About the author: Janet Forgrieve | SmartBlogs

Janet Forgrieve Janet Forgrieve is a freelance writer and SmartBrief contributor who writes for restaurant and retail briefs. A former business journalist, Janet spent several years covering the restaurant and retail industries for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida and spent six years covering business at The Tampa Tribune.

Nowadays, having a brand with a long history isn’t enough to keep consumer loyalty and capture their spending dollars. From Oscar Mayer rebranding its Lunchables line to KC Masterpiece updating its packaging design, many companies, no matter how long they’ve been around, are making changes to stay current and remain fresh in the minds of consumers, and communicating messages of authenticity through packaging is key, experts agree.[…] Continue Reading »

As it has historically in lean economic times, pasta came to the rescue for many families during the recession, when tighter budgets brought tougher choices at grocery stores and restaurants. The economy, coupled with consumer leanings towards healthy options and ethnic foods, have shaped pasta trends in both restaurants and on grocery store shelves.

Pasta can run the gamut from indulgent mac and cheese to healthy whole wheat penne, and the pantry staple proved an essential part of recession-era meal planning, but now there are signs that the recovery may have some U.S.[…] Continue Reading »

Omnivorous consumers had several reasons to rethink their meat-buying habits during the past five or six years, as the recession hit grocery budgets, droughts drove meat prices higher and the federal government replaced the Pyramid with MyPlate, a model for nutrition that calls for veggies to make up at least half of the meal.

The past decade saw the rise of Meatless Mondays and other moves by some chefs to leave meat off the plate entirely at more meals.[…] Continue Reading »

High-end whiskey, fresh fruit and surprising spices are likely to fill more cocktail glasses this year, as a few trends come together to shape the spirits menu. Belt-tightening consumers cut down on drinking at bars and restaurants last year, and the trend appears to be continuing in the first few months of 2014, according to a recent Technomic report, but there are some exceptions, including craft beers and high-end whiskeys.[…] Continue Reading »

Nearly a year ago, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a challenge to New York City’s restaurants to cut their food waste in half. About 150 restaurant companies signed onto the Food Waste Challenge, including Union Square Hospitality GroupJuice Generation and Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group’s Eataly.

For these companies, the challenge didn’t come as a big change — efforts to cut food waste were already part of their sustainability efforts, for both environmental and financial reasons.[…] Continue Reading »