Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Food Waste in America

I recently went on a Mid-Atlantic road trip.  As a result, I ate three morning meals (what I described back in February as Fastbreak), one at a conference, two at hotels.  I was appalled by how much food waste I witnessed.  Folks, we have to stop wasting our food!                                                                                                               
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It truly amazes me how much food we waste in the morning, especially when breakfast is served buffet style.  I would like to share one key statistic about food waste in America:

Approximately 40 percent of all food, worth an estimated $165 billion is wasted. 
(Source:  National Defense Council – 2012)

There are a multitude of reasons food waste is a major issue we need to address:

1.    Lost resources, annually 25% of all freshwater and 300 million barrels of oil that is utilized to produce food wasted.

2.     Food waste is a major component of landfills responsible for 135 million tons of greenhouse gases (methane) annually.

The one statistic that troubles me the most that we tend to overlook is that approximately 14.5 percent (17.6 million) of U.S. Households experience food insecurity – households that are uncertain or have difficulty acquiring enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they have insufficient money or other resources for food.  One solution: Let’s start the conversation about food waste among family, friends, work peers, etc.  For example, on my trip I observed a teenager eating breakfast with his mother.  She was busy reading her newspaper; he was busy on his iPhone.  When they left, I estimated that more than 50% of what he ordered was left on his plate.  New Yorker writer Adam Kopnik once said it best: “Parents teach, institutions instruct.”  Let’s start the conversation at home.

Folks, stop wasting your food!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Last week I wrote about hybrid marketing.  Today, given I am in the food business, I thought it would be a good time to post a new trend, hybrid food, also referred to as Frankenfood
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I found the word Frankenfood in Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary that was originally established back in 1999 that primarily defines cultural slang (words or phrases) not typically found in standard dictionaries.  Urban Dictionary defines Frankenfood as “revolutionary culinary creations that mash up original and unexpected food combinations and ingredients, resulting in delicious dishes or awful misses.”  Some Frankenfood that have made headlines this past year you might be familiar with are Cronuts, ramen burgers, Mac & cheese burgers and dessert pizzas.  Back in April, Oreo launched a marketing movement called Snack Hacks challenging celebrity chefs/food innovators to develop new ways for consumers to enjoy their product.  Consequently the term “food hacking” was born.

Is hybrid food a passing fad or future trend?  Based on what I have read and observed, especially with the increased popularity of food trucks in America, hybrid food (a.k.a. Frankenfood) and food hacking is part of our overall new food culture.  Recently I read an article on The Salt, NPR’s online food news feed about artisanal ramen noodles.  Instant ramen has become a college staple for either quick fuel or a snack/budget meal (approximately 30 cents per package).  Now students are getting creative and hacking culinary creations like ramen noodle grilled cheese sandwiches, ramen frittatas filled with bacon, cheese and tomatoes, ramen used in lieu of a bowl for ice cream smothered in chocolate syrup, etc.

Have you experienced a Frankenfood surprise creation yet?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Love the Game

Week two of Wimbledon began earlier this morning.  Great tournament!  I have posted about tennis previously, exploring the lessons I have learned and their correlation to business.  For me, this year’s event is clearly beginning to emphasize a changing of the guard.
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On the men’s side of the game, outside of a few upsets, the cream of the crop, the usual cast of top players, once again are demonstrating the physical/mental talent it takes to be a champion.  Miraculously one teenage phenomenon has made it to week two.  In addition, several thirty year old, wily veterans are combating the power of the youngsters with their understanding of how to master the nuances of playing on grass.  On the women’s side of the game, several youngsters are surfacing thanks to implementing a well rounded, classic strategic game to offset the power and intimidation of the veteran players.

A new era of hybrid tennis is on the horizon – a changing of the guard.  The best of classic tennis combined with the power and athleticism of new tennis.  How does this relate to business?  Business is a mental game, so age and the toll it takes on one’s physical performance does not come into play.  Experience is the key!  So is hybrid marketing, a blend of classic marketing with the new, interactive, collaborative platforms of Web 2.0.         

Do you love the game?  Are you ready to change and become a marketing champion?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


“Do not go where the path may lead: go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”     – Ralph Waldo Emerson 
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Last week I attended FARE 2014 in Dallas.  A great conference!  The keynote speakers were motivational, the educational sessions informative, plenty of quality networking breaks, etc.  I was even afforded the opportunity to moderate a breakfast table discussion on one of my favorite topics – Social Marketing. 

My key conference takeaway:  People are still confused where the new collaborative world of Web 2.0 is heading.  The majority of the people whom I interacted with throughout the conference expressed their struggle to grasp the changes that were taking place.  No surprise!  The more I read as I shared in my last post Collaborate?, innovation, change, etc. is not happening to a large degree.  Corporations are finding it difficult to adapt.

This much I do know:  Social media is a small piece of the pie.  Social media is all about the tools people are using to engage/collaborate with one another.  Social Enterprise is the whole pie.  Once again, I would like to summarize the four pillars of social enterprise as I detailed in my post one year ago titled Social Enterprise Smarts = Profitability Plu$:

·         Knowledge Workers – Employees with “social smarts.”

·         Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Organizations that get closer to their customers.

·         Collaboration – Organizations who internally and externally collaborate day to day with all parties to increase their overall performance.

·         Big Data – The ability to analyze data in real time that will result in increased profitability.

Explore!  Be a trailblazer!

Monday, June 16, 2014


Collaborate: Has this word evolved into the most commonly misused word in Corporate America in 2014?

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Webster’s definition:

col•lab•o•rate \kә-lab-ә-,rāt\ verb 1 : To work jointly with others or together esp. in an intellectual endeavor or in order to achieve or do something.

Interesting, last week I read two articles from respected sources which expose that global corporations were falling short in their key strategic initiatives due to a lack of collaboration within their walls.  For starters, a senior McKinsey & Co. executive interviewed in an article titled Mastering Digital Marketing, stressed that one of the organizational barriers companies were experiencing when stepping their toes into digital marketing was getting people to work together (a.k.a. too many silos!).  Subsequently, survey results published by Affinnova, a global technology company, revealed that the current innovative processes at leading CPG companies were broken. In addition to employees not fielding enough market insight, innovation was thwarted because sales teams were not involved in the critical stages of product development (a.k.a. too many silos!).  Directly quoting Affinnova’s overall conclusion:

“Having a formal innovation process or structure is not a key factor separating top and bottom-performing companies.  Neither is size or revenue.  What matters is culture.”

Warning!  Collaborate!