New report recommends using entrepreneurial markers to launch

Food marketers often fixate on whether certain consumer behaviors represent long-term trends or passing fads: This is with good reason, since understanding when to invest in signals from the marketplace can spell the difference between success and expensive failure. The fixation on distinguishing between trend or fad derives from what in our experience are two major causes: a) the packaged food industry’s very high failure rate in product innovation (which has created a deep, unconscious concern with over-investing in any short-term play) and b) the slow-speed-to-market averages in CPG new product development, which make the risk of arriving at the shelf just as a fad is fading into obscurity (or into a niche opportunity) terrifying for managers.

Because of their failure rate with new products and slow-to-market processes, food companies fear jumping aboard short-term phenomena (“fads”) too late — ironically, making them overly cautious and typically causing them to miss major opportunities. (read more…)

The state of women’s leadership is always changing, including in the food retail and consumer packaged goods industry, and while there has been a lot of advancement made in this category, there is still work to be done. Joan Toth is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, the largest learning and leadership community serving the retail and consumer goods and services sector that represents nearly 9,000 members, 750 companies, 100 corporate partners and 20 regions in the United States and Canada. SmartBrief talked with Toth about what women’s leadership looks like in the retail and consumer goods industry today, where it is heading and how NEW is playing a role.

Can you start off by talking a little bit about the state of women’s leadership in the retail and consumer goods industry?

There’s a widespread perception that women are advancing, but the numbers tell a different story. (read more…)

To hear Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research & Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association, speak is to be optimistic about the future of the restaurant industry. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Riehle speak at the Restaurant Innovation Summit in Atlanta. He showed the attendees charts that presented American eating habits and the greater and greater shift toward “food away from home” rather than “food at home” — in other words, getting food from restaurants rather than getting food at grocery stores.

In fact, for the first time, the restaurant industry and grocery industry in the U.S. are nearly neck and neck, each with about $700B in annual sales (each approximately 14% of the $5T retail industry). In years past, the grocery industry far outpaced the restaurant industry. But restaurants have been making strong progress and have pulled even. If one extends the trendline into the future, it is clear that restaurants will become the majority recipient of what Riehle refers to as “the food dollar.”

This shouldn’t be terribly surprising to us. (read more…)

The start of a new year is a popular time to reflect on the trends that will affect the coming seasons. One trend hitting the restaurant industry is pizza concept franchisees expanding into the sub sandwich segment. This is a recipe for success as sub and pizza makers discover operating efficiencies, which bring the two businesses together as perfectly as lettuce and tomato.

For pizza concept operators, entering the sub sandwich business is generally a diversification strategy. However, in rarer cases, individuals have sold their existing pizza business to become a sub sandwich operator. In either case, these operators cite one important consideration in their decision to enter the segment: As larger, more mature systems, the pizza chains provide less organic growth opportunity for existing franchisees, particularly in home markets.

The impact of this trend on the Jersey Mike’s system, where the vast majority of our nearly 900 restaurants are owned/operated by franchisees, has been profound. (read more…)

Retailers are operating in a very exciting world today. From social media to mobile devices, there are more ways to reach consumers than ever before. But retailers still have a ways to go to create a seamless shopping experience that spans across channels, according to a panel of experts who spoke at NRF’s BIG Show in New York City.

One of the major challenges for retailers when it comes to the path to purchase is that all these exciting new technologies exist across different silos, which can make it complicated for retailers to reach consumers in the most efficient way, according to Martyn Osborne, product chief at PCMS. He pointed out that while retailers look at technology in different buckets like mobile and online, consumers don’t think of technology in quite the same way, and that can create a disconnect between retailers and their shoppers who are looking for that seamless experience. (read more…)