In the Age of Specialty Everything, many private label brands are now winning taste tests – to the point that generic food items are said to taste as good as or better than national brands. How do marketers respond when a major consumer publication like Consumer Reports magazine says that brands those marketers oversee might not perform/taste as well as those from generic issuers?
Just when Americans seemed sold on big-box grocery stores as the answer to meeting or beating the monthly food budget, along come several national chains that want to sell people on an idea once thought extinct: Buying household groceries from the friendly neighborhood market. Is a significant change afoot? And will product manufacturers need to change their go-to-market strategies?
There’s $565 billion worth of sales in the grocery business every year, according to a report from CNBC. Problem is, profit margins have always been historically low. So why would the likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart rush headlong to get into the food business? Does either company believe that establishing a beachhead on Aisle 2 will be worth the effort? Not to mention the cost?
In case you haven’t already, forget about Europe’s horsemeat problem. The U.S. has troubles of its own. Groups like the National Cattlemen’s Association don’t want you to know what country your store-bought pork chops came from. Why? Possible retaliatory trade sanctions. And expensive new labels. Isn't there a real food safety problem, though? Shouldn't everyone have the right to know where their food came from?
The concept of labeling products as fairly traded – where fair prices are paid for all ingredients, especially to suppliers in developing countries -- would seem to be a concept that would have everyone on board? After all, don’t we, as Americans, want to do what we can to help struggling nations maximize their natural resources so as to enjoy a better life? Isn't that the American way?
The Canadian province of Quebec banned fast-food advertising to children in TV and print – 35 years ago. With more than a third of kids and teens today considered to be overweight, should there be a ban on junk-food ads aimed at the under-18 crowd? Isn't it high time that the U.S. government did something about food companies and their “pester power”? Or will nutrition recommendations from the likes of SpongeBob continue to rule the day?
With more and more people determined to keep to dietary restrictions, it makes business sense for stores and restaurants to do whatever it takes to meet those needs. Restaurants, in particular, can’t simply rely on atmosphere or speed of service to keep their customers. Now more than ever, it’s critically important for foodies to pay attention to the message they’re sending as much as to the products they’re selling.
An explosion in eco-labels – those small squares and squiggles that indicate organic food products have passed certain certifications, like those of Fairtrade and the Agriculture Department – threatens to make organic food shopping more complicated than clicking every social media icon on your favorite blog. Where will it all end?