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Marketing in a Browsing Society (2 of 4)

Posted on September 25 2014 | Author: Carol Culhane

The 4 p’s of marketing
This second edition of Food Fax 2014 delves into the effect of the Internet on “product”, one of the four p’s of the Marketing Mix, which collectively are place, product, price, promotion. The review begins with a commentary on the Internet itself as a product and a service.

NET Neutrality
Recently, several stakeholders have united to ensure equal access to the Internet by every person with an online hookup, so as to maintain the ‘Net as the information gateway, data pool and socio- economic leveler it has become. The basic premise holds that the WWW must not be deliberately filtered or withheld by any one government, corporation, NGO or individual. In April, Brazil hosted an internet governance conference, NETMundial, attended by 1200+ delegates from a cross-section of the globe, to achieve two goals: assessment of the equality of the Internet’s accessibility, and, delineated action to either return to a state of universal fairness or secure it for the future. The general consensus reveals that stakeholders are satisfied with the current level of global access, however, intervention is needed to retain neutrality from this point forward. One journalist summed up the concluding sentiment with a quote from di Lampedusa’s classic novel The Leopard “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”.

Food E-vangelists
Corporations have had to relinquish a degree of brand ownership and control to consumers, who through social media, can dictate product composition. Ingredient statements come under scrutiny at the site www.whatsinthisstuff.com. Teenager-cum-food critic Sarah Kavanagh has mounted successful online campaigns to remove – to name a few – brominated vegetable oil from PoweradeTM (Coca-Cola) and GatoradeTM (Pepsico) as well as the dough proofer azodicarbonamide from Subway’sTM buns.

For every cloud...
It’s not all downside. Both local and global mandate products can now profitably penetrate niche markets, owing to an online presence and IT.

...there is a silver lining
Any recall of clouds’ illusions is quickly resolved in the Financial Times’ instructive Understanding Cloud Computing, the forerunner to an article specific to product development Power to the People on Product Design [©The Financial Times Limited 2014].

FT concludes that today’s winning and innovative manufacturer will use cloud technology to locate, validate and define niche markets, then, create an infrastructure to service heretofore economically- prohibitive or remote segments, chiefly through R&D cost reduction and flexible manufacturing.

“chocolate made with cloud” ©Lindt Ltd.
The Economist is not where one would expect to find a full-page ad for chocolates, claiming “now Lindt can deliver custom chocolates to consumers anywhere in the [UK, US, etc.]”. This new LindtTM- IBMTM joint venture, more commonly promoted through you tube videos and business commentary, features customization and scale as a dynamic duo, and credits the cloud for tripled chocolate sales volume from mobile devices alone. In another application, cloud technology can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of food safety programs. Cloud-based food safety management systems integrates several platforms (HACCP, BRC, FSMA, etc.) and can instantly produce traceability records.

“On cloud nine” has taken on a new meaning in the 21st Century.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor






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The Changing Face of Canadian Food Labels

Posted on September 10 2014 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Today’s food labels provide a wealth of information from nutrient and caloric content to third-party certifications, from health claims to environmental impact. As with most food trends, food labels have evolved over time based on consumer demand. Canadian consumers are becoming more and more health conscious and demanding to know what is in their food, especially pre-packaged foods.

Many of us take for granted being able to flip over a box at the grocery to figure out how many calories are in our favourite snack food or how much sodium is in a can of chicken noodle soup, but mandatory nutrition labeling hasn’t been around for that long. Some of you may be surprised to learn that it wasn’t until January 1st of 2003 that ingredient lists and Nutrition Facts tables became mandatory on most foods - and it was as recent as December 12, 2007, that all pre-packaged foods required both to appear on their labels.

While they do provide a lot of helpful information, Canadian food labels can be misleading and difficult for parents and consumers of all ages to understand. In order to arm consumers with the information necessary to make healthier food choices, a consultation process involving a number of stakeholder groups across Canada has taken place and proposed changes have been developed based on this feedback. The proposed changes include:

  • Serving sizes will be changed to more accurately reflect the average consumer’s intake.
  • Nutrients that consumers should limit their intake of will be listed in the top portion of the table while those, which need to be consumed more frequently, will be in the bottom portion.
  • The caloric content will still be included at the top of the table, but in bolder, larger font.

A consultation on the proposed changes will come to a close on September 11th and be reviewed in the coming weeks. However, even after a decision is made it will take some time before the current labels are phased out.

 So next time your visit your local grocery store or grab a snack from the kitchen cupboard take note of what you see – there is a lot more to a food label than meets the eye.

Jessica Taylor
Business Analyst, Food, Nutrition & Health

References:
http://www.cpha.ca/en/programs/history/achievements/09-shf/labelling.aspx
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/nutrition/index-eng.php






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