Member News & Headlines Blog

  • 18 Sep 2020 4:41 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)
    Trish Caddy

    Trish Caddy is a Senior Foodservice Analyst, writing reports about the UK’s eating out market. She previously worked as a restaurant cook in London.

    COVID-19 has spurred a frenzy of disruptive innovations by restaurants to keep their businesses afloat. The entrepreneurial spirit of some operators is strong and some have actively sought out change and embraced innovation amid the pandemic. Even as lockdown restrictions start to ease and foodservice operators focus on resuming dine-in services, some of these concepts are worth continuing as a means to top up earnings and cater to changing consumer needs.

    Meal kits allow restaurants to profit from home cooking boom 

    Instead of delivering cooked meals, some foodservice brands started selling meal kits and self-assemble/DIY kits (i.e. pre-packed meal kits with recipe cards) which require customers to cook from scratch or put the parts together themselves at home. This concept prevents delicate foods from falling apart in transit as individual ingredients are packed separately.

    As working from homes looks set to remain the norm for many office workers for a while longer, restaurant-branded meal kits allow customers to cook their own restaurant-quality meal at home, with The Dorchester as an example of a luxury hotel restaurant that launched its range of meal kits with recipe cards for customers to cook at home in June 2020.

    This element of personalisation bridges the gap between diners and chefs as it enables customers to appreciate the craft of preparing a meal whilst having fun making a dish that suits their personal preference.

    As with self-assemble kits, a trend in flavour of Japanese-style sushi kits emerged in June 2020, and contemporary BBQ restaurant Smokestak in East London, UK, launched a Temaki (sushi hand roll) kit for home delivery which included cartoon illustrated instructions on how to assemble each Temaki.

    Source: Hot Dinners

    Mobile catering allows brands to mobilise their business

    While restaurants’ dine-in activities ground to a halt during lockdown, some operators pivoted to mobile catering. The Dusty Knuckle, a London-based bakery shop is one example of a brand operating a mobile format in the shape of a food truck with no seating area. This option allows the bakery brand to mobilise its business whilst maintaining safe physical distancing.

    As visits to restaurants based in cities will suffer as a result of more flexible working practices and the decline in use of public transport, the continuing trend of portable kiosks and food trucks will cater to consumers who are working from homes in suburban and rural areas.

    The Dusty Knuckle Mobile Shop

    Source: Instagram, @thedustyknuckle

    Value-added set menus promote quality at a good price

    Some restaurants have simplified their menus in order to refocus their resources as a result of COVID-19. In June 2020, London’s Claude Bosi at Bibendum launched a Prix Fixe daily changing set menu that was available for pre-order and collection between Thursdays and Sundays.

    A set menu clearly has economic advantages as it allows operators to optimise ingredients resulting in less waste and spoilage. Meanwhile, a daily changing or rotating menu encourages frequent usage among diners who enjoy eating something different every day.

    As the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme officially ended on 1 September, some restaurants have extended the offer into September on their own. Instead of offering a blanket 50% discount that will squeeze margins in the longer term, some are offering a valued-added £10 set menu offer which promotes quality at a good price. For example, London’s Manteca pasta restaurant is offering a £10 set menu from Monday to Wednesday throughout September, which includes focaccia, a choice of mortadella or chicken liver parfait or white bean crostino, and a choice of pasta.

    Source: Instagram, @wetravelplanner

    Online activities help to boost e-commerce

    Social media platforms turned into a vital online community support system during this pandemic. We’ve noticed some restaurant chefs using Instagram to entertain and educate through cooking demonstrations or running live stream sessions that include making cocktails (eg. the “quarantini”) in real-time.

    UK’s Michelin-starred chef Michael O’Hare, for example, streamed live cooking demonstrations on Instagram to accompany his range of nationwide delivery meal kits/recipe boxes. Real-time cook-along shows allow customers to hone in on their cooking skills whilst strengthening customer and chef engagement.

    Read more from MINTEL, here:

  • 16 Sep 2020 1:48 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    Different objectives can lead to similar success, through a holistic approach to research.

    We live in a world with an abundance of choices. Think about the last time you went to purchase yogurt. As you walked down the aisle, you likely noticed the wide range of options. For someone who doesn’t already have a preferred selection or has never purchased yogurt before, the abundance of options can be overwhelming. Each product, although all yogurt, is unique in terms of brand, quality, attributes, package design, price, target consumer, etc. The more knowledge you have of yogurt, the better equipped you are to make the best choice for your needs. In this way, choosing the right approach to research is just like choosing the right yogurt.

    When it comes to designing a study, it’s imperative to carefully evaluate every aspect to ensure that the insights gleaned are the richest, most accurate, and of course, answer the questions at hand. For this reason, Curion takes a holistic approach to research. Armed with traditional methodologies, as well as a suite of digital tools, the Curion team works closely with their clients to identify the best approach for each objective.

    Earlier this year, a prominent nutritional beverage and supplements brand was looking to gather feedback from current users and nonusers on new concepts for powdered mixes and ready to drink (RTD) products. The brand was in its earliest stages of product development and sought input from consumers to ideate their ideal product. With a thorough understanding of the client, their brand, their goals and objectives, and the market itself, the Curion team took a virtual co-creation approach leveraging capabilities from its digital toolkit.

    Since the brand was looking to get feedback from current users and nonusers, the recruit was fulfilled using a combination of Curion’s proprietary database of consumers, as well as the brand’s own database of loyalists. Over the course of two weeks, video diaries and shop-a-longs were captured showcasing everyday usage of the brand’s products and similar products on the market. Photo captures allowed for sketching ideal powders and RTD products, with self-narrated videos attached. Select consumers were pulled to participate in live 1:1 sessions with a moderator for a deeper dive.

    The study showed that consumers are focused on functional nutrition that is convenient and easy. They prefer a lighter flavor intensity and like customization but need simplified options and education on benefits. In terms of packaging, consumers are looking for a design that emphasizes functionality, sustainability and convenience. After reviewing these results, the client was able to identify and optimize the most appealing new product concepts and fine tune them before launching a product in the marketplace.

    Around this same time, another client approached the Curion team looking to resolve their customer’s biggest complaint – the curling of their baking paper. The client was a manufacturer of household packaging products and wanted feedback on four packaging prototypes designed to alleviate the curling, without changing the paper itself. The Curion team, again with a deep understanding of the brand, the product, objectives, and the market, decided that in order to get the most accurate results, they needed the most authentic look into how consumers interacted with the product. It was crucial that the client be able to observe how consumers interacted with the product and if they followed the

    instructions provided on the packaging. In order to achieve this, the team used a home use test approach in combination with capabilities from the digital toolkit.

    Leveraging a partner’s proprietary online database, the team recruited consumers who regularly used and purchased the product. This was important to ensure that the consumers participating in the study were familiar with the curling issue and would give an accurate insight into typical product usage. Selected consumers were asked to capture their experiences dispensing the product from each box. They took video diaries unwrapping and lining their baking sheets and then completed a short online questionnaire. Interviews were conducted with a portion of the participants to dig deeper into elements of each prototype using the live 1:1 interview capability.

    From this research, the client discovered that many consumers didn’t even read the instructions provided. Of the consumers that did, many still failed to properly follow them and stated there were too many steps to follow. Consumers had expected that the paper itself would be changed to prevent curling, rather than having to resolve the issue through their own usage behaviors. The problem persisted. As a result of the feedback received, the client went back to the work bench, simplified instructions and tweaked the product. New prototypes are now undergoing quantitative testing.

    Although these clients had very different products, with different objectives, recruit needs, and were in very different stages of development, they were able to use many of the same tools to achieve their research goals. In both cases, the client was seeking a closer, more personal look into consumer lifestyles and usage behaviors. While a traditional focus group could have been used to explore new product concepts for the nutritional beverage and supplements brand, biases such as group think would likely have altered the quality of results. Similarly, a traditional home use test could have given the packaging products manufacturer the insight that their prototypes failed to resolve the curling problem. However, without the ability to observe the consumers interacting with the product, it would have lacked insight into how consumers were reacting to (or completely ignoring) the provided instructions.

    Just like selecting the right yogurt, when it comes to selecting the right research partner there is an abundance of options. By choosing a research partner who took the time to understand and develop their objectives, and who had the depth of knowledge, experience, and access to the right mix of tools, both clients were able to walk away from their studies equipped with the insights needed to take proper action to further their product development. These cases exemplify the importance of taking a holistic approach to research and having the support of an experienced team of researchers who can creatively leverage a mix of tools and methods to provide the best insight.

  • 16 Sep 2020 11:30 AM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    There is a saying that states “May you live in interesting times.” Some believe the phrase is shared as a blessing, others purport that the phrase is meant as a curse. For the citizens of the world today, there is no doubt we find ourselves sharing the experience of living in interesting times. All 7.8 billion of us, experiencing similar challenges, trying to figure out how to manage our way through issues that most of us haven’t faced in over 100 years, and do so while maintaining a positive attitude.

    For those of us who are in the food industry and related support businesses, we have been fortunate enough, for the most part, to weather the storm. We continue to manufacture our products, maintain our supply chain, get product to our customers, and we have learned how to operate our businesses remotely, efficiently, while never missing a beat. The Chicago-area food and beverage companies continue to provide industry-wide business leadership, providing a guiding light through the fog of the pandemic.

    We should take great pride in what we do for a living; we feed the nation and in some cases the world. From the late 1800s, Chicago has been the food capital of America and has led the industry in food innovation. This leadership role continues today. There is no city in our country that is better positioned to lead in food innovation, production, and industry leadership than the city of Chicago. Having been born and raised in this great city, I could not be more proud of the work we have done in making certain that people have food on their tables; whether it be because they purchased our products in their store of choice, or were provided the food they need via a food bank or pantry. We should never take lightly our responsibility to society.

    There is no doubt that COVID-19 has been a challenge. But the blessing that has come in conjunction is the love, caring, and empathy we have shown our co-workers, our customers, our business partners, and our community. I love this industry and love the role that we play. WE FEED AMERICA!

    I wish you continued success as you diligently provide leadership and compassion to those with whom you come in contact on a daily basis. Thank-you for being a valued member of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network and for being such a great representative of our industry.

    Joel Warady

    CFBN Chairman

  • 14 Sep 2020 1:43 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    Erin Conway, Counsel, McDonald Hopkins LLC

    Nick Kurk, Member, McDonald Hopkins LLC

    The global food and beverage e-commerce market is expected to grow to $22.4 billion in 2020, possibly reaching $36.4 billion in 2023. That’s up from $14.9 billion in 2019. Food and beverage e-commerce revenue in the United States alone is projected to exceed $15.2 billion this year and $19 billion by 2022.

    It’s no surprise that much of this recent uptick is due, in large part, to the global COVID-19 pandemic. With most people now working from home and limiting in-person interactions, consumers have flocked online to purchase food, beverages and other essential goods. And it’s not only online grocery and delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh that are reaping the benefits of this increased consumer demand. Many food and beverage brands themselves have also added or shifted to direct-to-consumer e-commerce offerings. Where supply chain, shipping, and payment processing, among other things, previously made direct sales logistically unattainable and unprofitable, e-commerce became one of the most powerful tools for some in the food and beverage industry to stay relevant and accessible to their customers during the pandemic.

    One of the biggest benefits, and potential pitfalls, of moving to a direct-to-consumer platform is the ability to collect and use consumer data. Data including social profiles, purchasing history, purchasing patterns, and demographics allow brands to target, tailor, and communicate with customers who are increasingly willing to purchase foods, beverages and other packaged goods online. But, as they say: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” E-commerce sites are an obvious target of cyber attacks and many of them are not sufficiently safeguarded. A breach can compromise sensitive customer data, which may lead not only to the loss of trust, sales and your brand’s reputation, but can also have serious liability consequences. Beyond that, improper use of customer data can lead to actions by both state and federal authorities.

    Whether new to e-commerce, or a seasoned veteran, here are five steps to consider taking to avoid a data privacy misstep:

    1. Be Smart with Technology

    The best way to deal with a data privacy breach is to take steps to prevent one altogether. Securing your payment gateway (by using a third-party payment processor, for example), having an up-to-date SSL certificate and HTTPS protocol, using a firewall, updating plugins and software, using multi-layer security (such as two-factor authentications), encrypting data, utilizing data classification and segmentation, using pseudonymization and anonymization techniques, and using strong passwords—company wide—are a few ways to ward off cybersecurity attacks.

    2. Be Aware of Data Privacy and Security Laws and Regulations

    While there is currently no single principal data protection legislation in the United States, there are a number of state and federal laws that serve to protect the personal data of U.S. residents. Notably, if you sell to customers in California and meet certain revenue, sales, or data handling

    thresholds, then the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) kicks in to provide certain data privacy and security rights and protections to California residents. For example, companies subject to the CCPA must implement a system to delete consumer data at the consumer’s request. Also, if you do business with customers in Europe, get familiar with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which, among other things, requires that a company justify why it needs data from its customers and how that data will be used. Obligations under this patchwork of data privacy laws will inevitably vary (and sometimes contradict), but the laws typically address how data can be collected, what type of notices need to be given, how data can be stored, how data can be transferred, and when, and under what circumstances, data must be deleted.

    If a breach occurs, the GDPR, CCPA (and similar laws in other states), and federal laws such as HIPPA and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), require that customers be notified within a certain time period. Certain state laws also levy civil penalties if notification requirements are not timely met. And for newsworthy breaches, a class action lawsuit is sure to follow.

    3. Don’t do Fishy Things with Customer Data

    While not a breach, illegitimately using or manipulating customer data, such as by selling or trading consumer information without consent or allowing targeted ads improperly, may still land a company in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or a state Attorney General. The FTC’s primary legal authority comes from Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices in the marketplace. The FTC also has authority to enforce a variety of sector specific consumer protection laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and GLBA. These actions may also lead to class action litigation.

    4. Assess Risks and Make a Plan

    Start by conducting a data privacy review and risk assessment, including vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, and identify any assets and data that need to be secured. You should evaluate your cybersecurity policy or look into cybersecurity insurance if you do not have it yet. Prepare a Written Information Security Program (WISP) and an Incident Response Plan. As part of your Incident Response Plan, create an Incident Response Team that should be composed of an interdisciplinary team including IT, a C-suite executive, and an attorney (consider having your external law firm and potentially an external forensics firm preapproved by your cyber insurance carrier).

    5. Implement Appropriate Polices and Provide Training

    All company employees need to be aware of how important it is to protect customer information. Provide ongoing data privacy and security training and awareness to your employees and vendors, including conducting a breach response workshop. Set strong password policies, and instruct that employees are never to share login credentials. Limit user and administrator privileges and control access to confidential customer information based on a “need to know” basis. Have all employees and vendors, and in some cases visitors, sign confidentiality

    agreements that specifically address customer data. Review your employee exit process to ensure that once employees leave your company, they don’t still have access to your systems. And, be sure that your vendors are maintaining appropriate security measures as well, to the extent they have access to customer information.

    Moving to an e-commerce platform can present a whole host of challenges that aren’t as obvious in a brick-and-mortar retail setting, including data privacy. With the sea change in consumer shopping patterns accelerated by COVID-19, food and beverage brands should be prepared to address data privacy and protection laws as part of their regular business.

  • 9 Sep 2020 10:15 AM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

     Incogmeato AUTHOR Natalie Koltun@natalie_koltun

    PUBLISHED Aug. 31, 2020

    First published on 


    • Incogmeato, Kellogg's line of plant-based protein, is extending a campaign to challenge skeptics to try its alternative meats. Phase one of the "Afraid you might like it?" effort kicked off in early August targeting flexitarians — those that are primarily vegetarian, but occasionally eat meat or fish — to overcome their fears that vegan burgers, bratwursts and nuggets won't taste good.
    • The MorningStar Farms brand takes the campaign to social media by teaming with animal influencers @Prissy_Pig, @SammiChicken and @BuckleyTheHighlandCow. (The three total more than 800,000 Instagram followers.) These partners' social accounts today will begin mirroring the Incogmeato logo's look of a monocle, mustache and bowler hat to show their support for "a meat brand they can finally get behind," said Sara Young, Kellogg's general manager of plant-based proteins. Exclusive content will additionally feature the San Francisco 49ers, giving fans a peek into player life and their experiences in trying Incogmeato.
    • Incogmeato last week hosted a national Twitter giveaway and Postmates deal in Dallas and Denver to deliver samples of its new ground product to people's doors. Consumers in the cities on Aug. 27 could order bite-sized samples through Postmates' iOS or Android apps. Those who redeemed also got a coupon for Incogmeato burger patties at retailers including Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons.


    Plant-based meat isn't new, but the category has seen an uptick in recent years as consumers look to healthier protein alternatives. Still, 60% of Americans want to try plant-based proteins but are skeptical of the taste, according to a Kellogg study by The Cambridge Group.

    This month, 45-year-old MorningStar Farms is tapping a phased strategy to drive awareness and challenge consumers to take the leap. Its first marketing campaign launched in early August on traditional mass-reach vehicles like TV and digital video, communicating a challenger mindset to express how meat alternatives can "look, cook and taste" like the real thing.

    Incogmeato's campaign takes a lighthearted, good-natured approach to playfully goad skeptics into trying its new alternative meats. The first phase of the effort associated the brand with summer barbecue meals, and now, it's extending the messaging into the fall season as people think about back-to-school and cooking colder-weather meals like chili and spaghetti, according to Young.

    The brand is stretching into nontraditional marketing channels like sampling integrations and influencer tie-ins as parent company Kellogg invests heavily in MorningStar Farms and marketing. Kellogg announced last week a $43 million expansion to MorningStar Farms' Ohio plant, amid a significant acceleration in marketing in the second half of 2020, CEO Steven Cahillane said on a July 30 call with investors.

    This new phase of "Afraid you might like it?" extends the brand's name, packaging and cheeky messaging, and arrives around Labor Day, when consumers will see a ramp-up in national distribution of Incogmeato's full product line.

    "We think about new phases as ways to continue to drive top-of-mind awareness and overcome the trial barrier of taste," Young said.

    Incogmeato's phased strategy could spark brand chatter on social and compel skeptics to sample the vegan meat, while the new "spokesanimals" play into the influencer marketing trend and help to put a face to the brand, potentially making Incogmeato more relatable for people who may be hesitant. The Postmates deal was a clever pandemic pivot to share product samples via delivery instead of the traditional in-store venue. That partnership to reach residents of Denver and Dallas illustrates how brands including Incogmeato — and their deep-pocketed parent companies like Kellogg — can adjust to new consumer habits during the coronavirus health crisis.

    Recommended Reading:

  • 3 Sep 2020 1:20 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    August 27, 2020

    Click here for the full report!

    1. Unicorns Aren’t Going Away

    Kellogg’s has new Unicorn and Mermaid waffles that are keeping consumers’ breakfasts magical. The Unicorn Waffles are pink with a cotton candy flavor and the Mermaid Waffles are teal with a blue raspberry flavor. These waffles have been spotted at Walmart and Albertsons. | Best Products

    Harpoon Brewery

    2. Harpoon Dunkin Beer

    For the 2020 fall season, Harpoon and Dunkin Donuts collaborated and created a beer line with 3 new beer flavors. One of the flavors being released hits the fall theme, Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin. The other two flavors, Harpoon Dunkin’ Boston Kreme and Harpoon Dunkin’ Jelly Donut, are made with actual donuts! | Food & Wine

    3. Walnut Pesto

    Trader Joe’s has a new spread on the shelves, Walnut Pesto. This pesto paste is made with walnuts, canola oil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, black pepper, nutmeg, and seat salt. It is described to be savory, rich in nutty flavor and goes well with pasta, bread or dressed up in your veggies. | Trader Joe’s

    4. Fewer, Larger, Quicker Grocery Trips

    Due to health concerns during the pandemic, The Hartman Group conducted a survey and found that consumers have changed their grocery shopping habits. Consumers have found themselves making less trips to the grocery store to reduce exposure but on the quick trips they do take, they are stocking up and buying much more than they did before the pandemic. | Hartman Group

    5. Spicy Chicken Nuggets

    McDonald’s announced they will be releasing a new Spicy Chicken Nuggets flavor to their menu on September 16. This is the first new nugget flavor being introduced since 1986. Eater suggests that McDonald’s is jumping into the chicken wars with Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, Wendy’s, and KFC. | Eater

    6. Apple Pie Irish Cream Liqueur

    This August, Baileys released a new limited-edition Apple Pie-Flavored Irish Cream Liqueur. The flavor is described to resemble freshly baked apple pie mixed with vanilla ice cream and has hints of cinnamon and spice to top it off. | Thrillist

    7. Toast-Yay Cookie

    The Girl Scouts of the USA announced a new cookie flavor to add to their lineup, the Toast-Yay Cookie. This shortbread cookie is shaped like a slice of bread, partially coated in a sugary icing, and is French toast flavored. | Rachel Ray Mag

    8. Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese

    Cheetos just released a new product line, Mac & Cheese, exclusively sold at Walmart. This new line includes 3 different flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot, and Cheesy Jalapeno. The products are described to be extremely cheesy and you can instantly smell the notorious Cheeto flavor as soon as you open the cheese packet. | Guilty Eats

    9. Sparkle Syrup

    Runamok Maple, a sustainable pure syrup brand, dropped a limited-time-only Sparkle Syrup. This syrup is infused with glitter crystals that the company said it’s “one sole purpose: to make you smile.” The syrup is made with pure maple syrup and flavorless food-safe pearlescent mica and will be sold on their website and Amazon starting September 1. |Delish

    10. Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa

    Coming up this season, Swiss Miss combines two Autumn drinks to create Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa. This limited-edition drink with be available across the nation at retailers like Target, Walmart and Amazon.  | Pop Sugar

    Click here for the full report!

    Order your free flavor sample here.

    You deserve more. Let’s get started.

    What does true partnership look like? You deserve a flavor partner ready to turn these trends into the tangible.

    Let FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” FONA's technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, they're here for you — every step of the way.

    Contact FONA International's sales service department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or chat us up at

  • 2 Sep 2020 1:04 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)


    By Donna Berry

    CHICAGO – Experience is something food industry professionals have been missing with no trade shows and the opportunity to sample new products. The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network (CFBN) brought that experience to its members on Aug. 27, when the nonprofit hosted a virtual trends and innovations event, which included the delivery of a tasting box.

    The interactive event was designed to not only assist food industry professionals in Chicago, but members around the country, even beyond US borders. Attendees were able to dive into the trends and insights that are shaping food today with a look to where “taste” is headed in the future, said Alan Reed, executive director of CFBN.

    Experience also is something consumers are missing when chefs are limited in how they may showcase their culinary talents with menu creation. The event was designed to assist commercial food manufacturers with tapping into that culinary artistry through the exploration of nine trends taking place in foodservice, which while many have been put on hold, consumer interest continues.

    “The tasting box is your experience,” said Kelley Fechner, director of customer solutions, Datassential, Chicago, to attendees.

    Ms. Fechner explained that eating out is as much about the food as it is the experience. Operators are now challenged with ensuring the same, or at least close to, experience happens with takeout and delivery.

    Diners are interested in functional foods, foods that do something for you, Ms. Fechner said. But at the same time, healthy indulgent is top of mind, especially during these uncertain times when many are turning to comfort foods.

    “I want to be healthy, but I also want a treat,” Ms. Fechner said.

    Kraut Krisps from Farmhouse CultureThis desire is fueling innovation in plant-based and fermented foods, with both trends now manifesting in snacks as well as sweet and savory products. This was showcased in the Kraut Krisps from Farmhouse Culture, Chicago, which were in the tasting box. Three ounces of sauerkraut are baked into every 5-oz bag of chips. In fact, sauerkraut is the No. 1 ingredient before it gets cooked down.

    Fermented foods include sour dough bread, which many home bakers have been exploring. On the beverage side, there’s kombucha and drinkable yogurt.

    The trend of sprouted grains may be experienced in baked foods, while cannabis may be found in a range of packaged foods, albeit illegally.

    The trend of zero waste is challenging to transfer into commercial food manufacturing, said Rick Williams, business partner-operations, JPG Resources, Battle Creek, Mich., a consultancy devoted to brand development. Chefs are better equipped to do this, as they are preparing foods for immediate consumption.

    Some components have a short shelf life, such as vegetable peelings. The chef may use them, but the industrial food manufacturer cannot.

    “Let your suppliers do the work,” said Amy Usiak, business partner – product development at JPG Resources. They can dry the peelings and pulverize them into a powder for another use.

    African cuisine is another foodservice trend poised to accelerate in commercial food manufacturing. Seasoning blends such as berbere and peri peri are conducive to the premium frozen foods rolling out into the marketplace, including bowl meals and family-size entrees. 

    Mr. Williams said consumers like trying these new tastes in restaurants because the chef knows what he is preparing. When a consumer follows a recipe at home, there’s a level of uncertainty if it tastes and looks right. Frozen food manufacturers can deliver authenticity. They can bring the foodservice trend to retail shelf.

    The goal is to “make it that moment” experience that you have in the restaurant, Ms. Usiak said.

    This, of course, comes with challenges, Mr. Williams said. There may be supply chain issues, especially of ingredients like imported spices.

    With many consumers still uncomfortable with dining out, there are some foods they are craving, Ms. Fechner said. Sushi, Chinese and lobster, these are foods that most people cannot easily make at home or they don’t want to make at home because of the lack of expertise or authentic ingredients.

    Restaurants serving such foods may have an advantage over others. This also presents an opportunity for retailers to explore more authentic offerings at the deli counter and in packaged prepared foods.

    Many restaurants have started adding new products to keep consumers interested and coming back, for on-premises dining, takeout or delivery. Foodservice at retail is starting to do the same.

    “We’re getting a little tired of comfort foods,” Ms. Fechner said. “Chefs are starting to create new flavors of comfort foods.”

    The concept of comfort food is evolving, said John Draz, executive research chef, Ed Miniat LLC, South Holland, Ill. Consumers want foods that make them safe, such as retorted soup, which is sterile and non-perishable. He also believes there’s an opportunity for innovative meal kits at retail.

    “There’s a real opportunity to help people eat healthier,” said Jeff Grogg, managing director at JPG Resources.

    They don’t necessarily want more bars or beverages, rather how about prepped vegetables.

    Ms. Fechner said innovation in foodservice is now focusing on center-of-plate dinners. This is where consumers in the COVID-19 world need the most help after a long day of working from home while overseeing children to keep them focused on e-learning.

    Today’s consumers simply want to “deliver a great-taste experience to the family at dinner,” Ms. Usiak said.

  • 31 Aug 2020 1:50 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    August 27, 2020 08:00 AM EDT

    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ADM has identified six emerging behavioral changes that will power innovation and growth in the months ahead.

    “Consumers’ attitudes, priorities and behaviors are shifting significantly,” said Ana Ferrell, VP of Marketing, ADM. “This evolution is providing a unique opportunity for forward-looking food and beverage companies to bring a suite of trailblazing new products to market.”

    Recent ADM OutsideVoice℠ research shows that 77% of consumers intend to make more attempts to stay healthy in the future. Food and beverage manufacturers who successfully balance consumer health concerns with affordability are most likely to win with consumers.

    ADM has identified six behavioral shifts that will create opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers to gain market share in an increasingly uncertain business environment.

    1. Increasing Focus on the Gut Health and Immune Function Connection
      Globally, 57% of consumers report being more concerned about their immunity as a result of COVID-191. As consumers strive to enhance their immunity, they are becoming more knowledgeable about how the human microbiome supports the immune system and overall wellbeing. Products containing probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics can benefit the microbiome and are already gaining momentum in the marketplace.

    2. Plant-Based Becomes Mainstream
      In the U.S., 18% of alternative protein buyers purchased their first plant-based protein during COVID-19, and 92% of those first-time buyers report they are likely to continue purchasing meat alternatives2. In Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands, 80% of consumers state they are likely to continue eating plant-based meat alternatives beyond COVID-192. With health, safety and convenience as top purchase motivators, products that deliver exceptional nutrition and a high-quality sensory experience will be poised for success.

    3. A New Perspective on Weight Management and Metabolic Health
      The pandemic’s consequences for individuals with hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease have consumers viewing weight management and metabolic health in a new light, with 51% of consumers indicating they are concerned about being less active or gaining weight during the pandemic. That worry is likely to increase demand for functional solutions supportive of metabolic wellness and healthy weight management.

    4. Finding Balance: Self Care, Emotional Wellbeing and Nutrition
      The difficult circumstances stemming from COVID-19 have increased feelings of anxiety and stress as 35% of consumers report being concerned about mental health2. People are looking for new ways to improve their mental wellness during these stressful times, including granting themselves permission to consume indulgent, comforting food and beverages. However, they are tempering this desire with weight management needs and seek a careful overall balance of indulgence and good nutrition.

      Food and beverages designed to elevate mood, sustain energy and reduce stress will grow in popularity in the months and years to come. ADM also projects new opportunities for comfort foods, snacks and baked goods offering nutrient-rich ingredients and functional health benefits.

    5. Nutrition, It’s Personal
      As COVID-19 increases consumer awareness of individual health risk factors, demand for products offering tailored, highly personalized health and wellness solutions will take off. ADM research shows that 49% of consumers feel every individual is unique and requires a customized approach to diet and exercise, and 31% of consumers are already purchasing more items tailored for health and nutrition. Products that focus on improving nutrition, self-care and general wellness will increasingly attract consumers’ attention2.

    6. A Shift in Shopping Values
      An increased focus on health is triggering a windfall in consumer health and wellness spending. Forty-eight percent of consumers plan to purchase more items related to health and wellness2. Concurrently, manifesting concerns around widespread economic decline have prompted a shift to value-based shopping, including growing demand for basic pantry staples, stimulating trade-downs to private labels and increasing traffic to value retailers.

    These behavioral shifts are likely to persist well after the pandemic crisis peaks. ADM has responded by developing tailored solutions aimed at giving brands an edge in an ever-changing marketplace.

    About ADM

    At ADM, we unlock the power of nature to provide access to nutrition worldwide. With industry-advancing innovations, a complete portfolio of ingredients and solutions to meet any taste, and a commitment to sustainability, we give customers an edge in solving the nutritional challenges of today and tomorrow. We’re a global leader in human and animal nutrition and the world’s premier agricultural origination and processing company. Our breadth, depth, insights, facilities and logistical expertise give us unparalleled capabilities to meet needs for food, beverages, health and wellness, and more. From the seed of the idea to the outcome of the solution, we enrich the quality of life the world over. Learn more at

    1 FMCG GURUS: Twelve Step Guide for Addressing COVID-19 in 2020 and Beyond, April 2020

    2 ADM OutsideVoice℠

    Source: Corporate release

  • 20 Aug 2020 1:59 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    August 12, 2020

    Dining Out      Trends      Click Here for the full report! 

    What we once knew as dining as usual has taken a drastic shift in the past months. Foodservice operators have been forced to think on their feet, quickly adapting and innovating to stay afloat. What trends in the restaurant space can carry over to prepared food and beverage and the grocery aisle? While the effects of the pandemic have negatively impacted the dining industry, it has also brought about innovation in foods, flavors and new ways of dining. From pandemic dining trends to consumer interest in everything from comfort food to spice to and better-for-you offerings, let’s take a look at how this new state of dining has impacted food and flavor trends.

    Unexpected Changes

    Consumer behaviors and the dining industry changed in what felt like overnight. Shelter-in-place, social distancing and work from home orders limited the extent to which consumers could dine in person, let alone follow common routines such as socializing with friends, picking up their morning coffee on the way to work, buying groceries and more.

    From sales declines to food surpluses, the dining industry has been far from “business as usual” with sales down 67% year over year in April. Common dining food and drink such as beer and wine reached sales declines as high as 90% and 65% respectively.

    The dining industry response? Adapt to change and innovate with new products, services, and ways of running business.

    “Restaurant sales declined precipitously throughout the month of March, falling 78.3% from the week ending 8 March to the week ending 29 March. April sales were down 67.6% YoY.” – Iconoculture

    “Due to restaurant and bar closures, distributed draft beer sales are down well over 90 percent, according to a BA report from earlier this month. And on-site sales for breweries—much of which comes out of their own tap lines—are down 65 percent on average.” – Food & Wine, April 2020

    To continue reading, visit:

  • 17 Aug 2020 3:11 PM | Anna Pirila (Administrator)

    By News Desk on August 11, 2020

    USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is out with its annual International Food Security Assessment, and it isn’t pretty. And the reason things have gotten worse is the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

    The authors–Felix Baquedano, Cheryl Christensen, Kayode Ajewole, and Jayson Beckman–say the bottom line is this:

    “In the 76 low- and middle-income countries examined in the report, the number of people considered food insecure in 2020 was estimated at almost 761 million people or 19.8 percent of the total population. The shock to GDP from COVID-19 is projected to increase the number of food-insecure people by 83.5 million people in 2020 to 844.5 million and increase the share of the population that is food insecure to 22 percent.”

    The annual report determines how much access people in 76 low and middle-income countries have to food. The answer to that question requires tracking incomes, food prices, and other economic factors including agriculture production and market conditions.

    “Widespread food availability, rising income levels, and low food prices improve a country’s food security, although the breadth of these gains can depend on the distribution of income within a country,” says the ERS report. ” Conversely, disruptions to income, prices, or food supply can increase food insecurity, especially for the poor.”

    This year’s report looks at the income shock associated with the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in each of the 76 countries, which are located in Sub-Saharan and North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

    Among the findings are:

    • The number of food-insecure people in 2020 is estimated at 844.3 million, an increase of 83.5 million (11 percent) due to COVID-19 income shock. This implies that 22 percent of the total population of the 76 focus countries is unable to consume 2,100 calories a day, an average caloric level necessary to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle.
    • Most of the increase in people estimated to be food insecure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are in Asia (41 million people) and Sub-Saharan Africa (35 million people).
    • Even with the income impacts from COVID-19, food security is projected to improve in all 76 countries over the next 10 years. By 2030, the share of the population that is food insecure in these countries is projected to fall to 10 percent (456.8 million people), a 46 percent drop from 2020 in the number of food-insecure people. Despite this sharp decline, the 2030 estimate of food insecurity is almost 13 percent higher than the pre-COVID-19 scenario.
    • Improvement in food security is driven by income growth, relatively stable prices for major grains over the projection period, and lower population growth, particularly in Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    • Per capita income in the following decade is projected to increase by almost 42 percent on average for the 76 countries, but this is 1.3 percentage points lower than the pre-COVID-19 estimate.
    • The food gap, defined as the amount of food needed for all food-insecure people to reach the caloric target of 2,100 kcal/day, indicates the intensity of food insecurity. It can be expressed in calories per capita per day or in grain-equivalent quantities and is used to measure the intensity of food security at the aggregate level. For the 76 countries examined, the total food gap is projected to decline in all four regions from a total of 44.7 million tons in 2020 to 24.3 million tons in 2030.

    (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

    Tags: Economic Research Service (ERS)Food Security Assessment

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