Somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people flooded the streets of Manhattan on Sunday for the People’s Climate March, the biggest and most diverse group ever to come together to push for action on climate change and, not surprisingly, many of the marchers were focused on issues surrounding sustainable food.

The event brought out activists with a wide variety of core causes, from anti-fracking and renewable energy interests to labor unions to animal welfare groups to student organizations to religious groups, all of them raising their signs and their voices for a common goal. Vegan groups and organic proponents were among the throngs, making the connections between climate and sustainable food.

It’s a message that consumer packaged food brands including Mars, General Mills and Nestle are increasingly taking to heart. The consumers staples industry sector has doubled its investments in activities aimed at reducing carbon emissions since 2012, according to a 2013 climate change report from the Carbon Disclosure Project. (read more…)

As consumers become more aware of where their food is coming from, restaurants and retailers alike are getting into the sustainability game. From a business standpoint, incorporating things like sustainable design makes sense because it helps the bottom line. But having a strong message of sustainability associated with a business is also advantageous in the food and beverage industry from a branding perspective.

For EL REY, a Mexican beer garden in Washington, D.C., sustainable design is what the business is all about. In addition to beer, margaritas, tacos, tamales and other items one would expect to find at a Mexican beer garden, diners are also treated to a unique atmosphere created by the restaurant’s structure. EL REY is D.C.’s first fully-enclosed structure that is made out of shipping containers. The building is made out of five total, along with a retractable roof over its patio area.

According to Roger Brown, EL REY’s general manager, the unique facade is often what draws customers to the restaurant. (read more…)

The 2nd Annual RIZMYs Awards are quickly approaching! Again, the ceremony will be held at the at FSTEC NexGen conference, taking place in New Orleans on September 22nd. The RIZMYs return after a successful show last year, to showcase the best social and digital brands in the Restaurant & Hospitality industry.

How the finalists are selected

What makes the RIZMYs Awards so different is that the finalists are not hand-selected. Instead, the brands are pulled from DigitalCoCo’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), the largest collection of culinary, restaurant and hospitality industry data in the world. The RSMI tracks over 200,000 restaurants and brands, and calculates data based on the mass social audience across multiple markets and countries. The selected finalists are brands with the highest social scores from all segments of the restaurant industry — from QSR, fast casual, casual dining, and fine dining.

The newly improved RIZMYs

The 2014 RIZMYs are going to be even better than last year due to some exciting changes. (read more…)

It’s no secret that social media marketing is fueling a new era in selling for companies of all sizes, and it’s especially true for small food and beverage makers that in the past might have spent years working just to expand locally before dreaming of anything bigger.

Early last month, the new product hall of the Summer Fancy Food Show was packed with small players that were making a name for their products and their brands more quickly than ever before.

“It’s a little bit obvious, but it helps us engage with our fans,” said Kelsey Hopping, marketing director at Cisse Trading Company. The New York-based company sells Fair Trade certified, non-GMO hot chocolate and baking mixes, and has been ramping up its use of social media marketing for the past few years.

In addition to building relationships with fans of the brand, Cisse’s pages and boards on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are increasingly becoming effective sales-building tools that give the small business the chance to reach a worldwide audience, she said. (read more…)

If you followed this summer’s public debate surrounding ride sharing, specifically the car service Uber, you might have heard the term “surge pricing.” The term incensed high-ranking government officials, but surge pricing illustrates the most basic of economic concepts: When demand is high, charge more.

Airlines and hotels have been surge pricing for years. But other than a “market price” for fresh fish or other rare commodities, the restaurant industry has largely stayed away. All this could soon change as mobile ordering gains momentum. Uber raises pricing on the fly based on real-time data gathered via mobile devices, the primary source for ride requests. Digital ordering for restaurants allows a similar opportunity by enabling fluid pricing. If, for example, a concert lets out at Madison Square Garden, Uber might charge higher rates to encourage drivers to come to the area. The local burger shop might also experience a flood of mobile orders. (read more…)