December 2018
Obsessed With Food

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

From the earliest days, the preparing of food was central to the community and essential for survival. Aside from obvious nutritional benefits, the sharing of food would bring families together and be received as a gesture of warmth, generosity, friendship, hospitality and love.


Things are slightly different today. With more than 20 years of influence from the Food Network, an endless stream of celebrity chefs, countless food blogs, and the never-ending postings of food photography online, the value of food has evolved. Lately, it seems to be more about status, indulgence, and entertainment, and less about basic human needs.

According to a recent observation by Adam Rapoport, Editor in Chief for Bon Appetit, food has become a thing. It isn't just for certified foodies anymore - everybody's getting into it.

Rapoport's observation is backed up by the Specialty Food Association. According to their findings, consumers have been reconnecting with food for some time. Their interests are based on environmental issues, a shift from industrialized production to localized family farms, and the desire for more authentic, better-crafted, and engaging food experiences.

Considering that an ever-increasing segment of the American population is demonstrating an active infatuation with food, there is an obvious opportunity that producers can exploit. It doesn't matter if your company is small, penetrating local markets with regional distribution, or considerably larger with national or even international distribution. The bottom line is that people are craving better quality, indisputably authentic, and more engaging food experiences.

It's important to note - this undeniable fascination with food is not limited to any one demographic. While Baby Boomers may be seeking more pleasurable and stimulating food experiences; and Millennials are more interested in snacks and treats; working-aged adults of all stripe are hungry for more healthful, better tasting, engaging and entertaining products.

You don't have to look very far for proof. Enduring brands including Pom Wonderful (juice), Krave (jerky) and Califia (plant-based beverages) have recognized the demand for better performing and more innovative flavor profiles and responded with artfully produced, great tasting, well presented, and enjoyable products. In short, they have been disrupting their respective food categories and have become iconic food brands.

There's no doubt that producers operating in the natural foods arena are capturing the attention of buyers and are leading the pack with healthier, flavor rich and ground breaking food concepts. Along with the brands mentioned above, there is Field Roast, Made in Nature, and Rhythm Superfoods to name a few; each creating new, exciting, desirable and undeniably more healthful foods.

While these are mostly plant-based products, the opportunities are not limited to vegetarian options. In the specialty and gourmet world, innovative brands are becoming more flavor-forward, embrace ethnic ingredients and utilize exotic food formulations that attract attention and compel trial. Can you say Sriracha?

Just a few of the more innovative specialty brands representing undeniably delicious and beautifully conceived products, all leaders in their respective categories, include Tea Forte (handcrafted teas), Wildly Delicious (condiments, sauces, spreads), Salem Baking (sweet baked goods), Les Trois Petits Cochons (pâté and charcuterie), Sartori (artisanal cheese), and Olli Salumeria (artisanal slow-cured meats). For those of you who regularly attend the Fancy Food shows, you know that these are merely a few of the wonderfully delicious and exciting products that can be found.

Even the big boys, including Kraft, Campbell's, and Hershey, have acknowledged consumer preferences for healthier meal solutions and are lifting their game. While not disrupting their respective categories (after all, they have already achieved national penetration and iconic brand status), they are cleaning up their act, reformulating products, and embracing healthier ingredients that are readily understood and easily found in home kitchens.

The bottom line is that, from sunrise to sunset, consumers are busy eating, nibbling, snacking, dining, munching, and enjoying food. And each time, they are craving something that is deliciously satisfying, entertaining, and enjoyable. While they are certainly craving healthy meal solutions that utilize authentic ingredients and have a significant nutritional impact, the most important attribute (assuming you have a smart phone) is that the food looks good on a plate and provides the perfect photo-op. Say cheese!


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

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