and sustainable structure is already making a splash and the company founders are already hoping to expand outside the New York area, and eventually drive down costs.   In Chile, a brand of movie theaters called Cinemark...
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...
Branding in the Fresh Produce Space

Branding in the Fresh Produce Space

The produce section draws the eye with vibrant colors and the promise of fresh offerings, but it’s remained one of the least branded grocery categories. Fruits and vegetables are typically sold unpackaged, labeled with only a sticker featuring a PLU code and a small brand mark to identify them. With the “clean eating” movement at its peak, we’re seeing a lot more well branded fresh produce items. By moving into a space that has virtually no branding, companies are able to establish a sort of monopoly on generic produce items, similar to the way Kleenex and Band-aid have. In a category with such minimal branding, what marketing strategies are companies using to positioning themselves?   (Image Source) For the Kids Many initiatives have cropped up that are taking a stand against childhood obesity, by encouraging children to be more active and eat healthier. One easy way to appeal to an adolescent audience is to assign characters to products. Cuties (easy peel mandarin oranges) and Mighties (kiwi fruits that come packaged with a knife-spoon combination) both come packaged in multi-packs, and stand out in the category with lively characters and fun names. The friendliness and ease of consuming have made them an ideal go-to lunchbox addition. (Image Source) Snackability There’s been a constantly rising demand for healthy snacking alternatives. The preparation of fruits and veggies is a drawback that might lead a consumer to reach for a bag of chips to satiate appetite instead. But convenient, options help to eliminate that issue. A few years ago, Pom Wonderful stormed into the produce category with a unique structure for a unique product – pomegranate...