2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

corporate responsibility

Whole Foods Puts Money Where Its Mouth Is with Expansion of Local Grower Loans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 6, 2014 07:37 PM

Since 1985, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and a slew of their friends have been rocking out at Farm Aid in the hopes of helping family farms. Now someone new has joined the fight to help smaller farms from disappearing from the US: big business. 

Locally sourced organic fruits and vegetables have become desired by many Americans as society’s continued pressure to go green has now affected even the largest retailers. Whole Foods has just announced that it will add $15 million more to the $10 million it has already doled out in low-interest loans to local growers working on such projects as “biodynamic farming, non-GMO animal feed, and pollinator health, as well as more sustainable packaging,” Mediapost reports. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Whole Foods’ program has handed out 184 loans to 155 companies since its inception in 2007.

Walmart is doubling the number of locally grown fruits and vegetables it offers before the end of 2015. Locally sourced meat and seafood as well as locally sourced produce placed first or second on the lists of 1,300 professional chefs that were voting on 2014’s most important trends, according to the National Restaurant Association. In shorter terms, local is the new black.Continue reading...

Want Some Roasted Edamame with That Beef Jerky? 7-Eleven Goes 'Healthy'

Posted by Dale Buss on September 13, 2013 02:47 PM

It may be the last food store where you'd expect to find something healthy to eat. Clogged with energy drinks, candy bars, glazed doughnuts, bags of fat-saturated and salty chips, sugary soft drinks, and beef jerky, the whole point of a convenience store is to satisfy the immediate cravings of a hungry consumer with easy-to-ingest offerings that also offer high margins to the retailer.

Until now, that is. C-store leader 7-Eleven has dabbled with healthier offerings before, but now the Dallas-based chain says that it's devoting an entire section of some of its stores to healthy snacks including roasted edamame, organic trail mix, veggie chips and a variety of dried fruit and nut blends, according to Food Business News.

"Better-for-you is one of the fastest-growing segments of the snacking category," noted Rebecca Frechette, a vice president of merchandising for 7-Eleven, according to the publication.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Whole Foods Hesitantly Deploys More Discount Tactics

Posted by Dale Buss on August 22, 2013 02:40 PM

The "new normal" in grocery shopping has presented Whole Foods Markets with a new dilemma: how to tap into the increasingly promotional appetites of its financially stressed target demographic without diluting the exclusivity and cachet of a brand whose nickname has become "Whole Paycheck."

Whole Foods leadership is tackling that challenge carefully, both emulating the discount tactics used by traditional supermarkets at the same time that it does so only selectively, at least for now.

"The recession was a wake-up call for us," Co-CEO Walter Robb told the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, he said, "People are stuck in the past about what Whole Foods is in the marketplace."Continue reading...

retail watch

Target Broadens Store Brand with New Line of Organic Groceries

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 7, 2013 05:03 PM

Target is going organic with a new store brand, Simply Balanced. The first products will include drinks and snacks as the big-box retailer expands its grocery selection, much of which is already marketed as a generic alternative to national name brands.

Amanda Irish, senior director of Target’s store brands, said the new line is in response to the growing popularity of organic foods, and they will amp up selections in that category by 25 percent by 2017, eventually including about 250 products priced in line with Target's Archer Farms and national brands. Target also offers a store brand called Market Pantry, priced about 10 to 30 percent cheaper than national name brands of which 50 percent of products are organic and three-quarters are free of genetically modified ingredients. Target is hoping to eliminate GMOs from that line by 2014. 

"Groceries tend to have lower profit margins for Target than other parts of its business," notes the AP, "but the retailer has nevertheless been touting its groceries in recent years as a way to attract more shoppers and become a 'one-stop' shopping destination. Last year, groceries and pet supplies accounted for 20 percent of Target’s overall sales. That’s up from 16 percent in 2009."Continue reading...

brand extensions

Whole Foods Expands From Retail to Lifestyle Brand with Health Resort

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 20, 2013 12:47 PM

Emblematic of the slow but steady rise in health and wellness awareness, the gold-standard of ‘conscious capitalism,’ natural grocer Whole Foods is taking its brand and business acumen into the health resort sector.

"We have the perfect vehicle for this," Whole Foods Market co-CEO John Mackey told USA Today. "Think of it as a center where people would go for a day, a weekend or a week for healthy lifestyle education."

Call it a spa, resort or "healthy lifestyle education center," it's planned to open in the brand's Austin, Texas, hometown within three years—a pilot project that could catapult the company into the lucrative market pioneered by Canyon Ranch or Pritikin, or it could be another failure along the lines of the five education-focused Wellness Clubs that Whole Foods tested in 2006, including a location in Dallas.Continue reading...

social marketing

Annie’s Launches "Share Something, Get Something" Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 1, 2013 02:22 PM

It’s the authentic, organic kind of success story that makes everybody happy. Annie’s, maker of organic food and snacks, marketed under the tagline, “We make good,” just joined the ranks of digital marketers with a social media campaign true to the core of their brand message.

“Part of our corporate philosophy is doing well and doing good at the same time,” comments Sarah Bird, Annie’s SVP marketing and “chief mom officer.” “We’re hoping to seed a conversation about doing good.”

The video, which can be viewed on Annie's Facebook, shows a woman encouraged to tweet hashtag #sharegood to “get something good.” Post-tweet, (spoiler alert) a series of surprising events begins, such as a man in a bunny suit jumps out with a bowl of Annie’s mac and cheese for the woman to eat. Upon eating, a group of magicians appear and perform street theater while the woman is encouraged to shout “Something Good!” which triggers a musical performance from the back of a truck. 

The macro message, “Share something good to get something good,” starts with sharing the video on Facebook or Twitter, which generates a "thank you" and a stream of cute bunny videos, because hey—who doens't like bunnies? Continue reading...

chew on this

Fresh Food for Thought as Major GMO Foe Changes Thinking

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 03:06 PM

Public apologies by high-profile experts are rare, making this week's anti-GMO reversal — call it a GMea Culpa — by British environmentalist, author and Oxford University visiting research associate Mark Lynas particularly stunning.

Lynas spurred the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, continuing to argue as recently as 2008 that corporate greed was threatening Mother Earth and her inhabitants; but at this week's Oxford Farming Conference, he recanted his position in a very public way.

“I want to start with some apologies," he stated. "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.”

“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it?"Continue reading...

truth in packaging

Kellogg's Kashi Still Battling GMO Foes

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2012 05:00 PM

Kellogg's Kashi brand has just introduced two new USDA Certified organic cereals, touting that it's using real organic fruit and whole grains in the wake of its Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) flap earlier this year. "We've always believed that nature makes the best-tasting ingredients, like the hearty whole grains and luscious organic fruit you can see and taste in our Berry Fruitful and Blackberry Hills cereals," states Keegan Sheridan, natural food and lifestyle expert at Kashi, in a press release.

Each serving of Berry Fruitful provides 6g of fiber and 46g of whole grains, nearly 100% of the recommended daily value, while Blackberry Hills offers 3g of fiber and 16g of whole grains per serving – and like all Kashi foods, both are free of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup. Equally important, both cereals carry the official Non-GMO Project Verified seal. But that still won't convince its GMO foes to re-embrace the brand.

Kashi doesn't broadcast the fact that it's owned by Kellogg, nor that it has used GMOs, because it's trying to be perceived as an independent brand to win a bigger share of the natural and organic food category, which grew 9.5% in 2011 to $31.5 billion in US sales. The brand's still recovering from being engulfed in a social media firestorm back in April, when a New England store boycotted it after discovering "that 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is genetically modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors."

Kashi's Keegan Sheridan defended the company's GMO usage with a YouTube video, but it's still getting flack from consumers opposed to GMOs on its Facebook page, as you can see at top.Continue reading...

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