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.
When labels claim “Natural” or “All-Natural”
These terms have no standard definition except when appled to meat and poultry.
(So your favorite “all-natural” cookies or crackers for example, can really be the same processed chemically-altered products as their non-natural counterparts…not a stitch more nutritious.)
The USDA definition of “natural” meat and poultry means:
No artificial flavoring.
No artificial colors.
No chemical preservatives.
No synthetic ingredients.
However…the USDA does not verify whether the meat or poultry meets the standard. They trust the labeler to be honest. (Do you?) Also…
“Natural” does NOT mean pesticide, hormone or antibiotic free!
When labels claim “Made or Raised without Antibiotics,” “No Antibiotics,” or “Raised Without Hormones”
These statements are clear and mean exactly what they say, but are not regulated or verified by any agency. You have to hope that your supermarket is enforcing the claim.
The following food labeling claims are legitimate and ones you should look for:
“Made with Organic Ingredients”
“Free Farmed” poultry, beef and pork
“Food Alliance” beef and pork
“Pasture-fed” or “Grass-fed” beef, lamb, and eggs
When labels claim “100% Organic”
No synthetic ingredients are allowed (no synthetic pesticides, petroleum or sewage-sludge based fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation).
Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products must come from animals fed 100% organic feed and no antibiotics or growth hormones.
Guarantees no genetically modified foods.
The 100% organic claim is verified by an independent accredited inspector.
Cannot contain added sulfites.
When labels claim “Organic”
At least 95% of the ingredients are organically produced (as above).
Cannot contain added sulfites.
When labels claim “Made With Organic Ingredients”
At least 70% of the ingredients are organic.
For more on understanding Claims on Food Labels
In a recent commentary by Chef Cari Price at Food IQ, he points out that when it comes to food, authenticity can be like walking a tight rope with American consumers. Tell us about it!
Hamburger- and fry-loving Americans have been embracing foreign foods, including Korean fried chicken, black rice, dumplings, kimchee, naan bread and Indian chutneys, more today than ever before.
Most urban cities have established districts of independently owned restaurants, specializing in various cuisines, such as New York City’s Little Italy and Chinatown. Although we know and love those districts for their culture, authenticity and adventure, ethnic ingredients are now being spotted outside of those neighborhoods
While Chef Cari is right on the money about an ethnic food revolution, he’s a bit late in the game. However, his perspective on McDonald’s efforts to target Hispanic Americans and Domino’s multi-language commercials to promote their Perfect Combo, a national launched meal bundle inspired by Hispanic consumer research shows how clever brand managers have been taking advantage of the foodie revolution.
Andrew Gamm, Brand Director for Pizza Patron, has an interesting perspective as well. They recently ran a promotion for a free pizza for any customer who ordered in Spanish. While their Pizza Por Favor was a clever gimmick, his view that only companies who develop relationships with the Hispanic market are going to succeed is ignorant to the other factors changing the multi-cultural marketplace.
A new Palo Alto chain, Asian Box, is a perfect example of an ethnic brand that pushes the all-natural and made-on-site products and flavors that blend Asian spices to create an authentic culinary experience.
While Hispanic inspired products are growing fast, Asian fusion foods are dominating the higher end palette for Americans looking to expand their dining-out pleasure.
[Ad Age Oct 3, 2012] What’s the leading producer of Greek yogurt in Greece? It’s not Chobani, the hot brand of Greek yogurt in America. It’s Fage, with more than 25% market share in Greece. Vivartia is No.2.
Furthermore, Fage was the first brand of Greek yogurt introduced in the America market. Fage arrived in 1998, nine years before Chobani hit supermarket shelves. Current market shares: Chobani, 47%. Fage, just 14%.
Why Fage fell from first place
Not every pioneer winds up at the top of the category. Being first in the marketplace doesn’t assure leadership; it only gives you a license to pursue that goal.
Getting into the mind first is what builds leaders; not getting into the market first. Be honest. Did you ever hear of Greek yogurt before Chobani arrived? I didn’t, and I assume most consumers didn’t either.
And look at the Fage packages. As you can see, you might think the brand name was “Total.”
The company calls its products “Fage Total Greek Yogurt,” possibly because competitive products are not “total” Greek yogurt. If so, what does Total 0% and Total 2% mean? (Fat content, of course, but it’s certainly an odd way to communicate a simple idea.)
The Fage approach violates what I call the law of the category. If you want to be the category leader, you should forget about the features of the product (thicker and creamier) and focus on your leadership credentials.
“No.1 Greek yogurt in Greece,” for example.
In a media-saturated world, consumers will ultimately figure out the advantages of Greek yogurt and then have to make a brand decision. And which brand are they likely to choose? The brand with the better credentials.
Most people just think of soda when they hear the name “Pepsi.” But in fact, PepsiCo is the nation’s largest food company and second largest in the world. Its annual earnings top $60 billion, from a dizzying array of brands. Walk down almost any supermarket aisle (soda, snacks, cereal, juice) and you’re likely to bump into a PepsiCo-owned product.
This explains why the company is the top contributor among food makers to the “No on 37” campaign in California—a ballot initiative that would require labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients. As reported by Michele Simon , PepsiCo is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a powerful trade group that has so far contributed $375,000 to the No on 37 campaign.
Why would PepsiCo pony up more than $90,000 just to keep Californians in the dark about what they are eating? Get a closer look at its “portfolio of products” (in corporate speak) to see exactly what’s at stake for the food giant at Organic Connections.