The Future of Food in an Evolving Food Ecosystem

The Future of Food in an Evolving Food Ecosystem

Our food ecosystem is evolving. More and more consumers are demanding high-quality ingredients, organically grown produce, humanely raised animal protein, sustainably and responsibly sourced food.   

For example, at the launch of the frozen foods company Hip Chick Farms, known for it’s 100% organic chicken nuggets, “the [consumer] demand was already there,” as the company’s co-founder and president, Serafina Palandech, puts it. “The demand in retail has grown phenomenally over the last four years and in opening our restaurant concept, which we call The Kitchen, you know, we have an incredibly sophisticated consumer. They know exactly what they are looking for and they know exactly what they want to feed their families. So, I really see that the demand was already there and we are filling that need.”

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Restaurants Push for Smarter Protein

On this episode of On Foodable Weekly, our host Paul Barron gets to talk to Erik Oberholtzer of Tender Greens and Chef Stephen Giunta of Cargill about how plates are getting greener.

As the culinary leaders explain, while we are seeing alternative proteins like cricket and plant based proteins emerge, traditional proteins are not going away anytime soon.

Chef Guinta explains, “The plant based proteins are becoming part of dishes. They're not replacing traditional proteins– you’re not going to replace a pork chop with quinoa, for example, but they’re additions and providing more of a balanced approach.”

Oberholtzer adds that while we are seeing interesting food innovations coming out like the Impossible Burger or soy proteins from Beyond Meat, he prefers to stick to whole ingredients.

“What we’re seeing at least out of the fine dining world is that a lot of chefs are really leading with plants, they’re making plants the star. Plants are taking up more of the plate, but proteins don’t go away.”

Learn more about the future of protein by watching the episode above!

 
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Social Restaurant Visits Jump Over 5 Million: What Does That Mean for the Industry?

On this episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” host Paul Barron highlights the restaurants that have grown the most in the past month and what that means for the industry as a whole. We will also look at Del Taco’s brand performance and its biggest competitor: Moe’s Southwest Grill.

According to Foodable Labs, the restaurant industry continues to show an increase in growth. This growth is illustrated through the analysis of real-time data signaling a brand’s visibility across social media platforms. One of the big indicators of restaurant industry health is SRV or Social Restaurant Visits. A social restaurant visit is an action a consumer takes, whether it is a mention, photo share, or “check in” on a social media platform, referencing a restaurant’s location either in a post or within the post’s geo-metadata.

“If volume on conversation is up, that gives us a indicator that potentially we could be seeing either sales shifts or traffic in restaurants moving up or down,” Paul Barron said.

Foodable Labs has added another measurement known as Facebook and Twitter Combined Industry Visibility. Are people talking about going out to eat and are they engaging with top brands? Currently, the total industry visibility month-over-month was somewhat flat, with a slight increase in interactions, unique users, and units identified in the month of October over September.

Looking back at June 2016, the industry experienced the lowest number of interactions of the year to date, with numbers of interactions at 54 million and the number of unique users at 31 million. Contrarily, October showed continuous growth, although slow, in the industry with interaction figures reaching 71 million and unique users reaching over 42 million.

Growth Within the Industry

Restaurants showing notable SRV growth in October over September 2016, include:

  1. Tender Greens jumps to the No. 1 spot with an 8.82 percent SRV growth.
  2. Chick-Fil-A steals the No. 2 spot this month with a 5.11 percent SRV growth after not making the Top 10 list back in September.
  3. Arby’s has been consistent in its ranking month over month, staying at the No. 3 spot since August. Its SRV is currently at 4.92 percent.
  4. Shake Shack, which has been on the list before, is now at the No. 4 spot with a 4.87 percent SRV growth.
  5. Freshii drops from the No. 1 spot to No. 5 with just a 4.82 percent. SRV growth month over month
  6. &pizza is a new entry in the Top 10 list, coming in at the No. 9 spot with a 4.27 percent SRV growth.

An important takeaway from this data is total SRVs for the industry jumped up in August, September, and again in October by over 5 million.

Top Performers

Two brands that prove our case are top performers Del Taco and Moe’s.

Here’s what Foodable Labs found:

Del Taco

  • Same store sales growth for 12 quarters
  • New market and new menu item penetration
  • 68.48 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Moe's Southwest Grill 

  • 36.4 percent of Chipotle guest crossovers
  • Overall higher engagement than Chipotle
  • 50.87 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Watch the full episode to learn more!

Tender Greens Welcomes Brian Berkhausen, Formerly Starbucks' Director of Global Store Development

Photo courtesy of Tender Greens.

Photo courtesy of Tender Greens.

The farm-to-fork, fine-casual restaurant Tender Greens is no stranger to Foodable. With a concept that caters to consumers who are craving farm-fresh quality and chef-driven creativity, it's no surprise that the brand spans across California with 22 locations. Growth is inevitable — and they need a progressive team to match.

So, without further ado, say hello to Tender Greens' latest team member: Brian Berkhausen, formerly the director of Global Store Development at Starbucks, where he led the charge and opened more than 217 new locations and remodeled about 540 locations across Southern California, Arizona, and Hawaii.

Berkhausen is far from a greenhorn with more than 30 years of experience in development and growing high-performing foodservice companies, but his position with Tender Greens is newly created. He will serve as their first Vice President of Real Estate and Development.

"It's an exciting time for Tender Greens as we grow beyond California and eventually outside of the U.S.," Tender Greens President David Dressler said in a press release. "We are thrilled to have Brian join our leadership team and bring his extensive experience, achieving meaningful and intelligent growth to our company."