Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Whom Do You Love?

Are you feeling the love? A recently released list named this year's most liked brands in the country, and food and beverage CPG manufacturers have landed top spots. It's no wonder many of the consumer-friendly products ranked highly; each company has spent years honing its brand, image, and marketing.

The list based its standings on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, with each company earning its position based on thousands of consumer satisfaction surveys administered by ACSI.

Business Insider announced the results last week, and food and beverage companies rated as follows: ketchup maker H.J. Heinz earned the highest spot on the list, landing at number three. The 142-year-old business received a score of 88 out of 100 on the satisfaction index.

Quaker came in next, with a rating of 86. A push toward more whole grains and less sugar surely helped the PepsiCo-owned brand secure the eighth opening on the list.

While also achieving a satisfaction score of 86, Hershey came in at number 12, according to Business Insider. The Hershey Company is the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, and distributes candies including Reese's, Jolly Rancher, and Twizzlers.

Next up, Sara Lee, number 13 on the list with a satisfaction rating of 85. Makers of fresh and frozen baked goods since 1939, the corporation continues to live up to its slogan, "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee!"

With a score of 85, Dr. Pepper Snapple locked in the number 17 spot on the list. In addition to the obvious Dr. Pepper and Snapple, the company also owns well-known beverage brands such as A&W Root Beer, Hawaiian Punch, Sunkist, and 7UP. Last year, company revenues topped $1.33 billion.

The final company on the list, Mars, Incorporated, rounded out the food and beverage CPG manufacturers on the list at number 19, and a score of 85. Over the years, the candy maker has created sweet favorites like Snickers, Twix, and Skittles. In 2010, Mars reported revenues of $30 billion, and in 2008, the company purchased gum producer Wrigley along with Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated.

Luckily, no food and beverage companies landed on this year's most hated list. BNET, the CBS Interactive Network, also published a similar list, with the same ACSI scores, but slightly different rankings.

What do you think of this list? Did the companies, brands, and products you love make the cut? Leave a comment and tell me more!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Out of the Blue

July is National Blueberry Month, and rightfully so! Those plump, vivid berries are ripe this time of year, with grocers keeping store shelves stocked with this summer fruit. Fresh or frozen, blueberries are tasty any time of year, atop pancakes or mixed in to oatmeal.

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry, and the good folks at the organization are undoubtedly excited to celebrate this month.

Find a variety of blueberry-flavored items in stores, including products like True Blueberry Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea, Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate Cranberries, Blueberries, and Almond Bar, and Wild Blueberry Quaker Multigrain Fiber Crisps.

Enjoy these additional blueberry recipes to spice up your month!
What are your favorite blueberry recipes? Have a good one for Wild Blueberry Soup or Blueberry Streusel Cake? Post and share!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Scream, You Scream

We're halfway through July, which means we still have two weeks to celebrate National Ice Cream Month! Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984, and for the past 27 years, we've had a full 31 days to formally recognize the frozen treat that keeps us cool all summer.

Since my ice cream post last year, food manufacturers have created new concoctions for consumers to enjoy. Whether you're in the mood for a decadently sweet dessert, a low-fat creamy delight, or something in between, ice cream companies have you covered! Take a look at these new ice cream lines that have hit store shelves so far this year.

In March, Ben and Jerry's launched Late Night Snack, a flavor inspired by a "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" skit. The vanilla ice cream combines a sweet and salty combination with a caramel swirl and crunchy fudge-covered potato chip clusters.

Ben and Jerry's welcomed two more flavors in May, available only at Target. Volun-Tiramisu and Peanut Butter World are intended to promote volunteerism, joining last year's philanthropic ice cream debut of Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder.

This company isn't the only one, however, adding a new twist to their tried and true lineup. Klondike is mixing it up with new taste sensations like Mint Chocolate Chip and Caramel Pretzel. Blue Bunny, Hershey's Ice Cream, and Breyers also keep us guessing with new items unveiled constantly.

For kids and kids at heart, Popsicle brand frozen treats introduced Jolly Rancher ice pops. With long-lasting flavors straight from the hard candy, each pop combines cherry, blue raspberry, green apple, and grape flavors.

Looking for a healthier way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month? Reach for one of new Weight Watchers' new ice cream treats. For those on the diet program, the frozen treats range from one to four points to keep your eating plan on track. Try a Strawberry Smoothie Bar, a GIANT Latte Bar, a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bar, or many of the other low-fat varieties the manufacturer offers.

Skinny Cow from Nestlé also provides a lower fat ice cream option. From sandwiches and truffle bars to individual cones and cups in mouth-watering flavors including Strawberry Cheesecake and Caramel Cone, Skinny Cow is another tasty alternative to help ice cream lovers snack smartly.

Of course, you can always visit your nearest Maggie Moo's or Baskin-Robbins or head to your grocer's freezer to enjoy your favorite ice cream flavor this month – and all year! – long.

So tell me, what's your favorite ice cream flavor? Drop me a note and tell me how you're planning to celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hall of Fame

Tucan Sam? Mr. Peanut? Who's your favorite advertising icon? From Charlie the Tuna to the Jolly Green Giant, beloved characters across the years have helped consumers connect with a brand. The personified creatures have earned their place in American pop culture, with many companies making over their "spokesperson" to keep up with the times.

Later this year, advertising enthusiasts will be able to visit the Advertising Icon Museum in Kansas City to honor advertising icons new and old. The institution will display the world's largest-known collection of three‐dimensional advertising icons. The 12,000-square foot museum will be home to more than 2,000 legendary advertising icons and will serve as the permanent home of the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame, the annual class of America's favorite icons as chosen by millions of online voters.

The Advertising Icon Museum will surely highlight the Top 10 Advertising Icons of the Century, as noted by Ad Age. The list includes well known figures including Betty Crocker, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Aunt Jemima, and Tony the Tiger.

Recently, CBS Sunday Morning profiled some classic advertising icons getting a fresh face with help from agency partners to reconnect with today's consumer. View the video below:

Which ad icons stand out to you? Share memories of your favorite advertising character!