Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eating Cocoons

Last week at O’Hare airport I observed people inhaling snacks consisting of bagels, blueberry muffins, bottles of muscle milk, bags of beef jerky, etc., while working their smart devices.  Implication: America’s eating behavior continues to morph.  Welcome to the era of the Eating Cocoons!

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Recently I have been working with some clients on developing content as it relates to snack foods.  A key statistic I learned from an eating occasion study conducted by the Hartman Group, a research firm headquartered in Seattle, Americans snack an average of 2.35 times per day.  For most people snacking is an individual experience – a good time to fuel up between meals or missed meals; a great time to multi-task and briefly connect with family, friends, business associates or online acquaintances via a smart device.  Consequently, hand-held convenience foods have become a major focus for food manufacturers and restaurant operators. 

In the past I have addressed how we are evolving into a 24/7 “Grab & Go” G&E society.  However, as I stated in my opening, more eating occasions are occurring in a cocoon.  In the process, we are not conversing with people as we do when we actually sit down and enjoy a meal together.  Welcome to the era of the Eating Cocoons!

Are social conversations disappearing?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Millennial Oenophiles

Tomorrow back in 1913, Robert Mondavi, the famous California vintner responsible for putting Napa Valley on the wine map, was born.  This is a great time to check out what is happening in the wine industry.

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The U.S. continues to be the largest wine market in the world; 2012 marked the 19th consecutive year of volume growth.  U.S. wine sales (from all production sources U.S. and worldwide) reached a record 360.1 million 9-liter cases with an estimated retail value of $34.6 billion.  California wine accounted for a 58 percent share of the total U.S. wine sales (an estimated retail value of $22 billion).  Note: California shipments to all markets (including exports) reached 250.2 million cases in 2012.

The road ahead: No surprise the wine industry is targeting Millennials, currently the number one demographic group.  According to the Wine Market Council approximately 51 percent of this age group between 21 and 34 drink wine once a week.  Two key Millennial marketing strategies: A.) Eco-friendly, portable packaging like boxes, aluminum cans, plastic cups versus glass bottles, the industry traditional standard; and B.) Social media! 

@DrinkBonfire luv ur pouch #wine when r u going to be at costco? @CostcoTweets 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beers From Heaven

Imagine being on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, stepping out of your hiding place in an unknown location and having a can of beer (non-alcoholic of course) dropped on you.
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For the record, not all drones are machines used for warfare.  This August, attendees of the OppiKoppi festival in South Africa will be able to order a can of beer via their smartphones and have the can delivered to them by a drone.  The drone, actually an octocopter, developed by Darkwing Aerials holds an individual can of beer fitted with a mini parachute.  They pick up on your smart device’s GPS location within one square meter before releasing the can which then parachutes to the ground.  This year the drones will be used as a promotional tool for Windhoek beer. 

Hopefully Darkwing Aerials is working on a future model drone that drops kegs of beer.  Beers From Heaven!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day.  The theme for this year’s celebration is Think.Eat.Save.; an anti-food waste and food loss campaign.  UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) is leveraging today’s celebration to educate people about the need to reduce overall food waste and make more informed food choices.

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Did you know?

·          Annually one-third of all food globally is wasted; 1.3 billion tons of food not consumed.

·         Here in the U.S. 40% of the food grown or raised is not eaten.

·        25% of all freshwater and 300 million barrels of oil is utilized to produce food that is wasted.

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

Source: The stats above were provided by LeanPath, creators of automated food waste tracking systems.

Bottomline, food waste equates to a major squandering of resources (water, land, capital, etc.) and contributes to the negative environmental impact of green house gases.  Below is an interesting passage from UNEP’s World Environment Day website:
Global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.”  Consequently they want people to make more informed food choices – buy more organic or sustainably grown foods that utilize less fertilizer and pesticides, buying food locally that has a more favorable carbon footprint, etc.

World Environment Day’s 2013 tag line: Think.Eat.Save.

Be committed to making it a healthier planet!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Comfort Zone

June graduations are in full swing.  Every day I read inspirational content online from commencement speeches prompting individuals to pursue their dreams and strive for higher levels of success.  Speakers universally recommend we need to step outside our comfort zone.

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For years when I have advocated about stepping outside one’s comfort zone, I reference modern American dancer, choreographer Twyla Tharp:

“The better you know yourself, the more you will know when you are playing to your strengths and when you are sticking your neck out.  Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet you do it anyway because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.”
Two key ingredients I read this year from the commencement speeches that aid in the process of stepping outside one’s comfort zone are as follows:

·       Stay Curious – Old Chinese proverb: “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”  Business translation: Never settle for the status quo; always seek a different path or solution.  Experiment!   Ask those tough questions.  Why or why not?

·       Join in the Dance of Uncertainty – Business chaos is the norm.  Don’t wait for our turbulent economy to stabilize.  Uncertainty means we have to create our own future.  Adapt or you will fall behind!

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is not for the cowardly!