Bringing Home The Bacon: What Food Marketers Can Learn from Pork’s Success

The continued growth of the pork industry has made it the envy of food marketers for decades, and, come 2017, it shows no signs of letting up.

Pork sales climbed 20 percent over the past six years according to the Washington Post, and, by the end of 2018, U.S. farmers are expected to produce as much pork as beef – an unprecedented “score” for the industry. As of June 1, the nation’s hog and pig inventory – a reflection of global demand — was the highest on record.

Clearly, there’s a lot the pork industry is doing right, and a lot we food marketers can learn from its example. Here are a few bits to chew on:

Heed the herd – If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re familiar with the Pork Board’s “Other White Meat” campaign. What you may not know is that the highly successful, multi-decade campaign was born out of astute observations about meat sales and consumption trends.

In the mid-80s, chicken consumption was growing rapidly, and pork’s share of the consumer’s plate was dropping. In 1987, experts predicted chicken would outplace pork…

Consumer Marketing

Getting Americans to Drink More Wine

A few years ago, by sheer volume alone, we became the #1 wine consuming nation in the world. Though this was due to the size of our population (not per capita drinking), it was still a notable accomplishment. The numbers say that wine consumption continues to inch upward in the U.S.

Despite the statistics, those of us deep in the wine marketing trenches can see that wine appreciation in the U.S. has a long way to go before it becomes a part of our most-of-the-time diet, especially outside major cities. I probably need to get out more, but I often think about how we can get more Americans to drink more wine. Stay with me here, this is not just about increasing demand. Why should we drink more wine in the first place? In a nutshell, it will help us be healthier and happier.

It’s no secret that the typical diet and relationship to food in many wine-producing countries is of noticeably higher quality than ours. In Spain, France, Italy and Greece for example, the quality of ingredients and meals is significantly valued over quantity.…

Digital Marketing

From Farm to Fork, Thanks to Technology

Farm to fork… heritage… organic… these buzz words have been hitting the grocery store shelves in force for years now. Along with this trend, there is a growing desire to understand more about where our food comes from. According to the 2016 Nielsen Global Ingredient and Dining-Out Trends Report:

  • Consumers are adopting a back-to-basics mind-set, focusing on simple ingredients and fewer processed foods. More than half of consumers say they’re avoiding artificial ingredients, hormones or antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and bisphenol A (BPA).
  • Seventy-three percent agree that they feel more positively about companies that are transparent about where and how products were made, raised or grown.

A few innovative companies are tapping into this desire to give consumers exactly what they want. That’s great PR from the ground up. Check out what these three trend-setters are doing:

  • SVO’s Farmer Focus Chicken – This chicken has a Farm ID on every single pack. Head to their website, and enter the Farm ID to see the exact farm your chicken came from. Now THAT is farm to fork. The fast-growing

Wine, Food & Nutrition

4 Tips for Restaurants Hiring Gen Z

If the restaurant industry was a country, it’d be larger than 90% of the world’s countries’ economies, a whopping projected annual sale of $799 billion in 2017. Currently, there are over 1 million restaurant locations employing 14.7 million employees. One in 10 Americans currently work in a restaurant; 1 in 5 held a past restaurant job and 1 in 3 got their first job in a restaurant. (NRA Show 2017)

While the restaurant industry is a melting pot of generations, Gen Z is the one hitting the workforce by storm today. In fact, the restaurant industry is the economy’s largest employer of teenagers, as 1/3 of all working U.S. teenagers are employed in a restaurant, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For an industry facing a 72.9% employee turnover rate, it’s important for restaurateurs and managers to understand the driving forces behind their employees’ work ethic and learn how to manage and retain them. Here are four things you need-to-know about employing Gen Z:

  • Work Ethic – Gen Z has an intensive work ethic without the expectation to hold managerial positions upon starting a new role,


The Organic Divide: How Millennial Consumers and Farmers Feel About Organic Food

The organic vs. conventional food debate continues to simmer, without any resolution toward what the better option is. It appears that the age-old debate regarding whether the chicken or the egg came first will be resolved long before the organic food dispute is. In fact, there is an enormous divide between what millennial consumers are demanding and what millennial farmers are willing to produce.

According to a recent study conducted by the Organic Trade Association, parents 18 to 34 years of age make up the largest group of organic consumers in the United States. Among these millennial mothers and fathers, 52 percent are buying organic food for themselves and their families.

On the other hand, 48 percent of millennial farmers said they are less likely than their predecessors to use organic methods on their farm (based on a study by Millennium Research, Inc.). As these young farmers continue to take over farming operations, it appears the divide between the consumer and producer will grow.

There is a chance that science could help bridge this strong divide. A 2015 survey conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics found that 57 percent of millennial

PR Industry Trends

How Instagram Influences the Food and Restaurant Industry

Last week, I was out for brunch with my parents. Upon a gorgeous, steaming-hot goat cheese-filled egg white omelet arriving in front of me, I whipped out my phone, stood on my chair and snapped about 10 different photos—all from different angles—praying one was perfect enough to post on my Instagram.

My mom, obviously (and understandably) embarrassed, leaned over to me and said, “Maybe you shouldn’t do that; you’re making a scene.” She was right—I was making a scene, but I’m also a millennial, and that’s what millennials do. Our skill: making you desire what we’re having.

Yes, it’s now a prerequisite to take photos—or videos—or Boomerangs of your meals or drinks and post them on Instagram, or other social channels – and this need is influencing the ever-evolving food and restaurant industry.

What to Eat and Where to Eat

Not only are we using the photo-sharing social network to document what we’re eating, we’re using it to decide where to eat too. According to research conducted by the restaurant chain Zizzi in the United Kingdom— as referenced in Rachel Hosie’s article in The Independent, “How Instagram Has

The Booze Bin

Making Wine Trade Shows and Event Sponsorships Work for You (Part 2)

The other day a friend asked me to review a sponsorship proposal he drafted, geared towards a big- name spirits brand. He undoubtedly regretted this, as it earned him a semi-rant on what NOT to do. Which reminded me of all the event sponsorship and trade show gripes I’ve accumulated over the years. Perfect for a follow up to my previous Booze Bin post!

All jokes aside, when deciding how to allocate precious client funds and product (whether it’s for someone else’s event or a trade show), we’re always looking for maximized returns and amplified opportunities. Few (work-related) things feel as great as putting together a client recap with results that exceed what was promised.

In Part 1 of this post, I discussed selecting the right events and shows, how to avoid paying sticker price and how to get the most bang for your buck. This is still less than half the battle. I’m back to tell you how to work backwards to ensure an end-result that knocks it out of the park for your client and the event producers too.

The writer at one

Wine, Food & Nutrition

Step Aside Diet Foods, Holistic Health is What’s Trending

The popularity of “diet foods” is fading fast. Consumers are now looking for a more holistic approach to health and wellness, with a focus on fresher and more natural ingredients. Recent Mintel data supports the changing dieting landscape, noting that consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical about diet products, and turning to a well-balanced eating plan and purchasing products that support improved health instead. In fact, of the 2,000 individuals surveyed, 94 percent of respondents no longer saw themselves as dieters – a significant shift from the days when Jenny Craig and NutriSystem commercials dominated our favorite television programs.

Given this shift in consumer behavior, and the overall decline in dieting, food companies have been forced to reevaluate how to best market their products, looking toward a more holistic approach to health.  For example, Lean Cuisine has put new labels on products that were already cholesterol-free or gluten-free without changing product formulation, because these terms help to reinforce the holistic health message that consumers now so desperately seek. Similarly, Weight Watchers’ point system now emphasizes “natural” fare and home-cooked meals. Terms like all natural, gluten-free, no preservatives, antibiotic-free, and non-GMO are popping up on labels left and right,…

Wine, Food & Nutrition

Hungry? Grab your smartphone!

With the ever-increasing availability and appeal of ready-to-eat foods, meal kit services, and online grocery shopping, consumers’ expectation levels of food is synonymous with fast.  While we’re not quite ready for robotic food deliveries, we can say with confidence that foodservice operators are embracing this fast-paced, tech-driven world, one app at a time.

While less than 10 percent of companies offer the mobile order-ahead feature today, Researcher Crone Consulting estimates that in five years 50% of all sales at quick-service chains will be placed digitally before the customer ever steps on the premises.

When you find yourself in one of these ‘time is of the essence’ scenarios, just know you can count on one of these foodservice operations:

  • When you have the wine flu and don’t want to leave your couch: McDonald’s – The fast food giant is partnering with UberEATS to deliver their beloved Big Macs from over 1,000 locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Columbus, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. As McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said, “We are bringing a new level of convenience to more of our customers as we continue to

Wine, Food & Nutrition

Technology and the Healthy Home Cook

It’s no secret that technology has had a huge impact on food over the past 10 years. From stunning recipe photos shared on social sites, to the wildly popular recipe videos on Buzz Feed’s Tasty, consumers are finding new ways to inspire them to eat at home.

This movement back to the kitchen and oversharing what you eat on social media, may have a positive impact on your health, wallet and the environment. A new study conducted at Oregon State University on 400 Seattle-area adults, who were surveyed regarding a week’s worth of cooking and eating behaviors, found that households that cooked at home three times per week had healthier diets overall. Interestingly, sharing may do more than just increase your followers. Another study published just this week analyzed how Instagram users turn to posting photos of the food they eat to track intake and meet weight loss goals. Through interviews with the study participants, it was revealed that social and emotional support from other Instagram users helped the participants stick to their healthy eating goals. Researchers also found the