Thursday, November 30, 2017

Whole Foods Market Sales Are Up

Regular readers of this blog know that Amazon bought Whole Foods and ever since that transaction consumer’s curiosity created a platform of interest that fueled trial or retrial according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

What Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCards reviled however since that transaction is consumers like what they found at Whole Foods.  In fact 76.3% of consumers surveyed said that they would return.  With 93.1% of those returning because they found the food flavorful, local, functional, or trendy. Is your brand trendy?
Well here is a list of some of what Whole Foods Market says will be on trend in 2018?

1.       Floral Flavors
Foragers and culinary stars have embraced edible petals for years, but floral inspiration is finally in full bloom. From adding whole flowers and petals into dishes to infusing botanical flavors into drinks and snacks, this top trend makes for a subtly sweet taste and fresh aromatics. Look for flowers used like herbs in things like lavender lattés and rose-flavored everything. Bright pink hibiscus teas are a hot (and iced) part of the trend, while elderflower is the new MVP (most valuable petal) of cocktails and bubbly drinks.

2.       Super Powders
Powders are serious power players. Because they’re so easy to incorporate, they’ve found their way into lattés, smoothies, nutrition bars, soups and baked goods. For an energy boost or an alternative to coffee, powders like 
matchamaca root and cacao are showing up in mugs everywhere. Ground turmeric powder is still on the rise, the ever-popular spice used in Ayurvedic medicine. Smoothie fans are raising a glass to powders like spirulina, kale, herbs and roots for an oh-so-green vibrancy that needs no Instagram filter. Even protein powders have evolved beyond bodybuilders to pack in new nutrients like skin- and hair-enhancing collagen.
  1. Functional Mushrooms
    Shoppers are buzzing about functional mushrooms, which are traditionally used to support wellness as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Now, varieties like reishi, chaga, cordyceps and lion’s mane star in products across categories. Bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies and teas are leading the way. The rich flavors also lend themselves to mushroom broths, while the earthy, creamy notes pair well with cocoa, chocolate or coffee flavors. Body care is hot on this mushroom trend too, so look for a new crop of soaps, hair care and more.
  2. Feast from the Middle East
    Middle Eastern culinary influences have made their way west for years, and 2018 will bring these tasty traditions into the mainstream. Things like hummus, pita and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian and Lebanese influences rising to the top. Spices like harissa, cardamom and za’atar are hitting more menus, as well as dishes like shakshuka, grilled halloumi and lamb. Other trending Middle Eastern ingredients include pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber, parsley, mint, tahini, tomato jam and dried fruits.
  3. Transparency 2.0
    More is more when it comes to product labeling. Consumers want to know the real story behind their food, and how that item made its way from the source to the store. GMO transparency is top-of-mind, but shoppers seek out other details, too, such as Fair Trade certification, responsible production and animal welfare standards. At Whole Foods Market, this plays out in several ways, starting with these three happening in 2018: 1) In January 2018, all canned tuna in our stores will come from sustainable one-by-one catch methods; 2) In September 2018, labels will provide GMO transparency on all items in stores; and 3) Dishes from Whole Foods Market food bars and venues are now labeled with calorie information. The FDA’s deadline for nutrition labeling is among the first regulatory steps for greater transparency, but expect consumers and brands to continue leading the way into a new era of product intel.
  4. High-Tech Goes Plant-Forward
    Plant-based diets and dishes continue to dominate the food world, and now the tech industry has a seat at the table, too. By using science to advance recipes and manipulate plant-based ingredients and proteins, these techniques are creating mind-bending alternatives like “bleeding” vegan burgers or sushi-grade “not-tuna” made from tomatoes. These new production techniques are also bringing some new varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts and pecans. Dairy-free indulgences like vegan frosting, brownies, ice cream, brioche and crème brûlée are getting so delicious, non-vegans won’t know the difference – or they might choose them anyway!
  5. Puffed & Popped Snacks
    Crunchy snacks are perennial favorites, but new technology is revolutionizing all things puffed, popped, dried and crisped. New extrusion methods (ways of processing and combining ingredients), have paved the way for popped cassava chips, puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips and puffed rice clusters. Good-old-fashioned chips also get an upgrade as part of the trend, with better-for-you bites like jicama, parsnip or Brussels sprout crisps.
  6. Tacos Come Out of Their Shell
    There’s no slowing down the craze for all things Latin American, but the taco trend has a life of its own. This street-food star is no longer limited to a tortilla, or to savory recipes: Tacos are showing up for breakfast, and trendy restaurants across the country have 
    dessert variations. Most of all, tacos are shedding their shell for new kinds of wrappers and fillings too – think seaweed wrappers with poke filling. Classic tacos aren’t going anywhere, but greater attention to ingredients is upping their game. One end of the spectrum is hyper-authentic cooking with things like heirloom corn tortillas or classic barbacoa. And thanks to brands like Siete, there are grain-free options for paleo fans too. Taco ‘bout options!
  7. Root-to-Stem
    Between nose-to-tail butchery and reducing food waste, a few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking, which makes use of the entire fruit or vegetable, including the stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten. Recipes like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto or broccoli-stem slaw have introduced consumers to new flavors and textures from old favorites.
  8. Say Cheers to the Other Bubbly
    LaCroix may have paved the way, but now there’s an entire booming category of sparkling beverages vying for consumer attention. Just don’t call them “soda.” These drinks are a far cry from their sugary predecessors. Flavored sparkling waters like plant-derived options from Sap! (made with maple and birch) and sparkling cold brew from Stumptown will are shaking up a fizzy fix. Shoppers are also toasting mocktail must-haves like Topo Chico and Whole Foods MarketTM Lime Mint Elderflower Italian Sparkling Mineral Water. Cheers to the other kind of bubbly!

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pizza Price Promo’s Demonstrates Domino’s Dominance

Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Food Marketing have proven a platform to drive top line sales and bottom line profits for chain restaurants, chain convenience stores, grocery stores offering grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food since 1991 according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  
Domino's  has found incremental success with technology, a reformulated pizza, delivery cars that separate it from competitors.  Now Domino’s is positioned leverage technologies operational efficiency, flavor, and price too drive incremental sales through the end of the year. 
Will Domino’s by expanding its digital orders by offering 50% off online pizza orders for a limited time for the next 10 days  disrupt the sales momentum other pizza chains have found or will it just spark a price war within the pizza sector in 2018?
Jenny Fouracre, Domino's stated  "About half of the people at our headquarters work in developing and supporting the digital side of the business, which allows the stores to focus on creating amazing food and delivering the best customer experience, with less time spent on the phone taking orders,"  "With 50% off online pizza orders, hungry customers who haven't tried out digital ordering might just succumb to the tempting price and maybe discover online ordering is easier than they thought.”
The Domino’s deal includes any menu-priced pizza that’s ordered through the chain’s online channels, which include its website and app.  While operational efficiencies are important and technology is a great platform to achieve those efficiencies remember Domino’s fixed the food first.  Is your brand ready to grow?

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Panera Bread Hears You adding Complexity Free Ordering

In five weeks we usher in 2018 and one of the undercurrents of change that will be hear but not seen is the foodservice trend of voice activated ordering according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®
I have been using my Google home more and more every week and it seems as if every week there is just one more thing that I find that like and use.  Well now here is one more Google Assistant, which can be on your iPhone, Google Phone, Android devise or Google Home recently announced that Panera Bread was becoming one of the first national concepts to offer the ability to order via voice for delivery and Rapid Pick-Up with the Google Assistant on their mobile devices.
My Panera members in select cities including St. Louis and Silicon Valley at participating locations are eligible to place and pay for their orders using the virtual personal assistant platform. Panera expects the rollout to go national by the end of 2017 so get ready as voice ordering will be big in 2018 according to Johnson.
Here is how it works “Guests can tell Google Assistant, “OK Google, ask Panera for delivery,” or “OK Google, talk to Panera.” The Panera app will then pop up and show users the menu. It will also suggest past items based on history and take the guest through the menu. You can then pay from saved wallet information.”
Why is this so important Ron Shaich, Panera’s founder, chairman, and CEO, in a statement “About 30 percent of total company-wide sales are digital at this point, Since it launched Panera 2.0 in 2014, the chain has grown with Rapid Pick-Up, Fast Lane Kiosks, Catering, and Delivery.’
How must is that?  “With more than 1.3 Million digital orders placed a week at Panera, there is a clear demand for voice-activated ordering methods, and this integration with Google is a step towards an even better guest experience,” according to Shaich.
Blaine Hurst, Panera’s president stated “Voice-activated ordering powered by artificial intelligence is the future. We know the industry is in its infancy….. “While we know we still have a lot to learn, we’re proud to develop, test and refine this capability in partnership with Google. In the long run, the ease and convenience will be meaningful to our guests.  In fact, placing a voice-activated order in many cases is more than 80 percent faster than a traditional app order.”
Leaders lead and when Panera leads expect other to follow according to Johnson.  Other brands the ilk of Wingstop, Domino’s, Pizza Hut have added Voice-activated ordering. 2018 is only five weeks away how are you adding customer relevance to your brand?  Don’t know? or Email the Grocerant Guru® at:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Project Juice Vegan Breakfast is Super

Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that is better for you continues to expand fresh food options for Millennials in search of discover and Project Juice, is one company that is on target according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Regular readers of this blog know that Project Juice is a certified organic clean foods and cold-pressed juice company, has added vegan and gluten-free Paleo Protein Waffles to its menu at select Project Juice locations.
It is Project Juices pursuit to make people feel awesome through convenient, plant-powered, innovative foods.  Project Juice has two new perfectly toasted waffle choices.  The first is topped with almond butter and banana, the second is topped with berries and vegan almond cream in keeping with its mission to deliver delicious, balanced nutrition and health-driven concepts to customers.
The ‘superfood waffles’ are made with almonds, flax seed, chia seeds, and coconut, are also high in protein and grain free, making them a perfect breakfast staple, or a great pre- or post-workout snack. They are also a boon for gut health, containing organic prebiotic fiber, which helps promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms that help the body digest. So how do they sound to you?
Almond Butter + Banana Waffle: Toasted-to-perfection gluten free waffle – crunchy on the outside with a bouncy soft inside, this version is topped with organic banana slices, almond butter, house-made probiotic coconut yogurt, honey and hemp seeds.
Berries + Cream Waffle: The perfectly warmed and crunchy waffle is this time topped with seasonally available organic berries, almond cream cheese, honey and toasted almonds.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wow Bao will be a Fully Automated Dining

Regular readers of this blog know that Wow Bao, a fast-casual concept specializing in savory steamed buns, pan-seared dumplings, and rice & noodle bowls.  What you don’t know is that the next-generation store, opening December 1, is set to become Chicago’s first and only fully automated dining experience according to Steve Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Wow Bao was the first brand to license the innovative eatsa technology platform, Wow Bao’s restaurant will feature an automated storefront that enables digital ordering via mobile app or in-store kiosk, delivering both a seamless customer experience and optimum food delivery speed.
When the orders are placed, diners will pick up their food via one of 12 custom LED-lit cubbies. Displaying the guest’s name along with social media-friendly animation, each cubby will give a series of prompts, including when the food is cooking or when to double tap and open for a completed order. A Wow Bao “concierge” will be on hand to answer any questions and explain the process within the store.
Wow Bao plans to expand utilizing this new technology, expecting to double its number of locations in 2018.Wow Bao’s brand new mobile app will launch simultaneously with the opening of the new location, allowing diners to order on the go with ease.
Wow Bao President Geoff Alexander. “We couldn’t be more excited to be the first restaurant partner for eatsa and look forward to delivering the same high-quality food our customers expect in a way they have never seen before.” 
Wow Bao’s signature lunch and dinner menus will be available to enjoy for dine-in, carryout, and delivery service. In addition, the new location will offer brand new bao and rice bowl options, a coffee program complete with Do-Rite donuts for breakfast, and a late-night window for after-hour cravings during warmer weather. 

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Grocerant Growth Delivery-Only Mexican Concept

Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche fresh prepared food is on it way according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Recently the Madera Group, operator of concepts Toca Madera and Tocaya Organica, launched an all-new, delivery-only concept called Modern Organic Mexican or nickname M|O|M.
M|O|M’s signature take on Mexican cuisine is about using fresh, locally-sourced organic ingredients with a focus on traditional home style Mexican dishes. Menu items include tacos, taquitos, burritos, quesadillas, empanadas, salads and more sure to satisfy meat eaters and vegans alike.
Tosh Berman, CEO and Co-Founder of The Madera Group  stated "It’s no secret, technology is driving the way we all live and increasingly, the way we eat. Delivery services like Postmates and UberEATS have already proven to be hugely successful for our Tocaya Organica and Toca Madera concepts, and this is one of the major reasons we wanted to create M|O|M,”… “M|O|M is an entirely new, delivery-only concept for us to bring more options for fresh, delicious and most of all, convenient Modern Organic Mexican to our customer's doorsteps.”
The Madera Group develops, owns and operates a collection of leading restaurant venues, including Toca Madera and Tocaya Organica with locations in Southern California and South Florida. The Madera Group’s strategic expansion will include an additional 40 venues opening throughout the U.S. and abroad. The service is now available to Angelenos from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. via Postmates and UberEATS.  

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Friday, November 24, 2017

7-Eleven $7 Date Night Deal a Home Run

Brand marketing is but one of the marketing strengths of 7-Eleven.  Regular readers of this blog know that it was back in 1969 that 7-Eleven trademarked the Slurpee and began it drive into retail foodservice with vigor.  One of the others in leveraging the power of limited time offers (LTO’s) according Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Now 7-Eleven new LTO is a one-stop dating deal that includes a large hot pizza, a Coca-Cola beverage and a one-night Redbox movie rental for less than $7 total. The deal runs through Jan. 2 at participating 7-Eleven convenience stores.

To take advantage of the offer, customers can purchase a large triple cheese or pepperoni pizza for $5.55. They will receive a pizza box-top coupon good for $1 off a pizza purchase and a code for a free one-night Redbox movie rental that's good right away. Pizza lovers can save another $1 when a two-liter bottle of any Coca-Cola beverage is added to the sale of a large pizza. The code can be used at the time of purchase, or on a later visit.

There will be a unique Redbox promo code will come attached to the top of 7-Eleven whole pizza boxes while supplies last. It can be entered at any of Redbox's more than 41,500 U.S. kiosks for a one-night DVD rental until its Jan. 14 expiration date.

There are more than 2,500 Redbox kiosks are installed at 7-Eleven stores nationwide. To locate a kiosk, film fans can enter their ZIP codes at or download the Redbox app, which lets users find a location, browse and reserve movies in advance.

Laura Gordon, 7-Eleven vice president of marketing and brand innovation "This is the first time 7-Eleven and Redbox have teamed up for a pizza and movie-night offer, and fall is the perfect time for a movie and meal deal," …"Temperatures drop, it's getting dark earlier and people are looking for at-home entertainment options. What's better than large hot pizza, ice cold Coke and a free movie night?"

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Need a Thanksgiving Dinner for 8 Delivered it is not too late.

Did not plan to cook, but friends and family are migrating to your house today.  Well it’s not too late to find a restaurant, grocery store, or catering company that can fill your table with a great meal and make you look brilliant.  According to Steven Johnson, our the world’s leading Grocerant Guru® of Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® your best bet just might be go online an order from UberEats. 

In a new first-of-its-kind national study with 1,400 mystery shoppers found that UberEATS has the fastest delivery time (35 minutes and 31 seconds, on average). The study was conducted by SeeLevel HX with mystery shoppers ordering food through apps from UberEATS, Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates in five major cities: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Dallas. Note you can try any and all of these delivery services today to get the Thanksgiving Meal on short notice.
The study measured more than 20 other aspects of the delivery, as well, including driver attentiveness and whether the hot food was still hot on delivery. Service Average Delivery Time Total Cost (including delivery fee and tip):
1.       UberEats: 35m31s;
2.       Postmates: 40m12s;
3.       Grubhub: 50m22s;
4.       DoorDash: 42m01s;

Lisa van Kesteren, CEO of SeeLevel HX  stated "Our study also showed that for all four delivery services, both the car and the driver were rated as professional and clean for 98% of the deliveries," ... "This should be reassuring for restaurant services considering third-party delivery services."
In terms of managing customer’s expectations, DoorDash did the best job with 92% of deliveries that were delivered either early or on-time based on promised delivery times.
Across the cities surveyed, Atlanta had the overall slowest delivery time (45 minutes and 41 seconds), while Los Angeles came out fastest at 39 minutes and 20 seconds.  So if your friends just showed up, and other are on the way it’s not too late to call or go online and order from UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub, or DoorDash!  Happy Thanksgiving and let me know if you ordered at the last minute and how your meal was. 

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Shop More Cook Less Holiday Actives replace hours in the Kitchen.

The undercurrents of a cultural holiday shift in family traditions is underway as more and more families opt for  actives over hours in cooking, cleaning, and doing dishes according Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Skiing, walking, running, shopping, binge-watching TV or sports are preferred over cooking from scratch according to Johnson.
Consumers are forgoing the traditional home-cooked Thanksgiving feast in return for something less time consuming and panic-inducing specifically grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Today as regular readers of this blog know restaurants, grocery stores, liquor stores,
A new report from the National Restaurant Association says nine percent of consumers will be eating Thanksgiving dinner out, four percent said they would buy a complete meal prepared locally. According to our Grocerant Guru® 84% of ‘home cooked’ meals with have at least one fresh prepared item on the table from either a grocery store, restaurant, bakery, or mail order
Sure most of you know that our team identified the 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome first but this holiday shift holiday’s is an undercurrent that progression from Thanksgiving plans even just six years ago has moved the needle even more. Even recently Forbes noted that nearly one in four diners are not going to do all the work of fixing Thanksgiving dinner. 
So where did the NRA survey say consumers were going to go to eat Thanksgiving dinner?  According to the NRA survey, 31 percent of diners eating out said they go to the same specific restaurant for Thanksgiving, with another 30 percent saying they will head to a restaurant they usually go to for general special occasions. Eighteen percent said they will use Thanksgiving to try a restaurant they have never been to before.
The team at Foodservice Solutions® wants to wish everyone a happy holiday season and no matter if your off skiing, boating, running, shopping, binge watching your 65 Inch HDTV, or cooking from scratch we wish you well. 

Success does leave clues  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed a Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Royal Farms Famous Fresh Chicken Dinner

Most convenience stores have found success selling fresh food with the over whelming  majority of them are known for selling fresh hot coffee and breakfast itmes, others lunch but at Royal Farms they are known for their Chicken Dinner.

While Royal Farms are open 24 hours a day, the c-store is focused on its freshly-prepared foods, like fresh, never frozen chicken. The item can be prepared and breaded on site in a variety of ways, including off the bone, on sandwiches and in salads and that sets it apart from other C-stores according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Royal Farms has a line of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat  items like soda, milk and water, the 5,400-square-foot store and gas station features its own line of snack items, such as Chesapeake-flavored potato chips, nuts and fresh-baked items with  both Indoor and outdoor seating,.

Fresh means fresh at Royal Farms and customers respect and appreciate fresh food according to Johnson.  At one recent New Jersey store opening it was reported that “buzz surrounding the store’s opening continued well into the lunch rush the following day, where cars frequently had to circle the lot to find parking with all of more than 50 parking spaces filled. Motorists started parking on entrance driveways, and wait time for chicken orders timed out at close to 30 minutes.”

What is your brand doing better than the competition?  What are your customers willing to wait for?  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869