Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making Headlines

So much has happened in the past 12 months! Many food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies made headlines in 2010. Let's take a look back at the top CPG stories of the year.

2009 ended with a huge announcement from Pepsi. The soft drink company ditched its Super Bowl advertising and instead spent $20 million this year on the Pepsi Refresh Project, awarding grants to individuals, communities, and organizations to make a difference across the country. To date, more than 61 million votes have been cast, resulting in 351 projects netting $14.6 million from the company.

Throughout the year, many states battled a soda tax, with politicians in cities nationwide boycotting sugary beverages and demanding a fee from consumers who choose to purchase soft drinks, flavored water, and juice containing high levels of sugar. When voters headed to the polls, their voices were heard; the tax was rejected and many organizations have backed away from the initiative for now.

Only a few short months after unveiling its 100% compostable bag, SunChips announced in October that they would silence their efforts after consumers complained about the loud biodegradable packaging. The company has gone back to the drawing board and plans to reveal a new, quieter, environmentally friendly package in the coming year.

In 2010, snack companies united for a common cause. Knowing that eating healthy has become a top priority for consumers, several food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies banded together and vowed to reduce calories, sodium, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, and the like from their products.

Food and beverage CPG companies got creative with their promotions this year. Frito-Lay toured the United States with a Mobile Greenhouse designed to bring a rural farm experience to metropolitan areas like New York City, Boston, and Chicago. The tour allowed visitors the opportunity to interact first-hand with plants, meet a Lay's potato farmer, and enjoy interactive stations. Heinz also hit the road this year with a Road Trip to introduce its new Dip and Squeeze packaging.

Other food topics dominating headlines in 2010 include this summer's recall of more than half a billion eggs after a salmonella outbreak, and the great bacon craze churning out everything from soda to popcorn. In addition, Mountain Dew once again completed a successful Dewmocracy campaign, and brands like Pop-Tarts, Wonka, and Disney bested the economy by opening retail stores in New York's Times Square.

What headlines will you remember from 2010? Tell me about the news stories you recall dominating headlines this past year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

While I love all the holiday specials on TV this time of year, I have to admit, there are some Christmas commercials that I wait all year to see. I get very excited to watch these spots and am sometimes happier to see these ads than hear Charlie-in-the Box sing about the Island of Misfit Toys or watch innocent Cindy Loo Who buy into lies from the Grinch. Here are some of my all time favorite holiday commercials:

Eat'n Park is a Pittsburgh area restaurant that's been around since 1949. In 1982, the company wanted to create a holiday card on video to thank the city for their support. The result was an ad that has become a Christmas classic and a holiday staple. This commercial is not just my favorite Christmas commercial, it's my favorite 30-second spot of all time! I hope you like it as much as I do.

Other Christmas commercials from food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies and retailers also do a phenomenal job of adding to the holiday season. Take a look:

Leave a comment and tell me: What are some of your favorite holiday commercials? I hope you get to see them this season! Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Looking into the Crystal Ball

As 2010 comes to a close, it's time to look forward to next year and the food trends that will dominate the headlines. Based on this year's hot topics and current industry conditions, here is what I believe you can expect to see in 2011:
What do you think will happen within the food and beverage CPG industry next year? Deeper focus on better foods in schools? Improved sustainability practices? Manufacturers making a stronger attempt to buy local foods for the products they produce? Look into your crystal ball and leave a message to let me know your predictions for 2011.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Flavors Abound

With Christmas only days away, food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies are getting into the holiday spirit. With special seasonal flavors, Santa-clad packaging, and brightly colored red and green foods, one only has to look at the products lining store shelves to know that the Christmas season is upon us. Here are some of the new items you can expect to see (if you haven't already) at a supermarket near you.

Several weeks ago, Dunkin' Donuts unveiled a line of seasonal coffee flavors. If you're excited about waking up to a bold cup of Pumpkin Spice, Vanilla Nut, or Mocha Mint coffee every morning leading up Christmas, you're in luck! The at-home coffee brand is available in grocery stores for a limited time.

To make your morning even more merry and bright, try Kellogg's Rice Krispies with festive red and green crisped pieces of rice mixed in among the usual cream-colored cereal bits.

PopTarts is also celebrating the holiday season with a familiar flavor. Find limited edition Kellogg's Printed Fun Pop-Tarts Gingerbread toaster pastries at a store near you.

If all you want for Christmas is a sweet treat, look to red and green M&M's in all varieties – plain, peanut, peanut butter, dark chocolate, and almond, in addition to seasonal mint and cherry cordial flavors. Taking full advantage of this winter wonderland, Hershey's offers a range of seasonal taste sensations in flavors like Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle, Milk Chocolate with Cherry Cordial Crème, and Candy Cane. New this year, Peeps has also added Chocolate Covered Mint Flavored Marshmallow Trees to its line-up.

Oreo is celebrating this holly jolly season with Candy Cane Oreos. As a twist to this classic favorite, the chocolate sandwich cookie has added a peppermint crème with crunchy sprinkles to its icing middle. A perfect snack to leave for Santa!

'Tis the season for companies to dress up the packaging on year-round staples. Take the Nestlé Crunch bar, for example. This year, the candy company collaborated with Paul Frank to create holiday-themed designs featuring the characters Julius the Money and Worry Bear. The oversized bars, available exclusively at Target, come in gift envelopes that double as holiday cards.

Those in the mood for a healthy bite to eat this season can get a boost of calcium from Target's line of holiday yogurt. With flavors like sugar cookie, bread pudding, and eggnog, consumers can savor the most recognizable tastes of the season in yogurt form.

For me, I know the season has begun when Starbucks breaks out its red cups. Is there anything better than the Christmas Coffee Blend or a Peppermint Mocha in a red cup to say happy holidays?!

What about you? What new products have you seen this year? If you have a favorite holiday product that you can only find this time of year, please share! Leave a comment and tell me all about the seasonal flavors you love.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lend Me Your Ears

This Friday brings an announcement that has been in the making for some time. While I enjoy writing my blog and appreciate the comments and support from my readers, writing two posts a week takes a great amount of time.

With the holidays approaching and my schedule getting more hectic, I plan to cut down on the number of blog posts from two a week to just one. This decision will give me more time to focus on creative topics, stronger data, and better posts. As of next week and going into 2011, you can expect to see my updates on Wednesdays.

During the week, I like to share information that I find about the retail and food and beverage consumer packaged goods industry on Twitter. I have also compiled two daily online Twitter papers, which you can take a peek at anytime:In addition, notice that I have created a Twitter widget in the sidebar. Come by anytime to see what food and beverage CPG companies and brands are talking about on Twitter.

If you have a topic you'd like me to address or know of a brand or organization I should be following on Twitter, let me know by leaving a message with your feedback! Thanks for reading and your continued support!