In the heyday of a booming post-World War II economy in the U.S, many food and beverage manufacturers focused on meeting the rather predictable needs of a population mostly concerned with calorie intake and satiety. During this epoch, Americans ate mostly traditional, meat-and-potatoes meals, and were largely happy with this. Eating differently didn’t confer social status, and dietary change was not seen as a serious tool for healthy living.

For a food manufacturer, attaining “premium” status was simply a matter of branding the food well (i.e., making it more desirable than other brands and asking a higher price). At the time, consumers responded to branding and were likely to accept loose arguments for premium status from a manufacturer. However, as American food culture changed in the late twentieth century, a new set of criteria emerged from a more food-centric society.

Over the past twenty years, the food industry has experienced a mind-boggling shift in food-shopping behavior that traditional economics and pricing theory cannot explain. (read more…)

Consuming is an intimate experience, especially when it comes to the food and beverage space. While in other industries consumers simply come in contact with products, in the food and beverage industry they literally consume them. So it is important for food and beverage companies to establish brand intimacy with today’s consumers at every possible chance.

MBLM took a look at how companies rank when it comes to establishing intimacy with consumers, and the list of the top 20 included companies from the apparel and technology industries to retail and consumer packaged goods. The firm calculated the rankings based on scores for sharing, or engagement and interactions between brands and consumers, bonding, or when consumers become attached and committed to brands, and fusing, or co-identification between consumers and brands.

So how did food and beverage companies measure up? Restaurant, CPG and retail brands made the list, and they made up seven of the 20 companies included in the rankings. (read more…)

As far back as I can remember I’ve had a passion for food and for gatherings. I grew up in Boston making pepperoni sauce with my father every Sunday. In 1984, I very distinctly remember cooking steak tips, rice pilaf and salad with tomato roses for a high-school crush. By the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to be a chef. I’ve spent every year since working toward the recent culmination of it all.

Since 2011, I’ve opened six restaurants throughout the Reno and Lake Tahoe area (Campo Reno, Burger Me Reno, chez louie, Campo Mammoth, Heritage and Reno Provisions). My most recent project, Reno Provisions, has become the absolute cornerstone of my businesses, as it acts as the supply chain for all of my other restaurants.

Reno Provisions opened in December 2014 and is our most multi-faceted property to-date. Upstairs, guests can dine in on daily specials, or purchase fresh packaged take-home ingredients. (read more…)

The popularity of craft and small-batch brews has been growing steadily, fueled in part by a growing awareness of the ways beer and food work together to tempt increasingly adventurous palates in search of new flavors.

U.S. craft beer continued to soar in popularity both at home and abroad last year, jumping 22% to $19.6 billion, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association. Craft beer has grown to 11% of the total beer market, a new record, and there were 3,418 craft breweries operating by the end of 2014.

The Culinary Institute of America is putting more of an emphasis on beer, with plans to open a craft brewery on its campus in Hyde Park, N.Y., this year, staffed by students. And last week, the Brewers Association named classically trained chef and former restaurateur Adam Dulye as its first executive chef.

Dulye, a CIA graduate, honed his craft at restaurants in Portland, Ore., and Aspen, Colo., before moving to San Francisco and eventually opening two restaurants, including The Abbot’s Cellar which featured a four-course tasting menu paired with different beers. (read more…)

Packaging has always been important to a product’s success. Iconic bottles, boxes and other containers have helped elevate certain products to icon status, and many consumers need only a few seconds to scan the shelves to identify their favorite products by sight. With the growing number of products in the grocery channel and consumers’ evolving expectations, having the right package is essential for companies looking to differentiate their product from the competition.

“The right package is often the only thing that can help a new product stand out on shelf. In this day and age of lower spends on new product launches, they rarely have a large number of facings, or ideal placement when they first arrive on shelf. Without these advantages, the package itself has to do all of the work to get shoppers to notice it and convert to purchase,” said Rich Scamehorn, chief researcher at InContext Solutions, which conducts virtual store research for a variety of industries, including consumer packaged goods. (read more…)