Tactile and Multisensory Foods Could Be Top Trend For Brands in 2018

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Tactile and multisensory experiences are all about feeling and hearing the connection. Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru, believes we have evolved, and 2018 is a particular year for brands to take advantage of the tactile approach. A multisensory food will appeal to more than consumer’s taste buds. Brands will look to add features and experiences that appeal to the hearing and visual senses.

Tactile Brands Will Be More Memorable

The clean label trend is here to stay, but Phil believes consumers are at peak food information overload. It’s time that foods move to a more intellectual connection with visual and auditory cues. Foods that enable sounds like chopping, stirring, chewing and crunching will give consumers a food euphoria every time.

Brands Already Implementing the Tactile Approach

The crunch of a crisp snack echoes in our brain, and we subconsciously resonate with it in the future. Also, think about the crisp taste of a beer, but enhancing that with virtual reality as Guinness recently did.

Sensory marketing is nothing new, but Phil makes an excellent point that this trend will gain steam after the focus on ingredients, clean labels, and more over the past few years. Sampling is one of the critical ways to implement a multisensory marketing approach at retail and food events. Costco has been using this technique for years to drive sales in specific products and categories.

Tactile and multisensory approaches will be food and beverage brands secret weapon in 2018. Watch and listen for more!

Inspired by www.supermarketguru.com

Food Scientists Say Clean Labels Have Trade-Offs in Food Safety

To no surprise, two food safety and nutrition professors at Iowa State University believe there are significant trade-offs in cost and food safety for clean labels. The clean label is one of the most significant trends hitting the food and beverage industry. While there is no clear-cut definition, it is understood that clean label products do not contain additives or preservatives and typically have easy to read ingredients.

Why do Clean Labels Present Issues in Food Safety?

The two food scientists believe that not all food additives and preservatives are bad. Many of those hard-to-pronounce names are used to guard against pathogens and spoiling. While market demand is driving food companies to get rid of these additives, the scientists believe there should be a measured consideration for keeping some of these ingredients. The professors mentioned taking nitrates out of Hotdogs and deli meat as an example since their presence can help prevent clostridium botulinum bacteria.

Professors Ruth MacDonald, Ph.D. and Ruth Litchfield, Ph.D. believes that social media can take a lot of the blame for this hysteria around additives and preservatives. They insist consumers not to believe everything they read on social media and to take a deep dive into any research mentioned in posts.

clean label food safety consumers

How are Clean Labels Costing us More?

Label-readers have become fascinated with the “no high fructose corn syrup”  claim, but they are not looking closely at one is being replaced to sweeten the product. Many times companies are using tapioca syrup which is made from cassava, and typically more expensive. The professors say that the industry is developing all of these “cleaner” syrups like beet syrup, etc. and they are all sugar. They are no better than high-fructose corn syrup.

There seems to be a clear issue with what consumers expect and the reality of ingredients. Consumers want ingredients they understand, they want them cheap, they want them nutritious, they want them safe, and they want them to be beneficial. However, it is almost an impossible feat for food scientists. Consumers are more willing to accept technology in other aspects of their life but have now wholly shifted when it comes to food. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as consumers become more educated about the science of food.

Inspired by www.fooddive.com

Infographic: Top 19 Pet Food Controversies

The pet food industry is more complicated than ever for consumers to navigate. Pet consumers have started to put an emphasis on their dog or cat’s diet. They want their furry friend to eat healthily so they can live longer, have a better coat, cleaner teeth, and more. However, choosing the right pet food can be difficult because of all the lawsuits, pet food recalls, and complaints from other pet owners. TopDogTips.com created an infographic earlier this year to detail the top 19 controversies to know about when choosing your next pet food. Enjoy!

pet food controversies nutrition nutrifusion vitamins minerals


Brick-And-Mortar Stores Still Here to Stay Amid Online Grocery Platforms

In the digital age, people have the luxury of buying whatever they need online. However, there are still many consumers who prefer to shop the traditional way. In a report released by The NPD Group, only 7% of consumers in the United States shop online for their groceries.

The Rise of Online Shopping Platforms

Consumers are not willing to adopt the online grocery shopping platform for various reasons, and one of them is that they want to pick out fresh items by themselves. There remains a significant number of the US population who prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.


For instance, Amazon recently purchased the popular grocery chain Whole Foods to extend the online shopping experience of their Amazon Prime members. The acquisition is a big step for online shoppers including young professionals and urban consumers. The NPD Group predicts that online shopping will also expand faster due to the convenience factor appreciated by most shoppers.

In the same study, around 20 million of consumers who are new to online grocery shopping increased their virtual shopping activities, particularly on foods and beverages. The reason for this is that many online groceries offer a variety of unique products that traditional grocery stores do not carry. The diversity of products is another selling point of online grocery stores. But even if this is the case, it is a far cry to the hundreds of millions who still prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar grocery stores.

Why Are Traditional Grocery Stores Still Popular?

So why are brick-and-mortar stores here to stay? While one of the strongest points of online shopping is the convenience, there are still many barriers that they need to address. Aside from the fact that many people want to check and pick out food themselves, many people report the nostalgia that shopping in brick-and-mortar grocery stores provides. Another barrier to shopping for food online is higher costs.

amazon online grocery shopping

Most consumers believe that online stores do not maintain high overhead costs so they can offer lower prices. However,  it is the consumers who have to suffer from paying delivery charges or even membership fees. Consumers, in a nutshell, simply want to get their food fresh and now!

What Should Brick & Mortar Grocery Do?

While online grocery stores are becoming popular among the millennials, brick-and-mortar stores are here to stay. But to improve the shopping experience for their customers, they need to step up their strategies. According to Darren Seifer, industry analyst of the NPD Group, B&Ms need to market unique needs of consumers so that they can compete with online groceries that are offering a wider variety of products that brick-and-mortar stores do not usually carry.  By doing so, they can keep up with the pressure of time and the demands of their customers.

Inspired by www.npd.com

Farmers Globally Use Untreated Wastewater to Irrigate Crops

Irrigation is a necessity of farmers. But important news revealed recently that farmers all over the world are using untreated wastewater to irrigate their crops. In a study published in the journal, Environmental Research Letters, found out that 50% of farmers globally use untreated municipal wastewater to grow food.

The Use of Untreated Wastewater in Agriculture

This frightening statistic indicated that around 36 million hectares of croplands in urban areas rely on heavily polluted water for growing crops. In the study, five countries were identified that use 85% downstream wastewater to irrigate their crops, and these include China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, and Iran. This was a far cry from the 2004 study that noted only 20 million hectares of agricultural lands reuse wastewater.

The reuse of wastewater for agricultural purposes is caused by the increasing problem of water pollution as well as the declining availability of fresh water. According to the lead author of the study, Anne Thebo, the problem is very evident in many developing countries where many places lack wastewater treatment facilities.

To make matters worse, poor farmers who cannot afford to get commercial inputs like fertilizers rely on wastewater to provide nutrients to their plants. In a report released by Associated Press, several farmers in Mexico used wastewater as they produce bigger crop yields compared with treated water.  After all, sewage effluence may contain high amounts of human excrements but, while containing high amounts of nitrogen, also carry pathogens that can be transferred to food.

The Dangers of Farmers Using Untreated Wastewater

The use of untreated wastewater does not only pose threats to local farmers but also to the consumers. Consumers who unknowingly eat raw vegetables and fruits that are grown using wastewater may suffer from food poisoning. Food safety is a pressing issue in the food industry, and the use of untreated wastewater puts people at risk to the exposure of roundworms and pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. In fact, there have been numerous instances when produce coming from Mexico has led to outbreaks.


Vegetables and fruits from Mexico, for example, were found to have been contaminated with Salmonella, hepatitis A, and Cyclospora (an intestinal parasite) include cantaloupes, basil, salad greens, and cilantro.  In 2013, consumption of these products had resulted in hundreds of people all over the United States to experience severe food poisoning while some people died from it.

The Implications of The Study

The published study aims to reveal what is happening in many agricultural lands all over the world. The result of the survey also indicates that considerable strides should be made all over the world regarding improving sanitation in urban areas by investing more in wastewater treatment plants. The thing is that further effort is necessary aside from developing wastewater treatment facilities but also implementing better sanitation policies to address not only the recycling of wastewater in agriculture but also for the protection of surface water and its quality.

Inspired by www.modernfarmer.com

Grocery Stores Carry 40,000 More Items Than They Did in the 1990s

Grocery stores have been around for a long time. It was only after the post-war era that self-service grocery stores became popular as more people especially women became liberated from domestic duties and started going to work.

Today, grocery stores are big enterprises that provide people whatever their household needs. According to author Michael Ruhlman, the evolution of grocery stores is remarkable. Today, there are more than 38,000 supermarkets across the United States that earn billions of dollars yearly.

The Evolution of Grocery Stores

According to the Food Marketing Institute as well as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growing need for grocery stores in the country and this growth is reflected in the rising stock prices of publicly-owned grocery enterprises. Aside from brick-and-mortar stores, grocery stores have also expanded to deliveries to accommodate all types of consumers.

But perhaps the biggest change attributed to the evolution of supermarkets is that modern groceries offer more diversity regarding their products. During the 1990s, there was an average of 7,000 items sold in a grocery store. Now, it has ballooned to over 40,000 items.

The Evolution of Shoppers

Parallel with the development of grocery stores is the evolution of shoppers. Over the past ten years, shoppers’ food preferences have drastically changed. For instance, you would never have been able to find gluten-free food a decade ago. Today, those kinds of products are prevalent and important many people’s diets.

The thing is that the taste and desires of ordinary consumers have also changed through time. It is important to take note that we are now becoming more conscious of our food choices and we tend to read labels more compared to 20 years ago.

Aside from reading food labels, consumers are also opting for organic foods especially if they can afford them. More than 50% of American consumers believe that organic foods are more nutritional than those grown using conventional farming techniques.  To supply the needs of consumers for organic products, many grocery stores also dedicate a section in their store for organic food products.

The Future of Grocery Stores

The future of grocery stores is very predictable. With the rising demand and food preferences of American consumers, grocery stores will get even bigger and will carry more diverse items. But then variety can also have its downsides. Ruhlman believes that too much variety sends consumers the wrong message that they can rely on grocery stores to get instant food instead of learning how to cook their meals from scratch. After all, cooking is an age-old skill everyone must learn, and that ability allows you to control the number of ingredients that you put in your food.

Inspired by www.marketwatch.com

Growing Demand for Organic Ingredients Leads to Supply Challenges

The need for fresh ingredients by consumers has led many farmers to go into organic farming. According to data provided by the USDA, the number of organic farmers in the US has increased by almost 300% since 2002. This growth is to meet the demands of consumers who prefer organic foods more than those grown in conventional methods.

Why Is It Difficult to Completely Go Organic?

Although there is a rapid increase of organic operators in the country, it is crucial to take note that only about 0.7% of the total operable farms within the country are classified as organic.  Many farmers pointed out that the main reason why converting their conventional farmland to organic is difficult because it is expensive as well as time-consuming. In general, farmers have to wait for at least three years to be able to convert their farms. Unfortunately, during the first year of turning their land using organic practices, the produce that they grow is not sold at organic prices. Meaning, they are still paid cheap even when they are spending more on organic practices. This is leading to the supply challenges in the market.

Solutions to The Supply Challenge

To solve the supply challenges, farmers are given several incentives to make the necessary switch. These include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that offers first-timer organic operators the right technical assistance to grow food the organic way. But, it is not only the government that provides support. Even food manufacturers, as well as retailers, have supported and implemented programs just to encourage farmers to boost their harvest. In fact, companies like Nature’s Path Foods, Whole Foods, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farms have provided grants to organic farmers to boost their production.

While organic farmers can supply the needs of food retailers and manufacturers, another problem is where to source specialty ingredients that are not grown in the United States. The solution proposed by the government was to get into digital platforms like Mercaris Auction Platform or GreenTrade.net to trade tons of organic products into the market.

All stakeholders are doing their best to provide the resources needed by the consumers. For instance, the Organic Trade Association was set up to provide suppliers and manufacturers the necessary information about their produce such as where to source their supplies, market data, and real-time pricing.

On the other hand, retailers like restaurants and grocery stores have also worked closely with organic farm operators to give them the idea of how much they will need to sustain their businesses. For instance, retail giant Walmart has worked with local organic farmers by giving them the outline of how much they need for the entire year so that the farmers can strategize on how they will be able to deliver the demands and needs of the end users.

The truth of the matter is that, while organic farming is prevalent, the number of organic operators is still not enough to be able to create a sustainable supply of products to the retailers and consumer product companies.

Inspired by www.fooddive.com/news

Effective Packaging Design Is Key To A Successful Start-Up Brand

In today’s social media-driven world, the competition of food and beverage brands can be tough. No longer should companies settle on traditional commercials on TV, print ads, and radio. Brands are now placing importance on effective communication through design.

Packaging design is an important element in getting a particular brand into people’s minds and hearts. An effective packaging design can catch the attention of the consumers encouraging them to engage and buy new products.

Why Is Effective Packaging Design Beneficial?

Packaging design is beneficial for start-up companies, and they don’t need to enlist the help of a million-dollar advertising firm to get their message across their clients. Never underestimate the power of an effective packaging design because coupled with social media advertising, it can catch the attention of people from around the globe.

Startup companies who wish to make their brand well-known should seek the help of an active brand designer. Startups need to communicate with the brand designer to incorporate the potential of the product in the branding and also make it appealing to its intended target market. Knowing the target market is crucial in designing the packaging that will conform to the preferences of the targeted consumers.

For instance, the company Bear produces kid’s snacks, and it went to great lengths to create an effective packaging design while incorporating collectible cards and codes to make it look fun for children. By the end of 2015, the company became the largest children’s fruit snack company in the United Kingdom.


Adding Personality Is Important In Packaging

Every brand needs to show people the company’s unique personality. It is important to take note that packaging is the unspoken way of making introductions. A package design that is unpretentious is considered more appealing for everyone. In most cases, using humor and wit is very useful in branding, which can be evident in the logo, type of fonts used and other elements used in the brand. It is important to take note that none of this wit and humor will be useful if the product isn’t also good. Simply put, effective branding should conform to the quality of the product being represented by the packaging.

Effective branding due to package design always works best if the product is made out of passion. If a product is conceived out of passion, everyone–the creator, brand designer, and consumers–will all believe in the product that is being promoted. Without passion, startup companies find it hard to sell their products even if the packaging designs are appealing.

The success of a startup relies so much on the brand designer and how he or she can turn words and visions into reality–a real brand. A brand designer does not only understand the market, but they also know the product and the company. With an effective packaging design, everything is balanced.

Inspired by www.foodbev.com