Author: Jordan Wiklund

Private Label Drives Summer Growth

For many major retailers, the latest quarterly results tell a familiar tale: consumers are fed up with high prices, spending less, and commodifying their loyalty by taking the best deal right now, regardless of whose logo adorns their grocery bag or shopping cart. 

Consumers Have Forced the Value Wars

Food prices are up; consumer confidence is down. Many QSRs and retail outlets reported losses in the last quarter. The Value Wars are here.

Behold, ‘Kitchen Table Travelers’: Ajvar Is Spreading

Ajvar is a Yugoslavian relish that became popular after World War II. Made primarily from sweet bell peppers and eggplants, ajvar can be sweet (traditional), piquant (common), or scorching hot. Ajvar can be spread on bread or enjoyed as a side dish due to its thicker and more viscous texture.

Food Meets Fashion in NYC

On Thursday, May 16, The Food Institute is taking over the headquarters of Hugo Boss in downtown Manhattan to discuss food, finance, and fashion.

C-Stores Draw Market Share From Grocery, Retail

Casey’s and Maverik are highlighting breakfast while Buc-ee’s and Rutter’s are leveraging increased square footage and store footprints to drive sales and steal market share away from grocers and retailers.

Why Hormel Foods Employs a Cultural Anthropologist

Dr. Rodriguez is thrilled to live in a time when underrepresented voices, cultures, and cuisines can easily take the world by viral storm. She’s quick to point out that for many cuisines, blanket terms like “Mexican” or “Asian” just don’t do it anymore – the people, and the food, deserve more.

What’s Playing? The Role of Music in Retail

“The power of audio in retail goes beyond just music,” Elsley said. “Incorporating carefully crafted messaging and advertisements into the auditory experience can further enhance customer engagement and drive sales.”

The Summer of Swicy

Asian cuisines like Thai, Korean, and Chinese have long used swicy foods as an enticing way to attract new and long-time patrons, and many mainstream and fusion restaurants are combining classic American fare with these staple flavors from across the world.

Is the Future of Retail Bionic?

As more work is being published (and more health-focused products manufactured) to improve health and happiness, we may be entering an era in which the average human life can not only be improved, but extended. Are store managers ready for what that means?

The Vanishing Vanilla Supply

A recent cyclone ravaged some of Madagascar’s key vanilla-growing regions, threatening a vanilla shortage during the 2024 vanilla harvest.

The Supplement Market is Booming

From GLP-1 injectables to mushroom-based coffee alternatives, the booming supplement market is making nutrition easier to manipulate.

For Gen Z, Variety Packs Rule Retail

Some of the takeaways from the Circana report indicate that inflation has generally gone pretty easy on the beverage category, prompting marketing teams to “promote their relative price stability and find ways to demonstrate value, recognizing that ‘value’ doesn’t always mean lower price,” and that premium categories continue to outperform more value-based brand propositions. 

Will Amazon’s Dash Carts Work?

The future of checkout technology, consumer perception and adoption, and operator success is a tricky set of balls to keep in the air all at once.

Rise & Grind: Decaf Coffee Gathers Major Momentum

While the rest of us were getting our morning jolt from a decent cuppa, decaf drinkers quietly (and deliciously) infiltrated the greater consumer market. Skyquest Technology recently predicted that the decaf coffee market will continue to grow to a $28.86 billion industry by the end of the decade.

Korean Food is Ascendant

Zooming out, Korean cuisine has found a niche in today’s restaurant, retail, and grocery foodscape, whether standing alone as a global cultural beacon of cuisine or being reimagined with some of today’s food trends.

Top 3 Spring/Summer Trends in Retail

In a few short years, retail will be a totally immersive and data-driven experience highlighted by personalized AI recommendations for health and home, smart carts to increase efficiency (and solve the traveling salesman’s dilemma in-store), and much more.

The Endless Promise of Pizza

Served as an LTO, in a restaurant, or at a ball game, fired in a brick oven at 800 degrees or reheated Sunday morning in a battered collegiate microwave after a late night, pizza is a tough business that can yield great rewards, revenue, and satisfaction.

The Cost of Loyalty – How Trader Joe’s & Costco Do It

So prevalent and all-consuming is the cultural agency of the Costco Kirkland Signature All-Beef Hot Dog that it’s propelling a crypto “memecoin” on the Solana crypto exchange. That is a real sentence. “Hot dogs are in control,” writes one commentator on TikTok. “The buns stay on,” adds @Jan crypto trader in the same thread amid a rising swell of crypto brokers.

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The Future of Retail, Part 3: The Immersive Retail Environment

“Customers will step into a retail environment where every interaction is personalized, guided by AI algorithms that efficiently navigate shoppers through aisles and offer tailored product suggestions in real time,” fostering brand loyalty and elevating the consumer experience to “unprecedented satisfaction levels.”

The Future of Retail, Part 2- Tomorrow’s Tech

To further understand how inventory and supply chain will change, Jarvis said the end of data silos must be achieved “to create a holistic understanding of each shopper, their interactions, and the stream of information being shared with them.

America is Poised to Embrace Tofu

In today’s alternative protein space, the possibilities tofu offers are turning heads. More flavorful than most plant-based products, more rewarding than a perfect burger alternative, and much more affordable than a meat-based option, tofu checks a lot of boxes as a middle-of-the-road protein alternative that doesn’t necessarily have to market itself as a one-size-fits-all plant-based option.

The Future of Retail – The 10,000-ft. View

“By 2030, visiting a Target, Walmart, or Costco won’t just be about shopping,” said Diana Zheng, head of marketing at Stallion Express, a leading e-commerce shipping company from Canada, “It will be an experience. An immersive experience. A personalized experience, even a social experience.”

Rated C for Candy – AMC Theatres Launches Private-Label Brand

The current line of Cinema Sweets launched in December and sales have been brisk. “We’re quite pleased,” he said, brandishing an R2-D2 popcorn holder from a Star Wars release years ago, “and it’s definitely been a good launch for us across more than 550 domestic theaters.”

How Hormel and JM Smucker Are Beating the Market

It’s not hard to understand why these companies have found success in a challenging environment. These are comfort food manufacturers (among other things!) whose identities, infrastructure, and revenue are built upon foods people reach for when they’re feeling down, feeling squeezed, or both.

Feel This Moment – Walmart Teams Up with Pitbull, Again

The Pitbull-launched intra-store restaurant is part of a larger, $9 billion plan to make “upscale changes” to stores and bring in more recognizable and coveted brands and influencers. For Walmart, pairing with the king of collaborations is a natural choice.