The latest spate of launches from General Mills, Inc. taps into five consumer trends: gluten-free, protein, bold flavors, whole grains and indulgence.
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Sam’s Club promotes new P.F. Chang’s Home Menu™ frozen dinners through its own e-mail marketing platform. Click this link to see the e-mail.
This is a great example of how a retail outlet can team up with a manufacturer to help sell the product in the store. The design matches the look and feel of P.F. Chang’s new Home Menu website, and was most likely provided by P.F. Chang’s. The “Learn More” link connects to a Sam’s Club landing page that provides information about the two products that Sam’s Club offers. The landing page even uses some animation to showcase steam coming off the freshly cooked dishes.
As a devoted P.F. Chang’s customer, I can’t wait to try these at home. They do a great job of making this food mouthwatering.
SensoryEffects—a supplier of customized, technology-driven food and beverage solutions—has just launched a rebranding campaign, positioning three ingredient companies under one SensoryEffects brand. The three companies—Diehl Food Ingredients, SensoryEffects Flavor Systems, and US Foods—will now run as three business units: Powder Systems, Flavor Systems and Cereal Systems. SensoryEffects is less than five years old and is growing quickly, says Charles Nicolais, president and chief executive officer. He hopes the merging of these three companies will help reinforce its message with customers and, in turn, help SensoryEffects increase its partnership with companies in need of ingredient or flavor systems. You can check out the new business structure at their website—SensoryEffects.com.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is a popular dining establishment that has recently boarded the ever-growing, now-in-your-grocery-store-freezer train. Having just unveiled its new line of frozen entrees, P.F. Chang’s has designed a new website—PFChangsHomeMenu.com—dedicated to the new products. Although product specific websites are not as uncommon for new product lines, it’s the clean, simple approach of the site that makes it so appealing. First, the customer can view a fashion show lineup of the product packages—a smart move, by the way, as this makes the product more visible to customers when they search for it in the frozen food aisle. They can then click on one of the food products to visit a page where you can view nutritional information and preparation directions. That’s it. Simple as that. It quickly and easily answers a customer’s three basic questions:
1) What flavors are available?
2) What is the nutritional value?
3) What do I have to do to prepare it?
P.F. Chang’s has done a great job at making both its site and its frozen meals as easy as 1, 2, 3.
I evaluate all kinds of gluten-free foods, and recently discovered a superior product: Pastariso and Pastato Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese Boxed Dinners from Maplegrove Foods. I’ve tried dozens of gluten-free pastas, most of which release so much starch in cooking they become a gluey mess. You can rinse the cooked pasta with hot water, but that only restarts the cooking process, releasing even more starch. This maker uses premium-quality organic potato and rice flours, resulting in cooked pasta that isn’t sticky and can actually be cooked to an al dente stage– a rare thing in my experience testing gluten-free pasta. The Pastato pasta, made with potato flour, had a particularly nice taste and texture. The boxed dinners come in several pasta shapes, including elbows and shells. Both their regular cheddar and white cheddar sauce mixes have excellent flavor.
Tyson® Food Service is just one of many food ingredient companies streaming video on its website. What Tyson has done recently with online video is bring the sales pitch to the Web. Tyson customers can visit the Tyson Video Room where they can view a group of videos, all promoting its new product line, Tyson Red Label. Each video features a Red Label product, and David Jeter, corporate chef with Tyson Food Service, details the features of each product. The spots are well produced, brief, informative, highlight the product in an enticing and flattering manner, and, more importantly, allow Jeter to speak directly to the buyers. Basically, it’s a Tyson sales pitch in one, cost-effective video. It’s definitely a great tool that many food ingredient companies could benefit from using.
Bonici Pizza Brand, a product line of Tyson Food Services, offers its customers a recipe collection that takes the Bonici brand beyond the standard pizza or pasta. Each recipe volume is stuffed full—pun intended—with new and unique recipes and tips on how to use Bonici products in an innovative way. All recipe volumes are available as a downloadable, high-quality PDF with mouthwatering food photography. Recipes include ingredients, quantities and baking instructions. Because of the recipe collections, Bonici customers have the option of making and serving more flavorful, innovative dishes, while Bonici increases customer loyalty satisfaction, product interest and overall sales. Leave it to Tyson to once again think outside the circle.
Low-sodium ingredient products have received a lot of attention recently, as mainstream media have begun to cover growing, nationwide efforts to reduce sodium in consumer food products. One such report covered by the Institute of Medicine on strategies to reduce sodium intake in the United States received widespread coverage. The report was a response to growing concern that Americans consume unhealthy amounts of sodium in their food, far exceeding public health recommendations.
Sodium reduction efforts have focused on processed foods in CPG manufacturing channels, as well as in food service. Nationwide campaigns like the National Salt Reduction Initiative, led by New York City, are attracting major food manufacturers who want to reduce sodium levels in their products ahead of any possible regulation by the FDA. All of this attention has created new opportunities for ingredient marketers who have low-sodium ingredient technologies and products. Several major ingredient companies have told us that they have seen significant increases in sales of their low-sodium product offerings.
While there is general concern among consumers about how much sodium they consume, this concern is not being reflected through actual consumer buying behavior in the marketplace. The NPD Group recently reported that the level of sodium concern is not as high as it was two decades ago, and the number of consumers eating low-sodium foods has steadily declined. This gap between aspiration and actual buying behavior represents a difficult marketing challenge for both manufacturers and ingredient producers.
In the end, consumer behavior will drive the marketplace for low-sodium products. Possible regulation could have an impact on short-term new product introductions, but consumers will ultimately decide how much salt they really want in their food.