What is local food? Well most of us think artisan food products. Artisan food conjures up images of individuals, passionate about their specialty food products, working with their hands, creating unique products unlike those that are available in specialty grocery stores. You think of buying specialty food from artisan producers at local farmers markets, street fairs and small specialty grocery stores where you buy from the person who is the creator of the fabulous artisan products you love.
Artisan food also means local producers, limited availability and unfortunately high prices. We tend to view artisan foods products for consumption at a special occasion. I might buy artisan made pastas for a weekend special dinner with friends but will use Barilla Pasta or Whole Foods 365 brand for a quick weekday meal. The artisan traditional homemade ricotta at $8/lb is perfect for a homemade lasagna for a special family dinner but I will use Pollio or Sorrento in a plastic tub for most other meals.
The national brands that I see creating niche food & beverage products in the artisan food segment are Tostitos Artisan Recipe chips, Pepperidge Farm Stone Baked Artisan Rolls, Dominos Artisan Pizza and Starbucks Artisan Breakfast Sandwiches. Notice the common thread here…. each brand insures that "artisan" is in the brand name descriptor.
Food Fairs, Farmers Markets and Urban Food Trends are driving more new product launches that center around artisan foods and local producers. I called Julie Hall ofSchneider Associates, who publishes theMost Memorable New Product Launches annual survey and contributes to our New Product Launch section to see what the "new product launch guru's" are seeing in the burgeoning Artisan food trend. In particular I wanted her insight on the national brands creating product positioning in the artisan food niche.
Julie, why has "artisan" been embraced by the likes of these National Brands ?
"We work with major grocery retailers and food and beverage CPG brands and also have been wondering about the Artisanal trend. We think Artisanal food products are reflective of consumers backlash of mass produced products… being inundated with products from China. We also see the trend in packaging rage… you know, those clam shell packaged products that need a surgeon to open. And maybe some of the Occupy Wall Street backlash as well." According to Julie, she sees consumers demanding more personalized products, examples being Lillian Vernon monogrammed products; Nike, made just for me; and Levi Jeans made to match my body.
More frequently consumers desire hand crafted products made with real ingredients (and a nutrition facts label and ingredient statement that does not take a PhD to understand). CPG marketers are on to consumer's desire more for authenticity in all aspects of life… just look at the growth of social media. Isn't this more authentic than some media talking head?. Julie says that "We are at a pivotal point in moving from mass products to authentic quality. Authentic "anything" represents a passing down vs. our current disposable economy."
So Julie, do you think the national brands can generate "brand credibility" in what has been to date, a niche market segment for small food entrepreneurs? Read more…