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...
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...
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...