Cultural Markets are Changing...

Over the next decade the demand for authentic specialty foods is slated to increase by a staggering 50%. Do you know how to reach these new consumers?
Today’s opportunities reside in creating brands that are tailored to the intricate tastes of cultural segments, not mass audiences. Finding new methods to promote and market your food and beverage product using great packaging combined with traditional in store, social media, search engine marketing, pay per click advertising and other consumer research tools can be critical in building national distribution and increasing unit sales.

Starbucks Race Together Fail

Starbucks Race Together Fail

#black coffee matters

In a marketing fiasco that could rank right up there with “New Coke,” Starbucks company spokesman Jim Olson has announced alternate campaign initiatives to spark productive conversations about race while serving drinks… according to the trending commentary on Twitter.

In reality, the initiative flopped — and flopped spectacularly — for three reasons:

First, the coffee purveyor’s push to create a more open dialogue on U.S. race relations came up short because it was misaligned with the brand itself.  It is ironic that a company known for premium pricing and associated with neighborhood gentrification would take up the race-relations mantle.

In a marketing fiasco that could rank right up there with “New Coke,” Starbucks company spokesman Jim Olson has announced alternate campaign initiatives to spark productive conversations about race while serving drinks…

Second, there was no plausible authenticity with Starbucks predominantly white and affluent demographic. Starbucks workers were not trained to facilitate the conversations with customers that were meant to arise. The lack of authenticity caused many Starbucks customers to feel that Starbucks was misinformed [and was seeking] to cash in on a recent trend.

Third, Starbucks, was so slow to respond to negative reactions to the “race together” campaign that one would be led to doubt the company even recognized social media can be “a double-edged sword.”

As of Sunday, Starbucks baristas will no longer write “Race Together” on customers’ cups, ending a visible component of the company’s attempt at a diversity and racial inequality campaign.

The coffee chain’s initiative will continue more broadly without the handwritten messages, Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson said. The cups were always “just the catalyst” for a larger conversation and Starbucks will still hold forum discussions, co-produce special sections in USA TODAY and put more stores in minority communities as part of the Race Together initiative, said a memo from CEO Howard Schultz said.

“Although there’s been a lot of negative criticism, the campaign has not completely failed,” said Craig Bobson of cultural branding agency Arcanna Brand Management. “And it depends how you measure failure. It’s getting a ton of free press, and if this conversation opens up for more detailed conversations elsewhere, then they probably will think it was successful.”

@starbucks #racetogether

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2015-02-01

Kraft Foods Dismantling Cadbury Consumer Advocates

Cadburry Creme Egg

Cadburry Creme Egg

Chocolate lovers in the U.K. are hopping mad after one of the country’s favorite Easter confections is getting an overhaul by its U.S.-based producer.

Kraft Foods  — which now owns chocolate maker Cadbury — has stunned consumers by no longer using Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in the recipe for its Creme Eggs. And, there’s more: the company also is reducing a package from six eggs to five, without reducing the price. U.S. giant Kraft Foods bought Cadbury in 2010 and its global snacks business under the name of Mondelez International.

According to The Sun newspaper, consumers reported that the latest batch of Creme Eggs did not have its familiar taste. Cadbury confirmed to the tabloid that it has switched out Dairy Milk for a “standard cocoa mix chocolate” in the shell.

“It’s no longer Dairy Milk,” a Mondelez spokesperson told the Sun. “It’s similar, but not exactly Dairy Milk.”

The old six-pack cost $4.60 while the new five-pack has a recommended retail price of $4.30.

“I will no longer be buying creme eggs for me or my family! Also whos ever heard of 5 eggs?”

Angry fans are taking to social media to express their disappointment.

Facebook user Sassie Jordan said she is “very disappointed,” adding, “I will no longer be buying creme eggs for me or my family! Also whos ever heard of 5 eggs? I am sure eggs come in 6 and 12’s…you are ruining a classic treat that everyone enjoys at Easter. Shame on you!!”

There are even calls to boycott the company.

“Boycott the company for there cheap under hand tactics towards consumers we expect it from nestle on yorkie bars but now caburys?”.

The Cadbury Creme Egg has been a seasonal Easter tradition in the U.K. since 1975. The company says that more than 300 million are made each year and are available from New Year’s Day to Easter Day.

5 things you didn't know about gluten


breads and gluten

Unless you’ve been on a media-free diet, you probably saw Jimmy Kimmel Live’s hilarious “What is Gluten?” video, in which none of the gluten avoiders interviewed could explain exactly what gluten is. The truth is, most of my gluten-free clients don’t really know what it is either, but they do know that they feel better when they avoid it.

Here are five things you should know before starting a gluten-free diet, in order to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.

But there’s a problem: I noticed that some of the things people said in Kimmel’s video, like where they think gluten is found, were just plain incorrect. The video has more than 2 million views, so I thought it would be helpful to provide a primer. Here are five things you should know before starting a gluten-free diet, in order to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.

1. Gluten is a protein

Yup, gluten is a type of protein naturally found in wheat (including spelt, kamut, farro, and bulgur) and other grains, like barley and rye. But gluten also lurks in many products, like salad dressings, seasoning mixes, vitamins, and even lip balm, so eliminating it completely is a big commitment. I’ve met many people who say they are gluten-free, but in reality they’ve just eliminated wheat-based foods like bread, pasta, and bagels, because they think wheat is the only source. If you truly need to banish gluten altogether, you need to become a gluten sleuth.

2. Gluten isn’t in every type of grain

I’ve heard many people say that gluten is found in grains period, but that’s not the case. There are several grains that are naturally gluten-free, including rice, corn and popcorn, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, and oats (as long as they haven’t been contaminated with wheat during processing). In other words, gluten-free and grain-free aren’t synonymous, and I don’t recommend the latter. Gluten-free whole grains are chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and as long as you don’t overdo it portion-wise, including them in your diet can help you lose weight, and protect your health. Unfortunately the gluten-free craze has given all grains a bit of a black eye, but refined white pasta and quinoa aren’t even close to being in the same category from a nutrition perspective.

3. Gluten-free foods can be processed, too

Some people are under the assumption that all processed foods contain gluten and no gluten-free foods are refined or processed, but that’s not accurate. Because gluten-free has exploded in popularity, there are more gluten-free products than ever, and many are highly processed, or made with refined versions of gluten-free grains, such as white rice. For the best nutritional bang for your buck, look beyond the words “gluten-free” on a package and read the ingredient list—it should read like a recipe you could recreate in your own kitchen. And if grains are included (some gluten-free products are made with other starches, like potatoes or beans), they should be whole, which means they haven’t been stripped of their fiber and nutrients.

4. Avoiding gluten may help you feel better, even if you don’t have Celiac disease

People who have Celiac disease must completely eliminate gluten, because consuming even small amounts triggers symptoms, including belly pain and bloating. This happens because in people with Celiac, gluten causes the immune system to damage or destroy villi, the tiny, finger-like outgrowths that line the small intestine like a microscopic plush carpet. Healthy villi absorb nutrients through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, so when they become damaged, chronic malnutrition occurs, which is typically accompanied by weight loss and exhaustion. In people with this diagnosis, avoiding gluten is the only way to reverse the damage.

However, people who test negative for Celiac may also benefit from going gluten-free if they’re experiencing a condition called gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity. While it’s not the same as Celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause bothersome side effects in many people, including flu-like feelings, bloating and other gastrointestinal problems, mental fogginess, and fatigue. Unfortunately at this time, there is no widely accepted test for gluten sensitivity, and the symptoms may be related to other issues, including stress, so it’s not black and white. If you think you may have a gluten sensitivity, avoid gluten and monitor how you feel.

5. What you eat when going gluten-free is as important as what you don’t

A lot of people who go gluten-free focus on getting rid of foods, but to balance your diet and ensure that you’re taking in a broad spectrum of nutrients, it’s also important to emphasize what you do eat. As I noted, there are several nutrient-packed whole grains that are naturally gluten-free. So if your old standby side dish was pasta, replace it with something like whole grain rice (brown, red, black, or wild), quinoa, or roasted organic corn.

Fresh veggies and fruits, beans, lentils, and nuts are also gluten-free, so if you used to nibble on crackers, pretzels, or cookies, trade them for wholesome snacks, like veggies with hummus, berries with nuts, or roasted chickpeas. One of the key benefits of adopting a gluten-free diet is that it’s an opportunity to reinvent the way you eat. Take it on it by seeking out superfoods, so in addition to getting rid of gluten, you’ll also be embracing a wide variety of nutrients that will help you look and feel your best.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.

This article originally appeared on

Young Mothers Driving Organic Growth

Organic Shoppers

Organic Shoppers

Children are increasingly a driving force behind organic product purchases. Ninety percent of parents buy organic food products for their children at least sometimes, with nearly 25 percent of those buying organic always, according to the Organic Trade Association’s “U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs 2014 Tracking Study.”

Researchers polled more than 1,200 households with at least one child under 18, finding approximately 80 percent bought organic products in the past two years, with about half of those families considering children’s health as a factor in the decision.

Parents purchasing baby food appear even more committed to organic, with more than a third of those consumers saying they always choose organic for their infant or toddler. And 74 percent of daycares throughout the country now offer organic options for the children they serve.

The findings are consistent with OTA’s industry survey earlier this year, which found organic sales reached a record high of $35.1 billion in 2013 and projected they would grow at least 12 percent in 2014.

[source: NASFT]