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Global Groceries: News from the Front

6 Jun

On the Front Lines of Food Retail

I’ve spent the last few years as a kind of globe-trotting retail anthropologist innovating for top supermarkets and restaurants round the world. From vantage points in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, its clear the food industry is battling two fast-moving fronts: Digital and “Diabesity” (DD).  Digital technology, in the form of near 24/7 on-line shopping, meals delivery and personalized coupons, isn’t yet as bulging as waistlines, but it’s sweeping the aisles at pace. Diabesity, aka the packaged food diet, hasn’t met a stranger yet, and whilst its killing processed foodies, it’s also confounding center store merchants, beverage companies and mass manufacturers alike.

Healthy Retailing = Food + Sport

When I founded Food Sport in 2009, I set out to build a link between food retailing, restaurants and manufacturing, by addressing the emerging need to re-think business models alongside the growing imperatives in global diets and health.  I’ve learned a lot, scored successes and failed some too, but what’s become apparent to me, is that despite some cultural differences, for example the Aussies and Poms enjoy a bizarre, uni-directional trolley wheel,  the industry shares the same challenges, though the leaders are sprinting rather than power-pointing.

Responsibility to Lead

Food has the unique power to lift economies and transform health. I recently returned to Sydney from two weeks in the States discussing DD with leaders in Washington, DC, and then during panels at the Milken Global Conference in LA (#2014gc).  From coast to coast, from Whole Foods to Pepsi, Let’s Move! to G.E., CVS to George Washington University and more,  I can report that food policy is on both public and private menus, but it’ll take expertise and experience to catalyze change.

We can make the healthy choice the easy choice by designing smarter, smaller, more efficient stores and tailoring the range (Trader Joes, USA).  We can use only whole foods and native ingredients (Chef Kylie Kwong, AU). We can use web/mobile to shift the mix to higher grossing, healthy own brand (Zipongo, USA). We can make cigarettes -$2.5b harder to find (Troy Brennan/CVS, USA).  We can advocate customers, and their loyalty, by providing access to fresh food and education (Walter Robb/Whole Foods, USA/UK).  We can employ digital technology to blunt Amazon (Fresh Direct, NYC, Click & Collect, Tesco, UK, Woolworths, AU). We can pedal healthy vending machines and natural snacks (Fresh Vending, Bolthouse Farms, USA/ AU).  We can harness science and self-manufacturing for good (H-E-B Grocery, Mootopia Milk). We can combine fresh food with convenience in the city centre (Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, UK). We can champion family dinner with affordable, clean-label rotisserie chicken (Costco, Can). We can manufacture clean-label prepared foods (Bakkavor, UK).  We can grow kids who chef (Jamie Oliver, Woolworths Supermarkets, AU).

There are countless examples round the globe today that showcase the power and ingenuity of the food industry doing well, by doing good. To affect the scope and scale of reform needed to restore health in our communities and grow profits in our board rooms, learn from the best, adopt innovation, and decide to make it a race rather than a journey.

Share your ideas…and saddle up!

 

Suzy Monford is the President/Founder of Food Sport International. Some of the companies she’s worked with include: USA:H-E-Butt Grocery, H-E-B Central Market.  AU: Coles, Woolworths Supermarkets. UK: Morrisons. Canada: Loblaw Great Food. Contact her on linkedIn or suzy.monford@foodsportinternational.com.

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Spring Fever Ahh’s & O’s

11 Mar

A girlfriend said the other day that sometimes you have to settle for and an “ahh” rather than an “O”.  We have a running joke between us ever since I exclaimed to our Aussie taxi driver upon exiting on “Wooloomooloo” street in Sydney, that you can never have too many. So with Spring fever getting me hot and sweaty, and fresh from the Institution of Integrative Nutrition Mega Conference in Longbeach last Saturday, I thought I’d share my guaranteed, clothes-on, ahh and O guilty pleasure, Savage Spring Fever Super Shake recipe. Your taste buds will say “ahh” (note if at first they say “ouch”, add more sweetener) and your body will get a big “O”!  And bonus, you can even do it alone…

Ok, so I’m taking my cue from David Wolfe, raw food pioneer and author of many leading books including “The Sunfood Diet System” and “Naked Chocolate” (www.davidwolfe.com).  Addressing our group of Heath Coaches, David shared his mission of “add-ing” as a way to gradually invite people to add raw and living foods into their diet. And though I’d read his books and listened to his lectures, I was inspired to add more vim & vigor into my otherwise Paleo diet.

The goal is to move away from SAD (standard american diet) of HUGE FOOD – tiny nutritients, to tiny food – HUGE NUTRIENTS. Eat less, get more, live a full life and give something back to your planet (did you know it takes 635 gallons to make 1 hamburger?).

So here you go, fresh from my Vitamix 5200:

Savage Spring Fever Super Shake:

1) Liquid Base: I used 1/2 organic orange + organic unsweetened almond milk. Fresh vitamin C and heaps of non-dairy calcium.

2) Aloe Vera: I used 2 floz whole leaf aloe vera juice for skin beauty and digestion.

3) Super Greens: I used 12gm Green Vibrance brand powered organic greens and freeze dried grass juices. This blend of probiotics supports micro nutrition, digestion, circulation and immune systems.

4) Maca: I used 1 tsp of this ancient Incan superfood that boosts the endocrine system and libido, and combats fatigue. I use the gelatinized product–though not completely raw, this process strips out the starch (plus the cute guy at Whole Foods recommended it).

5) Cacao: I used 2 tbsp of this ancient Mayan superfood thats loaded with antioxidants. It’s also known to have the highest dietary source of magnesium, flavanols and polyphenols.

6) Whey Protein: I used 1 scoop of all natural microfilterd hydrolyzed vanilla whey protein for 16g protein. This is the min protein I need 3x per day to support my cardio & strength workouts.

7) Fruit: I added a 1/2 banana and some organic strawberries. Blueberries or gogi berries rock too!

8) Sweetener: I used organic blue agave nectar–squeeze in to taste. Local honey is also fantastic and can help immunities against seasonal allergies, plus is a bit lower on the GI scale.

9) Add ice and blend!

So there you have it.  Try adding a little Savage eating into your day. I promise you’ll have more energy, ahhs….and O’s!

Founding Farmer Steve

13 Feb

Welcome back to the brave new world of farming. In two short minutes last night during the Grammy’s, Chipotle’s story ad, recited by Willie Nelson’s soulful rendition of Coldplay, and personified with brilliant claymation, fired the first spot on shot in the food revolution that Americans so desperately need.  At a time when fast food restaurants like MacDonalds trick Guests with sugar disguised as oatmeal, Steve Ells has crafted a vision for “food with integrity” based on the old/new principles of antibiotic free meats and locally sourced produce.  Just as EZ’s Brick Oven is working to do in San Antonio, True Foods in Newport Beach and Season’s 52 in DC, the movement to put only real food into food, is taking root. As we health coaches like to say, if it was made in a plant, don’t eat it. Thank you Chipotle Mexican Grill  for taking us “…back to the start”.

http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/fwi/videos/videos.aspx?v=1

Food Trucks or Trucker Food?

22 Jan

Yesterday some friends and I drove (slightly) out of way to check out the new food truck lot  just off the HWY 281n in SA.  One of the gals had seen a blurb mentioning the new foodie venture on the web, and after logging a massive cycle class at the gym, a casual roadside refueling sounded spot on. Based on the growth of “real” food trucks in the area lately, spawned by the all too slow awakening in SA/So. Texas of lefty (lefty as in left side of the US, you know, like Ca.) trends like farmers markets and vegetarian cafes, we pretty much thought this new gathering would follow suit with a range of freshly prepared fresh. Yeah-no. While there were “pulled pork paninis” (btw, panino is actually the correct pluralization of panini) offered at the “gourmet pig” truck, the menus offered by the rest of the truckers ranged from fried moon pies, cupcakes, and fatty bbq brisket tacos on grocery store flour torts, to flat-top griddled burgers. Yes, there was a fish taco offer, and yes the shredded lettuce, avocado and sauce were flavourful, but fried frozen “white fish” strips do not a true taco make.

The picnic tables and area were clean, though some music or spunk of any kind would be welcome to enliven this as-yet-to-discover-themselves odd collection of trailers and trucks. The experience felt a bit like watching a not so good first date, and wanting to whisper in each of their ears to “lighten-up”!

So a word to the food truck-ers: if your aim is to ride the wave of this still newish food trend, be prepared to get fully wet. You can’t dip your toe in as the tide rises by assuming that any food sold in a truck will get the love and dollars that the real foodie truckers cultivate. If you’re really a fried moon pie trucker, then be proud and lease some space on the rodeo grounds next month. Yee-haw!