Caught My Attention 016 (170810)

A lot of variety in this edition of Caught My Attention, from Oprah to Kit Kats. Trying to tame down the Amazon/WFM media, but can never really get away. . .

I’ve always been intrigued by all the different (and weird) flavors of snacks in Japan, especially Kit Kat chocolate bars. Some sound really good, like one with chile, or another with yuzu. Some not so much, like ume (salty fermented plum) which is a common flavor there. All the different combinations and flavors have become wildly popular and people travel just to get their hands on them. The business has been so big that they are now needing to build another factory.
(link to Bloomberg: Demand for Exotic Kit Kats Is So High Nestle’s Building a New Plant)
With increasing competition in the coffee market, for Starbucks it doesn’t seem that tea is the answer to save/gain market share. They are going to close their Teavana Stores.
(link to Fortune: Starbucks Is Closing All 379 of Its Teavana Stores)
It is interesting to see the major food mergers and acquisitions so far this year. I can remember when Sir Kensington was just starting out and I met those folks along with their co-packer (assuming they’ve gone on to larger packers now?) at Expo West. Great seeing success for small producers, watching them grow.
(link to New Hope: Top food and beverage transactions for the first half of 2017)
I knew Food4Less as an off shoot to Ralphs, as part of Kroger. As more and more retailers are trying to update themselves, it is interesting that they are bringing specialty, natural, organic, more healthy products to their less-fancy chain of stores.
(link to: Retail Leader: New Food 4 Less format is focused on health and wellness)
We’ve known for a while that the condiment, and specifically hot sauce, category has been growing like crazy over the recent years. Now you see spicy variations from all major brands across the board pretty much.
(link to: USA Today – Money: Hot sauce industry sets tongues — and sales — ablaze)
This is a very interesting use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. I did try it and didn’t work for me, but maybe I need to find a better pic of a simple dish (and not try to test the limits).
(link to: NPR Salt: Oh, Snap! Scientists Are Turning People’s Food Photos Into Recipes)
In-store, prepared to order meals I remember first seeing long ago in some flagship Wegmans stores. Fast forward 15 to 20 years and now even full in-store restaurants are growing in popularity. Here they are saying that it is the value and cost that is a big part of the attraction.
(link to: NPR the Salt: Grocery Stores Draw Millennials With In-Store Restaurants)
I listen to several podcasts and one of the business related ones is The Small Business Report. In this episode they discuss some very interesting things for small brands to consider when thinking about selling on Amazon. Lots to really consider for your brand. The brand isn’t what Amazon is really caring about, selling is. Incentives that drive Amazon are not the incentives that drive brands. Amazon whats low price/cost and availability, the brand needs to think about the long game, not just short term.
(link to The Small Business Report (podcast): The Small Business Report – August 4, 2017)
Seeing more and more vacant commercial properties, especially large malls, it would be interesting if grocery and food might help restore some of that real estate.
(link to: Business Insider: Grocery stores could save dying suburban shopping malls)
Several months back, a friend of mine was saying how nice the Northgate Market was near them. I had been in another location and didn’t think it was that nice. Was kind of worn and dated. Not the most clean. So I thought they were kind of loco… until they took me there! Wow! what a nice market, I couldn’t believe it. And now I see it being talked about as a new flagship type market for the chain going forward.
(link to: Progressive Grocer: PG July 2017 Store of the Month: Northgate Gonzalez Market)
Recently cold brewed coffee has become quite popular, especially with the rise of specialty (do they still call it 3rd wave?) coffee shops. Also, slowly, starting to become more popular is the specialty or artisan bean-to-bar chocolate companies. I came across this article talking about cacao teas being the next cold brew. I’ve had cacao mate by ChocoVivo and it was nice and smooth (no acidity) with a hint of choco flavor. Maybe I need to make this my new regular drink.
(link to: Mintel: Meet Cold Brew Cocoa, The Next Cold Drink Innovation)
Oprah is teaming up with Kraft-Heinz to introduce her own line of prepared food products. I am sure she will crush it, with the following and brand power she has. Although I am kind of disappointed, I kind of wish she would use her branding power to help the small brands, the little people, instead of teaming up with an already huge goliath in the industry.
(link to: GrubStreet: Oprah Is Launching Her Own Food Brand)

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