Been side-tracked, but trying to get back at it. Extra-long edition this time maybe?
For about 2 years I helped work a vending route for a futuristic ice cream brand franchise and that gave me a lot of insight as to how the vending industry operates, especially with perishable foods. It is a distribution model that I found interesting, so when I see or hear about something innovative in vending I check it out.
There is a start-up in Hong Kong that is making boxed fresh and healthy meals in a central kitchen and then using vending machines as the distribution channel. They have written software to closely track sales and inventory so product is always fresh.
(link on cnbc: This Alibaba-backed food startup wants to sell boxed meals from vending machines)
In retail, there is a current trend of consumer participation – think Build-a-Bear or custom Nikes. I have even recently seen that Groupon and AirBnB are offering Experiences (though those two are slightly different, for Groupon it’s just a way to market activities as experiences, but with AirBnB there are more custom activities that the consumer can participate). In retail settings, this trend is being coined Co-Creation and the consumer takes part in the making of the product that they are purchasing, giving them the feeling that they took part in the creation of the product that they took away with them.
(link to Forbes article: Co-Creation: The Future Of Retail Stores?)
Will your barista be replaced with a robot? I wish I had heard about this before my recent trip to San Francisco, I could have checked it out and seen if a robot could make my go-to cortado.
(link to WSJ video: The Future of Coffee: Robot Baristas)
A very insightful post by an LA chef/owner about cheap eats lists and how it influences labor and the human costs of the restaurant industry.
(link to article on NPR: Cheap Eats, Cheap Labor: The Hidden Human Costs Of Those Lists)
HabaNada – a non-spicy habanero???
(link to NPR: This Heatless Habanero Packs All Of The Flavor With None Of The Burn)
Whenever I’m in a store, even if I am just running in to grab an item quickly, I am always looking at what is new, or innovative, or different, or trending, etc. It’s just the nature of things for me I guess. Over the past few years, I have noticed things like a lot more organic or natural products on the shelves, not only in traditional mainstream grocery stores, but even at Target, Walmart, and Costco. Here’s an article on how Wholefoods Market is struggling even though organic is booming, is it a victim of its own success?
(link to Mashable: How organic foods could be the undoing of Whole Foods)