Check out our member US Food's 2019 spring "Trend Tracker" here
The BGL Consumer Insider is a periodic research publication highlighting capital markets and mergers and acquisitions activity, financial and operating performance of certain publicly-traded companies, and trends within the consumer industry.
Evolving consumer preferences and rapid technological change are transforming the food supply chain. Food distributors are refining offerings to capture on-trend products and capitalize on changing market dynamics, accelerating acquisition-driven growth. Consolidation is continuing in a fragmented marketplace with buyers aggressively seeking acquisitions to broaden specialty offerings, build private brand portfolios, gain access to independent restaurants and retailers, and expand geographic reach.
Download their latest research document here.
Imbibe sent a team to Expo West to look for the hottest trends and most innovative products. Here's what we found!
Click here to see the Expo West trends
Two entrepreneurs, Gregg Latterman and Dan Willoughby, loved pretzels and thought they could improve on the basic formula. They launched the Positive Pretzels™ brand in 2018 and were picked up by Whole Foods throughout the Midwest. Like many emerging brands, they bootstrapped the launch. To ensure that their organic, health-focused product had legs, they needed to take the next logical step — tap consumer insights. This involved sensory testing with a relevant sample of target consumers; people who shop for healthy, organic snacks at retail chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy, for example. To help with this effort, they turned to sensory testing leader, Curion.
The origins of the pretzel industry
The pretzel has been a mainstay snack in the U.S. since the 1930s. But the origins of the pretzel are much older; the first version invented by an Italian monk in the year 610. The modern pretzel-making machine was introduced in Pennsylvania in 1935. Since then, with the exception of shape and texture (soft or hard), the pretzel has remained the same — yeast-risen, dough-dipped in a liquid wash of water and lye before baking. Actually, traditional pretzels are essentially refined carbohydrates that offer few nutritious benefits and an overdose of salt.
A healthy reinvention
Positive Pretzels™ markets their product as a healthier alternative, targeted at the “better for you” category. The goal was to have as few ingredients as possible and the best quality. Ingredients include organic flour, organic sunflower oil, sea salt and water. The brand is free from any artificial ingredients, with no added sugar or corn syrup.
Sensory testing with Curion’s eFive™
Positive Pretzels™ teamed up with eFive™, the sensory testing service designed by Curion specifically for emerging brands. At their Deerfield, Illinois test facility, consumers were drawn from Curion’s national database. In the test kitchen, bowls of pretzels were handed through sliding windows to consumers who sat in testing booths. Bowls of Positive Pretzels™ were rotated with bowls of competitor brands. Each batch of pretzels was numbered. Consumers were given salt-free crackers in between tastings to clean the palate.
eFive™ is designed to analyze consumer perceptions via the 5 senses: sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Test subjects filled out questionnaires that sought to answer client questions such as:
eFive™ delivers for Positive Pretzels™
77 consumers participated in the test. According to partner, Gregg Latterman, who viewed the process, “We received results on how our product was rated compared to competitors. Consumers ranked us favorably for our natural ingredients, and the package and messaging also garnered high marks. Positive Pretzels™ is an organic product with all the relevant certifications. The brand was very well received by consumers seeking “good for you” snack products. We were also able to get some answers to questions such as:
Sensory science is a research method that gathers and analyzes consumers’ responses to products that invoke the five human senses: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. Through its offerings, eFive uses sensory science to reduce the risk of failure. For emerging brand owners like Gregg Latterman, eFive™ delivered the consumer insights with both speed and affordability so that he could take Positive Pretzels™ to the next level.
Curion is a full-service product and sensory insights firm. Curion mitigates risk of marketplace failure by ensuring that only products of quality and character will be introduced to the market, providing repeatable delight to consumers. This is accomplished with world-class people, sensory processes, facilities, and data insights. These insights provide a wealth of information such as: product readiness for launch, consumer purchase decision process, market and demographic opportunity, flavor and texture profiles, competitive landscape and more. Curion was formed with the merger of Q Research Solutions and Tragon Corp.
Mazars USA LLP is pleased to announce the results of the 2018 Food & Beverage Industry Study. The survey was conducted to identify and examine current practices and key trends that have the most impact on the Food & Beverage Industry and its business operations.
Access the full report here
2018 was a historical year for cannabis. We saw firsts from a government perspective, with Canada becoming the second country, and first G7 nation, to legalize adult use cannabis, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approving the first cannabis-derived drug. Plus, we saw significant investments from a business perspective, especially from the alcoholic beverage industry. Constellation Brands (owner of Corona and Modelo beers) invested $4 billion into Canopy Growth, a leading Canadian cannabis producer. Miller Coors partnered with The Hydropothecary to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages in Canada. In the U.S., Lagunitas Brewing Company became the first general market CPG company to launch a cannabis product with their introduction of Hi-Fi Hops.
Access the full PDF story from our member Aclara here
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP)’s comprehensive assessment can reduce your business costs, energy costs, water consumption, wastewater generation, hazardous materials, and emissions, which:
-promotes sustainable manufacturing and growth
-improves profitability and competitiveness
-reduces environmental impacts while gaining a competitive advantage
-increases capacity to attract new business
Download a PDF copy here
Click here to schedule a site visit.
“We have to have tough conversations about building healthy food systems in our city...I feel so strongly that we need a systematic, food-systems approach,” said Nancy Roman, Partnerships for a Healthier America (PHA) CEO and moderator for our Healthier Revolution discussion. On Wednesday March 6th, we teamed up with our partners at PHA to talk about what it means to truly be health conscious in the food & beverage industry. We kicked things off by looking at what organizations like Mars Global is doing to spark that change. The entire room was engaged as we listened to panelist Tracey Massey reflect on the efforts of renowned confectionary company Mars Global. She explained that one of the most important factors of Mars Global is to help the consumer be more aware of what’s in their snacks. They’ve worked to ensure that their consumers are aware of what they’re eating by practicing “transparent labeling,” and offering snack size portions of their products.
Author and former food industry executive, Hank Cardello also weighed in on the panel, offering insight on the progress that’s been made to create a healthier industry, while noting that there’s still much work to be done. “I’ve seen progress within the confection industry, as a whole and certainly in the soda industry,” Cardello noted, “but there’s an obesity crisis in the U.S.,” and something must be done to remedy this situation. Cardello made an interesting observation that consumers are influenced by more than what food companies are advertising, they follow influencers, bloggers and trends. With that in mind, it’s important for food companies to take consumer marketing into account in order to successfully get their messaging across.
The Healthier Revolution was a fantastic learning experience with knowledgeable panelists, as well as our PHA partners. We look forward to partnering with PHA for more events. Speaking of amazing events, PHA will be hosting a summit April 1-2 to bring forward lessons learned from the world’s most iconic brands, industry leaders, thinkers and doers with workshops and sessions that will spark ideas, ignite conversations and accelerate change. Registration for this event is available now.
The fact that CBD is not a legal ingredient in foods and supplements - at least not yet - did not deter scores of exhibitors at Expo West, who added it to everything from soda to protein bars (absent any claims), with some opting for isolates, but most promoting full or broad spectrum hemp extracts. Oatmeal and plant-based meat were also trending at the show.
Read the full article from Food Navigator here
Five new companies have been selected to Kraft Heinz’s incubator program for upstart food brands.
Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC) announced its latest Springboard incubator cohort on Tuesday, which includes startups ranging from allergen-free nutrition bars that use seeds instead of nuts, to a cold-pressed almond juice.
Kraft Heinz launched its Springboard program in 2018 and announced its first cohort in May. Among the five companies in that class were Chicago startups Poppilu, an antioxidant lemonade brand, and Quevos, a high-protein snack chip that won first place at the University of Chicago’s College New Venture Challenge.
Startups in Springboard participate in a 16-week program in Chicago where they receive business training, workspace and other resources. Companies in the program each receive $50,000, and the potential to get another $50,000 during the program.
Read the full article here
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