Cheetos Ahoy!

A theme for this year is going to be how big brands reinvent themselves to look “smaller” and more authentic. Between Amazon, Aldi and a generational bias towards less processed food, the big brands are under incredible pressure. But there is light in the tunnel. When the owners of brands invest in the “soft marketing” and brand building that is not price/promotion focused, they have a pathway to beat back the changing retail structure and dominance of low cost retailer managed private brands. The 2017 story of Cheetos creating a pop up restaurant is a great example what the winners will be doing over the next few years.

The Wall Street Journal: “The Spotted Cheetah, a pop-up restaurant small big brands specializing in dishes made with Cheetos, has sold out all of the roughly 300 reserved slots for its three-day run, say officials with PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division that makes the snack … Spaces were gone within six hours of last week’s announcement of the opening, officials said, adding that there is currently a waiting list of more than 1,000 people should anything become available.”

“The Cheetos restaurant, helmed by celebrity chef Anne Burrell, will feature several varieties of the snack in close to a dozen dishes … Menu items, priced from $8 to $22, include Cheetos meatballs, Cheetos grilled cheese with tomato soup and Cheetos-crusted fried pickles. There are even desserts made with Cheetos, albeit the Sweetos variety of the snack.”

Sweetos? Now that’s something private label can’t do!

I Dream of Genie, aka Food from a Printer

If we can print guns and machinery parts, it was only a matter of time before the foodies caught up and figured out how to “print” food. When I first read about “Genie,” I laughed and thought “genie” must mean “internet bubble” in Hebrew. But then…

If we can print guns and machinery parts, it was only a matter of time before the foodies caught up and figured out how to “print” food. When I first read about “Genie,” I laughed and thought “genie” must mean “internet bubble” in Hebrew. But then… Continue reading “I Dream of Genie, aka Food from a Printer”

Food Industry News; I’ll Have What “She’s Having!”

Images of candy and packaging
Bryce Vickmark for The New York Times

In the movie “When Harry Met Sally” there is a great deli scene that needs no repetition here. But if I read the New York Times correctly, Silicon Valley is making another run at the food industry. The last time this happened, we were graced with some real winners like WebVan “of blessed memory”.  But this time it’s different the Times tells us.  And it really is. Lots of food technology improvement that could drive costs out of the bloated industry or create sustainable protein sources. Of course what’s not different is the relentless newly minted MBA focus to sell oneself and not the mass market. Continue reading “Food Industry News; I’ll Have What “She’s Having!””