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Brands Don't Just Want to Sell You Food, They Want to Teach You How to Eat It

Posted by Dale Buss on June 18, 2014 07:17 PM

Everyone wants to help consumers figure out how to eat better these days, from the biggest grocery retailer in the UK to a tiny American startup backed by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Tesco, with its new “My Fit Lifestyle” range of products and accompanying apps, is one of the latest major entities to take the plunge into actively—not just passively—facilitating healthier eating by consumers. The launch follows Tesco's removal of confectionary products from check-out aisles in order to curb excessive snacking. 

The new menu of products has been color-coded according to their calorie content so that customers in the store can quickly find items that fit their personal “My Fit Lifestyle” plans, and a Health and Wellbeing website and app by Tesco will help them keep track of their progress.Continue reading...

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Golden Years: Pop-Tarts, Nutella Take Different Paths To 50th Anniversaries

Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2014 10:14 AM

Nutella and Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts started from very different places to end up as very similar brands: mainstream snack sensations celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.

Pop-Tarts began as a favorite breakfast convenience for American moms to give to their boomer offspring, while Nutella was long popular in Europe and now is riding a wave of adoration as a guilty pleasure in the United States as well.

Kellogg is still continually repositioning its well known ready-to-eat cereal brands as better-for-you breakfast choices in a variety of ways, but the company basically has given up making a lot of nutritional pretensions for Pop-Tarts toaster pastries.Continue reading...

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Shake Shack Celebrates a Decade of Delicious with Food, Music and Fun

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 10, 2014 05:33 PM

Ten years ago, a fast-casual phenomenon known as Shake Shack opened its door for the first time in New York City, setting off a decade of soaring sales and worldwide expansion.

With locations spread around the world including WashingtonMoscow, Abu Dhabi, London, four locations in Istanbul and eateries throughout the Middle East, with Las Vegas and others to open later this year, Shake Shack is the gourmet burger joint of choice for many.

Launched out of a hot dog cart during the redevelopment of Madison Square Park, Chef Danny Meyer (of Union Square Hospitality Group fame) jumped at the chance to open up a food kiosk in the park, and to this day, customers wait upwards of an hour to get their burger and shake fix (thankfully, there's a Shack Cam to monitor the queues at the flagship).

Additional locations are seeing the same success as the park location, with CNBC estimating that, as of 2010, each location was bringing in $4 million in profit annually compared to McDonald's, whose average franchise brings in $2 million in profit. 

To commemorate the brand's decade of success, Shake Shack is staging a "Decade of Shack" celebration this week.Continue reading...

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A Tip for "Restaurant Australia": Serve a Full Meal, and Don't Rush It

Posted by Sergio Brodsky on June 4, 2014 07:31 PM

Who hasn’t experienced a meal that looked better than it tasted? This is the case of Tourism Australia's multimillion-dollar “Restaurant Australia” campaign. Despite its beautiful imagery, music, and narrative—and my initial excitement at the concept as a resident foodie—the creative execution has left a bitter after-taste in my mind, if not my mouth.

Now that more of the campaign has rolled out, it seems that Tourism Australia lacks the appetite—or the ingredients and skills—for building a brand that could be a lot bigger than a single campaign. Three factors contributed to my indigestion (or should I say "adigestion"):Continue reading...

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Starbucks Experiments with Evening Fare as QSR Brands Elevate Offerings

Posted by Dale Buss on May 28, 2014 05:22 PM

Starbucks has made sure that its fans don’t get too far ahead of their expectations, but the company clearly is nibbling into dinnertime with the opening of a concept eatery by its La Boulange brand in Los Angeles next month that will stay open until 10 p.m.

Evening has always been Starbucks’ weakness, of course, with outlets typically closing too early to enjoy a lot of the after-dinner or after-event trade while competitors such as Panera devour the dinner crowd. So while Starbucks hasn’t announced a major initiative for its eponymous brand around dinner, it clearly is blessing what La Boulange Bakery—the San Francisco chain that Starbucks acquired in 2012—is doing.

The menu of the La Boulange restaurant starts with sandwiches, salads and omelets, Bloomberg Businessweek reported, and adds later-in-the-day options including croissant burgers, cocktails, beer and wine.Continue reading...

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After 40 Years, Burger King Embraces You—Whoever You Are—With New Slogan

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 19, 2014 07:09 PM

YouTube was created in 2005. A year later, Time magazine named "You" it's iconic "Person of the Year." In a way, Burger King was almost two generations ahead of both when, in 1974, it launched its slogan "Have It Your Way." Alas, nobody ever recognizes an innovator in its own time, especially in a population of increasing narcissism. So, Burger King has announced it is scrapping "Have It Your Way" in exchange for "Be Your Way."

Ironically enough, what feels more new-age 1974 than the slogan "Be Your Way?" 

Through the years, the slogan has changed but always maintained its core message about what "you," the consumer wants. Particularly strong was "Your Way Right Away"; less so, "When you have it your way, it just tastes better."

When a brand changes one of its deeply identifying characteristics after decades, it invites harsh criticism. Sometimes that criticism is warranted. (We're looking at you, Gap.) But also, that criticism is often so much get-off-our-lawn bellyaching by critics who miss the convenience of the simple UHF/VHF dials.Continue reading...

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Frozen-Food Brands Latch Onto Freshness in New Collective Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on May 14, 2014 12:13 PM

Growth in the US grocery business is mostly coming from fresh foods, some of them organic and “natural,” many of them “locally” produced and “clean-label” or as unprocessed as possible. However, that's is not the perceived profile of the typical frozen food.

America’s big frozen-food brands have faced sales stagnation. So, many of the brands and companies—ConAgra, General Mills, Heinz, Hillshire, Kellogg’s, Nestle, Pinnacle and Schwan’s—are getting together in a new, $30 million advertising campaign meant to persuade American consumers that frozen fare is the next best thing to fresh.

In fact, the three-year effort is called “Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh.” It seeks to portray freezing “as nature’s pause button,” inspired in part by Wendy’s tagline, “Fresh, Never Frozen.” The similarly beleaguered US canning industry is also attempting a comeback.Continue reading...

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Kellogg's Kashi the Latest to Lose All Natural Claim

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 9, 2014 03:24 PM

The phrases "All Natural" and "Nothing Artificial" have helped sell plenty of boxes of Kashi and Bear Naked products, but not for long. Parent company Kellogg has lost a class-action suit that claimed man-made products including pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate and soy oil processed with hexane were found in the food products. As a result, Kellogg will drop its "natural" positioning from the products and pay out a $5 million settlement.  

Kashi and Bear Naked are just the latest brands to take a hit for their nutrition claims amid a surge of health-conscious consumers. Part of the problem, the New York Times notes, is that the FDA has yet to develop a definition for use of the word "natural" on food products, which is why companies have been quick to use it in a marketplace filled with consumers who are interested in leading healthier lives. 

Other brands that have had to reel in their nutrition claims include Frito-Lay, which changed its "Simply Natural" line of chips to just "Simply" and Quaker, which shifted from "Natural Quaker Granola" to "Simply Quaker Granola." Recently, Chobani was pulled off shelves at Whole Foods because of claims that it contains GMOs, while PepsiCo had to ditch "all natural" from its Naked Juice line last year and Ben & Jerry's—a brand revered for its natural ingredients—had to drop the claim from its packaging.Continue reading...

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