Geoffrey A. Moore’s 1991 hit book “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers” has become a technology industry bible for understanding the recurring patterns of the adoption of disruptive innovation. Moore breaks up the population into five groups: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. The “chasm” refers to a gap between the innovators/early adopters groups and the others. While the innovators and early adoptions are excited to try new technology for technology’s sake or to gain a differentiator from the competition by being early to adopt, the later groups are harder to convince without solid evidence and may resist technology adoption entirely until the innovation has become the de facto standard.

The principle of the innovation lifecycle and the struggle associated with crossing the chasm has been incredibly helpful to me as an innovator within the restaurant industry, thinking about the industry’s innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. (read more…)

From technology to fresh foods to branding strategy, Food Marketing Institute‘s FMI Connect had food retailers buzzing about industry hot topics. Among those topics was a focus on meals, which was a theme carried through keynote addresses, education sessions and the show floor.

At the center of the focus on meals at FMI Connect was FMI’s upcoming National Family Meals Month initiative, which will take place in September and employ retailers to help with the goal of getting families to share one more meal per week at home with food from home eaten together, FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said during her keynote on Wednesday. According to recent research she presented, there have been major demographic, economic and culture shifts that have all led to significant changes in what American households look like.

“The concept of the family has shifted,” Sarasin said. “We have to broaden the scope of what we as an industry imagine a family to be.”

For example, there are fewer households with children now, and more households of one. (read more…)

Social media has become an important platform for supermarkets to engage with customers, but retailers need to learn to balance the control they have historically exercised over their communications against the power that their employees and customers wield on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

In many cases, it is the customers who are diving the conversation, and often it is to the benefit of supermarket operators, according to three food retailers on a panel on social media at the Food Marketing Institute’s FMI Connect show in Chicago.

Hy-Vee, the regional supermarket chain based in West Des Moines, Iowa, has a strong customer following for the Chinese food it offers in its stores. These fans have coined the term “Hy-Chi” for the hot, prepared offering, and several years ago began posting messages on social media using that term with the hash tag #HyChi. These posts were often accompanied by descriptions of customers’ cravings for the food or the satisfaction it delivers. (read more…)

Mobile technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in the lives of consumers, who are looking for more ways to interact with people and brands using their mobile devices. More and more, retailers and restaurants are making use of technology in their physical locations that allows them to enhance the experiences customers are having when they dine or shop.

SmartBrief talked to Maya Mikhailov, chief marketing officer of GPShopper, an integrated mobile platform that helps businesses like food retailers and restaurants build mobile applications that enhance features like commerce and loyalty and creates a “remote control for the brand,” and Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels, a digital marketing platform that helps mobile marketers engage mobile audiences effectifely. Mikhailov talked about the advantages of technology that uses mobile to interact with customers while they’re in stores, which is where most transactions take place, and three trends in particular that have emerged through the use of such technology. (read more…)

Chef Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz took home his third grand prize from the 18th annual Championship BBQ held at Chicago’s Navy Pier on May 17. More than 1,000 chefs, restaurateurs and other foodservice professionals gathered to mingle and sample food and beverages at the event, which benefits Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Entries in the cooking competition ranged from cheeseburgers to pulled pork, but Schwartz chose to look beyond typical barbecue ingredients when constructing his winning dish.

“The judges at the 18th annual Championship BBQ and Cookout sure had a tough choice to make … all the food this year was incredible but in the end it was Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz from Burnt End BBQ who took home the prize, for his apple and pecan smoked rabbit rillettes, with rabbit bresaola, compressed watermelon and pickled watermelon rind, freekeh grains, micro greens, popped sorghum and citrus vinaigrette,” said Championship BBQ creator and former publisher of Food Arts magazine Barbara Mathias. (read more…)