Being a Food Marketer’s Dream!

There have been a number of articles and news recently about food items that are made to sound more exotic than the actual food itself. Courgetti aka just courgettes.  Squash fusilli aka butternut squash cut in the shape of fusilli pasta.  Golden latte aka turmeric powder mixed in milk.  Apparently the more glamourous the food sounds, the more likely we are to buy it.  Many food items are trying to appeal to the various different eating styles now around e.g. vegetarian chicken, cranberry crunch for paleo followers, coconut fat bombes for those following a ketogenic diet.   It’s marketing at its best!

I must admit I was and (still am) one of those that is a food marketer’s dream. I buy into the whole quinoa crisps and courgette bread.  Yet I am going through a change with my attitude towards food and starting to realise I may be being taken for a ride, especially at the cost of some of these items.  The sensible voice in me says “hmm really, you REALLY want to try courgetti? Don’t you think it’s a little bit wet and slimy? Is it really satisfying you? Why not just have spaghetti?”  But there’s another voice saying “this is so cool, you’re getting the benefits of eating well in a funky way”.  However as I’m finding out it’s usually better to just eat the original spaghetti as it’s more likely to satisfy a craving for you and to have a more healthier attitude towards eating rather than substituting food items just because, well they sound exotic.  I hasten to add that this is only my stance and for those who can’t or choose not to eat certain food items due to their own personal reasons it’s always interesting to mix it up and keep it different so that your palette gets a variety of foods and flavours.

However, like an addict who needs to break bad habits I do get sucked in and keep coming across weird and wonderful foods. And sometimes they turn out amazing and other times I’m like “pass me that pizza slice!”  Yet there’s a little bit of a buzz when you come across new concoctions and I think so long as you have a balanced attitude towards eating and food, it’s always fun to try new ideas.

northernmunkeebites.seaweedbacon1.JPGSeamore I Sea Bacon

Rating: 6 out of 10

Packaging

The packaging is eye-catching for sure. A large bright luminous pink bag, with a photo of a rather enticing-looking salad on the front certainly catches your attention.  Then your eye is drawn to the wording of seaweed bacon which just raises your curiosity.  The fact you can see the product through the packaging is always a bonus I think, especially with a product like this which is very far from the norm.  I also like the logo picture of bacon frying in a pan, it’s just quite cute I found.  The name of the product and the information is also easy to read and provides all the information you need if you’re allergy-conscious.

Price

€6.95 – from the company website. This is equivalent to around £6. This is a reasonably fair price point because the packaging states 10 servings are provided and it is a large bag which to me appears to be value for money, especially as you can have as many or as few seaweed strands as you fancy depending on the dish you’re making or whether you’re having it as a snack.

Delivery

I have to say I was mightily intrigued when I saw this product. I have cut down on bacon for various reasons but do enjoy the taste.  So this product played very much into my target market as someone who wants to eat healthy yet still enjoy tasty flavours.  I must admit when I tried this as just a snack, so no cooking, it didn’t deliver on flavour for me.  It was hard to chew and whilst it had a salty flavour to it, it wasn’t bacon-tasting.  It was only when I cooked it in oil, as recommended on the instructions, did the flavour come out for me.  Now it was softer to eat and digest and there was a definite bacon taste that lingered in your mouth.  It also didn’t need a lot to add that flavour to my dish (a veg stir fry) which I really liked.  So from a delivery perspective, this product delivers on what it says – seaweed that tastes like bacon.  However it DID leave me craving real bacon afterwards.  So I’m not sure if it delivered on its promise for me in particular, and probably goes back to my original statement that sometimes it’s better not to substitute the real deal.  For those of you however that don’t eat bacon for whatever reason or want a different taste to your dishes, this product does deliver.

Verdict: In a word – interesting. I say this because the product does offer a distinctive taste and is probably not the most instinctive item you would reach for.  However would I replace it for real bacon long-term? Probably not but it’s fun to try.

Details: https://seamorefood.com/product/i-sea-bacon/

Keen to hear your thoughts and comments if you have tried this product or any other exotic sounding foods!

Guest Blogger: Mrs M.

About Me

As a person with a recently diagnosed sensitive digestive system, I’m now on a path to make sure I eat well whilst still enjoying myself. Having been fearful of food, I now love finding new products, going to new restaurants to try new twists on dishes and am constantly looking for quirky items to consume.  I’m a huge supporter of simple food that is made tasty with the right combination of ingredients and more importantly enjoying your food and diet in a balanced way.  That means I always have room for my favourite item – chocolate!

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Key Food Trends in the UK…

Focus on SIAL: Review

Over the last week or so I have been focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation and then review some of the new insights that came out of the conference.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn I’ll move on to take a look at the World Tour studies produced by SIAL with a focus on what we can expect in the UK.

World Tour Studies: UK Trends

Three Key Food Trends:

Coconutty – Daniel Selwood (journalist for The Grocer magazine) highlights Pip&Nut (which I wrote about in a previous blog) as the key brand in this trend. He highlights that British shoppers are looking for products with functional benefits and coconut proliferations will be around for the next few years.

No Carbs – Selwood also calls out the British quest for a tasty alternative to a carbohydrate accompaniment which has led to a whole raft of innovative pasta/noodle/potato alternatives.

Super Snacking – this review also comments on the snacking revolution that is well underway in the UK with lifestyle champions on the search for more tasty and more beneficial snacks. Selwood highlights popcorn as a key trend along with a range of new snacking options brought by brands like Graze.

Trends in Retail

This report offers a few juicy nuggets in terms of what to watch in the retail market with Amazon Fresh, Holland & Barrett driving change in the arena.

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.