2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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7-Eleven Moves Upscale with New Look, Healthier Products

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 18, 2013 03:47 PM

7-Eleven is a longtime favorite late-night stop for soda, beer, candy, Slurpees, cigarettes, and snack food—an offering that has helped it become the world’s largest chain of convenience stores. But now the brand is looking to change its tune to get more in-line with offerings that appeal to Millennials and women. 

One transformation has already been completed, as last month the chain began stocking its US stores with healthier snacking options including roasted edamame, organic trail mix, veggie chips and a variety of dried fruit and nut blends that are displayed in a whole new health section of some of its stores.Continue reading...

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Domino's Presses Its Advantage in Digital Arena (and Still Makes Pizzas, Too)

Posted by Dale Buss on October 17, 2013 10:54 AM

Over the last few years, Domino's has retooled its pizza crust, broadened its menu to include more non-pizza items and, most recently, rolled out a new pan-style fresh pizza to rave reviews—and strong sales.

Yet now Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle says that the brand's growth in the future will be less dependent on a steady flurry of new products and more reliant on another, perhaps surprising advantage that the company has gained over most of the pizza world: its digital prowess.

That includes recent innovations such as the creation of Domino's "pizza profiles" online to facilitate ordering, and its experimentation with live cameras to show customers via web video their pizza as it is actually being made.Continue reading...

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California Pizza Kitchen Guarantees True Gluten-Free Dining Experience with Taste, Too

Posted by Dale Buss on October 14, 2013 07:17 PM

California Pizza Kitchen has invested heavily in a new line of gluten-free pizzas that aim to tap into the growing gluten-free segment—but which also are requiring changes across the operations of the Los Angeles-based chain.

The chain now is offering four gluten-free pizza options that are devoid of gluten throughout, which is meant to appeal to true celiac-disease sufferers. An earlier gluten-free offering a few years ago had a gluten-free crust—but didn't guarantee gluten-free toppings.

But what might surprise most gluten-free devotees is that the new line also tastes pretty good, a CPK executive told brandchannel. "We've developed a gluten-free crust that we're proud of," said Brian Sulivan, senior vice president of culinary development. "It's got good texture. It cooks well. It's crispy. It goes well with our toppings."Continue reading...

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Udi's Winning Strategy: Make Gluten-Free Foods that Actually Taste Good

Posted by Dale Buss on October 11, 2013 10:46 AM

It proved to be a smart purchase when Smart Balance bought the Udi's Gluten Free brand a year ago: Udi's sales of bread and other baked goods were up 47 percent for the second quarter and up 56 percent for the year to date over 2012. The reason is that the Boulder, Colo.-based brand has found a formula for success in the exploding gluten-free marketplace.

The key to tapping into the fast-growing interest by Americans in avoiding foods with the protein that gives dough its elastic texture, is taste, the CMO of Udi's Gluten Free Foods told brandchannel.

"Udi's kind of changed the category with that," said Denise Sirovatka. "Before we came along, the products that were available tasted terrible. They tasted like sandpaper—people would just walk away from the category if they could. Consumers just stopped eating sandwiches. We created bread that tastes as good as wheat-containing bread."Continue reading...

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Dunkin' Donuts Drives Demand with Limited-Time Offerings

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2013 03:46 PM

Dunkin' Donuts has revitalized growth in large part by being just a bit contrarian. As in not caring as much about offering "value" or even healthy eating as other fast-feeders seem to.

That approach was texturized this week for attendees at an industry summit by Paul Carbone, CFO of the Massachusetts-based chain. He didn't glaze over the necessity for Dunkin' to pay attention to its value proposition or to care about better-for-you treats. But he made it clear that Dunkin's recent and ongoing focus has been on generating new sales and taking market share by focusing on new products, especially limited-time offerings.

"It's not like we ignore value, but it's all about differentiated product" such as Dunkin's limited-time wraps and sandwiches, Carbone said, according to FoodBusinessNews.net. "We're constantly taking winners [and interchanging them]. This is the idea of winning begets winning."Continue reading...

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KFC's New Cup Holder Container is Pure Fast-Food Genius

Posted by Dale Buss on October 3, 2013 06:21 PM

One blogger doesn't mince any words about how big a deal the new KFC Go Cups are. "Everything is going to change," wrote Mary Beth Quirk of Consumerist.com. "EVERYTHING."

Forgive her for getting a bit carried away, but it does seem that the fast feeder is on to something with Go Cups, plastic containers that can conveniently fit a KFC chicken entree into the cup holders of what the chain said amount to 83 percent of US cars. There are five selections in the Go Cup lineup for $2.49 each, including potato wedges.

But wait, there's more: The chicken and potatoes are kept separate by a divider, and the Go Cup not only has a base that fits into most holders but also a wider top so that it can accommodate more food. And most of the food sits up high for easy access.Continue reading...

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Former Trader Joe's Exec Wants to Turn Slightly-Past-Its-Prime Food Into New Retailing Concept

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 06:33 PM

Food waste is a huge problem in America and globally, with up to 40 percent of perfectly good food being trashed in the US, according to a study by Harvard and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yet there's a lack of nutritious food in US inner cities and elsewhere.

So the ex-president of Trader Joe's is trying to put supply and demand together to create a new form of food retailing. Doug Rauch plans to open a new market, the Daily Table, in Dorchester, Mass., early next year to sell "repurposed" food as is, and in lightly processed form like a fast-food restaurant.

"It's [an] idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities," he told NPR, using food that "is, to a large degree, either excess, overstocked [or otherwise] wholesome food that's thrown out by grocers ... at the end of the day because of the sell-by dates. Or [it's from] growers that have product that's nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but cosmetically blemished or not quite up for prime time. [So we] bring this food down into a retail environment where it can become affordable nutrition."Continue reading...

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McDonald's Concession on Healthier Fare Also May Be Way To Jump-Start US Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 10:52 AM

McDonald's biggest nod toward better-for-you food is already placating some critics, and there's another benefit: Helping kids and their parents eat healthier fare at its restaurants may boost chain sales results that have become tepid lately in the US market.

In cooperation with a Bill Clinton-backed nonprofit, McDonald's has announced a sweeping new commitment to better-for-you eating that includes promoting only water, milk and juice rather than soft drinks for Happy Meals on its menu boards and in advertising, emphasizing nutrition in its packaging and advertising for kids, and offering side salads and fruit to accompany its value meals. 

"We think we can influence the purchase of fruits and veggies," McDonald's CEO Don Thompson told the Wall Street Journal. "We have a leadership role and we can be part of a solution. The average person eats at McDonald's three times a month."Continue reading...

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