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...
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...
Ask the Team: What Brand Would You Redesign?

Ask the Team: What Brand Would You Redesign?

Some of the most successful food brands have enough staying power that their packaging stays recognizable over the course of time. Yet, target demographics are constantly shifting and though a brand can still be relevant, shaking things up provides an undeniable intrigue. We live for companies that push the barriers of the packaging world. So what would we redesign? Here are a few responses from the team. If I could redesign any brand it would be Nutella. I feel like Nutella and La Croix have the same mentality of “we’ve already cornered the market, so who cares what our packaging looks like”. The illustrations are outdated and uninspiring and it’s clear this packaging design hasn’t been touched in years. Now that the Nutella wordmark has so much recognition, there is a great opportunity to either minimize it or use just parts of it – similar to what Coca Cola has done in past packaging refreshes. The brand has achieved a level of status that not many brands are lucky to attain and they now have license to reinvent themselves for the next generation of Nutella eaters. – Kelley Smart food white cheddar popcorn. This is a classic product from our generation – it’s one of the very first “healthy”, yet indulgent gas station snacks. It is truly a nostalgic; think road trips, sporting events, that beloved after school treat. The packaging seems unchanged, old and busy. I would love to see Smart Food to get a modern facelift to match it’s still VERY relevant place in the grocery and gas station aisles. -Abby I’d redesign the kid trifecta: Fruit By the...
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...
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...
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....