Wine has traditionally been a pleasure to be shared, from bottles sipped over an intimate dinner to tastings and clubs that bring out the crowd. Now, with the rise of digital technology and social media, the crowd isn’t limited to just consuming, or even a specific region, and wineries are starting to use crowdsourced investments, opinions and winemaking to build brand awareness and get consumers involved.

Two big players reinventing the wheel through crowdsourcing wine efforts include Naked Wines and Tesco.

Naked Wines, an online wine retailer that debuted in 2008, has been making headlines with steadily increasing profits, reporting record sales of nearly $8.6 million each month as of this summer. The company crowdsources members who invest approximately $30 per month in a wine producer and are then able to purchase the wines at wholesale prices. Growing to approximately 220,000 members from the U.K., Australia and the U.S., Naked Wines was shipping more than 25,000 bottles of wine to its members every day, reported a story published by The Telegraph this summer. Naked Wines has said it expects continued sales growth in 2014. (read more…)

Fighting food waste has become a key cause in the restaurant world, as environmental concerns grow more urgent and eateries come together to fight childhood hunger. Some chefs and restaurants are moving beyond donating unused food and composting to creative new solutions that curb food waste before it starts, from creating seasonal menus using only locally grown ingredients to inventing dishes using bits and pieces of produce that used to get thrown away.

At Candle Cafe’s New York City restaurants, taking a bigger bite out of food waste means using all the edible parts of the fruits and vegetables. “With fall upon us, beet and then the use of the beet greens come to mind. We can also always use veggie remains to help in making stocks and the excess from trimming our seitan cutlets becomes our wheat balls,” said Executive Director Mark Doskow.

The Candle Cafes on the city’s East and West sides are organic, vegetarian eateries with seasonal fare that’s sourced locally whenever possible. (read more…)

This post, sponsored by Kellogg’s, highlights groundbreaking research that examines A.M. consumer segment differences and eating behaviors, giving operators new profit opportunities and ideas.

Breakfast is no longer the morning meal that many of us knew as children. Leisurely sit-down meals composed of hearty items are now the exception, not the norm as consumers shift their A.M. eating behaviors.

Today, many people opt for items that are convenient and portable. But that morning meal also needs to be nutritious and help fuel their activities. Most importantly, different types of consumers define morning “meals” in entirely different ways.

That means operators need to change the traditional ways they connect with various types of customers.

Generally, consumers choose their A.M. destinations based on food quality and food value. Coffee and water are the top beverage choices, and they opt for baked goods if they’re looking for a cold meal and breakfast sandwiches if they want a hot meal. (read more…)

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…)

The restaurant industry has a fair amount of uncertainty, but menu labeling and its requirements may be one of the most ambiguous challenges operators have faced in recent years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released proposed regulations in 2011. Three years later, we are still waiting for the final rulings, but operators can take steps toward accurate labeling now.

Menu labeling triply challenges pizza operators. First, pizzeria menus offer greater variety than other industry segments. Second, customization inherent in the offering makes standardization far more difficult. Third, pizza — in its wonderful decadence — often has higher calorie counts than other comparable segments. Add to the pie the expected costs of analysis, and menu labeling becomes a supreme problem. Or not. With the right partner and the right information, operators can stay true to their brands while providing the necessary information and options that comply with menu labeling standards. It’s as easy as pie, or in this case, as easy as 1-2-3. (read more…)