In a nutshell: what’s happening in food marketing this week

Today’s Food Marketing Weekly looks at how maple water might become the new coconut water, a coffeemaker that melts its pod, Metro news, the grocer, the top 12 new consumer-chosen food products for 2015, the latest Sriracha application, and where to register to get gifts for the Heinz & Kraft nuptials.



How can maple water become the new coconut water?

Eleven Canadian and US companies are in the business gathering, bottling and selling maple water, which has been formerly known as sap, that clear liquid we tap out of trees every spring, although we’re behind schedule this year because it’s been too cold.

Maple water is being branded and sold as a new health drink with a growing North American market and a likelihood of more producers getting into this value-added game.

How healthy can a liquid be if it reduces [by 40 times] to pure, dark-amber, liquid sugar? Eight ounces of maple water has as much manganese as a cup of fresh kale, a great way of getting out of drinking your kale in that crazy smoothie you hate making.

The puzzle to solve in this interesting new value-added potential for producers is this: is it more cost-effective to take maple water directly to market as a drink, instead of spending on energy and labour to take maple water to its syrup stage? Or, is it too early for producers to enter a market before the demand is great enough?

The marketing costs of turning maple water into the next coconut water won’t come cheap, but the process has begun, and as more producers decide to take on , the greater traction the existing marketing will have, with savings for new players, compared to starting the marketing of a new food concept from scratch.

Interesting side-note on this story: maple sap and syrup are considered a crop. Modern Farmer

Credit for the image above, including a spot of maple poetry, belongs to North-EastKingdom.com:

Maple sap (or maple water) has just a blush of sweetness, it’s similar to coconut water but lighter and soft in the mouth.

Check out the maple sap posting from their Farm and Forage blog.

Metro news, the grocer edition

Metro will spend $300 million this year to refurbish stores and push a “fresh” agenda. The grocer will focus heavily on upmarket foods, including the highly lucrative ready-to-eat foods, which can produce gross margins as much as 20 percent more family-sized products, which they’ll stock less and less. Globe and Mail

On the loyalty side of things, Metro recently finished an upgraded site and its mobile app for improved personalized marketing. Strategy On Line

On the magazine collaboration side of things, Metro is in recipe cahoots with Chatelaine, which has ideal synergy and will cover the family-focused market. But it’s also going to hook up with Flare magazine and its younger following in a program designed to connect fashion and food. Teams of editors, fashion bloggers and fashion-centric chefs will create dishes inspired by the runway. Great candidate for “never been done before, could be pretty interesting.” Canadian Grocer via Marketing

Pod-free coffee, not having it your way

The Droops Coffeemaker is a guilt-free solution to seeing all those coffee pods piling up in your recycling. The pods are sugar-soluble and have a layer of “solid” milk, also designed to melt into your coffee cup, which can be interesting if you like novelty, but if you take your coffee black, or don’t take sugar, this coffeemaker is not for you.

A quick few words about coffee flavours, a concept I really hate when it comes to coffee. [It’s the only time I like to quote the angry, ranting Denis Leary: “Whatever happened to COFFEE-FLAVOURED COFFEE??!!”]

Droops has five flavours that they call “loud, smooth, nature, citrus and punch.” If you’re like me, wondering what “nature” tastes like, you’re thinking, “I’m not in a rush to try that one.” And isn’t “punch” on the citrusy side to begin with?

In the end, this invention’s ecological savings are swallowed up by a dubious coffee experience, which should be supreme, and how can it be if a manufacturer is deciding how much sugar and milk I [don’t] like in my coffee.

But Droops is ready for snobbery like mine. Check out this headline from some of their marketing content: Essentially Designed For The Fun Coffee Drinker.

Good to know. I’ve never met a “fun” coffee drinker, personally, but I’m happy that there’s an eco-positive solution out there for their special kind of coffee drinking. TrendHunter.com

The top 12 new food products for 2015

  • Weetabix Alpen 70% Dark Chocolate Muesli
  • Tim Hotons’ Dark Roast Coffee
  • Roulette Tortilla Chips
  • Tostitos Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
  • Pretzel Thins
  • Kurtzie’s Artisinal Salami
  • Olympic Dairy Chia Yogurt, Olympic Dairy
  • Promise Gluten Free Chia Seed Loaf
  • Nonna Pia’s Cabernet Merlot Balsamic Reduction
  • Tolerant Organic Red Lentil Pasta
  • High Liner Simply Fish Atlantic Cod
  • Irresistibles La Colleczione Mango Sorbet


New Flavours

Sriracha popcorn .. it was only a matter of time FirstWe.Feast.com

Engagements and Weddings

Heinz-Kraft nuptuals; gift registry at Global Expansion Efficiencies Inc. Financial Post


See you again next week

In a nutshell ..

What’s worth knowing in Food Marketing this week.

Today’s Food Marketing Weekly pulls the curtain back from Coke’s dubious nutrition gambit, finds out how “cute” made  Dempster’s tortilla campaign so successful, how Costco dropped the food safety ball, three new food apps, cologne that smells like BK’s Whopper, a 3D printer that makes pancakes, and kudos for Cheerios’s #HowToDad campaign for going to Cannes.


Mini-cans and mini-truths made it easy to pull back the curtain

Coke really stepped in it this week.

The company decided to market its mini-cans with a campaign using nutrition writers and dietary experts — who were possibly, some say obviously, paid — to deliver the ultimate message that a mini-Coke is a nutritionally sound snack.

The selling of the idea was spread by so-called health bloggers. One of them recommended that a mini-coke plus “packs of almonds or pre-portioned desserts” can constitute a meal. Anyone can see that’s a dangerous stretch. Read more…

Can you say, in a nutshell, what happened in food marketing this week? Now you can.

Welcome to the first issue of Food Marketing Weekly, a new digest format that captures the week’s stand-out food marketing stories and delivers them to you.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.19.39 AM

Ex Starbucks & Lululemon Exec “disrupts” with new frozen food line

Canadian light shone on Christine Day this week. Luvo is her innovative new line of food-forward frozen entrees, with a healthy calorie count and a nutrition-positive profile. (Marketing)

Her line is far better established in the US, carried in 6000 supermarkets and served on Delta Air.

Fast Company tapped her as one of their top 50 innovative companies of the year. She went on Celebrity Apprentice to task a team to promote her line.

“When I look at the state of nutrition and the state of the food industry, I think it’s ripe for disruption,” she told Marketing.

Here’s how she’s going to do it, all for between $4 and $8 each:

  • chicken chili verde
  • burritos filled with chicken poblano verde
  • organic roasted eggplant and quinoa
  • pizzas topped with ricotta and apricot glaze [not so sure about this one]
  • entrees like red wine braised beef with polenta

Read more…

pi pie

For foodie-math nerds everywhere, today, 3.14, which is the value of Pi, which is actually an infinite number, which is like the infinite number of pies we can and should make, all of us. Like this baby. What a happy day!



Evocative, visceral, exquisite

I’m in awe of the image, the well-wrought kind. I go heavy on pictures for this blog, because images hit so suddenly, faster than words, differently, and often better, which might be counter-intuitive for a writer, but then I am that kind of writer.

When I stumble across an enchanting image, I see an opportunity to share something unexpected from a writer: beauty that evokes sheer pleasure in the viewing, just like the sheer pleasure of biting into something exquisitely delicious.

Read more…


How to judge a professional association party.

Can you judge a professional food association by what it’s going to serve you when you check them out at their launch?

I’d say yes. Here’s why ..

Read more…


kit tools 2


If only great ideas could stick like these do.

We’ve had magnetic knife rails for some time, but not for the key utensils that we pull out of a drawer after we’re done all our slicing and dicing. Once we’ve done our basic prep and we’re ready to head to the stove, we reach for the spoon, fork and spatula.

Here they are, and like none other.

This gorgeous beech set comes from Slovenia, which has a storied tradition of woodworking that the makers of this set would like to revive. They’re produced and designed by Leis, a Slovenian company that follows a sustainable, fair-trade business model that they like to keep local. Harvesting, design and manufacturing were conducted in a 30 km radius.

See more here.








Turbo stimulus package for a buck

Jet Fuel is the name of this too-cool-to-crack-a-smile Cabbagetown cafe, whose branding nails their offering really well. They have good quality fuel by way of java, and they have all the hip you’d ever want in a coffee shop.

This is not their logo, by the way, but just a great find tumblred by Bella Illusione. Thanks Bella. This is their logo.

Jet Fuel delivers to the under-caffeinated in two significant ways. They give you a double shot of espresso for $1. Beat that any of you cafés out there. And their signature bevvy for the lollygaggers — folks who don’t need to bolt out the door fired up with a liquid charge — is an eponymous combo of cappuccino and latte in one cup. Why? Because no one else does.

If you’ve chosen to meet a friend or a crush here, good luck finding a place to sit. And be ready to whisper-talk directly into one another’s ear [which is why the crush option is a good one], because it’s as loud as a jet engine in there.

No. It’s not, not really, but it’s loud. It’s a small room with high ceilings, filled with talking caffeinated souls. It’s no wonder.

PS: don’t be a wuss and ask for decaf. Not on the menu.




Now I lay me down to some imaginary savoury sleep

Charlie would love this bed.

Charlie is the imaginary 8-year-old nephew I had to conjure up in my mind to imagine who would sleep in this bed. Those fries are pillows, in case it wasn’t immediately obvious, and it isn’t until you try to follow the whimsical logic that created this bed, the so-called Supersize Bed.

I think Charlie would love this bed because it’s like having a racing car bed, only tastier, in your imagination. But wait. They’ll fit this bed to any size mattress? For adults? That’s when it all falls apart. Who is really going to sleep in this bed? Because even though Charlie would love this bed, his imaginary mother, my imaginary sister, would never agree to this thing.

“Charlie will be wanting McDonald’s morning, noon and night,” she says, in my imagination. And I’d be inclined to agree. I want some McDonald’s just looking at the thing, which I suppose would please the makers very much, to be able to evoke that much desire in a person. Or appetite.

Still, I’m finding it hard to imagine, as an adult, getting sexy on this bed. Food and sex go very well together, but where foam and corporate fast-food is involved, I don’t think, speaking for my non-imaginary self right now, not so much.

Read more…






Some lucky Londoner gets up every morning to make coffee in this minimal, clean design kitchen. Backed by white-painted bricks in front of a farmhouse sink and its striking faux-oldtimey hardware, those lucky Londoners are cooking eggs and who knows what else on a stunning AGA stove, prepping their food on marble counters, fishing into repurposed wooden-fronted drawers and standing on an understated floor of wooden slats in a herringbone design.

And I am standing there with them. Let no beautiful kitchen escape my dreamy place in it.


Food vendor pushes her cart through flooded street of Sena district in Ayutthaya province

A flooded market on wheels and a vendor undeterred

Pushing a cart through a flooded street in south-central Thailand, a woman stays open for business despite the disaster affecting more than 2 million people in her region. Selling fruits and vegetables won’t wait because eating won’t wait, because survival can’t wait. Photo by Chaiwat Subprasom for Reuters.

pan 4

To beloved creatives everywhere, especially those who make magic for food companies — my peeps.  The rest of them are lined up here …

Read more…

APTOPIX India Economy

In Chennai, India. Photo by Arun Sankar K./Associated Press)



Not to put too fine a point on it.


july dusk

When warm gold light spills out from inside the cafe, when we savour the warm air on our bare arms and legs, when we know the day’s nearly done because it’s turning indigo, that’s when we’re in heaven.


pra facade

How to get a client to go for your most adventurous design

When Melbourne’s Prahan Hotel was ready for expansion, they went back to Techné, a local architectural firm they’d worked with before and with whom they had a lot of trust equity.

The hotel’s creative brief called for a design that was more conventional than not, but something no other Australian pub had.

“We actually expected [them] to go with the most adventurous idea,” says project architect Justin Northrup.

Cue the mega-tonne standard drainage pipes … Read more…

bread jn 13

Like a kitchen-warmed full moon, sour dough, so moist you can taste it, heavy, dense and cool. Smoked salmon w/creme fraiche, capers and red onions. Rare-roast beef, grain mustard, horseradish mayo. cracked black pepper. Egg salad. #HowIdLoveThee


India Daily Life

An Indian farmer gathers, carries and drops a harvest of pineapples at a farm near Agartala, two kilimetres from Bangladesh.

Photo: Abhik Deb/Associated Press