July 13, 2017

Modern moutarde from our friends at the French Farm

As always, Fancy Food was inspiring. For over three days we met with many innovative companies, explored the new LEVEL UP exhibit and engaged with experts at seminars like “The Food Market of Tomorrow”
(by Hartman and Mintel). A personal highlight was to hear Florence Fabricant present “Is The Fancy in Fancy Food Passe?” with refreshing wit and wisdom. It was a moment to be in the presence of the queen of editorial food culture and a real New York lady.

It seems everyone wants to be a part of the food world. Food crosses so many mindsets, lifestyles, communities and cultures.  And at Fancy Food, you’ll find a huge range from the hyper indulgent to the minimalistic free from everything. Health and sustainability are key these days, but the French presenter, Nicolas Trentesaux (SIAL) reminded us that pleasure and aspiration are still key drivers: “When you buy and eat black lava sea salt you’re not a nobody!”. Merci Nicolas for that belly laugh moment.
But what is “Fancy” anyway? There have been massive changes in fancy food since the “Galloping Gourmet” show in the early 70’s. “Fancy” back then meant rare condiments and confiture like balsamic vinegar from Modena or flambéing your food. Today, you can find your fancy in any Whole Foods. Fancy, in a word, is “premium” and today’s consumer wants something better not just occasionally, but
ALL of the time.

Photograph from the new LEVEL UP exhibit.

Big data

Fancy Food has been booming, with a past 5 year CAGR (compound average growth rate) of + 9%. In the next 5 years, Mintel predicts continued growth, but a bit more relaxed at +7% as segments mature and retail consolidates (ala Amazon acquiring Whole Foods and CPG investing in fresh and boutique-click here for Nestle news in Fortune (acquires minority interest in freshly consumer meals).

Traditional brands are struggling: 90% are losing share to creative new companies that have reimagined the category.

And specialty brands can deliver sales equivalent to mass with fewer households.  Hartman took a sample of 19 mid-stage brands (those with $400MM+ in annual sales) and discovered on average they had 16% penetration. So there’s a lot of upside in terms of households-and in shifting light buyers to heavy buyers.
Tread carefully, entrepreneurs: While it seems like rosy times for starry eyed entrepreneurs, experts urge prudence. You can spend a lot of your own money, (or your investor’s money) for years before making a return.Hartman reported that achieving $30MM in revenue is a turning point for success, when your brand has solid distribution and awareness to truly go national.  In the “All Money Isn’t Green” seminar, panelists shared that they hear a lot of pitches predicting hockey stick growth. While that’s enthusiastic, many investors would prefer start ups also share their back up plan for a rainy day. You need to ask yourself, “what if I fail”? A question that any reasonable business person should be able to answer. Once you’ve answered that, then go on asking, “What if I grow beyond my wildest dreams?!”

The future of food

Mike Lee of The Future Market presented some revolutionary questions about how we can make food better for the planet and for people.   How do we feed 9 billion people in 2050? What advancements in cellular

agriculture, vertical farming and 3D food printing will empower the eater?

How can food tech help with challenges like pollution and extreme population growth?

For more perspectives on the Future Market click here.

Chats with entreprenuers

Our favorite thing to do is to learn about what’s new from visionaries at the show. Here’s just a sampling of our conversations.
We loved our chat with Think Jerky – their creative flavors like “Thanksgiving”, featured here, was imagined by celebrity chefs Doug Sohn, Gale Gand, Laurent Gras & Matt Troost: at 100 Calories, 16g Protein, 6g Carbs, it is a delicious and thoughtful treat.

Cultured Coffee is using fermentation science to make healthier, more digestible coffee. Their first commercial product is easier to digest. It’s lower in acidity and stomach irritants and tea-like caffeine for a less bitter brew. Cultured Coffee is made in Brooklyn, ethically sourced, then fermented and roasted in small batches with shining fruit and rich chocolate flavors. Featured on Kickstarter and Afineur.

Old World New Attitude

New to the scene, Esti Foods stopped us in our tracks, with a super – professional debut featuring Mediterranean foods like meze spreads, feta cheese, rustic pizza, Greek yogurt and extra virgin olive oils and spreads, all presented with Greek ingenuity.

Organically Sweet

This brand has it all going on. SMASHMALLOW seems to have disrupted the candy category with a “Wilderesque” World of Imagination. What makes it a winner? The strategic thought that went into it. Great name, beautiful package and endless story telling potential. Bite sized marshmallow squares with breakthrough flavors like cinnamon churro and root beer float. A sweet snack that feels modern an d nostalgic at once, taking you back to those days of S’mores at camp.  Read more about the smashing success of Sonoma Brands in an article in  FoodNavigator: SMASHMALLOW .

We spoke with Nancy Kalish, Founder and CEO of RuleBreakerSnacks. A health journalist for 20 years with the worst sweet tooth, she imagined better brownies made with 40% chick peas and free from top 8 allergens, non GMO, Kosher and Vegan.

One of the sweetest spots of the show was visiting the CEO of Louis Sherry. By pure coincidence, I purchased these boxes in an antique store last holiday, not knowing the celebrated story of the man. Louis Sherry of Vermont first opened up shop in 1881, selling French-style chocolates and ice cream post Prohibition on Fifth Avenue in alliance with the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The company subsequently purchased the Sherry Netherland Hotel. You can find these beautiful confections today at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and online. Click here for more about the fascinating history of Louis Sherry.

joy to the brand

joyful plate is your strategic positioning, innovation and research partner for brands big and small- we help big brands stay relevant and help small and mid sized brands envision a path for growth.

celebrating our seventh year in 2017

We’re thrilled to have partnered with many wonderful companies in the space be they food and wine, human and pet, U.S. and EU. Our mission today remains the same as when we started: sharing the joy that good food brings to our lives everyday.
Please contact us to chat more at michelle@joyfulplate.com.  We’d love to spark some strategic insights and creativity into your business plans for 2017!