Combining street food convenience and restaurant quality, mobile kitchens are bringing good, cheap food to a pavement near you.  And while some industry observers had begun to dismiss food trucks, declaring them promotional ploys or training wheels for brick-and-mortar – they are far from reaching their peak.  Food trucks are like a test kitchen on wheels.  From tacos, to falafels, to waffles – food trucks are known for their creative ingredients and newly fabricated cuts of meat, and artisan beverages.

Food trucks and carts have been around for generations. Most selling hot dogs, Popsicles and ice cream bars or are canteens on wheels that bring staple breakfast and lunch items to factories, auto repair shops and other businesses.  What's different about the mobile food vehicles that have popped up in cities and suburbs in the last few years is that they serve trendy fare like Korean barbecue, Jamaican jerk chicken and cupcakes. They travel from one spot to another, often congregating in high-traffic areas.

Too often brands are busy promoting themselves rather than becoming a trusted resource and/or partner. Brands need to earn the right to tell consumers how great they are. I ran across two sites and a blog recently that are doing a great job of becoming a partner/resource.

Click to enlarge full viewKellogg’s Non-Branded Website

snackpicks.com

A great site from Kellogg’s. They include information from a variety of their snacking brands but really focus on overall entertaining. Do they include recipes and serving suggestions that feature their products? Yes. Do they go beyond that by including craft ideas for parties, entertaining tips and more? Absolutely!

QRCodeOver the past few years we have seen the implementation or QR codes increase. We have seen this on the shelves in stores, on product packaging, print ads, posters and business cards. They are being used everywhere.

The consumer has become more and more familiar with QR codes and brands everywhere seem to be adopting their use. They are fairly easy to set up and can be successful and effective when used correctly.

However, there are some things to keep in mind:

Fact: The majority of people prefer to watch instead of read.

Don’t believe it? Try this on:

  • YouTube is the 3rd most visited website–with over 2 billion views per day
  • Over 829,000 videos are uploaded every day
  • YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine after Google

Yes, it’s a fact; online video content has become a powerful tool to market your brand or service to foodservice professionals.  Video is one of the hottest resources for restaurant entrepreneurs, managers, chefs, and buyers. Videos are being developed for new product introductions, recipe demos, training, creative tutorials, education, and much more.

We all know what a sell sheet or product information brochure is, and the information it needs to contain — SKUs, sizes, who to call — but there are two things that are often forgotten: Appetite Appeal and WIIFM (What's In It For Me?).

 

Making a brand memorable

What do you do when you’re one of the best-known brands in the world and want to come up with a new brand message?

If you’re Coca-Cola, you simply look at yourself from a different point of view… and as you can see for yourself, the results are simple, eye-opening, and... dare I say it? Absolutely refreshing.

You’ve heard about Pinterest and that it’s the new “big marketing idea,” but you may be wondering just how to really make it actionable. There are many companies out there giving it a try: Country Outfitters, Wilton, and Naturalizer, just to name a few.

But how is Pinterest applicable for Food Marketing? That’s easy - Appetite Appeal!

Food marketing is all about making people hungry. And Pinterest offers the perfect way to accomplish exactly that. Just ask your loyal customers (and soon-to-be-loyal customers) to pin recipe images for your products.

How food manufacturers can reach their audience via Pinterest

Ever heard of the social media site Pinterest? If not, you’d better read up on it quickly. Most of today’s savvy marketing managers use it already — and those who don’t are scurrying to catch up.

Martha Stewart Living Pinboard

According to Experian Marketing Service’s 2012 Digital Marketer report, this invitation-only online pinboard site now ranks as the third most popular social networking site, right behind Twitter and Facebook. Pinterest members use the site to share (pin) links and photos of the things they love with others, especially eye-catching food, fashion and home décor images.

Not surprisingly, given the content, Pinterest’s audience skews female (60%) with an astonishing 97% of their Facebook fans being women (AppData quoted by TechCrunch.com). Since grocery shoppers are predominantly women (or men carrying shopping lists written by women), this creates opportunities for retail food manufacturers. Those with mouthwatering food shots that show off products to their best advantage can pin and be pinned, both as eye candy and as future menu options.

Well, we’ve all heard it a million times, so here goes a million and one…“There’s an App for that!” And consumer appetite for apps seems to be unquenchable. As a food marketer, if you’re not leveraging this, you’re way behind the times. Retail brands, food manufacturers, retail stores, restaurants, and everyone in between are developing consumer apps that; help consumers prepare meals or assist in dining out, gather deals, provide product and nutritional information, educate, or simply make mealtime quicker, easier, and less stressful.

Recipe Apps Are What’s Hot in the Kitchen

Kraft was one of the first brand manufacturers to get on the app craze, with their iFood Assistant App. It’s a great app for consumers that allows them to browse thousands of recipes, that BTW, use Kraft products. Automate shopping lists for any recipe you select. Cooking how-to videos, store locators, and hundreds of other features. It’s a huge hit with consumers, and a very profitable endeavor for Kraft.

Over the past two years of economic turbulence we’ve seen significant changes in how consumers shop. And, as the economy begins to regain strength, some of these purchasing patterns look like they may be around for a while.

One tried and true method marketers are seeing gain greater and greater momentum is couponing. In fact, in the past year almost all consumers (94 percent) say they have used consumer package goods (CPG) coupons at least once, and 77 percent with regularity, according to the 2010 Coupon Facts Report recently released by NCH Marketing Services Inc.

Even more compelling is the number of consumers who are pre-planning what they intend to purchase at the grocery store. Two years ago, marketers could tout that the majority of purchase decisions were made by impulse, in-store. Today, it’s the exact opposite. According to IRI data, 86% of consumers are making CPG decisions, BEFORE entering the store. Consumers are using mailers, store fliers, coupons, and of course their brand preferences, to make their shopping list.

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